The Community Build Project
Join a project in Fiji and experience the unique culture, customs and way of life in the South Pacific islands.
Make lifelong friendships and shared memories on a challenging team project, whilst gaining global experience, developing unique skills and making a real contribution.
Whether you are looking to enhance your university degree or embark on a meaningful adventure, join a team and work alongside rural Fijian communities on local initiatives which are achieving groundbreaking results.
- Meaningful 1-Month or 16-day program in the Fiji Islands.
- In Partnership with Fijian Government.
- Complete cultural immersion in rural village.
- Live with a traditional Fijian family.
- Work on Community & Build projects.
- Develop skills, meet like-minded people and make a contribution.
- Project includes; food, accommodation, 24/7 in-country support, weekend adventures, domestic travel, charity donation. (Flights not included).
- Expedition costs from £1,595 / $2,795 AUD for 16-Days in Fiji. (See costs below)
- University scholarships & bursaries available – Learn More Here.
Grab a cuppa, a notepad, pen and enjoy learning all about Think Pacific, our projects and the funding available for students to join a team in the Fiji Islands this summer.
Whether you’re taking a rewarding summer break or looking to enhance your studies, on a Think Pacific project you can;
- Experience; Gain hands on service learning or work placement experience.
- Contribution; Make an impact to sustainable development goals.
- Challenge; Expand your comfort zone and throw yourself into island life.
- Learn; Learn a new culture by living the ‘Kaiviti’ lifestyle.
- Skills; Develop ‘soft skills’ such as teamwork, communication & leadership.
- Memories; Create memories and friendships that will last a life time.
Team Challenge + Cultural Immersion + Contribution = Huge Personal Growth
Say goodbye to everyday life and arrive in the tropical South Seas. You will land at Nadi Airport where you will meet your team and begin preparing for your project ahead
Every expedition starts with a 3 day briefing at a resort. This is time for you to get to know your team mates, acclimatise, prepare for life in the village and meet our Fijian partners.
Leaving your briefing, you will travel to a remote traditional Fijian community. Depending on your village, this could be a truck to jungle highlands or a ferry to an outer island.
Arriving into your Fijian village is an exciting and nervous moment. Every door is open in a Fijian community and the generosity and genuine excitement of the local people is profound. This is where you will meet your host family for the first time.
‘Vakavanua‘ translates to ‘in the way of the land.’ After village orientation, some of your greatest experiences will be the simple activities of daily rural Fijian life, learning from your host family and surrounding community through true and unaltered immersion.
Contribute towards project aims and initiatives: working on the construction of a community health clinic in the mornings and collaborating with Fijian youth in the ‘Culture Course’ in the afternoons.
Live at the heart of some of the most rural communities and immerse yourself in local village life where everyday is an adventure. Weekends provide an opportunity to explore the surrounding area and have fun with your team and the community.
Leaving your Fijian village is an emotional experience due to the close bonds that are formed between our project participants and the local community.
We finish the project by enjoying your final 1 night of de-brief. This is time to rest, relax and reflect as a group as we discuss the project goals and celebrate project achievements.
Learn What Makes Us So Unique…
All our focus is on Fiji.
Authentic and purposeful
Teams of up to 25 students.
Targeted sustainable development.
Facilitating Fijian Government objectives
Our projects offer you the opportunity to join a traditional village, to become a member of a Fijian family and to work as a team whilst contributing to community development initiatives that support the achievement of the Fiji National Development Plan an d UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Leave a physical legacy by building a community health centre. Each building has been requested by the Fijian Ministry of Health and provides each village with amenities for their community health worker to conduct medical assessments, stock and administer medications. All this is completed alongside community youth members who will also be up-skilled and trained in carpentry.
50% of the project’s aims and objectives, you will be on the receiving end of an initiative in partnership with the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs (Arts, Heritage and Culture). You will learn about Fiji’s culture from those who know it best, the youth in your village, as they deliver an interactive cultural education course that boosts their own skills and cultural competency. Appreciating and celebrate traditional Fijian lifestyle specific to each village.
In Partnership with the Fijian Ministry of Health
Our building development projects make a substantial difference to rural villages. We predominantly create nursing stations and health centres to expand the provision of medical care and increase the capacity of the local nurses and health teams. They are deeply valued and appreciated by local people who must request projects and be involved in each stage of the assessment, building and ongoing maintenance of the project.
Who should join a TP Building Project?
Our building project is great for gaining international experience and expand their global perspectives. You don’t need any prior building experience to join the project, this project is open to all students. You will, however, need resilience and a desire to implement our project aims.
What’s Involved with a Building Project?
