University Led Volunteer Projects in Fiji
Think Pacific works in collaboration with numerous universities & institutions to offer bespoke volunteer projects to the Fiji Islands that align with your specific academic, work experience or global mobility objectives. If you are exploring volunteer opportunities for your students, we can work together to create an experience that meets your university requirements.
A Think Pacific expedition is so much more than an ethically driven volunteer project, we provide a complete cultural immersion, an invigorating team-based challenge and a structured and inspiring learning experience. Students work together to volunteer in rural Fijian schools, implementing education, health and sports development initiatives in partnership with the Fijian Ministry of Education.
We see huge personal growth of students, as they achieve our targets, increase their skills, expand their comfort zone and gain a unique global perspective which helps to prepare them for life beyond the academic world.
Our aim is for every student to complete their project with a set of experiences, personal attributes and transferable skills, which can positively impact their future education, career ambitions and transition to life beyond study.
Our project requires students leave their comfort zone, challenge themselves, adopt a new culture and form new friendships as they become a member of a traditional Fijian village. We support and train students to make a positive contribution as we guide them through a personal journey of self-development. Our students consistently return home with a fresh perspective and heightened appreciation for education, community and the opportunities that have been afforded to them. Experiencing a back-to-basics lifestyle and seeing first hand the challenges facing children living below the poverty line has a life-long impact. We also celebrate and learn from the remarkable mentality, happiness and unique values of a self-sufficient Fijian Island community..
Whether students join us for a meaningful project in their university holiday, or as part of a credit-bearing course placement, we provide opportunities that expand student’s learning and development.
We work in close partnership with Go Global Departments, Study Abroad Teams, Careers Centres and Individual Faculties & Course Leaders to design programmes to enhance student mobility and experience.
Our valued and longstanding partnership with Cardiff University is their most popular summer programme, attracting over 100 students annually. Here, Cardiff University Student & Go Global Ambassador, Molly, shares her experiences of Think Pacific.
It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know the TP team, as well as being lucky enough to travel to Fiji to see the great work you are all doing first hand. We’ll be looking to expand to send more students to Fiji next summer. Staff here in Global Opportunities are all in agreement that Think Pacific is a great opportunity for students. I’m pleased that the partnership with Cardiff University will continue to grow and grow.
Each university team implements a diverse programme to improve Holistic Health for rural school children in Fiji. This includes mentoring children in primary schools, providing health advice, developing early years education, introducing creative youth programmes and creating PE and sport lessons. Our projects are designed by communities and schools and the Fijian Ministry. Every team visits a different school and village. We have a 5 year waiting list in Fiji for our programmes. Think Pacific is a registered Charity in Fiji and provides year-round resources, training, support and sustainability to ensure the impact continues.
Students have worked with 100 schools in rural Fiji in the past five years. In summer 2016 alone, we witnessed 40% increase in literary ability, 15%, increase in exam results, 600% increase in sports participation and over 180,000 hours of tutoring and advocacy provided to primary children. This is substantial benefit to Fiji’s education system, which has been highly commended by the Fijian Government, NGO’s and British High Commission.
This summer I taught students to read and coached sports each day. We caught fish, cooked them on an open fire and picked fresh lemons, bananas and coconuts. We travelled by boat each day and saw a Pacific sunset every evening and that’s not even all! Thank you Think Pacific for an invaluable experience.
Seeing the simplicity of life in a Fijian village has changed my outlook on life at home, and made me re-evaluate my priorities. It has also highlighted how we obsess over trivial possessions; often forgetting what the most important things in life are. I am fairly-confident that I am not only speaking for myself when I say that this experience has changed my life for the better, and that I will be forever in debt to the people of Fiji for the kindness and hospitality.
The think pacific team and the people of Fiji have created memories that i will treasure for the rest of my life. Highly recommend it if you love to challenge and push yourself.
The health and safety of our volunteers is our first priority. Students are under our care and guidance throughout and we take this responsibility seriously, providing exceptional support.
Our placements are very popular for students who are studying (or have a specialist interest in) Sports, Education, Early Years Education and Health degrees, sometimes as a course related or work-experience placement. However, students from all disciplines join our teams and gain huge value from our programmes. Our projects from June – September attract over 500 students from the UK and beyond. It’s the chance for students to have a meaningful summer break and gain unique global experience, personal attributes and soft skills, which are transferable to all education and career goals.
