I chose this program because it was two weeks long and it had the most community service hours. I really wanted to fit in the most amount of service within two weeks and one week seemed way too short.
Cesca is a young, passionate, adventurous spirit. She loves meeting new people and helping others, and connecting with the different cultures from around the world.
Why did you choose this program?
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
Rustic Pathways organized almost everything. They organized my flight to and from Fiji, as well as accommodation in their local base house where we stayed for the two weeks.
The only thing I really had to do was arrange my flight to their hub airport, LAX.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
When you get to Fiji your program leaders tell you that you put into your experience what you are going to get out of it, so go in with an open mind, ready for new things. Another thing is when reading the itinerary for your trip, do not think that every day in Fiji is going to be like what the website says, it really is different every day for each group.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Honestly, Every day is different. You will usually wake up at 6:45 am, you'll get ready for your day and head off to breakfast at 7 am.
Depending on what your activity for the day is - service of adventure - that will dictate what time you leave base for the day. We typically came back for lunch at 12 pm, left for the afternoon, and returned again at 4 pm to shower.
Dinner is usually served at 6 pm and then there's an evening activity at 7:30. Before you are sent back to your rooms, always check your schedule for the next day which is on the white board in the big house.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was not making friends, which for me is odd because I am such a people person. But being in a new environment with new people who had no idea who I was scared me.
I overcame this on the first day in the airport. I met this girl at baggage claim in LAX and we clicked immediately. After meeting her, everybody else was just another friendly hello. I would see someone with a green shirt and they would look lost, so I would wave them down and talk to them so they would feel comfortable.
It's funny because when we got to base in Fiji a lot of people were saying they thought I was a flight leader because of how friendly I was.
What is it like living at the base house?
When I was choosing my Rustic program I was hesitant about choosing a base house program because I wanted to travel around Fiji, but in the end, the base house was my favorite thing about my trip.
At the base, you meet basically everyone on a trip in Fiji. You'll meet other base house kids and kids on travel programs. Everyone ended up at the base no matter what. And if you do get homesick the base is the best place. You are surrounded by the locals and locals are the best part.
Be ready to get over American society standards and culture. The Fijian people will hug you and be very loving. One of the leaders, John, even came into our all girl room and sat in there with us and sang to us. At first, it was weird but you just get over it because in Fiji it isn't weird at all. The base house is a great place especially if it's your first trip away from home.