When I decided to take a gap year, I had no idea what I was going to do. After some research and meeting some great ARCC employees, I knew this was perfect for me. While I was going through the ARCC catalogs and website, I knew I wanted to do the Pacific Islands trip. Thank goodness I did.
During this trip I did things that most people my age have never done. While in Fiji we stayed in an orphanage and played with the most amazing children. We also got to plant coral on the most beautiful private island! That was easily one of the most amazing experiences of my life. The Fijian people are the nicest, most caring people you will ever meet.
After 45 days in Fiji, we migrated to Sumatra, Indonesia. This was the highlight of the trip for me. We spent time planting rice on local rice farms, painting elementary schools, making coffee, and so much more. One of the most exciting things we did was tracking orangutans. We saw about ten in total. At lunch one day during the tracking, an orangutan came so close to us. There was a mama and a baby swinging on vines about five feet away from us!! The baby was so cute and tiny. He was even sticking his tongue out. It was incredible.
Once we were done in Sumatra, we traveled to another Indonesian island, Bali. This island had the most beautiful beaches. We started this trip off with a Student Planned Module which couldn’t have gone better. We spent weeks researching all the cool things in Bali that we wanted to do. Our group managed to do almost everything that we wanted. Once that was over, we spent two weeks in an East Bali Immersion program. It was amazing. Here we spent time working in a local cashew factory, while also working in a Preschool. Those kids were the sweetest. After that, we had the chance to explore the city of Ubud. Once we were done spending all our money, we spent our last few days surfing in Uluwatu.
During this trip I got pushed out of my comfort zone and got to experience more than most people my age. I don’t know one other person that could say they got to trek through the highlands of Fiji or scuba dive with sting rays in Bali.
In the beginning I was very hesitant. I have never been away from my parents for more than 2 weeks. I have also never been camping before, or even on a hike! As out of shape and unexperienced I was, I loved every second of it.
Thank you ARCC for giving me some of the best months of my life.