During a 3 day induction we cover health, safety, cultural awareness and local language as well as engaging and instructing students in the specific skills needed to deliver education and sports sessions in rural schools as per the Fijian Ministry of Education’s standards. Training is delivered though team based tasks, presentations and group seminars. Throughout the project, students have briefings with our leaders, youth and sports officers and Fijian teaching staff to progress their understanding and skill development. Students demonstrate learning outcomes through presentations, journals and observations.
Students sample a way of life that few people will ever be fortunate enough to see as they live with families at the heart of a remote and traditional Fijian village. This experience consistently has a profound impact upon our volunteers as they are adopted into the community. The villages are incredibly safe, friendly and hospitable places and the local people treat our volunteers as family. Students experience the simplest of conditions, cold water showers, limited electricity and a back-to-basics lifestyle. They also immerse fully into daily subsistence life, from learning to farm or fish to exploring Fijian customs, language and history.
Students must complete an application form and have an interview (which can be made by phone or skype) or attend one of our university selection days. These include team challenges, presentations and tasks, which we host at supporting universities. Throughout the project, students will need to challenge themselves, embrace a new culture and throw themselves into our project aims and daily Fijian life. We work hard to achieve important government directives and provide real support for rural schools. For these reasons, it’s important we set expectations fully, get to know students and find out what skills and enthusiasm each person shall bring.
Think Pacific is a UK social enterprise and a Registered Charity with ethical and transparent project fees. 30% of our costs directly fund the schools we work with through resources, training and long term support. Over 70% of our volunteers raise their entire project costs through charity fundraising. Project fees start from £1,295 for 1 month placement and include food, accommodation, in-country travel, resort briefings, training, weekend adventure activities, emergency support, expedition leader team living with you 24/7 and direct and long term support to each school we work with. please contact us for our current project costs and time-frames for 2018.
We work with universities in various ways to enhance student experience. At Leeds Trinity University, we’ve designed a be-spoke work-experience programme in line with module and career development objectives. At Nottingham Trent University, we deliver a self-developing expedition including a 6 month lead-up of team workshops and active charity fundraising support. For many more universities, including The University of Manchester, The University of Leeds and UWE, we are an approved and trusted partner with Global Mobility & Careers Centres to present on campus and run selection events for our summer placements.
“The biggest thing we all took from Fiji was the sense of community and we all returned with a second home in Fiji. The family that I lived with were so lovely and we are still in contact now I’m back in England. I still refer to them as mum and dad and talk about my little Fijian brother constantly. It was a blessing to be made so welcome by the whole community. I would recommend Think Pacific to anyone who is willing to get stuck in and has a positive attitude. I would go back in heartbeat. Hopefully, Fiji and Think Pacific haven’t seen the back of me yet!”
Annily Skye-Jeffries, 21, Exeter University Project
“What I like most about Think Pacific is that it’s a two-way process. It’s not simply a group of volunteers going to these islands to make a difference. The volunteers learn and the villagers and school children learn. The volunteers learn about culture, customs and the importance of sharing and caring for each other, which is something we don’t do enough of at home”. Callum’s experiences in Fiji changed his perspective on the world and inspired him to start his own graduate social enterprise in Fiji.
Callum Drummond, Cardiff University Project
“The experiences that the students gain from volunteering in these amazing rural Fijian communities are exceptional. Simon, Harry and the team are so easy to work with and really understand the needs of the students and encourage them to push themselves in scenarios that they are not always confident in. The ethical, sustainable nature of the work that Think Pacific do in Fiji is so important and working alongside the government allow students so many opportunities to gain experiences that will enable them to speak confidently in interviews and on job applications of the future. The long lasting memories of the families and communities that welcomed the groups are still spoken about years later and we look forward to working with Think Pacific for many years to come.”
Cara McCosh, Senior Projects Officer, Leeds Beckett University
We’d love to have a conversation about how we could increase the global experience of your students.
Whether you’d like Think Pacific to create a faculty-based work placement, or your university is keen to offer more global summer experience for students, we’d be delighted to tell you more about the opportunities in Fiji.
All you need to do is email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0113 335 9919
We look forward to meeting you soon.
Vinaka! The TP team.