Fiji

In the center of the Pacific Ocean, Fiji is the perfect destination to escape your daily routine between the turquoise waters, white sand beach and green jungle. As a volunteer and simple tourist, feel free to share your experiences and adventures during your trip to Fiji. If you are looking for more information about the unlimited opportunity to volunteer aboard, you will find all the verified programs right here.

Global Vision International (GVI)

I was in Fiji for a little over a month teaching grade 1 at a local school. In a (hyphenated) word, the experience was life-changing! The children there are so excited to have you around and are extremely eager to learn. I think about them every day and miss them as well as all of the wonderful friends I made during my time with GVI.
One of the more difficult things for me to deal with was the fact that I was so used to westernized schooling and, even though I knew it was going to be different, I was shocked when I learned that sometimes the teachers don't show up to classes. Don't expect much support from the teachers. They're going to rely on you more than you can rely on them. It was intimidating at first, but as long as you have lesson plans made, the students are willing to do just about anything and are absolutely WONDERFUL to work with. Granted, this happened only once in a great while for my class, but it happened more often with the volunteers working in the older classes. I do recommend that anyone considering this program keep in mind that they may be asked to run a class on their own. The GVI staff and other volunteers are also really helpful if you're ever having a hard time figuring out lesson plans, using education resources, etc. One of the times my teacher wasn't in class, a few of us combined our classes for a group music lesson and it was a hit with the kids! All of the volunteers work together to make sure that the school day runs smoothly, so you're never alone...which is really nice.
Also be prepared for very basic living conditions. Cleanliness is hard to come by there, which was what I had the hardest time with.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Apr 10, 2012
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
9

Global Vision International (GVI)

After living in Fiji for over a month I realized just how easy my life was compared to the Fijian people's. They truly do not have anything they do not need and are surprisingly the most welcoming, polite and friendly people I've ever met. Once I returned home I made a decision that I was going to come as close to living like their life style as I possibly could. One week after my arrival back home I had sold half of my wardrobe and nearly all of my possessions. Im using this money to help continue educate children across the world. Nothing in my life was more rewarding than being surrounded by Fijian kids, at school, and helping each and everyone of them with school related questions. I would recommened this program to anyone who is serious about helping under-privalaged children, while living with the bare necessities! A true life changing experience!!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Apr 7, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Global Vision International (GVI)

