GVI: Volunteer in Fiji
93% Rating
(12 Reviews)

GVI: Volunteer in Fiji

We are proud to launch our new GVI Business Internships Abroad!
Business Internships Abroad are a great way to apply your business management and leadership skills and explore the world while experiencing new cultures and contributing to a sustainable cause and kickstarting your own career!

GVI’s Business Internships are the perfect opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience, especially if you are a student majoring in:
- business management,
- human resources,
- accountancy,
- marketing or
- international relations students

Business Interns can look forward to using their theoretical training skills to work in a local community with developing entrepreneurs, assisting them with developing their microenterprise businesses by:
- running hands-on, educational workshops on microenterprise business skills,
- conducting business training initiatives and
- mentoring and guiding small business owners

To apply or find out more about the value of the internships, follow the link below.

Visit the tropical paradise of Fiji with GVI and volunteer to make a difference on critical community development and conservation initiatives. GVI runs a number of unique volunteering programs in this island nation which gives you the opportunity to discover a new culture and leave a lasting, positive impression. Join GVI in Fiji for the experience of a lifetime!

Top Volunteer Projects in Fiji:

  • Community Development Expedition in Fiji: Volunteers will live and work in a wonderful beach location and travel to indigenous communities to help improve the infrastructure that supports village life. Volunteers will assess the specific needs of each village, evaluating potential development solutions such as improving water security, implementing sustainable power, kindergarten and primary school support and providing environmental education.
  • Marine Conservation Expedition in Fiji: Contribute to national efforts to conserve Fiji’s delicate coral reefs and marine ecosystems. Volunteers live on GVI’s research base on the stunning Caqalai Island and get gain their PADI Advanced Open Water qualification.
  • Volunteer with Children in Fiji: Volunteers joining this project will assist teachers in island communities in the Yasawa Island chain in Fiji. Volunteers will work alongside local teachers working with students typically aged between 4 and 7 years old in one or more of the 27 island communities.
  • Childcare Experience in Thailand and Fiji: Discover two amazing regions of the world when you volunteer on childcare projects in Thailand and Fiji. Experience the idyllic natural scenery and pristine beaches famed in both locations as you help improve disadvantaged children’s futures by teaching English in local schools and assisting over-worked teachers.
  • Marine Conservation and PADI Divemaster Internship in Fiji: Undergo an extensive training program and gain in-depth knowledge into the marine ecosystem. Get your PADI Divemaster qualification and boost your career!
Locations
Oceania » Fiji
Length
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
6-12 Months
Language
English
Housing
Hostel
Starting Price
$2,000.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
All meals (unless otherwise stated in field manuals)
All necessary project training by experienced staff
All necessary project equipment and materials
24-hour in-country support

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    87%
  • Support
    94%
  • Fun
    88%
  • Value
    93%
  • Safety
    92%

Program Reviews (12)

Default avatar
Sorcha
Female
20 years old
United Kingdom
University of Leeds

Marine Conservation in Fiji

10/10

I spent two months on the tiny island of Caqalai in Fiji during my gap year. I had never scuba dived before and was super nervous to be living away from home for the first time on my own. The country of Fiji is the most welcoming place I've ever been, everywhere you go people say 'bula' meaning hello.

I lived on a remote island in the middle of the south pacific with about 20 other volunteers and about 10 staff members. A normal day consisted of duties at 6:30am, breakfast at 7, kit up for dives at 8 and then the day would begin. Diving twice a day most days and then duties again at 5 and dinner at 7. Island life was so much fun and so rewarding the more experience you gained. I began science training and lectures in the first week and also completed my Open Water. Living standards are very basic on the island but you quickly get used to this. Cooking and cleaning in a team make you appreciate the little things in life more and no hot water becomes a luxury.

At weekends we would travel to the capital city of Suva, climb mountains, eat good food and see cool places. The island next to Caqalai was a peaceful haven where we also spent weekends. You can stay on base at weekends and relax and trust me time flies by!

I came away from this program with much more understanding and insight into environmental issues and I have learned so much about sea life forms I never knew existed. Two months was certainly not enough and I would have loved to have done the internship where you stay on the island for 3 months then on a placement for another 3 months in Fiji. I made amazing friends and have such good memories of my experience. I would recommend this program to every body on their gap year who is looking for something new and exciting to do.

