Summer High School Programs in Fiji with Rustic Pathways

Video and Photos

Mud Pool fun
Mud Pool fun
working with kids
working with kids
Skydiving
Skydiving
Fiji 2017
Fiji 2017
Volleyball in the Highlands
Volleyball in the Highlands
Me with the adorable kids at Koropita
Me with the adorable kids at Koropita
Waving goodbye at Koropita
Waving goodbye at Koropita
skydive Fiji
skydive Fiji

About

Our community partnerships in Fiji date to 1993. These deep roots mean that we have friends in every village we visit and our expert local staff members make students immediately feel at home. Arriving students are welcomed to their programs with a traditional sevu sevu ceremony and invited to share a taste of kava. Our Fiji programs visit villages on remote islands and in the mountainous highlands, locations not available to the average tourist.

Sailing through the islands of Fiji feels like you’re in a postcard brought to life. Whether you are in the highlands or among the islands, you will constantly be surrounded by calming tropical scenery. The warmth of the Fijian people make you feel at home and you will find yourself easily adjusting to island life.

Popular Programs

Our Critical Issues programs are themed learning and service programs designed to immerse students in global challenges as seen in communities around the world. In this program, we take a deeper look into Fiji’s marine ecosystem and the impact that climate change has had on this fragile habitat. With Cyclone Winston having caused massive destruction in 2016, this is an issue that local Fijians and the international community is watching with a close eye.

Work on a variety of community service projects while staying at our beautiful Eco-Lodge Service Base in Fiji. From tutoring at a local school to working on small construction projects, you’ll have the ability to do a range of service work. Get to know Fijian culture through our local staff who will teach you about the country’s history, perform a traditional dance, and show you how to cook delicious local food.

See the best that Fiji has to offer on this one-week adventure. Spend the first part of the program on the mainland at a rural farm hiking through the mountains and experiencing the “real Fiji.” Then spend the rest of your time out on the clear, blue waters surrounding the Mamanuca Islands. Your Island hopping, snorkeling, and kayaking adventure will show you why Fiji’s oceans are so renowned.

Adventure through Fiji on this jam-packed, two-week adventure. Start your trip by heading out to the village of Somosomo on Naviti Island where you will swim and kayak in pristine waters. Help out on a village service initiative and contribute to the community in a positive way. Spend a few days getting to know the Fiji highlands, hiking across the mountains and experiencing rural village life.

If you’re interested in marine biology or love spending time in the ocean, this is the program for you! Learn about Fiji’s marine ecosystem and how the locals are working to protect it. Identify tropical fish and coral species as you work to conserve and restore the natural habitat. Get a chance to swim with manta rays and observe black and white-tip reef sharks.

Questions & Answers

Hey Sarah! I had the exact same question when embarking on my trip to Fiji. Being my first Rustic trip I followed the packing list completely. Which you should do because some of my friends did not have some of the stuff I had. I wish I brought more lounging, comfy clothing. Everything says on the website "no leggings", but everyone wore leggings and comfy lounging clothes when we weren't in...

I used a huge duffel bag, along with a day pack on all of the Rustic trips that I went on. I found that to work very well rather than a suitcase, as a suitcase would be harder to lug around, and duffels are made to carry easily.

I wouldn't consider the experience as a "tour group feel" whatsoever. You get really close with the other travelers, as you spend all day every day with them. There are activities put in place to break some ice and learn names, but after that initial "awkward" stage of not knowing anyone else, you'll find that you bond with the other kids really easily. Everyone in the group doesn't want to "tour"...

Yes! The entire time I never questioned anything that was going on in terms of my safety. When we stayed on SomoSomo island there was a guard who watched our camp site throughout the entire night.