Overall, I had an AMAZING trip. I made a lot of new friends from all over the world because there were always new volunteers arriving, and at any given time there were about 20 of us on base. The staff members, Tamu, Thom, Lauren, and Dan were incredibly helpful, and were always making sure you were doing well emotionally and physically, took care to make sure your paperwork and visa details were sorted out, were always eager for suggestions and looking for ways to improve the base, and were genuinely fun to have around as well! I thought the value was also great. It cost me $2700 Canadian for three months – that’s less than I would be paying just for one term at university, not including living or food! I also received the student scholarship, which was easy to obtain and gave me 25% off. 90% of what you pay goes directly towards the resources for the project (the cement, water tanks, school materials, tools, etc), and that is something I feel good about - I donated my money as well as my time. Also only 1/4 staff members at the Tovuto base get paid, and she is an extremely hard worker, and deserves the exceptionally modest pay she gets. I completely agree with how the money was distributed… you can’t do anything in such a remote location without the funds for it, and where would they get part of it if not from generous volunteers?!
The actual volunteer work was super rewarding, the construction portion of the expedition having more instant gratification that the childcare portion (not that you didnt have as equally large impact on the community because of your efforts!) because the installation of the water tanks is a measurable job - once the tank is installed, that village will have 5-10,000 more litres of water than they had previously. You could always see the gratitude of the villagers as well - they always made us lunch when we were working and thanked us profusely. We've even seen the chiefs get emotional when the tanks arrive, and remark at how their village will no longer go thirsty. for the education project, its hard to measure your success, but you can see easily the joy the volunteers bring to the kids, and to the teachers too! you really get out of it what you put into it... the days are long (8:00-3:00)and hot with lots of energetic children, so its easy to get tired, lethargic, frustrated, and even bored if you aren't prepared for the day. you need to plan a lot of lessons or projects to make things exciting for the kids and for yourself! they don't need to be elaborate by any means, crafts or games or something academic, but something to keep you going for 6 hours of school (1hr lunch break). the language difference can also be hard - english is their third language, and its easy to forget that when you are trying to teach. however, the kids are eager and are so much fun. they love all kinds of sports and the fun ideas and things that people from the modern world can bring to them. they are also incredibly musically talented! what GVI brings to the school is invaluable. The school's resources are so limited, and only a handful of the teachers there are competent at their jobs. When we are able to bring in stuff for the kids to learn with, they will have access to materials and knowledge that would have been previously impossible. Without the volunteers, kids would never get one-on-one attention that is necessary for some students' learning. Even the standard first-aid kit we bring to school every day is a huge help to them (the kids have open-wounds of all varieties along with other ailments pretty often and their medical center is severely lacking). Also, who better to learn English from than English speakers! (Although not all the volunteers were native English speakers!). I made some really great relationships with my students and some other kids at Ratu Meli, and I miss them so much.
The conditions at base are decent... it depends how you look at it. During my stay, some people remarked at how great the living space was, while others were disgusted by the conditions. I didn’t really know what to expect when I went, and I was pleasantly surprised by some aspects and unimpressed by others. You have to realize that you are in the middle of nowhere really, and only so much can be done to make your stay comfortable. The dorms are all bunkbeds and hold 10-12 people in each one. There is not a lot of space, so finding room for your belongings can be a challenge. Often the dorms will be extensively sandy and also very hot – ventilation is not great in there. My bunk seemed to always feel damp because of the humidity too… pretty gross feeling. The mattresses are pretty thin.. try and snag a spare one and double up to make sleeping comfortable!! Sand will become a part of your life, as it is in everything, on everything, all the time. The staff members do their best to create cleaning schedules so that the chores are being done fairly by everyone. Bugs and creatures will become commonplace to you. I can’t say how many times saw toads crouched on the ground, a gecko perched on the wall, a cockroach scurrying around, a rat dart out the door, or a giant spider lurking in the corner. Not only are these creatures common, but black flies, mosquitos, and sand fleas are also abundant. (better or worse depending on when you go, the mosquitos got progressively horrible when I was there (sept-december) BRING A MOSQUITO NET!). there are also a couple friendly dogs on base, Mattie and Junior. You will become used to turning on the sink or shower tap and not being surprised if no water comes out… If the water has not been pumped or is on a shortage, the sink and shower won’t work, the toilet won’t flush. This sucks because you don’t know when its going to happen.. you could be in the middle of brushing your teeth and then realize there’s no water to rinse with! Remeber, you are living in the third world!!
You will be excited to see fresh vegetables for dinner, and it will be normal to have some form of pasta 5+ times a week. The staff do their best to order food requested by the volunteers, and provide fresh fruit and veg when they can. Breakfast is always porridge, so if you don’t like it I would recommend bringing granola bars or something else to keep your belly full. Even if we have bread to make toast, it has to be rationed so usually only 1pc per person. Most of the food is canned, and it is cooked by the volunteers who are put into cooking teams of 3 people per team. Teams are responsible for cooking a meal for all of base, and doing the dishes. We only had meat for really special occasions, otherwise you will be eating canned corned beef (I was not a fan) or canned tuna (BRING BEEF JERKY!).
You will be lucky to use the internet once in a month, unless you bring your own laptop and Vodafone internet dongle – this is what the staff members use, and they will sometimes let you use their internet if it’s urgent or you ask nicely. There is electricity from 7-10pm every night, make sure you have the Fiji-compatible plug adaptor. You will likely have some form of gastro-intestinal problems due to the change in diet and water (BRING PEPTO-BISMOL TABLETS AND TUMS). You may or may not get thoroughly soaked on the boat ride to the school (BRING A WATERPROOF JACKET!) because Ratu, the driver, is a little crazy.
There are a few locals that live on the GVI property (their family owns the land that GVI leases) and you will see them around frequently. The ladies provide all sorts of services for a small fee: Lice (pronounced Lee-day) will do a large load of your laundry for $20 FJD, she sells cigarettes, cookies, and chips for a modest price, and she sometimes will bake the volunteers a batch of bubbacao (Fijian donuts!) for breakfast, just because! Terri, the other Fijian mother, is equally lovely and gives excellent massages for $20 FJD – about 45 minutes, and will teach you some basic Fijian language if you ask! (The most important words you will learn are “Kua!” (don’t/stop), “Nalengoo!” (that’s mine!), and “Lamai!” (come here).. not that my spelling is correct though!). Their children are always running around base as well, they love to play with you, anything from cards to volleyball to swimming! However, make sure you keep your belongings in places where they aren’t accessible by the kids! Two of my pairs of sunglasses got broken by them because I left them out on the table, packs of cards are never full, and one time the kids managed to sneak in the dorm and eat my entire bag of dried mango!
When you aren’t working, you have plenty of free time. After arriving home in the early afternoon, you have the rest of the day to do whatever: swim in the sea, read, sunbathe, nap, play sports, go for a hike, drink wine, walk on the beach, visit with other volunteers, plan for your week at the school, do your chores, write in a journal... I loved the freedom the staff members gave you – you didn’t feel like a kid at summer camp. One bonus at base was the proximity to some of Fiji’s best resorts. Just on the other side of the island was the Nanuya Island Resort, which was too pricey for us to want to stay the night there, but offered a great lunch menu when we wanted to treat ourselves to a good meal (and a good hike across the island!). You can also make a weekend trip to Blue Lagoon Resort, Oarsman’s Bay Lodge, or Coral View Resort for really cheap. 3 meals are always included with the price, and very affordable. Blue Lagoon is the nicest in my opinion (they had the best food selection, and the dorm was air conditioned), and a night there (including the food!) was only $60 CDN/USD. Staying at Coral View is even cheaper – about $30 CDN/USD per night! Every other weekend or so some volunteers would go to the resort for the night (the transportation costs about $10 FJD pp), and it was a great chance to get to know everyone, have a good meal, let loose, and have a comfortable bed!
The entire experience was eye opening. I made incredible relationships, had a chance to see what life is like on the other side of the world, made a real difference in the lives of the children at Ratu Meli school, all the while enjoying the beautiful Yasawas Islands.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Feb 16, 2012
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8