How can this program be improved?

It needs more advertisement, when I was choosing which marine program to do I found barely any reviews for this specific program which made me hesitant to book it- I was so impressed and it was so much better than I expected!

Div
Female
20 years old
Sydney Australia

Never thought I would want to spend my life in a village, but I do now.

10/10

If you asked me at the start of 2016, 'would I settle for cold, limited showers every day' I would have said no. If you asked me at the start of 2016, 'could I live in village-like conditions and adapt to their everyday lifestyle', I probably would have said no. What a change! If you ask me that now? Yes. Beyond yes. I would do it any day. I miss it, every single minute of the day. The children, the families, the village women and the men, they all make life worth living. They prove to you the true definition of happiness and I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to experience that. GVI provides full opportunity for you to live like the village people do, and have an insight of what their lives have been in comparison to what their lives are and will be. The change is significant and there are so many things that have already changed since I finished with GVI. It's revolving so quickly. It has been over 6 months now, and I hold onto my experience like it was yesterday. GVI provide you with a family which helps you more than you will know. It is daunting at first, but all families I have met within the village are so welcoming and make your experience a whole lot better. Recently, (after I finished with GVI) I went back to Silana (the village), and stayed with my family for a couple of weeks. They will never forget you, and they sure will love you no matter what. One of the village men said 'why did you come back?', I said 'I had to, Silana stole a piece of my heart' and he said 'vinaka vakalevu (thank you), because you make us feel like we have something special, and you give us a reason to smile'.They don't need much to be happy, and GVI succeeds in brightening every day of their lives. GVI is a great organisation where I met at least 6 long life friends. I have already, and will travel with them in the future. They provide extremely great security and there are rules in place that really do work best with the conditions. Meals are provided and duties/chores are fairly spread among the volunteers. There is a rotating roster for cleaning, cooking and other duties needed. The living conditions are obviously not the best, but they are more than what you need, perfectly suited to your program and probably as good as you will get it in comparison to any other organisation, considering the location and condition you choose to live in. The community vibe within the village is amazing. Schooling hours are 8:30am - 2:00pm usually depending on your grade as timetables vary. You are not told before you get there that you may be running lessons or a whole class on your own, sometimes you will have a partner. This seems scary at first, but it works out fine. Probably better than with someone, as you get to bond with the kids so much! There is constant on-the-job support and in-country support. You will have a team leader who is there to help you teach at first if you do not feel confident enough. Subjects taught include literacy mainly, sport, music, art and some other subjects may be included depending on your grade. After school you are entitled to free time. This can be used to spend time with you family, or catch a taxi from the local village into Korovou town to by some food/recharge or any essentials. On the weekends you are also entitled to sign out of the base and do whatever you please to. There are buckets to use to wash your clothes in the village, so bring washing powder or soap if you please, although on the weekends most places you visit will have a Laundry, which costs usually $4FJD (approximately) per kg of washing. Having weekends to yourself was great as it gave time for us volunteers to bond and explore Fiji! Or a couple of weekends I stayed at my families house and did so many activities with them. The community even invited us to a Fijian wedding one weekend, which was unique and wonderful! I have been to Fiji 4 times now, and it will probably never end. The Dawasamu District has stolen my heart. My appreciation for everything has increased majorly, being just the scent of my clothes after being washed by a machine, and a working fan in Summer. I will forever hold on to all the memories made with GVI and I can highly recommend it. It was the best experience I have ever had yet.

Default avatar
Rachael
Female
27 years old
Dublin
Other

Best experience

10/10

You will not regret choosing to volunteer with GVi in Fiji- you learn to dive and discover the amazing underwater world which never ceases to amaze regardless of how many dives you will do or have previously done elsewhere- it is beautiful. The fact that you get to survey sites to indicate the reefs health and contribute your part after being taught many new skills all while having an awesome experience, is incredible. No words can describe the experience you will have but it is also what you put into it. Have an open mind and you will be blown away. Not only do you get to be in an incredibly beautiful country but you get to immerse yourself into the beautiful Fijian culture and meet so many warm and welcoming people- they become your family and you will always be welcomed back. The only warning I can give you is you will be so sad to leave and you will miss it every day- but bring on the return trip!