Reviews

95%
based on 93 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.4
  • Growth 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 10
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 15 of 93
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Kevin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Good Old times

Despite the fact that the program I did only lasted for a week, it is undoubtedly one of my favorite trips ever. I enjoyed every single bit of the program. I enjoyed the time spent with the local community, playing with those innocent kids. I enjoyed the moment I threw the football with perfect spin for the first time, having fun with a group of kids in the village. I still remembered the day when our group went to one of Rustic Pathways' construction project and painted the wooden pillars with pink paint under the blasting sun. It was just such a great time that I could totally recall every single moment.
Indeed, the scope of the volunteering programs held in Fiji goes far beyond merely community service. We served the community, but we also had a ton of fun doing it. The program leaders always kept us busy having fun with all sorts of activities after dinner. We had karaoke, bonfire, dances, and so much more.
Since then, I fell in love with community service, truly.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I could do this program all over again, with the same group of people, I absolutely would try to talk to as many peers and program leaders as possible. They are all very very nice people whom I desperately wish to have a deeper relationship with.
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Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sun, Sand, and International Service

My trip to Fiji with Rustic Pathways was absolutely amazing! I couldn't have asked for a better experience in my life. When I first thought about going overseas to Fiji, I was very nervous about flying and going to a country where I knew no one. However, when I met my Rustic staff at the airport, I felt like I was in the best hands. I always felt safe and never worried about not being safe. When I arrived, it was the most welcoming experience I could have ever imagined. Being far away from home made me feel nervous, but the Rustic staff made me feel at home. One thing I take away from my trip to Fiji is that I never had a bad memory or experience. I made life-long memories with life-long friends. I am so proud of myself for taking this huge step and will never regret it!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Personally, I HAD a terrifying fear of the ocean, but that changed due to the confidence and courage that I had built up in Fiji because of the people I was surrounded by.
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Whitney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sun, Sand, and International Service Fiji

When signing up for my Rustic Pathways trip, I had extremely high expectations. My sister had gone to Costa Rica the summer before and she had the best experience of her life. I thought that it would be the same for me. Little did I know, my extremely high standards were completely topped. I do not think I could have prepared for the amazing experience I was about to have. On the first day of arrival, I was placed in a group with ten complete strangers. By the first night, we were already staying up past curfew getting to know each other. Every single day we were given an opportunity to not only see a new part of the amazing country that we were in, but to form connections with the people of Fiji through service. Of course, improving someone's home or building a chicken coop is extremely meaningful, but when you get to meet the people that you are helping, it is a truly incredible experience. By the end of my trip, the girls in my group had become my best friends. Our dramatic goodbye in the airport and the entire trip itself seemed to be something straight out of a dream.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve-racking moment of my entire trip was when I went skydiving. Anyone in my life could tell you that I am not the one to do anything risky, let alone skydive. Most people did not believe me until I showed them the video! Sitting on the small plane, sitting 14,000 feet above Fiji with my legs dangling in the wind was probably the scariest moment of my entire life. But the second we fell, my scared screams turned into screams of joy and disbelief. The feeling of flying and the ability to see Fiji from the sky was unbelievable. Overcoming the fear in the moment was very difficult. I don't think I had fully overcome my nerves until I actually fell out of the plane. This was another amazing experience that made my trip more unique.
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Morgan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing 2 weeks in Fiji

After spending 2 weeks in Fiji I am dying to go back! The country has much more to offer than only pretty beaches and islands. The highlight of my trip was getting to know the people and their culture. My group was small but that allowed me to get to know everyone which was great. It was one of my favorite experiences to spend time with new people while also going on fun adventures. Small things like bus rides and watching sunrises/sunsets were one of my many favorite parts. Learning the culture being another one. Fiji has many traditions in their culture that you have to be there to understand. And not everything went our way but it is helpful to be open minded. For example it poured on the day we went island hoping. But if you make the best of everything you will have lots more fun.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travels would be to appreciate every moment. I was there for 2 weeks and it wasn’t near enough. Every day since I have been back I have missed it.
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Morgan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2 Weeks in Fiji

After spending 2 weeks in Fiji I have become attached to much more than just the beaches and the country. The highlight of my trip was learning about the culture and getting to know the people. Fiji is a country you have to go to to understand. The people and community there are so welcoming and what to teach you their culture. As far as my program went, it was very small but I got to get to know everyone which was great. We had a fun new adventure everyday, but not everything went to plan as you can’t expect it to be. On the day we went island hopping it poured rain and we just had to make the most of it. It is always helpful to be open minded to changes because you can’t control everything. But the overall experience was very memorable and I wouldn’t change a thing.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travels is to appreciate every moment. I was in Fiji for 2 weeks and it wasn’t enough at all.
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Eli
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Trip to Fiji with Rustic Pathways