Comments

Hi, sounds like you had a great trip! And I'm looking to go abroad but still researching different places and organizations. I was just wondering how you were able to go for so cheap..at $2700 and for 3 months. I can't seem to find that anywhere on their website. For the Water management project in Fiji, it's listed you can only stay for 4 weeks and it is $2372. Is there a way you were able to change this?
Hi Stacey, The price for the 3 month stay was more than the $2700, but I got the student scholarship which gave me a %20 discount. I'm not sure if you are eligible for the scholarship, but it was pretty easy to obtain! you just needed a letter of recommendation from a University professor and to write a cover letter. there is more info on the website if you want to see more details on the qualifications. the $2700 doesn't include the flight or the gear I bought though. Also, I don't know if it makes a difference, but I did the Fiji Expedition, not the Water Management or the Childcare Project (the expedition is a combination of both, but if you get there and it becomes clear that one or the other is your specialty, then you are allowed to stay with that project for pretty the rest of your trip). Also, what I've noticed with GVI is that is always cheaper/better value to go for longer!! Hope that helps :) I remember hearing that just 1 week in Fiji was 1,000 or something.. I'm not sure why it works that way haha but it does!
Hi Keddy, thanks for the information! It was very helpful.
Wow, sounds like you had an amazing trip! Im looking to go somewhere tropical and I am really excited about Fiji. Youve given me alot of insight and information about your trip which is very helpful for me in helping me make my decision but I did have a few other question. Ive never been on one of these programs before so I am alittle nervous and hesitant upon where its safe and just how this whole thing works. I need to talk to people and understand from them how their experience truely went so I make the write decisions. I know youve said so much but if there is anyway yo get more information about these experiences through email or phone I would truely appreciate it.
Hi Rachel, Just let me know what specific questions you have and your email and I would be happy to answer them! -K
Hi, your review sounds like you had an amazing time! Im pretty sure im gonna book with this trip to go for 8 weeks in June. I was just wondering how you found booking with gvi? where they helpful? also about the visa, ive googled it and it said if you go to Fiji for less then 90 days you dont need a visa? is that right? I am coming from the UK And how you have to book your own flights, did you fly to Nan and did someone pick you up from the airport? Sorry for asking soo many questions Emma x
GVI was SUPER helpful!!!! They were great in answering emails etc. to make sure I was fully prepared. Who WASN'T helpful was Awesome Adventures Fiji... Don't book your accomodation through them unless you find some amazing deal or something. They never replied to my emails, when I called I kept getting told different things, they didn't have my reservation when I arrived even though I had a confirmation email... Just call the hostel directly to book! Much easier. I stayed at Smuggler's Cove and it was fine in the dorm. Cheap, on the beach, decent food, and all you need for a night or two! When you arrive in Fiji they stamp your passport and give you a 90-day visa! So yes, you would be fine. Google the Fiji Consulate's number and give them a call if you want to know more. When you arrive, just make sure you check the box that says you're a tourist. GVI can explain to you why. They were really helpful with passport stuff too - they keep a well-guarded safe with all your travel documents and money, and will sort out any problems with Visas if they occurr. It happened to a few people during my stay, and Dan Lund took care to make sure nobody would get into trouble! I flew to Nadi and then from the airport it was a 10-minute shuttle ride (the shuttle was there waiting for everyone going to Smuggler's because when you book they find out when your flight lands!). Taxi's are very cheap too! I arrived a couple days early, which was good because I met a lot of people and got to have some fun in the city, and just relax on the beach before the hard work begins! Smuggler's Cove is literally right next to Aquarius Fiji, which is GVI's meeting place on the day they pick you up to take you to Nanuya Lailai. So that morning we left, I just packed my stuff and walked to Aquarius and met everyone there! A couple people did that. Then GVI will supply you with breakfast and then bus you to the port where everyone gets on the ferry. Hope that helps, I'd be happy to answer any other question! -K
Thank you so much for this insight, i am a little nervous about when i go there in July. I was wondering how much you packed?! There is so much gear that you need that im worried one large rucksack wont be enough. How much did you spend roughly per week? Was it easy to stock up on essentials (shampoo, sanitary stuff, tooth paste). Also, in terms of the boat that gets you back to the mainland, how reliable is it?? just because i have an annoyingly early flight home, and if the boat doesnt go the night before i leave, than i am screwed! Thanks Rebecca
