Think Pacific

Think Pacific

About

Volunteer in Fiji on a life-changing expedition. See Fiji through the eyes of local people and live at the heart of a remote Fijian village. Make lifelong friendships and shared memories on a challenging team project. Volunteer with youth through education and sports projects, which in partnership with the Fijian Government are achieving groundbreaking results.

Founded
2009
Headquarters

15 Queen Square
Leeds
LS2 8AJ
United Kingdom

Reviews

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Katie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I joined a one month expedition to Fiji straight after leaving school. The experience was challenging, exciting and rewarding. I am so so glad I went. A huge adventure that will allow you to really get beneath the culture of Fiji in a sustainable and responsible way. The pre departure team was amazing and provided helpful and in depth detail that really lets you prepare fully for the experience. Once you get out there your whole project will be guided by the team leaders who have previously volunteered and so know all the highs and lows of village life. The only frustrating thing is that you do only see a small part of Fiji - your village - so I would recommend leaving some time before your flight back to explore some of Fiji’s beautiful coast.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Getting on the flight by myself. Everything after that was so much fun!
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Cara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was genuinely one of the best experiences I’ll ever have! It’s so different from anything you’ll ever experience in the UK, seeing the impact you make on even one child makes it all worth it. It is hard and not for everyone but if you power through the rough times the outcome is always worth it. You 100% get out what you put in. We were in the highlands and it was different to the videos but still amazing. Just being a part of a community where everyone is so welcoming and warm makes you feel so at home from day one. If you like your privacy you might struggle more than some because it’s rare to get a minute alone. The kids are amazing and seeing the change in a child’s behaviour towards you from beginning to end is so lovely, especially with the shy kids who might not even speak to you on your first day but by the finally week they’re running into your arms is amazing in itself. Overall this experience is tough but it is so rewarding and worth every penny.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
When you have your hard moments really just push through and make every second worth it. Also purify your water and bring a bottle with a filter
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Andoni
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I would like to thank Think Pacific for the best experience of my life. Living in Namuka village for one month, staying with a wonderful family that I can now call my own and working at the local school alongside an amazing team have given me memories that I will never forget. This experience has been a true privilege. From being welcomed to the village on the first day and experiencing Fijian culture in depth to working with kids at the local school in maths, English, sports and other extracurricular activities. From having dinner with my family and going from house to house to drink tea to jumping in the river with friends from the village and watching the night sky in awe. Even more, it has been in Fiji where I have discovered that my passion is working with children. I can only encourage everyone to take part in this rewarding life-changing experience. I can't wait for my next time in Fiji!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
As with any other experience, there are going to be challenges! Always stay motivated, be energetic and patient, especially working with kids. The final satisfaction and rewarding feeling are invaluable, and you will remember them for the rest of your life.
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Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I did a two month project in January and truly had the most incredible time, the people I spent my time there with made it such a memorable experience. What I loved is not only how impactful it has been on my life but also the difference you make in the villages! I really feel as though I have a whole family and village on the other side of the world who made me feel so immensely welcome and loved which was made better with the knowledge that what I was doing was helping them and that ThinkPacific were involved in maintaining these changes through their work with the government. I was in a house with three other girls and the four of us became incredibly close to our Fijian brother and sister and to our grandma. The cultural difference took some getting used to but everything was so simple and joyful! Can’t recommend this experience enough and can’t wait to go back to the village to see my Fijian family again!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Embrace every moment with the families, their kindness, joy and laughter, Fijian people are truly so lovely and their attitude to life was awe-inspiring. Embrace the food and the little traditions, getting involved in grog and mealtimes really makes the time even better!
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Jason
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This voluntary opportunity offers so much variety and enjoyment for many people from different backgrounds of interest, such as drama, sports and music. Whilst being located in remote and difficult conditions at no point do you feel unsafe or alone, in-fact you feel a sense of belonging and unity with your new Think Pacific family and your new Fijian family. These new connections with my Fijian family are still strong due to Facebook and I speak to them at least every other day. Also, the friends I've made with Think Pacific volunteers have become friends for life. Therefore, what I have personally gained from this organisation is more than experiences of a life time and memories to treasure. This is an incredible organisation, which has star dust all over it! If you want a challenge and to do some different, do this!!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Having chicken feet curry was a first. I hadn't has that one before at home!