The day-to-day build will be supervised by our qualified Fijian team, who provide lots of support and training but ultimately it is up to the commitment of you and the local community to work together to complete the project in our set time-frame. It’s hugely rewarding to see the project take shape and utilise the building on project with your youth group, after an a huge opening ceremony.
Think Pacific has been delivering building projects for the Fijian Government Since 2009.
In the past decade, our volunteer teams have complete 70+ building projects. Each project adheres to our highest standards of due diligence, community collaboration, youth training & responsible volunteering.
All building projects are led by the Fijian Ministry of Health, who highlight locations and work in collaboration with rural communities and health workers to plan and evaluate each project. This ensures the project is genuinely needed and can be assessed and monitored at community and national level. Each build contributes to the Fiji National Development Plan and the ‘Towards a Healthy Fiji Islands’ initiative. These Government policies work towards the outcome of creating ‘healthy communities living in healthy environments’.
Alongside our partners at the Fijian Ministry and Fiji National Employment Centre, each building project facilitates training and skills development for Fijian students and unemployed youths. The project is a mechanism to teach basic carpentry skills to unemployed youth and fund spaces for Fijian students to gain work based experience. The cross-cultural nature of our project introduces Fijians to global understanding and develops their ‘soft skills’ and leadership. Finally, we highlight unemployed youth for further training and apprenticeships within our Foundation and other local organisatons.
The official definition of ‘Youth’ in Fiji according to the Ministry of Youth and Sports is anyone between the ages of 18-35. Villages in rural locations in Fiji more often than not have a registered ‘Youth Group’ that is made up of members of the village of that age. The extent to which that group is utilised within the village varies due to member commitments and their re-ignition is a real focus for the current Ministry of Youth.
18-35 year olds in the village often come with a variety of backgrounds and life stories: some may have dropped out of school as early as the age of 14 who engage in farming within the village’s subsistence lifestyle, others may be returning university students or school finishers, but all will be gain from the interactions that the project facilitates. Due to a variety of reasons, rural communities in Fiji have a significantly lower access to opportunity than urban areas and the ‘Youth’ are the primary demographic to be affected by that. This means that fundamentally our projects are outreach initiatives.
We aim to be the epitome of purposeful, responsible and empowering international projects and experiential learning programmes. Central to this is the depth of our association with local communities, government departments and organisations within Fiji, which is unique and unrivalled.
Every project is planned in collaboration and at the request of rural communities and directed and monitored by Fijian Ministries to ensure our projects have real purpose and long term sustainability. We are respected for working within the framework of the government, adding benefit to long term strategies and the advancement of education, access and opportunity for youths and children living in rural areas.
We work alongside many leading international universities and hold many partnerships to support the formal delivery of global mobility. Through our structured projects, we guide hundreds of students annually who develop leadership, transferable skills and expand their cultural understanding, whilst contributing to the aims and initiatives of our Fijian partners.
The 20-Year Development Plan provides the forward-looking vision for “Transforming Fiji” towards an even more progressive, vibrant and inclusive society. It outlines a framework that encompasses strategic policy manoeuvres, new approaches to development and the aspirations of all Fijians.
We know that our projects aren’t for everyone and that’s Ok! They are a challenging, busy but rewarding experience. Below are some attributes that we are looking for in anyone who wishes to join our projects but also attributes that if you do join, we would like you to have the opportunity to continue to develop!
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.
TP participants will be expected to undertake leadership activities in a challenging and changing environment, which means they can achieve the following learning outcomes:
- Global Leadership Abilities
- Able to Communicate Think Pacific Outcomes, Goals and Vision
- Displays Global Intelligence & Empathy with an Open Mind
- Ability to Lead Activities & Others
- Social & Cultural Awareness
- Build Relationships with Fijian Community Members
- Adapt to Fijian Culture with Passion & Empathy
- Approaches New Settings with Emotional Intelligence
- Effective Communicator
- Can Language Personal and Team Reflections
- Can Speak Effectively to a Group
- Can Communicate with Individuals from Different Backgrounds
- Has an Understanding of Own Leadership Style/s
- Is Open to Feedback and Open to Change
- Curious attitude and Continual Learner
- Ability to Persist within a Challenging Environment
- Motivates Others through Consistency
- Persistently Displays Determination to Achieve End Goal
- Critical Thinker
- Decisive in New Environments
- Drives Innovations and Ideas
- Takes initiative to implement ideas
- Collaboration & Team work
- Be a Positive Member of a Think Pacific Team
“Absolutely amazing experience and definitely the best 10 weeks of my life in Malake. Think Pacific are doing amazing things all over Fiji, they are friendly, organized, full of information and they think of absolutely everything, to ensure that you are prepared and love every minute of your time in Fiji. Their team leaders are unparalleled and made the experience what it was”
Without a doubt my 5 weeks in Fiji were the most memorable, rewarding and fun of my life! I cannot recommend Think Pacific highly enough for their outstanding organisation of the expedition. I feel truly honoured to have lived amongst the incredible families in Fiji and will forever treasure the lessons learnt from their beautiful culture and traditions.
