When I signed up for the Marine Biology trip to Fiji, I was so excited. I love engaging in new experiences and making friends from all over the world. However, my expectations were quickly depleted. To start off, the social environment of the trip was awful. Everyone was super cliquey, and it reminded me of middle school. There were 2 distinct friend groups on the trip, and if possible, they had little interaction as possible. It wasn't a fun environment to be stuck in for 16 days. Because of this, I was incredibly homesick for most of the trip.
Next, my initial trip leaders were rude and distant towards me. They made us do push-ups if we were even 5 minutes late to an activity. I understand if timeliness is important, but then in turn, they themselves would be 30 minutes late to an activity. The hypocrisy drove me insane. The two trip leaders made no effort to befriend me, and only learned my name 4 days into the trip, even though there are only 15 children and we spent all day together. When I informed my trip leaders of an intense skin reaction I was having that looked like chicken pox, they told me to "get used to it" and that I would probably have it for the next 3 weeks, giving me no medicine or actual diagnosis. Needless to say, that wasn't comforting at all. Then, I continuously had stomach problems because my body had a hard time adjusting to Fijian food, and when I told my trip leaders, they either didn't believe me or acted irritated. In addition, they advised against using medicine I had brought on the trip for that specific sickness. Overall, they did very little to help me adjust and made me grow less likely to reach out to them for help.
Lastly, the simple day-to-day living environment was a bit tricky as well. I was surprised to find myself without warm water or electricity for more than half the trip. I was essentially camping, which wasn't what I had initially signed up for. Herds of rats came into my tent 3 nights in a row, preventing me from getting very much sleep. As for the food, a lot of it was inedible because they didn't remove the bones, so I found myself incredibly hungry and ended up eating unhealthy foods to make up for my loss of food intake. The daily activities were fun, but sometimes a bit too intense. A mandatory 3 hour hike in the hottest part of the day made one of my friends vomit and made us an hour and a half late to lunch, when we were all hungry before we even left. Unfortunately, I wouldn't recommend this trip to my friends.