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.

Frontier

I think I need say little else other than, as I'm planning on returning to Fiji in the hopefully very, very near future, it was a pretty fantastic experience; however I do in fact have heaps more to say on the matter as I adored EVERYTHING about my time there!

I took part in the teaching project: originally TEFL, though after speaking to the headmistress of my assigned school at our introductory meeting, I was given the opportunity to teach my preferred subjects - a huge boon for me as an aspiring secondary school history teacher, as I was able to garner invaluable subject-specific experience, rather than just the classroom experience I had bargained on.
I, along with my fellow teaching volunteers, was placed in a Methodist primary school in the heart of the capital Suva, just a short walk from our home stay. I was assigned to Master Pau and his yr 8. class (the education system works a little differently and primary goes up to yr 8, and the students then move on to college for the equivalent of their GCSEs and A Levels) and taught social science, health science and creative writing to a wonderful bunch of interested, engaging, amiable students ... plus a handful of cheeky ones, of course! My teacher was fantastic, gave me full control of lesson planning and delivery, but was also hugely supportive with supplying curricular material, and a significant source of knowledge on the history of the Fijian education system as well as the students personal education histories which was hugely helpful to myself; was always happy to answer my many questions, and we swapped information and stories about our differing experiences as students and trainee teachers in the times when I wasn't stood in front of the blackboard - he even bought me lunch on my first day! A typical Fijian - friendly, welcoming and oh so charming - as were all the staff, who in no short order popped their heads into my classroom to introduce themselves (and offer me lesson time in their own classrooms!) We, the volunteers, were included in all the schools social events from recess coffee and cake mornings to Friday night after school kava and lovo (the traditional food and drink), and a huge fuss was made of us with both welcoming ceremonies and leaving parties; I felt my time there was hugely worthwhile, both staff and students were hugely grateful, and I saw a real improvement in my class during my time with them, both academically and confidence wise (as they were a tad shy to begin with).
We were also welcomed to join in on extracurricular activities, and so I joined Master Vili in coaching the under-11 rugby boys, training with them after school, and accompanying them to their Saturday tournaments to scream and shout with their proud parents on the sidelines!

If the school placement experience was exceptional, then the home stay one was out of this world! I had a bed at the main home stay on Brown St with several other volunteers, the in-field project co-ordinator (who need mention as she was both a fantastic support as mentor, and fun cohort and friend for evening and weekend activities and adventures). Staying with the Sokosoko family - now my Fijian, or second family, 68 Brown St truly became a home away from home - I had oh so many wonderful experiences with this family. The entire clan (of which there were many) were so warm and oh so welcoming: from head of the household Master, who sat around around drinking grog and wine with us till the early hours many a Friday night, teaching us to dance/ward off unwelcome partners Fijian style, to two-year old Lote who'd toddle up the driveway every weekday afternoon to great us from school with a big hug and drag us into whatever mischief her and her siblings and cousins were up to that day! From the youngest to the oldest we interacted with all, and I have a plethora of happy memories from my time, including racing around having water pistol fights to cool off in the heat with my darling Charles, Minnie, Ba and Andi; and nights out with my Fijian sisters spent dancing till dawn! My time here, just a month, I warn, was far too short, but so well spent, and I can't recommend the project highly enough!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jun 16, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
8

Frontier

I volunteered in Fiji for 6 weeks and it was the best thing I've done. Prior to my journey, Frontier were helpful and efficient in answering any queries I had via email. They also held a briefing weekend which gave me a further opportunity to ask any questions, find out how to prepare for my project, and meet other volunteers. Overall, I was really impressed with the way Frontier helped to make me feel prepared for my project their quick responses to my emails. I also had various emails from the Project Coordinator who was in Fiji at the time, who explained what would happen when I arrived in the country. This made me feel at ease as I knew who I was meeting and where. The online area was also a great way to view and share important documents or information.

From the moment I arrived in Fiji, the Frontier Staff (particularly the Project Coordinator) made me feel at ease. The homestay was pretty basic, but I loved it like I loved my own home. Every evening we would come home to a home-made meal, from chicken noodle soup to vegetable curry. The Frontier volunteers had their own area, and there was also a shared communal area – The Mango Bar - which brought the volunteers and family together. The home stay family were so welcoming and staying with them was one of my highlights of being in Fiji.

My project coordinator was amazing – friendly, informative and hilarious. She would always be there to answer any questions or concerns I had, and would always do what she could to make me feel at home. She knew Fiji so well and, although she’d only been there for the same time as me, she always gave advice on the best places to visit. If I had any issues I would never hesitate to let her know, and I know she would always provide a fair solution.

The other volunteers were fantastic and we got on really well. The children at my school were amazing and so grateful to have you there. The project gives you so much freedom to teach, you have plenty of teaching time and can pretty much plan whatever you please. I got the opportunity to each at least 2-3 hours a day.

I can’t stress how much I loved my time in Fiji. I would definitely recommend this project for any budding teachers!