Default avatar
natalie
Female
24 years old
Bismarck, ND
Minnesota State University- Mankato

Volunteering in Paradise

10/10

Something changed within me when I arrived on the island and was greeted by the staff and local families of Nanuya Lailai. It was one of those few and far in between instances when I undoubtedly knew I chose the right path. From the moment we set foot on camp, the staff was completely engaged and caring, as were all my fellow volunteers. The locals were so thankful for our support and not only welcomed us, but treated each and every one of us like family. Every day was filled with adventure; and every night, I fell asleep satisfied. My fiancee, who travelled along, returned home changed people and have since decided that volunteering is something that will be a permanent part of our lives. The thought of travelling across the world may sound as intimidating as exciting, but GVI keeps you safe and is with you every step of the way. Just bring the bug spray and dive in; you won't regret it!

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Emily
Female
24 years old
Australia
Deakin University

Fiji Construction Project

7/10

On a day to day basis we travelled by boat to villages where we installed guttering and water tanks. Highlights included the amazing weather (when it wasnt raining or cyclones weren't a threat!), the chance to learn to scuba dive and the amazing people, both volunteers and locals, that I met along the way.

Default avatar
tmac42
Male
32 years old
Bismarck, ND

Life Changing Experience!!

10/10

I decided to accompany my fiance to Fiji for the education program. Little did I know how much it would change my life. After living in Fiji for over a month I realized just how easy my life was compared to the Fijian people's. They truly do not have anything they do not need and are surprisingly the most welcoming, polite and friendly people I've ever met. Once I returned home I made a decision that I was going to come as close to living like their life style as I possibly could. 1 week after my arrival back home I had sold half of my wardrobe and nearly all of my possessions. Being around these people enlightened me on how beautiful life truly is and how much more complicated it gets when you surround yourself with things you do not need.

Default avatar
JamesTes
Male
19 years old
London
Other

The best time i've had since I started travelling

10/10

Overall it was a fantastic program. GVI ran the whole thing really and made sure that you had a great time whilst volunteering. The days would vary depending on what field you were working in. Construction was my personal favorite and consisted of hard work and lots of determination to get the job done but once you've finished its a great feeling. The training was short and sweet meaning that you weren't sat around listening and watching for days on end which was exactly what I wanted. Education was the other area I worked in and that was equally good. I knew I wanted to do some teaching when I left to start traveling and this is the place to do it! The kids are so eager to learn and love the volunteers that go into the schools. Overall the work side was just unforgettable and most definitely worth the money.

If you do this course make sure you go to the caves, it was a fantastic experience and definitely a highlight. The social side is another highlight as you are usually with around 24 or so others and the staff. We had a great group of people and everyone got on really well. Their are places to go on the weekend like coral view resort for a good night so it definitely ticks all the boxes.

Can't praise GVI enough and this program is a must do.

Default avatar
kpavlik
Female
24 years old
Kelowna, B.C.
University of Victoria

Hugely beneficial to the community.. but I hope you're not squeamish!