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Frankie Cox

Frankie is a third year anthropology student studying in Oxford. She grew up in Worcestershire and has always had a passion for traveling and improving the lives of others. She wanted to do something that would involve both traveling and helping others at the same time, and found Think Pacific to be the perfect place!

Why did you choose this program?

Choosing a volunteering program is a difficult process; there are lots of different ones out there, all focusing on slightly different things. I decided on Think Pacific due to their connections with the Fijian government and the process of choosing the villages that teams enter. I have always been worried that programs would be seen as a means of 'self-improvement' rather than volunteering as a genuine thing, but with TP, this could not be further from the point.

The whole organization works as one in Fiji and in the UK.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Think Pacific came into my university and gave a presentation on their programs. With attendance numbers high, I soon realized that this organization was something I would like to be part of. Think Pacific is an independent program from the university, but when you first sign up to TP, you are quickly added to the Facebook page and you are welcomed into the big TP family. If I ever had any questions, there are TP employees you can ask, so I never felt alone or overwhelmed.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

If you go out to Fiji, there's a phrase that is said, called 'Fiji Time'. Its meaning comes from the slow paced life which brings you back into reality, time away from your phone and the stresses of education. The time I spent in the village was life changing; the time goes by so quickly that you want to relive everyday twice. I wish I knew before going out to constantly live in the moment, to leave my phone in my rucksack and just live and be free.

I would highly recommend this to anyone to go on a volunteering trip, as being away from your phone brings you back down to earth, reminding you of the things that are important in life and that you can live without phones and internet.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average TP volunteering week is busy and tiring but amazing.

Monday to Friday, you are at school from 8 in the morning, completing your '1 to 1s' up until lunch time. The afternoons are where the children are free to go wild; they have an hour of teaching after lunch and then straight into house cup; a competition between the school house, it brings out everyones crazy side! Finally the last hour is sport, focusing on the skills required in each sport, the kids get sweaty and tired and that's job well done!

Everyday there is morning and afternoon briefing, before and after school, just to make sure that everyone is happy and can talk about any problems they may have had that day. The evenings are always busy, from mat weaving to billo making, and you cannot forget weekly quiz night! The evenings are a great way for the team to bond and immerse yourself into village life.

Saturdays are excursion days, waterfalls, treks, bili bili rafting... It will always be fun!

Finally, Sunday is the rest day. Church with your family and resting and sleeping in the afternoon. It sounds boring now, but you will need that rest time to make sure you are ready to go for the next school week!

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 before going was whether or not I would get on with the other volunteers I would meet in the village. Before you go into the village, TP sends you to a resort where time is used to bond and get to know everyone in your team. These few days really helped me to understand that everyone was there for the same reason: they are passionate about teaching and want to experience an amazing trip in a beautiful country. You obviously gravitate towards different groups of people... It's only natural, but you have to remember that everyone who is in Fiji wants to be there to make a difference.

What was the best part of your trip?

My favorite part about my time in the village was being able to live like a local. Myself and the other volunteer I lived with decided that we would say yes to everything. We ended up experiencing little joys that others did not. I was able to sit in on choir practice, having a sing with my Nene (my host mother) and the other village women. We were able to sit and help our Momo (my host father) dry out the Yaqona plant, that we later on went onto drink. Even when you are tired, my advice is to say yes anyway, Fijians are smiley, happy, joyful people who are always up for a good laugh. By helping them and joining them in their daily lives, the relationship will grow and become much stronger.