During the summer of 2019, I took the “Sun, Sand, and International Service” trip to Fiji and the “Escape to the Fiji Islands” trip. I was in Fiji for a total of three weeks while doing these trips. I can easily say that these three weeks were the best three weeks of my life. While in Fiji doing the Rustic Pathways trip, I vastly grew as a person from the variety of amazing things that we did. For example, while in Fiji I did lots of community service (which felt great to do), I was immersed in a different culture in the Nausori Highlands (which was life-changing), I went skydiving, and I did much more that was all amazing. I would 100% recommend that somebody take a trip with Rustic Pathways because I can almost guarantee that you will have the same life-changing experience that I did.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I did this program again, I would change nothing
Default avatar
Paulina
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A life changing experience!

My trip to Fiji was one of the most memorable trips of my life! I made countless friends from all around the globe, many of which I am still in touch with months later and I expect to be in touch with many years from now! Rustic provided a safe and comfortable living situation at the base house, while still allowing all participants access to real, authentic Fijian culture in multiple villages-- an experience that not many people who travel to Fiji get. The service aspect of my trip was extremely rewarding and I believe that there is an inherent value in immersing yourself in another person's culture and then working alongside them. The staff was not only welcoming but over the two weeks I was there, they became a second family. I would recommend this trip to anyone and everyone regardless of how out of your comfort zone it is, because there is no doubt in my mind that the Rustic staff will make it comfortable and worth it for you!

Default avatar
Abigail
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Incredible Summer In Fiji

Rustic Pathways is the most amazing program you could ever go on a trip with. Even though you are there to be helping with the communities, they always make you their first priorities. On the first day when you get there, they have a one on one talk with each person individually so they can do whatever they can to help make your trip goes smoothly. Everyday they make sure that you have enough food and water and you having fun is always their first priority. Rustic Pathways introduces you to people from all over the world and gives you some of your best friends. They help you to step out of your comfort zone to try new things that you wouldn’t be able to experience back home. Whether I was doing service work or jumping out a plane I was always having the best time. Overall, Rustic Pathways has given me the best summers and the most incredible experiences of my life.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
My summer in Fiji was absolutely incredible however I did have one regret that I wish I could go back and change. I went on two back to back trips and my first trip was so amazing that I was hesitant to go into my second one because I thought it wouldn’t be as good. I went into my second trip very sad and missing all my friends my my first trip. For the first two to three days I felt as though I was holding myself back from having fun. I wish I did not do this because my second trip also ending up being amazing once I stopped living in the past. I learned that I need to not worry so much about the past and that I should live every moment I’m in to fullest and enjoy it while I still can so I don’t have regrets later.
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Dillon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Big Fiji Explorer

I went to Fiji with Rustic this past summer (2019), along with Thailand in 2018, and can say with confidence that Big Fiji Explorer was the absolute best program I could have picked. The group was 18 people, which was the perfect size. The itinerary provided online was almost perfectly reflective of what we did on the trip, which was wonderful. Another thing that is nice about Fiji trips is the wide variety. My trip was a travel trip, meaning we didn't stay more than 3 nights in a row at the same place. This was, we saw a larger portion of the island and were immersed in several different communities. However, some people (first time or younger travelers, for example), might be more comfortable staying at one central location. The base house programs, mainly community service-based, are perfect for that! There are options all around.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Pack less than you think you need. You will leave your large suitcase as the base, and carry a duffel bag with you, so there is no need for more than the list says.
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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sun, Sand, and Summer Review!

I spent this past summer in Fiji on a two week service program. Those two weeks were some of the most powerful and meaningful weeks I've ever had. Throughout my time in Fiji, I built houses and animal pens, painted a school, and formed relationships with local kids. One of the best parts of this program was the wide variety of opportunities I had in terms of service. It was so hard to get bored being that every morning I'd wake up to a new task. Looking back on all I did, I am amazed at all of the new things I learned. Getting to experience living in an environment extremely different from my own was eye-opening and made me appreciate all I have. In addition, the kids who participate in the program are from all over the U.S. and getting to create these relationships is so valuable. I am still in touch with all of the friends I made and look to them for guidance and comfort when my friends at home are not providing that for me. Finding a program in which you can learn, help, socialize, and step out of your comfort zone is not an easy thing to do. In all of the programs I have done through Rustic Pathways, I have always felt as though I got each of these components out of them and I continue to come back every summer.