8/10

Overall, I had a fantastic trip. I made a lot of new friends from all over the world because there were always new volunteers arriving, and at any given time there were about 20 of us on base. The staff members, Tamu, Thom, Lauren, and Dan were incredibly helpful, and were always making sure you were doing well emotionally and physically, took care to make sure your paperwork and visa details were sorted out, were always eager for suggestions and looking for ways to improve the base, and were genuinely fun to have around as well!
The actual volunteer work was super rewarding, the construction portion of the expedition having more instant gratification that the childcare portion (not that you didn’t have as equally large impact on the community because of your efforts!) because the installation of the water tanks is a measurable job - once the tank is installed, that village will have 5-10,000 more liters of water than they had previously. You could always see the gratitude of the villagers as well - they always made us lunch when we were working and thanked us profusely. We've even seen the chiefs get emotional when the tanks arrive, and remark at how their village will no longer go thirsty. For the education project, it’s hard to measure your success, but you can see easily the joy the volunteers bring to the kids and to the teachers too! you really get out of it what you put into it... the days are long (8:00-3:00)and hot with lots of energetic children, so it’s easy to get tired, lethargic, frustrated, and even bored if you aren't prepared for the day. You need to plan a lot of lessons or projects to make things exciting for the kids and for yourself! They don't need to be elaborate by any means, crafts or games or something academic, but something to keep you going for 6 hours of school (1hr lunch break). The language difference can also be hard - English is their third language, and it’s easy to forget that when you are trying to teach. However, the kids are eager and are so much fun. They love all kinds of sports and the fun ideas and things that people from the modern world can bring to them. They are also incredibly musically talented! What GVI brings to the school is invaluable. The school's resources are so limited, and only a handful of the teachers there are competent at their jobs. When we are able to bring in stuff for the kids to learn with, they will have access to materials and knowledge that would have been previously impossible. Without the volunteers, kids would never get one-on-one attention that is necessary for some students' learning. Even the standard first-aid kit we bring to school every day is a huge help to them (the kids have open-wounds of all varieties along with other ailments pretty often and their medical center is severely lacking). Also, who better to learn English from than English speakers! (Although not all the volunteers were native English speakers!). I made some really great relationships with my students and some other kids at Ratu Meli, and I miss them so much.
The conditions at base are decent... it depends how you look at it. During my stay, some people remarked at how great the living space was, while others were disgusted by the conditions. I didn’t really know what to expect when I went, and I was pleasantly surprised by some aspects and unimpressed by others. You have to realize that you are in the middle of nowhere really, and only so much can be done to make your stay comfortable. The dorms are all bunk beds and hold 10-12 people in each one. There is not a lot of space, so finding room for your belongings can be a challenge. Often the dorms will be extensively sandy and also very hot – ventilation is not great in there. My bunk seemed to always feel damp because of the humidity too… pretty gross feeling. The mattresses are pretty thin too... try and snag a spare one and double up to make sleeping comfortable!! Sand will become a part of your life, as it is in everything, on everything, all the time. The staff members do their best to create cleaning schedules so that the chores are being done fairly by everyone. Bugs and creatures will become commonplace to you. I can’t say how many times saw toads crouched on the ground, a gecko perched on the wall, a cockroach scurrying around, a rat dart out the door, or a giant spider lurking in the corner. Not only are these creatures common, but black flies, mosquitos, and sand fleas are also abundant. (Better or worse depending on when you go, the mosquitos got progressively horrible when I was there (sept-december) BRING A MOSQUITO NET!). There are also a couple friendly dogs on base, Mattie and Junior. You will become used to turning on the sink or shower tap and not being surprised if no water comes out… If the water has not been pumped or is on a shortage, the sink and shower won’t work, the toilet won’t flush. This sucks because you don’t know when it’s going to happen... you could be in the middle of brushing your teeth and then realize there’s no water to rinse with!