You don't necessarily need to bring a big backpack. I went out and bought one when a suitcase would have been fine. I guess the backpack just helps for ease of transporting it, but a few people had suitcases and it doesn't make much difference. You only have to get them there once! Bring lots of shirts with sleeves so you can wear them to school, and lots of sarongs or long skirts (also for school). You will find you don't want to do laundry often but your clothes will get very sweaty! I brought $600 FJD with me and came back with $10 FJD, and I did 3 resort weekends, bought drinks, went out for dinners, and souvenirs. However, I didn't do any scuba diving which costs considerable more. Since there is nowhere to get out cash once you are up in the Yasawas, I'd recommend bringing about $1000 in cash just to be safe. It really depends how you spend your money! If you're a drinker, the base camp sells wine and beer ($30 btl of wine, $5 per beer) so if you do that your funds will go down a lot more. I bought shampoo etc. when I was on the mainland so I wouldn't have to pack it, and it worked fine for me. If you are ever in a jam, the staff members go back to the mainland occasionally during your stay and would be able to get your something if you really needed it. You can also get stuff like that at the resorts if you happen to go there. The boat that gets you back is VERY UNreliable unfortunately, at least it was when I was there... When we left to go home it took 10 hours... it's supposed to be only 5!! But if you leave the night before, you should be ok because I've never heard of the boat not running altogether. you might get in really late, but you'll get there. Also if your flight is on a sunday, you leave Friday night anyways so you'd have a day to spend on the mainland. If it's on a Saturday morning, you could always get permission to leave on Thursday just to be sure you'll get to your flight comfortably. Hope that helps!
Thank you!! This was so helpful i might actually print off all of your advice. Just another question, where did you get your sarongs from? Could i get them when Im there? I have the entire day before the course starts so i could do some shopping. My flight is on a saturday at 8.30 in the morning, but even if it takes 10 hours the night before, i should still be there. It is a releif that you haven't heard of them not running at all.
I had a sarong (sulu) from a trip to mexico, and then borrowed a couple from a friend of mine who had been to fiji! you can definitely get them there, from a souvenir shop, not sure how much they cost though. long skirts would be just as good... and possibly more comfortable! sometimes sulu's dont let you bend much.. especially when you're trying to sit on the ground to eat a meal in the village without flashing anyone and keeping your knees covered! haha you could probably get them at a bathing suit shop?? I'm not sure!
Thanks so much that was really help, I was worrying about like my flights because it looks like im gonna be traveling for like 40 hours or something aha, but i'll probably go there a few days earlier! Where there alot of things to do at the weekends? Also in terms of money, do you have to take a lot of is it relatively cheap there? Also did you need any injections? Thanks again!!! Emma
yeah the Fiji Flyer, which is the ferry, runs once a day to the Yasawas. It's supposed to pick you up from the islands at 1 and then get back to the mainland around 5:30/6. there was lots to do on weekends! At the base there is all sorts of walking and hiking, there is a volleyball net, there's tons of books, the OCEAN! haha there's a little "teahouse" you can visit, there's a resort on the other side of the island you can walk to for lunch or lounging on a nicer beach, theres always kids around to play with, prep to do for school, watch movies on a laptop, drink kava with Edi (a local)... and if you want to go to the resort, theres about 4 nearby that you can go to very cheaply! Blue Lagoon is the nicest, absolutely gorgeous, and costs about $120 FJD for a night in the air-conditioned, impeccable dorm, and that includes 3 meals as well. Then you just have to pay Ratu (another local) or Edi money for gas to take you there! If other people are joining you its about $10 FJD per person. Some things are cheap, and others are not. Alcohol at the resorts is very expensive unless you stick purely to beer!! however, souvenirs and expeditions are cheap or reasonably priced. But like I mentioned, you can't get cash out ANYWHERE up there, including the resorts, so best to take lots and come home with extra if you have it. Especially because your money will be safe in the safe on base!! I got Meningitis shot and Hepititis shots just to be sure.. but I don't think you have to. I went to my doctor and she gave me all sorts of medical advice for me when I was there, and told me what sorts of medications to bring. I'd definitely recommend doing that, because the first aid with GVI has mostly just stuff for serious injuries - not the every day stuff you need like bandaids, antibacterial cream (polysporin), anti-itch cream, mosquito repellent, etc.
