Melanesia at a Glance
Living in Melanesia
Healthcare in Melanesia
While most of the countries within Melanesia have decent public and private healthcare, many expats decide to use smaller, private hospitals in the bigger cities. Healthcare is not necessarily a straightforward issue in Melanesia, and it doesn't always follow that just because a hospital or healthcare center is private, it will have all the facilities expats may need.
It’s important to research the destination country to ensure that local healthcare is sufficient. Most of the small hospitals and healthcare facilities can be limited when it comes to diagnostics and specialisms. Specific treatments and operations may not be able to be performed outside of the major cities, and sometimes not even then, with expats needing to travel to Australia or move back to their home country for complete treatment. Therefore, health insurance must include repatriation.
Health insurance policies need to include an air ambulance, full medical cover and the cost of bringing family out to Melanesia in the event of serious illness. Consulates have different arrangements on visiting and checking on nationals, so expats should check with their own consulate before organizing healthcare for their move to Melanesia.
Education in Melanesia
For expats wishing to move to Melanesia along with their children, it is possible to take advantage of many international schools. For example, in Suva and Nadi, the main cities in Fiji, there are schools teaching children from over 40 countries. Various subjects and courses are taught at these international schools, giving a good educational standard and an adventurous way of life for a family.
Some parts of Melanesia lack any kind of formal, European-style education as the education for the local people centers on values and traditional living. The more urban areas do have more formal schooling for local Melanesians, however. In Papua New Guinea, the local education system is based on the Australian school style with a more familiar, formal education ending at Grade 10.
There are good international schools in the main cities in Papua New Guinea, Fiji and the Solomon Islands, so it is perfectly possible for expats to ensure their children enjoy high levels of education while living in Melanesia.
Safety and Security in Melanesia
As an area, Melanesia has a complex history and is naturally made up of many different cultures and ways of life. It has a reputation of perhaps not being the safest choice for an expat to move to. However, many expats find living and working in Melanesia rewarding and safe.
It's important to go through the appropriate channels when choosing accommodation, for example, and making sure that necessary security measures are put in place. It's always necessary to be on guard to a certain extent, particularly as tourist scams are relatively common, particularly in the main cities.
For example, expats should be careful when using taxis as many taxi drivers will try to rip off tourists - being clear that they live in Melanesia rather than are visiting on holiday can stand expats in good stead and help to ensure that they avoid losing money or getting into potentially dangerous situations.