You will be excited to see fresh vegetables for dinner, and it will be normal to have some form of pasta 5+ times a week. The staff does their best to order food requested by the volunteers (but they can only get so much!), and provide fresh fruit and veg when they can. Breakfast is always porridge, so if you don’t like it I would recommend bringing granola bars or something else to keep your belly full. Even if we have bread to make toast, it has to be rationed, so usually only 1pc per person. Most of the food is canned, and it is cooked by the volunteers who are put into cooking teams of 3 people per team. Teams are responsible for cooking a meal for all of base, and doing the dishes. We only had meat for really special occasions, otherwise you will be eating canned corned beef (I was not a fan) or canned tuna (BRING BEEF JERKY!).
You will be lucky to use the internet once in a month, unless you bring your own laptop and Vodafone internet dongle – this is what the staff members use, and they will sometimes let you use their internet if it’s urgent or you ask nicely. Bringing an unlocked cellphone and getting a Fijian SIM card is a good idea – you can get a SIM card for free or for like $5, and the credit is also cheap and goes pretty far if you’re just texting. Incoming calls are always free. You can also buy a phone here for $30 FJD or so. However, getting credit isn’t always easy… you have to wait until someone has access to where they are sold (a resort, the ferry). Since there isn’t much other way of keeping in touch with those back home, a cell phone is a good idea. There is electricity from 7-10pm every night, make sure you have the Fiji-compatible plug adaptor.
You will likely have some form of gastro-intestinal problems due to the change in diet and water (BRING PEPTO-BISMOL TABLETS AND TUMS). Bring your own first-aid kit – go to your doctor and see what they recommend you bring. Definitely bring something to help itchy bites.
You may or may not get thoroughly soaked on the boat ride to the school (BRING A WATERPROOF JACKET AND CAMERA CASE!) because Ratu, the driver, is a little crazy.
There are a few locals that live on the GVI property (their family owns the land that GVI leases) and you will see them around frequently. The ladies provide all sorts of services for a small fee: Lice (pronounced Lee-day) will do a large load of your laundry for $20 FJD, she sells cigarettes, cookies, and chips for a modest price, and she sometimes will bake the volunteers a batch of bubbacao (Fijian donuts!) for breakfast, just because! Terri, the other Fijian mother, is equally lovely and gives excellent massages for $20 FJD – about 45 minutes, and will teach you some basic Fijian language if you ask! (The most important words you will learn are “Kua!” (Don’t/stop), “Nalengoo!” (That’s mine!), and “Lamai!” (Come here)... not that my spelling is correct though!). Their children are always running around base as well, they love to play with you, anything from cards to volleyball to swimming! However, make sure you keep your belongings in places where they aren’t accessible by the kids! Two of my pairs of sunglasses got broken by them because I left them out on the table, packs of cards are never full, and one time the kids managed to sneak in the dorm and eat my entire bag of dried mango!
When you aren’t working, you have plenty of free time. After arriving home in the early afternoon, you have the rest of the day to do whatever: swim in the sea, read, sunbathe, nap, play sports, go for a hike, drink wine, walk on the beach, visit with other volunteers, plan for your week at the school, do your chores, write in a journal... I loved the freedom the staff members gave you – you didn’t feel like a kid at summer camp. One bonus at base was the proximity to some of Fiji’s best resorts. Just on the other side of the island was the Nanuya Island Resort, which was too pricey for us to want to stay the night there, but offered a great lunch menu when we wanted to treat ourselves to a good meal (and a good hike across the island!). You can also make a weekend trip to Blue Lagoon Resort, Oarsman’s Bay Lodge, or Coral View Resort for really cheap. 3 meals are always included with the price, and very affordable. Blue Lagoon is the nicest in my opinion (they had the best food selection, and the dorm was air conditioned), and a night there (including the food!) was only $60 CDN/USD. Staying at Coral View is even cheaper – about $30 CDN/USD per night! Every other weekend or so some volunteers would go to the resort for the night (the transportation costs about $10 FJD pp), and it was a great chance to get to know everyone, have a good meal, let loose, and have a comfortable bed!
The entire experience was eye opening. I made incredible relationships, had a chance to see what life is like on the other side of the world, made a real difference in the lives of the children at Ratu Meli school, all the while enjoying the beautiful Yasawas Islands.