Sorry one more thing, you managed to only spend 600 fijian dollars in 3 months?! thats impressive considering GVI recommended 100 per week. Im only going for 6 weeks, and i should have saved about 600, so ill be more than ok for money.
haha I know!! it said 50 USD per week but i misread it and though 50 FJD per week.. but I managed to make due ! and I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything either! not that more money would have hurt... haha
Hey emma, i am going to Fiji from the UK in July, and no, if you are not staying for more than 90 days, then when you arrive you just need to tick the tourist box! Personally i have found booking with fiji very easy and straight forward, and extremely helpful. i had an issue with flight times, and someone from the base actually called me to explain what the deal was, which i thought was brilliant. You fly to Nadi 9from the uk, this usually means flying to hong kon and then fro there to nadi. You should get there the day before the course starts, and then you have to book a night (its very very cheap) in a hotel/hostel near to the meeting point (they email you about allof this0 and then you get the boat over to the island base in the morning. You have to get yourself from the airport to the place you are staying for the first night.
Oh thanks! yeahh im google'ing somewhere to stay for a night now! eeek just want to get it booked now!!
smugglers cove, aquarius resort, or bamboo resort will be the most convenient for you!!
Hi Keddy. I dont know if this forum thread is still alive, but if it is I would love to ask some questions to you since Im planning to go to Fiji with GVI next year for their 12 weeks marine expedition and get out of the rat race for a while. First off, it really sounds like you had the time of your life in Fiji! And thanks for a really good read, this thread have already straightened out some questionmarks I had! Thanks to all contributors. Then some Q´s: The Camp and stay. I would love to get some more info about the camp at Lailai and the life there, and if you could recommend to bring any stuff to improve the stay there (like maybe buy a new pillow/bed stuff in Nadi). Generally I have no problem with bugs and animals (rats etc), but I hate bed bugs and cockroaches, please tell me there arent any problems at least with the bed bugs there! (and at the (dorm rooms) resorts you went to during your time off from camp) Mosquito nets I will bring, but how is it about malaria in Fiji?, do you recommend me to get vaccinated against it? (I probably will anyway, I will get in touch with a doctor for the right vaccines.) You say that it is impossible to take out any cash in the islands and to bring the funds needed for the stay, but what currency do you recommend US $, Aus $ or Euro?, or maybe exchange it to Fiji $ in Nadi? And what about credit cards, do the resorts accept that when you visit them? The expedition: As mentioned above Im going on the marine expedition, for the main reason to do a lot of diving and to learn more about the marine life and what we can do to protect it better. As Im already a qualified diver with all the cetifications needed for this expedition (and above), so I will bring almost all my dive gear needed for serious and safe diving, so there I got no generally worries I saw that you wrote that you didnt do any diving at all (??!!, I feel sorry for you if you missed out this wonderful sport in this, what i read and heard, divers paradise!), so maybe you cant answer me about this. But is there anything you can say about this diving expedition?, like where it heads out from? (thank you google earth, already checked out Lailai island intensely!), just from the camp beach in the morning or from the water sport center at the Nanuya island resort?, where are the theory lessons held?, how the diving is?, any (dive) safety issues? Just anything would be nice to hear actually! Also I, like you, will go to the other islands for some weekends to stay there, again with the main reason to do some more diving!, but the rates for diving at the island resorts are quite high, do you know if there is any discounts if you tell them that your a GVI volunteer with limited funds?(, or is there a no negotiations policy in Fiji that applies?), is this maybe something the camp staff can help you with? After the expedition. I planning to stay in this part of the world for a month or so after the expedition to do some travelling, both in Fiji and also visit Tonga and/or Vananatu and the Solomon islands/Australia (yes, you guessed right, to do even more diving!) I read that you are granted a 90 days visa when you arrive in Nadi, do you know if its best to sort out the visa for the extra days stayed from home or in Fiji?, or is the maybe the visa re-newed on re-entry to Fiji again if you immidiatly after the expedition travel to, say, Tonga for a week and then go back to Fiji? Hmm, I think this is enough question for now. I really hope/look forward to se if you got any of answer for me before I ask any more. It would really really help me in my decisions and planning! Kindly AIK