Program: TEFL
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jun 4, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
8

Frontier

Overall this project was great. The other volunteers were fantastic, the staff and children at my school were amazing. My coordinator ensured I was working in a class with older children since I would be going on to teach at a secondary school when I returned to the UK, which was lovely.

There were however some issues. There were some ongoing issues with members of staff which created a bit of tension. Our coordinator did not appear to enjoy being in Fiji or working for Frontier. Moreover, the field brief for the project was completely inaccurate and I ended up wasting money on supplies I did not need. The visa situation needs to be emphasized - I came on the wrong visa, as has happened to volunteers in the past, and had to go to New Zealand for a week. I was no reimbursed for that week of my project. It was apparent that communication between London and the project itself was poor, and there is little understanding of what the project needs, although I know they are trying to correct this.

Whilst there were the issues I have mentioned above, I cannot stress enough how wonderful the homestay was, how welcoming my Fijian family were, and how much I loved my time in the school. It was an amazing experience, but I did feel I should mention Frontier's organizational problems.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Apr 14, 2015
Overall:
7
Support:
5
Value:
5

Comments

Hi Clementine, Thanks for your review and feedback of the project. It’s great to hear that you enjoyed your time in Fiji, it sounds like you gained a lot of practical experience, and the fact that the school were able to accommodate your interests must have made your project even more valuable. In response to your comments about the project coordinator, during the first stages of your project we were in a period of transition. We always strive to hire skilled, dedicated and enthusiastic field staff to move our projects forward, and it is regrettable that you feel that way. As I am sure you are aware, we have recently had many new staff join our Fiji projects who have already made an overwhelmingly positive impression on all of our Fiji-based projects. With regards to visas, this information is available in the project Field Brief. Given the recent changes to the visa process, of which new requirements can be introduced quite unexpectedly, we have been working closely with our field staff on developing this information further. As soon as we are made aware of any changes we endeavour to update the information for all new volunteers. We try to be as helpful as it is in our power to be in the question of visas and all such advice and guidance is given in the utmost good faith. As you know, a member of staff from our London Head Office is currently based in Fiji. We communicate with all our field staff and are kept up to date with everything that is happening on our projects on a daily basis. Thank you again for taking the time to submit your review, we take all feedback very seriously, whatever its nature to help us improve our projects at all levels. We are pleased that you enjoyed your experience in Fiji and wish you all the best in your future endeavours. All the best, The Frontier Team

Projects Abroad

A spur of the moment decision to volunteer led me to find Projects Abroad and a nutrition project in Fiji. I spent a few days researching different organizations. Many were appealing, however, Projects Abroad seemed to be a very reputable organization that had nearly everything that I was looking for.
From my initial submission of the application I was receiving emails and assistance on how to efficiently finish the other requirements. With the guidance of a volunteer advisor I was assisted on the application process, all of the required documentation, flights and itinerary, visa questions, travel insurance as well as, general advise for travel.
I spent 4 weeks on the nutrition project. I took part in the early stages of the project and was given the opportunity to experiment and implement programs. Although I was unable to make any major contributions to the project in terms of new ideas, I played a role in the existing program. Much of my time was spent going into the public schools around Nadi and providing free health checks to the teachers. This included taking and recording their name, height, weight, waist and him measurements, blood pressure, and blood sugar readings. From there we would consult with them on their lifestyle and health and introduce to them the ‘kana vinaka/healthy eating challenge” and exercise programs.
My experience volunteering was so much more than just the project itself. These 4 weeks would not have been the same without the influence of my host family, the other volunteers, and the PA staff. I was so welcomed by my host family and was grateful for the experience and opportunity to learn about their culture. I was also so glad to have met the other volunteers. We were able to spend a lot of time together in the evenings and on the weekends and I can now say that I have many new friends (from all over the world!). Vinaka vakalevu to the Projects Abroad organization and more importantly to the wonderful PA staff of Nadi, Fiji.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Mar 11, 2015
Overall:
9
Support:
8
Value:
7

Projects Abroad

From the moment I stepped foot on the wonderful island of Fiji, I knew my dreams had come true. Since I was young, I had always dreamt of travelling around the world. As I got older, I wanted my travelling to have a purpose. By choosing to volunteer with Projects Abroad, not only did I have plenty of time to explore the country (and in doing so I learned about myself), I was able to feel that I had made an impact on the lives of the local Fijians.

While I was in Fiji, I volunteered on the Nutrition Project. This meant that I was able to partake in health screenings at the local villages, create lesson plans teaching the local students about nutrition and healthy lifestyle as well as make cooking videos and homemade gyms. Lucky for me, this was right up my alley with a Nutrition Certificate in my back pocket!

During my stay, Projects Abroad was super supportive whether it be about my project, my homestay family, other volunteers or my weekend plans. The volunteers were all super friendly and I can honestly say I have made several life long friends. Can not wait for another opportunity to volunteer with Projects Abroad!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Mar 5, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Frontier

I have been involved in the teaching project in Suva, Fiji and it has been great!

