Hi everyone, my name is Luca and I am a young 19 year old who lived an unforgettable adventure last summer that has changed many of my certainties.
I left Parma to go to the other side of the world, literally, to the Fiji Islands where I spent 5 weeks with the project of environmental conservation and protection of sharks managed by Project Abroad.
The organization of the pre-departure run by the project staff, the personal online page that gave me all the answers and dedicated phone calls helped me to prepare well for this adventure, maybe even too much since my parents didn't miss a single line of the recommended material finding myself so super equipped with everything.
The start saw me ready, equipped and a little anxious about what was waiting for me but full of energy and curiosity.
On arrival I found assistance at the airport for the first necessities and I was escorted to the bus stop that would take me along the last leg of my journey to get to the Pacific Harbor project site.
The beginning, like all the beginnings I believe, found me a bit out of phase with 11 hours of time zone to dispose of, lots of people to meet between staff and other volunteers, spaces to explore rules to learn, different food to try.
The first impact was strong, the atmosphere of the place immediately infected me and the voices around me told me about all those countries of origins that seemed to me so many: China, America, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, England, Japan and others.
The first phase of the project was the achievement for me of the diving license and already here I can say that I discovered what I hope will remain a great passion for my whole life, I fell in love with the marine world, the thrill of diving, the possibility to discover incredible things and fantastic animals at each dive.
It seems to be in another world completely alien but indescribable, some have had problems with the first approach to the diving experience, but for me it was as if I had always done it, no fear or hesitation, just calm and serene wonder .
At the beginning of the journey that led me to choose this experience, I was thinking only of doing something in the scientific field that would help me to know and understand better what I wanted for my future path of university studies, I was perplexed and a little worried about the part of volunteering in the villages or schools, on the environmental part, worried about finding myself living in an area so different from the protected and comfortable one of my house.
I could not have been more mistaken, certainly I do not want to say that it was all rosy, but the knowledge that with my hard work I was helping to preserve this wonderful environment, I helped people who welcomed us with joy, always cheerful but smiling above all really grateful for everything we did, it made me feel useful and important.
Of course I also experienced unpleasant situations such as missing the initial briefing, due to the change in my arrival flight, group punishments without my real responsibilities that penalized me in the dives, rudeness of some volunteers who, although not signing up, got meals and took part in them, filling the plates and leaving the regularly marked ones without dinner, but in conclusion the positive aspects were so many exceeding by far the negative ones.
I have made friends that I hope will last over time with wonderful people from all over the world, I discovered what I can do and in some cases what my limits are, I discovered in myself an immense love for the marine world and the environment that inspired me and made me realize important things about my future university career and about who I would like to become in the working world, I lived in a world and a culture very different from mine but full of charm and interest.
In short, I changed, matured and I had a great time doing it.
My goal for this last school year that begins ... to save in order to return in the summer to live another experience like this in another part of the world!