Why did you choose this program?
I chose this program because it genuinely helped the communities it worked in and wasn't a burden upon them. This program also takes place in the beautiful Fiji islands which is somewhere which really appealed to me in regards to it's beautiful scenery and being so far away from home.
I also loved how this program incorporated elements of sport and art, two things that i am really passionate about, so to be able to combine them into one program, and then have the additional challenge of maths and english as well was amazing to me. I also had friends who have previously done this project and recommended it to me as being the most incredible and rewarding experience.
What did your university assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
My university supported me with facilitating a fundraising cake sale which really helped spread awareness of the Think Pacific charity whilst also raising funds. Everything else I did by myself, such as purchasing fights, kit and insurance, fundraising more money through just giving, and sour-ing donations for the cake sale.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Just embrace it. Enter into the program with a clear mind with no presumptions about what it will be like. Take everything in your stride and do things you would never dream of doing at home. This program is completely eye opening to the way less developed countries live, and I would say to just go with it, take everything as it comes and give it your all.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
Early morning start. Breakfast with the family sat on the floor usually some sort of bread or dough or rice. Off walking to school or kindi, this could be a 10 minute walk or you may have to take a truck. Supporting struggling children with their English and maths, working with the teachers to help identify those who need the most help. House cup, some sort of art or performance practicing.
For lunch your nene (mum) might bring you hot food to school/kindi or you'll be given a packed lunch in the morning. Normally we ate outside sat on the grass.
After lunch it's sports. You get to choose which sport to coach and then plan and lead a session with the kids. There's normally about 4 different sports going on at the same time, and you'll be coaching alongside other volunteers. This was one of my favorite parts of the day. After school we had debriefing where we'd discuss the pros and cons of the day and anything important thay needs to be discussed.
Then it was time for team sports, where all the volunteers took part (if they wanted to) in a game of some sort, whether that be capture the flag, rugby netball or volleyball. Then we went down to the river to wash, then back home for dinner with our family.
After dinner there would normally be a social or cultural activity with the other volunteers, for example quiz night or learning how to basket weave.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it?
It would probably be the kind of weekend excursions we did as a volunteer team, as I don't like putting my head underwater so I was afraid something like jumping off rocks intoales or waterfalls might come up.
I cant say I've really overcome this as I chose not to do the jumping in part (I wasn't the only one), however this is more a personal issue as opposed to something in relation to the project itself. What I can say though is that with the excursions I participated fully and trusted the guides and leaders with us.
Write and answer your own question.
What would you do differently of you were to do this project again?
I'd have more confidence from the start. Take more of a leadership role with the kids and volunteers instead of letting someone louder take over. I think this would of given me an even better, more connected experience on project, and possibly helped me if unwanted to ever come back to lead in the future.