What would you improve about this program?
If I had the opportunity to change anything about the program, I would've changed the way they structured the group. Rustic Pathways split our program into two groups, and the two groups did their service projects separately. I wish I had gotten to spend more time with the other group and form more connections than I did.
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Sophia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rustic Pathways Fiji- Intro to Community Service

I've spent my past two summers traveling with Rustic Pathways to three different countries, Costa Rica, Fiji, and Australia. Each one was incredible and unique in their own way. Through Rustic I have been so lucky to get to know and love people from all over the world. As cliche as it sounds, I came back from each trip a new person.

Fiji was something special though. I had dreamed about going to Fiji since I was in fifth grade and this summer that dream became a reality. From the second we stepped foot in the airport we were greeted with a big BULA!!!! I knew this trip was going to be a good one.

The Base House: Staying at the Base House was so cool because we got to meet and interact with so many kids outside of our program, not to mention it was beautiful. There is so much to do there that it's impossible to get bored! I found joy and value in everything I experienced.

The people: The people I met on this trip are definitely what made it so memorable. Our program leaders were some of the coolest people I've ever known and they made us feel so welcomed right away. We were also so lucky to have had several local rustic program leaders at the base house with us. I became extremely close with one in particular, Lolou. We still keep in touch! The locals in Fiji were the most kind-hearted, generous people I have ever met. Every single person wore such a genuine smile and authentically went out of their way with a big 'Bula' everywhere we went. The kids!!! The highlight of my trip was the kids club in Momi Village. I have never experienced a level of complete and utter joy as I did during my time interacting and playing with the children in the village.

The love and compassion the people of Fiji have for others is something that will resonate with me forever. They live each and every day with gratitude and they taught me that's it's not always about where you are, it's about who you're with.

Community Service: I chose the Intro to Community Service program because I wanted to help the community as much as possible and also experience the Fijian culture, the lifestyle, and to explore the beautiful island. The community service we did touched on a little bit of everything and I can say with all my heart I loved it all. We took part in a beach cleanup, we worked on home improvement projects, had the blessing of working in kids club, we did meal prep for a women's shelter and also worked on a school. Besides the kids club, I loved doing the meal prep for the Navakai Hart women's shelter. We first walked about 5 minutes from the base house where we met our host for the day who has been doing meal preps for the women's shelter for years. She talked to us about the women's shelter and why she does what she does. It was heartfelt and inspiring. Every single person in my group was so excited to make and deliver the food. The women at the shelter were beyond grateful for us and the food we had prepared. Our stay there wasn't long, but the impact they had on us will be.

Activities: We did a wide variety of activities. Island hopping was definitely the most memorable. Getting to go to cloud break was one of the coolest things I have ever seen/experienced. We also went to a hot spring, hiking through Fijis only national park, learned clay making, walked around downtown, went to a local market, stargazed (the stars in Fiji are like a dream), hung out at the beach, and so many other little things in between community service and at the base house.

I talk about Fiji so much and so often I think my friends are just a little sick of it...lol. But that's what this trip will do to you. It will leave you with lifelong connenctions, an endless amount of unforgettable memories, lessons and experiences that speak to your heart, and a love/hate relationship with Kava. This trip will be something you can't stop talking about. Your heart will ache and you'll want to go back. The people, the culture, the beauty....Fiji is simply unforgettable.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to get outside of your comfort zone. Your time in Fiji will fly by, so don't leave with any regrets. Be yourself!! Especially if you are traveling alone making friends may seem scary at first, but if you can allow yourself to get out of your shell and be yourself you will have absolutely no problem making friends, most of them came here for the same reasons as you. So initiate the conversation, ask lots of questions, try the weird looking food, dance, sing, disconnect from your phone, just take it all in!!
Default avatar
Carson
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rustic Pathways Highlands and Island Trip to Fiji

This was an amazing trip! I got to experience the real culture of Fiji alongside many other like-minded teens in the highlands of Nausori Village. I stayed in a homestay for part of the trip, doing community service in the village during the day and hanging out with my village family at night. The last few days of the trip were in islands of Somo Somo where we got to relax and swim, while experiencing the island life of Fiji.

