Why did you choose this program?
I graduated in the year 12 in 2018. I felt very lost at the time: I saw my friends going off to uni and were all getting full time jobs, and I felt as if I didn't have a purpose. My parents knew I was unhappy, so they gave me some answers and I decided I wanted to give back to the world and help people, so I ended up choosing a GVI program in Fiji.
They were more than helpful the whole entire time. If i ever needed to chat, ask questions or just get more information from them, they are always there to help at all times!
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
So basically, I graduated in year 12 and had no idea where or what I wanted to do. All my friends were off to UNI and had full time jobs while I had no idea whatsoever what I wanted to do.
I am a very anxious person and have suffered from anxiety and thought I'd step out of my comfort zone and do a GVI program. I picked working with children in Fiji for a month and I had the help of my mum to help me prepare for this, which I cannot thank enough, but there were some tough times saving enough money for it and all the hard work paid off.
I couldn't have asked for a better experience.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Be open minded at all times! Really listen and learn from the locals, as they have the most amazing traditions and their stories mean a lot to them and it will really impact yourself too. It's okay to be scared or nervous, as this is all a new experience for yourself, and the outcome of it all is amazing and you're changing people's lives.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
An average week consists of meeting new people, meeting the locals, learning what lesson planning you'll do and what you'll be teaching the kids, in which I did phonics and literacy most of the weeks. You'll also be in cooking teams, in which you'll cook with a group, and cleaning groups, in which you take in turns too.
You get put in a family in the village too, in which you can connect with and learn and discover what their culture is and how they live.
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 first time abroad by myself was at 18 years old. I was petrified! I was anxious as all hell, and the first night being in Fiji, I didn't know anyone and was scared, but the next morning, I met up with all the other people doing GVI and I completely adjusted straight away because all of us were feeling the same!
My views on this looking back is that it's okay to be scared and anxious; it's all part of traveling, and to meet other people in the same situation helps.
Would you go back and volunteer?
The answer is a big YES, I would absolutely go back and volunteer, as it was the most memorable experience of my entire life.
I have certainly seen myself grow as a person with more knowledge I have now, and a better understanding of what happiness really is. I met the most amazing people who I will never forget and some of who were once strangers now turned into life long friends who I miss everyday and will never forget and hopefully reunite with them all one day.
Part of me will always stay in the village I volunteered at and I do hope to return one day to see how much the community has grown.