Hi there! Well about the camp: Its situated on the coast of Nanyua Lailai, and consists of about 5 or 6 buildings. These buildings consist of "bure's" which are the Fijian houses that the staff sleep in (thatched roofs) and others are the dorms that the volunteers sleep in. These dorms are full of bunkbeds and pretty small - there are no shelving units and only a couple hooks, so generally your belongings will be kept underneath your bed. The matresses are pretty thin so definitely bring your own sleeping stuff if you think it will increase your comfort!! I found that sometimes it was hard being so far from home and the smallest of comforts made my stay much better. Also the GVI list doesn't tell you to bring a blanket, but do - sometimes it gets quite cold when it rains! I just brought my airplane blanket though and it was sufficient. There wasn't much instance of bed bugs, but I actually experienced it when I switched dorms! (It was kind of my fault, I didnt use my sheet that night because it was being washed) I thought it was mosquito bites but turned out it was from my bed. The staff were so apologetic, they took total care of my mattress for me while I was volunteering during the day. After that, no more problems at all! I don't think I heard of anyone else getting bedbugs. However, cockroaches are abundant. That is something you will have to come to terms with!! Mostly they are smaller but I saw a couple big guys too. Not very nice, but you will get used to all the critters there. At the resorts, definitely no problems like this. The resorts are spick and span!! (unless you stay at say, Oarsman's which is much more rustic. I say stick to Blue Lagoon and Coral View you won't regret it!) The main building is the kitchen/living area/office. This is where you will spend a lot of time with everyone! The living area is totally open to the outside, so is often covered in sand, but there are some couches and matresses for lounging, a big supply of books left behind by previous volunteers, and even a TV that they will sometimes make work if there is a big rugby game on. In here people play cards, talk, if there's a party night this is where we drink and party, there are two huge tables where we eat all our meals as a group.. (breakfast at 7, lunch at work, dinner at 7). In the kitchen you will be paired with a couple others and will be in charge of making dinner for the entire volunteer and staff population. I would recommend bringing some recipes for this large number of people!! It's very hard to cook with such limited resources and for such a big group if you've never done it. There is no oven in the kitchen, just a few burners. Vaccinations - I got all mine done, but I never heard of anything to do with Malaria down there, and I wasn't vaccinated for it nor did I hear of anyone else. For currency, definitely bring Fijian dollars. It's not like Mexico where they happily take your USD... for them it is completely useless. You can get it exchanged at the airport even, that's what I did, and then I also took out cash on the mainland in Fiji, and got lots of FJD from there too. Resorts will accept credit cards but sometimes they charge a fee. GVI has a safe and will keep all your cash and passports etc. on guard at all times, so bring lots of cash. Trust me its much easier and you won't regret having it! There are lots of things you could buy on base you wouldn't think of, and you need cash for that. (ie. getting a massage from Terri the Fijian woman, or buying cake from Lo's tea house down the beach!) I didnt do any diving on my expedition because the program was not yet in place. In fact, in my last few weeks there, we were building the dive center. So that's why I don't have anything to say about that. I did meet the dive expedition staff, and they all seem great. You will head out to different spots from Nanuya Lailai at our base. No need to go to Nanuya resort. The theory will probably be held in the living area. Ive heard the diving around there is incredible! You're going to love it. I'm sure no safety issues either. Some of the voly's in our group did a shark dive with one of the resorts, and they said it was the coolest thing they had ever seen. I'm confident you will have a similar experience. Your safety won't be in jeopardy with this team. As far as diving at the resorts... they might give you a discount if you already have your own gear, but I'm not sure. I don't think the price will change much. But honestly if you're diving with GVI, the dives the resorts take you on won't be different from what you've already seen unless you do a shark dive or something. (which is worth the money to spend!!!) You can ask the staff to see if they can arrange a discount, they've done similar things in the past. However the Fijians are notoriously cheap - they want to get your money haha (at least the ones selling you something do!) I am not sure about Visa requirements - I would send Tovuto base an email and ask them, they will be very helpful. (email is something like tovuto@gviworld.com but double check that!) Good luck!!