Default avatar
Amy
Female
32 years old
Wilmington, NC
Other

Time of my life!

10/10

This construction project was more than I anticipated. Nothing will beat the feeling of working hard to build the rainwater collection system in the heat, when you're already tired, and then coming back the next day to realize it rained overnight and your determination in building the system helped to collect hundreds of liters of rainwater. It rains so little in the Yasawas that every drop of rain collected is a chance to make the coming months in the village more stable. I loved the instant gratification of seeing the systems built and working. In combination with the amazing staff and other great volunteers you work side by side with, this experience is unforgettable.

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Catherine
Female
24 years old
Melbourne, Australia
RMIT

Volunteering in Paradise

9/10

Towards the end of my undergrad degree in International Studies I decided that I wanted to actually see and implement some of the things that I had learned. I combined this with a desire to see more of the beautiful Pacific. Living in Australia, it's not that far away and so I chose to Volunteer with Children in Fiji.
I was somewhat nervous and apprehensive but having the other amazing volunteers and GVI staff around was a great support. I worked with students who had been lagging behind in their English comprehension, reading and maths and whilst I was only in Fiji for a few short weeks I felt that I did help to really make a difference.
During the week our days consisted of getting up by 7am for breakfast before heading off to the school where we taught and played until around 3pm. We then headed back to base for chores/lesson preparation and free time swimming, playing volleyball, exploring the island and visiting Lo's Teahouse for delicious cake!
I chose GVI after doing quite a bit of research on the internet. They seemed to be one of the few organisations that would help me go where I wanted to and for a timeframe that would suit me. Their website, information and background helped to convince me that they were the organisation to go with. I am so very glad that I made that decision as it was one of the best experiences of my life. I met some amazing people with whom I am still in contact and who I really miss; I could actually see the positive role that GVI was playing within the island's communities; and it was all whilst we were based in paradise! Truly an unforgettable time! Not only would I recommend it to a friend, I have! To so many people that I've lost count!

Default avatar
Len
Male
24 years old
Philadelphia, PA

A life-altering experience!

9/10

I was lacking fulfillment with my job back in the US and I decided to quit my job and embark on a three month adventure to Fiji. I can honestly say it was the best decision of my life. The GVI expedition in Fiji was both an incredible adventure and an eye-opening education. The construction project's impact on the local villages was enormous. Villagers were thankful to GVI for constructing water tanks and they showed their appreciation by inviting us to lunch nearly every day. Drinking water resources are very limited in the Yasawas, but GVI's rainwater harvesting initiative is going a long way to mitigate this problem. The work was demanding, especially the cement-mixing days, and the heat often made construction especially difficult, but in my opinion this project was, most-importantly, rewarding and constructive.

The education project probably didn't have as great of an impact on the locals as the construction project did, but I know Lauren, the education leader, has some great ideas for advancing GVI's significance in the school. It is disheartening when observing the education gap between this local school and typical Western schools, but I believe GVI is taking the correct route in helping the school's teachers close this gap. The students can be rebellious and often difficult to manage, especially if you are by yourself in the class, but the local teachers will generally be there to assist you. I took great delight in teaching my students (4th graders) things related to the world outside of Fiji. I taught my kids basic math skills, some english vocabulary, as well as some science and history. We also did arts and crafts, some singing, and of course sports!

Life on base was an extraordinary experience. We had cooking rotations, where teams of three volunteers cooked breakfast and dinner about once a week. There was no hot water, so prepare yourself for cold showers or rinsing off in the ocean! On base I learned some gardening skills, how to open a coconut, and how to hunt octopus! We got to watch the Fijian rugby team play in the World Cup on our one TV channel and we often had parties on the nights before volunteers would be leaving base! While work during the week was challenging, the weekends provided very relaxing and fun breaks.

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Caitlin
Female
32 years old
Eugene, OR

Amazing once in a lifetime experience!

9/10

When people think of Fiji, they think of amazing sunsets and crystal blue waters. Volunteering on this project gives you that and so much more. Base becomes your home, living with other volunteers from all around the world wanting, like you, to make a difference. The local families living on base with you become your long last fijian relatives, offering to clean your clothes or sell you sweets when you are homesick for an Oreo. Though the island is pretty remote, weekends usually consist of either hanging on base sunbathing and maybe going to the resort on the other side of the island for dinner or organizing a trip to one of the local resorts with other volunteers to get some delicious food and drink and do some water sports. The local school needs a lot of help, not only in physical distress but also is in deep need of structure in its instruction and that is where they rely heavily on GVI volunteers. It became my job to think of and implement activities in kindergarten that taught and practiced the skills these children will need in grade 1. Don't expect a ton of support from the teachers; instead, look to other volunteers to help you. The children are wonderful and I fell in love with each of them and though it is difficult to monitor progress at such a young age, I do feel like a made a difference to the project and GVI made me feel that my time in Fiji at school was critical and very much appreciated. I had the time of my life in Fiji and miss it already. It truly was the experience of a lifetime and is one that I will never forget.

About The Provider

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GVI is an award-winning organisation that tackles critical local and global issues by operating education and training programs on sustainable development projects around the world.

Formed in 1997, we have been operating our award-winning programmes for over two decades and over 25,000 participants have volunteered

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