Summer High School Programs in Fiji with Rustic Pathways

Video and Photos

Skydiving
Skydiving
Mud Pool fun
Mud Pool fun
working with kids
working with kids
Fiji 2017
Fiji 2017
Me with the adorable kids at Koropita
Me with the adorable kids at Koropita
Waving goodbye at Koropita
Waving goodbye at Koropita
Volleyball in the Highlands
Volleyball in the Highlands
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 92 reviews
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 16 - 30 of 92
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Grace
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Intro to Community Service in Fiji

The experience I had with Rustic Pathways in Fiji was truly once in a lifetime. From the friends I made, to the amazing group of leaders I had, to the community service work we did as a group, the trip most definitely surpassed all of my expectations. It was inspiring to see how hardworking everyone in the community was and how much they appreciated all the work we did. The trip was a perfect combination of leisure activities, down time, and community service. The friendships I formed on this trip will last forever, and I can say with 100% confidence that anyone who goes on this trip will love it. You can expect to be greatly impacted by how happy all the natives are even though they have so little and how openly they accept strangers into their country. I would definitely recommend this trip to anyone considering it because it really is an eye-opening experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers on this program would be to embrace yourself in every aspect of the trip. Spend as little time on your phone as possible, take tons of pictures, and keep a journal so you can remember every detail of the trip to tell your friends and family when you get back home.
Default avatar
Maya
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer in Fiji with Rustic Pathways

I had an amazing time in Fiji with Rustic Pathways this summer. I have traveled with Rustic to other countries like Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Rustic Pathways developed a love and desire for traveling within me. The staff always manages to keep everyone safe, comfortable, and happy throughout the entire trip. Over the summer, I went on the "Pacific Adrenaline" Program with Rustic. This trip was by far one of the best experiences of my life. The way that we are able to see so much culture and lifestyle in only a few weeks is truly one of the best parts. Rustic also encourages not only me, but hundreds of others to get involved and help out the communities and environment as much as possible. Along with the amazing opportunities we get to be involved in to help other people, Rustic also provides an amazing experience to have fun and truly enjoy the beautiful countries we visit. I was accompanied by 5 other girls and 3 boys and we bonded in literally only a few days. We participated in so many memorable activities together like skydiving, bungee jumping, long sunrise hikes, and so many more. I also went onto a connecting trip called "Intro to Community Service". It was only a short week, but I got to participate in helping out the community with community service like building houses for the people who needed it. I really would recommend this trip and to so many people. My trip definitely is full of memories I'll never forget.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers on this program would be to remember to go into each activity with an open mind. You're going to be doing a lot of things you're not used to, but I swear you'll have so much fun. Also, stay in the moment and enjoy it piece by piece because time really flies by so quick.
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Leah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

my experience with rustic pathways, fiji

Through my rustic pathways trip to Fiji, I was able to discover a new culture, new people from all around the world, and be part of something bigger than myself. As soon as I got to the eco-lodge my first year, I immediately felt a part of a new community and knew I was not alone in this new adventure I was going to take on. I felt so welcomed by the Fijian community that I even went back the following year! Today, I am still in touch with the friends that I made this summer and two summers ago, even though we all live on the opposite sides of the US. If I could go back in time, I would have loved to know about rustic pathways as a younger student so that I could have gone on more trips before college. Community service has always been something I’ve loved doing, and being able to do it in such a wonderful and special country was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I had to do this all over again , I would definitely participate on a longer trip.
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Kathryn
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rustic Pathways- Fiji Islands Climate Change Trip

My trip offered a unique opportunity to not only explore the Fiji Islands, but learn about the current climate change crisis and how it is affecting these islands. Seventeen other girls and I snorkeled, swam, and talked about environmental issues throughout the duration of the trip. I got to meet wonderful people and do once-in-a-lifetime activities. Along with the people on my trip, the locals made it even more special. The village of Somosomo housed us for many days and nights, putting tasty food in our stomachs, songs in our heads, and memories I will have in my mind forever. They made it feel like a true home, and I cannot wait to go back. My trip leaders through Rustic Pathways spoke to us about different species of animals that live amongst us on the Fiji Islands. Learning about the marine life and their habitats that we would be swimming in was a very cool experience. Seeing sharks, manta rays, seahorses, and removing Crown of Thorns, an invasive species, expanded my knowledge of the oceans and reefs immensely. Thank you Rustic for making my summer so special!