Projects Abroad

From day one, the PA staff in the US worked hard to make sure I could complete all of the requirements necessary for my college credit towards my internship. They responded quickly to all of my e-mails and calls. Once I was accepted into the program, the staff in Fiji was also quick to respond to my questions and needs. Everyone made me feel confident and ready for a successful trip to Fiji.
Once I arrived, I was immediately greeted by a staff member which was great because I already felt lost and exhausted from traveling long hours. I arrived immediately at my host-families house. My family was very friendly and did all they could to make sure I enjoyed my stay. The food that my host mother made was wonderful! They also asked if there was something particular I didn't eat but I was open to trying new things. I got a roommate after a couple of days which is a great plus. It was nice to have another volunteer to talk to and do things with. There were a few complications later on in my trip with the meals and staff (not keeping things confidential) but this is a minute problem that was immediately addressed. I liked that the staff did take time to meet with the volunteers mid-way between our stay to find out how everything was going at the accommodations and placement. Any conflicts were resolved immediately. The placement was great. It was challenging working with 35+ students in a class but it was also very rewarding once you figured out how to manage things a little bit more. I would've liked to do more teaching with the students but this particular class wasn't really setup in a way where the teacher taught at the front of the class like in traditional classes here in the US. Again, if any one did have a problem with their placement, the PA staff were quick and helpful to letting us go elsewhere. PA also held weekly socials which was a great way to meet other volunteers and do something fun. The staff are also helpful in planning any weekend trips you may want to take.
Overall, it was a great experience and you can't go expecting to have the luxuries you have back home. You have to be open to trying new things and doing things that you want to do.. you are there for yourself and to teach children so make the best of it! And if you go and feel that you're not comfortable .. speak up! The staff will help you and do what they can do to make things better. Also, when I returned the US, the staff again were quick to get in touch and talk about my experience and let me know how I could be involved.
For the pricing, I felt it was a little much. I am not sure exactly how the money is used but I do feel we could have gotten a little more for the price we paid. I'd like to see some of our money go to our schools because the students struggle with having supplies such as pencils, erasers, paper, etc. Great experience and I definitely would recommend PA.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jul 5, 2011
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
8