The best thing about it is how responsive and grateful the children are to have you as their teacher. It is amazing to see how much progress a child can make if you just spend a bit of one on one time with them- time that the over-stretched teachers often don't have.

It can be quite daunting at first because within your first few days you will be asked to lead your own class with the help of a text book. I would highly recommend that you work out some lesson plans before you arrive as it will come in handy when you are asked to look after a class because a teacher is off sick etc.

The children in here are so friendly and lively. It can be difficult to calm them down so don't be afraid to be assertive from the very beginning. That said they do listen and respect you, and the teachers are all so welcoming that you feel very comfortable coming into school every day.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Feb 13, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
7

Frontier

Taking part in the Fiji Marine Project has been an utterly fantastic experience. From day one everyone makes you feel welcome and at home. The diving has been breath taking and easily a highlight from my time here. Taking part in surveys has added something to the diving and made me appreciate the sea life even more.

The projects is able to run so well thanks to Kris who seems to work day and night to make sure our time here runs smoothly.

I would recommend bringing lots of snacks for those with big appetites and a solar charger is vital. I also suggest climbing the mountain and eating at the finely crafted table now available at camp.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jan 31, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

I arrived in Fiji to see the unfamiliar, extremely tanned face of Kris waiting to welcome us and escort us to Beqa Island. After embracing camp life for the last 4 weeks, Kris has become as much a friend as a Principle Investigator and Dive Instructor. Life here could not be run the same without him.

The week days are intense and crazy with early mornings to allow for all the diving and camp chores, but these could not contrast more with the incredibly mellow and chilled weekends, which truly embrace the concept of Fiji time.
Kris has embraced our requests to take us to the most picturesque place on earth on countless times. The almost hour long boat trip is a small price to pay to have a BBQ as the sun is setting on the sandbar, which can only be described as paradise.

Other highlights of my stay include climbing the nearby mountain to then have unbelievable views of the surrounding coral reef, along with enjoying a tub of Mango ice cream bought from the village of Rukua which was then carried back to camp as quickly as humanly possible in the 30 degree heat before it melted.

Essentials to include when packing is some form of cookbook specifically for rice and other carb based goods to make meal time as tasty as possible. Along with a solar charger if you bring a camera, as electricity is hard to come by.

Make sure to use the finely crafted table which is now a new addition to the camp, and enjoy your time.

Vinaka!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jan 31, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

My time at camp has been amazing, creative and revitalising. You realise how little you really need and that you can always find a solution. You can literally see the effort you put in in the ever-changing camp and know that you have made a difference. Nothing’s prefect here but the motivation and initiative of everyone here is inspiring! The camp is such a happy, warm place and I feel I could always have a home here and that’s all down to Kris and the wonderful volunteers.

The diving is so incredible! The beauty and energy of the fishes are infectious and you come to the surface excited after every single. We have had some amazing moments involving white tip sharks who don’t seem to mind getting up close and personal, its breath taking! There’s no real dangers in the water or on land on this beautiful island but there is a high level of respect you feel about the animals and fish and you feel privileged when they are willing to approach you.

A few of my favorite on land moments include the sandbar, a nearby beach that disappears at high tide but is absolute paradise, the stargazing without all the light pollution and the camp cuisine which became increasingly more creative as we used up some supplies. It is a fun experience to watch everyone find their signature dishes and I recommend bringing lots of spices, sweet chili sauce and peanut butter, although it is available from the friendly village in exchange for an hours walk!

The way of life here is friendly, basic and without excess. I feel privileged to be part of it and I hope to take some of the things this project has taught me back home with me. It is the best experience of my life so far and I fully recommend it to anyone who cares about animals, conservation and are prepared to make the best of it!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Jan 31, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Involvement Volunteers International

I participated in the Fiji nutrition project because I am interested in public health, health promotion, nutrition, and health education. I have studied a Bachelor of Health Sciences with majors in Nutrition and Exercise Science

I wanted to take part in an experience that would help me to grow as a practitioner in the future and give me good insight into the work of health promotion and education.

Living and working in Fiji for a month is a really exciting. Getting to know a local family and community, and working with these individuals to teach them about good nutrition and the importance of adopting a healthier lifestyle was very fulfilling.

I like to be hands-on when I do anything, so this project was the perfect style for me to gain the most, but also to give the most. It was also very affordable compared to other organizations I researched and the quality was excellent.

My time in Fiji was so good! I learnt more than I could have hoped for, and the experiences I had will be so beneficial for me in the long run. I was very lucky with the program and have to give a big thanks as I know it was difficult at times to make sure there was enough work for me for the entire 4 weeks. You realise once you are over there that things just don't always go to plan, as we all know "Fiji time". Overall, it was a great experience, Masi and his family were lovely and so hospitable.

I would definitely recommend volunteering in Fiji with IVI especially for nutrition and naturopathy students who want to gain quality experience. There is a serious need in Fiji in this area. Here is the link to the program I was involved with
www.volunteering.org.au/diabetes-and-nutrition-projects-fiji.html

Matia Floyd - Australia, 2014

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Fiji
Posted: Dec 30, 2014
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
10

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