Rustic pathways has broadened my horizons and views of the world. By traveling to new locations with other teenagers I have made meaningful connections with not only my group but the community as well. I have learned the importance of giving back and that sometimes a friendly smile or wave can be worth more than money. When coming back to my everyday life after my two Rustic Pathways trips, I have learned to take everything in with a grain of salt, be grateful for everything and everyone in my life, and most importantly live in the moment!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
In the islands we had the option to go scuba diving which was such an amazing experience. Obviously I was a little nervous knowing how far under water we were going but I couldn't pass up on a once in a lifetime opportunity like this! I am so happy I did it because it was truly like a different world under water with such an incredible ecosystem!
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Patrick
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Why every student should go on a Rustic Pathways trip!

Traveling on the Big Fiji Explorer program was a remarkable experience that will never leave my heart. Fiji itself is filled with many charms such as beautiful mountains, crystal oceans, wildlife you name it (see pictures)! Another charm is the amiable nature of the Fijians: From the moment the flight lands in Nadi, the Fijians will welcome you like family. To the people of Fiji, you are not a stranger; we all bleed red so we must be family right? If you reciprocate this point of view, you will immerse yourself in a culture that is so distant from home and even learn about how you can enhance your life at home.
On the trip, day to day there was something new, exciting, and surprising. Those surprises will have to wait until you travel to Fiji. But something that lays beyond the charms of Fiji is the people you traveled with. Those are the people that will impact and inspire you. Going into the trip, my mind was locked on how beautiful this place would be, which it was. But I didn't even think about the people I would be meeting, and quite frankly, the people I met made this experience 10x more unforgettable. Rustic Pathways ensures that this happens, your group leaders will take you under their wings as if you are their own. Rustic Pathways allows their students to be themselves, which establishes an environment of pure happiness.
If you are hesitant about enrolling on a Rustic trip, don't be! It will forever change your life!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To future travelers with Rustic Pathways, my advice is to be unconditionally yourself! It is so easy to be yourself on these trips for several reasons; If you are traveling alone (which I highly recommend), you start with a completely blank slate. From the first person you meet, be yourself! They'd never really get the chance to create a bond with you if you try and be someone you're not. You also won't be very happy throughout your trip if you do so. And also, by being yourself you can even learn more about yourself! Rustic Pathways works to create an environment where ALL are included and appreciated for who they are. So be yourself, be confident, have no worries, and your trip will be memorable. I guarantee you!
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Ananya
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Trip of a Lifetime

The people of Fiji are truly the most interesting people you will ever meet; they are kind, funny, and welcoming. You will also never meet a Fijian who cannot sing. Even though I was on the opposite side of the world, I always felt surrounded by my family. My program leaders made my experience even more special, as they became my family over the course of two weeks. Traveling with Rustic Pathways provided unique opportunities that would not have been available to me if I traveled with my family. I got to stay in remote villages and know the locals. I made many friends and I enjoyed getting to experience the lifestyle of many Fijians. We went to Somosomo, for instance, where I befriended many Fijian children. The people are not the only beautiful part of Fiji, however. Fiji's waters are the clearest I have ever seen, and the marine life is truly unique. Almost every single day we were swimming in the ocean, and we got to swim alongside manta rays and other extraordinary marine life (even though we got stung by many jellyfish). I cannot wait to return to Fiji and make more memories with the place and the people.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do not be afraid to break out of your comfort zone! Be yourself and make friends with the locals; they are truly the most amazing people you will ever meet. These relationships will enrich your experience and leave you with everlasting memories. Their village lifestyles will leave you wanting to change your own way of life.
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Delaney
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rustic Pathways Fiji Trip

This experience was really fun and overall a great place to learn different cultures and travel the world. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is open to becoming culturally involved and would like to experience the beauties of nature. This trip was life changing for myself and I wouldn’t want to share this experience with anyone else. This program really changes you and changes your perspective in many different ways. You will create special bonds with people and will never want to leave them. The locals in this country are very kind and caring and you will never meet anyone else as inclusive as they are. If you love the ocean and seeing cool varieties of marine life, this is another place to discover many interesting creatures the oceans have.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking moment for me personally, was jumping into the middle of the ocean where the water was very blue. It was definitely out of my comfort zone but I found the motivation and encouragement from my leaders and accomplished it. Overall I’m glad I did.