Projects Abroad

I volunteered to teach English for one month om Nadi, Fiji. This was my first abroad experience. Overall I can say that I am glad that I went with PA. My placement, accomocdation and support were top notch. Even the gatherings where you meet with other volunteers was good. They doa good job of ensuring that you are happy with not only your placement but your living situation as well. I had the best host family ever. They keo the home immaculate and ensured that I never missed a meal. Always provided me with nutritious and tasty menu items. From what i gather this program was one of the more expensive ones. However, if its your first time out I highly recommend you go through PA.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jul 6, 2010
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
8

Madventurer

Hello all,
I spent six weeks in Fiji with Madventurer volunteering in a primary school. It was a good experience and the staff were great. A downside was it was coming to the end of the season so the Mad house wasn't as full as it had been previously. But the crew members living there made it a good experience all the same and helped me to book a weeks trip 'island hopping' around the other Fijian islands. I am now back home and am completing an assignment on the company for university. If anyone has any exeperiences of this company and would like to tell me about them and answer a few queations, please email me on kelly_mcpherson1@hotmail.com.
Thanks

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Dec 8, 2009
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
9

Frontier

I completed 2 projects with them. The communication between London and the field was really really bad. For example we were told to pay diving deposites in pounds by the london office, but when we arrived in the field they wanted them in dollars.
When I arrived in Livingstone, Zambia where I was meant to be met at the airport and transfered by frontier staff to Namibia no one was there. I was left at the airport with no idea where I was meant to go and ended up staying in a backpackers hostel for 3 days (which I had to pay for myself) before I heard from Frontier field staff (and only then because my parents in the UK were phoning their London office several times a day for me).
Most of the project cost money I paid didn't make it into the host contry - for the Fiji marine project we worked out as a volunteer group we had paid over £85k to be there and yet the project staff said the budget for our time there that they had been given from London HQ was only £5k. They claim to be non profit but effectivly they are not as they pay loads to another company (thats for profit) owned by the same people as Frontier for marketing services. See the facebook group: "Frontier Charity? No." for links to some websites questioning their status.
There were many other problems I experienced with them. Such as the compressor wasn't maintained and broke twice so we lost almost 2 weeks of diving as we couldn't fill the tanks.
DO NOT GO WITH THEM. There are far better organisations that run projects similar to frontier out there.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji, Namibia
Posted: Apr 10, 2009
Overall:
0
Support:
0
Value:
0

Frontier

This seemed like the trip of a lifetime but Frontier were awful. The location and camp were great but the boats didn't work, we ran out of water and the staff members had to punt round to the next village (which took them about 4 hours) to get some, we ran out of fuel and only one of the compressors worked (to fill up the tanks to dive) and that broke down fairly often too. one of our huts was burnt down when people were in it. People got quite ill due to the poor nutrition as well. Once we returned to the mainland that was it too, no help, advice or support until you went home or carried on travelling. We were effectively abandonned at the harbour. I recommend travelling, just not with this company.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Nov 28, 2008
Overall:
2
Support:
3
Value:
3

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