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Sadie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Big Fiji Explorer June 2019

I traveled to Fiji with Rustic Pathways at the beginning of June 2019. This was my second time to travel with Rustic, the first being to Costa Rica on Intro to Community Service. Big Fiji was easily one of the best trips of my life. The opportunities that Rustic provides on trips would not be possible on an ordinary trip. Rustic also gives you the chance to meet people that you will never forget about. My favorite memories from both of my trips are not the big, high adrenaline moments, but more, the time spent with the amazing native people and my new friends that soon become family. The relationship you make with the Fijians is amazing and teaches you so much about yourself and the world around you. Also, the leaders are so supportive and high energy. Some of my favorite activities over the two weeks include: long van rides to different cities while listening to Fijian music on the radio, watching sunsets on different islands and in the highlands, hiking to the top of a mountain on SomoSomo to watch the sunrise, floating down the river in Fijian built boats and visiting a local village, visiting a local school and playing with the children, hiking the sand dunes, and playing volleyball with the locals in the Highlands.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice to future travelers on Rustic programs would be to follow the packing list closely because it is very accurate. Also, I would advise future travelers to make the most of their time. The first 24 hours of the trip can be very tiring with many long flights and drives but once you reach the end of your two weeks, you will wish you could stay another day.
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Jayden
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Fiji Experience

My trip to Fiji was hands down the coolest thing I have done to date. All of the experiences were so special that I will remember the journey long into the future. Despite almost missing my connection in Bangkok when my plane got delayed, the entire trip was both relaxing and exciting. The first thing we did the day we got there was to go to the beach. The beach was beautiful, the sand was warm, and the waves were perfect. I did the Spring to Fiji trip, which is a mixture of service and adventure. In the mornings, we helped rebuild the house of a family who lost their home in a wildfire. We learned the ingenious method of dealing with rain, which was to make one side of the roof 6 cm higher than the other, allowing rainwater to run right off. In the afternoons, we did everything from cooking to ziplining and from going to the mud springs to kayaking. The people were fantastic and incredibly fun to be around, especially our counsellors, Emily and John, who were always so happy and excited that we could not help but be happy and excited too. I highly recommend this trip to anyone regardless of travel experience; the people at Rustic Pathways are so helpful and will make sure that nothing bad happens to you.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I have a huge, irrational fear of heights. However, when I heard that one of the things that you could do on the trip was go skydiving, I figured it was time to get over my fear. Unfortunately, skydiving got cancelled due to rain. But, we went zip lining the next day, and I still got over my fears and had a great time.
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Hannah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the best trips of my life

I went on my second Rustic Trip this past summer to Fiji and it was as amazing as the first. I met a lot of people from all over the United States in my group and was able to make new friends. I really liked the Rustic leaders especially since they were so kind and caring and made all the projects very fun. The food was really good with a lot of options and there was also a snack shack with all sales going to the Rustic Pathways foundation!! I also especially liked how there were many days for volunteer service as well as spending the day in town. There’s also an option for a day activity such as skydiving or island hopping and the last weekend of the two week trip has a option for a weekend getaway. I chose to go skydiving and it was the most exhilarating moment of my life.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I went skydiving and it was an amazing experience that I recommend to everyone, especially adrenaline junkies.
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Eliza
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Real Fiji

My life was changed by Rustic Pathways. I met people that live life in a completely different way. I changed my values and have looked at my daily life with different perspectives. I learned about new cultures and gathered different ideas. I made connections with people across borders and developed deep friendships that I will carry throughout my life. I loved how it took me out of my daily life and immersed me in an educational environment. I made a connection through true friendliness and compassion. I have traveled to many places around the world, but Fiji brought me to tears because I made connections I have never made before. While in the highlands, I met some of the most genuinely nice people I have ever met. I stayed with a family that immediately called me one of their own. They were always smiling and happy to adapt their culture to make us more comfortable, even though we were in their village. In the house I was assigned to, I paticularly bonded with the 2-year-old living there. He would fall flat on his face and cry. But whenever I said "it's gonna be okay" and smiled at him, he smiled right back and would call me "yalewa" (sister in Fijian). It still makes me smile. Even though we didn't speak the same language, we made an immediate connection that I will never forget.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If I had to give advice to the future travelers on this trip, I would tell them to try everything because the chance to immerse yourself in Fiji for two weeks is a once in a lifetime experience and you need to experience all you can before it is over. It has changed who I am as a person forever.
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Max
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fiji will change your life!

Rustic Pathways does an excellent job in bringing groups together to have fun, learn, and ultimately give back to those who really need it. There service programs in Fiji help the country in a variety of ways. On the Sun, Sand, and International Service trip, there is a perfect combination of fun cultural activities and service-intensive projects across a sixteen day span. Your group arrives to Fiji as nervous strangers, but you depart Fiji not wanting to leave the memories you made with your best friends in the country you fell in love with. It’s a trip that will change your every aspect of your life, from perspective and the lessons you learn. This is now my second year being involved with Rustic, and I am going to Tanzania next summer, but there is a reason I keep coming back. The organization offers a rare chance to experience new things and learn about yourself. You learn to use the tools you are lucky enough to have to give back to others. These endless life lessons can’t really be achieved in other ways, making Rustic so unique. I highly recommend signing up for a Rustic program, whether it’s in Fiji or their other wide selection of countries, because it will change your life in unexplainable ways.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Meeting strangers at the airport is always the most nerve-racking moment, but realize that everyone else is in the same boat as you, so you need to set aside your fears because by the end of the trip your group will be close friends forever.
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Senay
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience

As a student traveling on the Marine Service and Adventure program I was immersed into the insanely beautiful marine world of Fiji and learned all about how the reefs function and what we as a society can do to help. Before each service project we had a lesson on our task and the impact it would make. The students I traveled with bonded quickly and developed strong friendships that lasted long after the trip ended. It was amazing to experience a different culture and partake in their traditions. Even after being there for a few days each night the sunsets were just as beautiful and brought us all together. This program allowed me to have experiences I would have never been able to do, like diving with bull sharks. From the time we stepped off the plane we never stopped smiling.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The most surprising thing was how quickly and deeply our friendships developed.
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Sari
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Sun Sand and International Service in Fiji

My experience with Rustic this year was amazing. I was surrounded with some incredible people both Fijians and students. I cannot even put into words how incredible the culture is. Never in my life have I been surrounded by such pure happiness. Flying across the world is terrifying for some, but the kindness and hospitality you feel once you are there is incomparable. I made the choice to travel to the highlands during my stay. I had a mom and dad and siblings, and for the short period of time I was there I truly had a second family. The Fijians are some of the most pure hearted and loving people you will ever meet. They want nothing but the best for you. I highly recommend doing a service trip, there is something special in helping while there. You get to see a side of the world very few will ever get to see. Remember to say Bula (hello) to everyone and drinks lots of Kava!
Sari Goldberg (16) Chicago

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
In Fiji a large part of their culture is drinking Kava. It is a root based plant that is VERY important in their culture. It has an odd taste but you eventually get used to it, I even ended up enjoying it.
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Freja
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Month in Fiji with Rustic Pathways: How it changed my life

During the summer of 2019 I traveled to Fiji to live and work for month. I worked with kids, built houses, cooked food, stayed with a host family, snorkeled, hiked and made friendships that will last a lifetime. I saw more stars then i’ve ever seen before, watched countless sunrises and sunsets, jumped out of a plane at 14,000 ft. I danced and sang and drank lots and lots and lots of Kava. This trip changed my life for the better and I’ve fallen in love with Fiji and all the people this trip allowed me to meet. Rustic Pathways was incredible throughout the entire trip. I had the most amazing group leaders and a wonderful group. Without Rustic Pathways, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to live with a Fijian family which is an experience that I am extremely grateful for!

What would you improve about this program?
That it was longer! I could have stayed in that country forever!
Read my full story
Default avatar
Lauren
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlands and Islands Service Immersion-Program Review

My experience in Fiji was more spectacular than I could have ever imagined. Fiji is a beautiful country and everyone you meet is so kind and welcoming. From this trip I made lifelong friends and many memories. The service projects are community focused and works in partnership with the village on their specified projects.
The most amazing part is the immersion you have in Fijian culture, living in the village you become a part of the community. My host family warmly welcomed me and my host sister and were so generous to us, we shared many laughs and good times while I was there. Like they say you really do “experience the real Fiji”, learning about the culture, history, and traditions of the community. My favorite times were playing tag or dancing with the children, and playing cards each night with my host family. Some of the best parts of the day are tea time and sitting on the ground for delicious meals! This trip is amazing for everyone, you become connected to the community and become very close with your group.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be ready to embrace each part of the trip as well as talk to everyone you have the opportunity to, keep an open mind going into the experience.
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William
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlands and Islands Service Immersion in Fiji

It was my first time traveling abroad completely on my own. At the time I was a foreign freshman in an American high school, and this trip to Fiji somehow felt more challenging prior to departure because I had to plan the whole trip and convince my parents without being completely sure about how this trip could go. Over the two weeks in Fiji, I had some of the best time in my life. For the first time, I was able to meet people outside of the state my high school was in that year(exciting! lmao). There were just so many cool things. As a boy, I was able to do all the adventurous stuff I wanted: I jumped over huge sand dunes, climbed up many many hilly mountains(challenge accepted!), and went scuba diving. I came to develop really long-lasting friendships over these times spent on the beach, community home, and service center. These memories still make me very happy, so just try and go enjoy it.

What would you improve about this program?
All my memories in the program are really great. Can't think of much to criticize the program.
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Nicole
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highlands and Islands service immersion program review

I could not have been happier with my trip to Fiji, the food was amazing and the service was rewarding. The trip was a truly aversive experience and is meant for anybody that wants to learn about Fiji and experience "the real Fiji". I believe that doing the homestay was the best way to understand and learn about a community and gives you an up-close view into the way that people live outside of the united states. This trip has left me wanting to make more change in the future because of the connection I made with the community. I would tell anyone that wants to take a service trip to take on this adventure because of the endless memories that you make and the rewarding experience during the homestay and during service well living in the village.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
This was a once and a life time opportunity and for travelers in the future I would tell then is to have a completely open mind. Be open to bucket showers and eating on the floor, but always remember to live in the moment and enjoy the people of Fiji and everyone you meet along the way.