“Culture is how we act, think, and behave based on the shared values of our society. It is everywhere, and we continually develop and define our culture on a daily basis.”
The Culture Course is an experiential learning programme as standard with any rural Think Pacific project. You will be immersed in rural Fijian culture throughout your project but this course intentionally goes deeper! Through immersion, the course aims to educate project participants about the nuances of indigenous Fijian culture through structured sessions delivered by members of the community youth group themselves and Think Pacific leaders.
- Learn skills that are unique to Fiji, regions/provinces or even villages
- See Fijian culture in a light that no tourist can ever see
- Learn about history and identity that defines rural Fijian culture
- Learn skills that have existed in Fiji for around 3000 years
- Engage in a cultural exchange that examines what culture really means, what makes us what we are?
- Support in the empowerment of local community youth as they develop soft skills
- Be at the receiving end of a key initiative in our engagement with the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs
- Present what has been learnt in a final showcase event to the community
The course is set up to encourage an appropriate mindset from participants during the project, facilitate a meaningful experience for them but also works towards wider goals.
Fijian culture can be identified firmly as having an oral tradition – cultural knowledge is not written down and is transferred from generation to generation! A fear for many in Fiji’s current cultural climate that young people are not engaging with integral aspects of local custom and culture and knowledge is being lost. In line with requests from the Ministry of iTaukei affairs, this initiative aims to stimulate engagement with and revitalise local customs and traditions amongst rural youth. It aims to harness a pride in one’s culture and upbringing as well as practicing skills and communicating knowledge that defines the region and Fiji more broadly.
It ensures that all involved are learning cross-cultural skills through experience which they can not only support the rest of the aims during the project, but they can also utilise moving forward.
In addition, it is a clear opportunity to provide those youth leading the course a leadership opportunity, giving them a further platform to develop their soft-skills and boost personal and professional development.
- Learn in-depth about the lifestyle, culture and traditional skills that make up rural Fiji and importantly understand how they all relate and why.
- Develop inter-cultural competency and the ability to successfully communicate within a foreign cultural environment.
- Adaptability to changes in your own and foreign cultures.
- Tolerance: while working in teams, learn to listen more attentively, to respect each other’s opinion, team-work and team-spirit.
- Personal Skills: personability and set-up of sessions allows you to grow in confidence and communication.
- Appreciation of diversity: appreciation of the opinions and values of others, sensitivity to cultural diversity, and becoming more aware of your own culture.
- Broader Perspective: Reconsider the cultural framework you have been brought up in and acquire skills that will enable you to observe and analyse encounters with diversity and to extend these beyond the framework of your culture.
- Critical thinking.
For Community Youth Members
- Pride in their culture and upbringing and the practicing of traditional skills and knowledge.
- To encourage personal growth in the form of a boost in confidence, communication skills, team working, leadership, time management and presentation skills.
- Financial support for those involved and the youth group of the community.
- Any outstanding individuals can be highlighted for scholarship / employment opportunities
- Appreciation of diversity: appreciation of the opinions and values of others, sensitivity to cultural diversity, and becoming more aware of their culture.
- Broader Perspective: Reconsider the cultural framework they have been brought up in and to acquire skills that will enable them to observe and analyse encounters with diversity and to extend these beyond the framework of their culture.
- Critical thinking.
Central to any rural Think Pacific experience, the course has an agreed and consistent structure that is delivered across all projects. This ‘syllabus’ allows room for local variation of skills and knowledge but also remains consistent across villages. This syllabus therefore is made up of ‘themes’ rather than specific universal sessions.
Four themes explored:
- Identity and Custom
These categories are not mutually exclusive as almost all of them will relate to at least another one of those categories. (Eg. Meke would come under the category ‘art’ but can easily also relate to identity and language, even food.)
What they can be used for, however, is structuring each week consistently with other projects whilst allowing for local variations on each category. If x2 sessions from all categories are hit and delivered, that will make up the successful completion of the course.
x5 key youth members are highlighted by the community prior to your project beginning. These will be consistent members who would be leading delivery. Community youth will lead the sessions based on what they feel comfortable delivering and facilitating within the community and Think Pacific leaders are there to support. They can have free creative license to teach about any aspect of culture they feel passionate about (there may be a unique tradition that they wish to include), and there are a variety of interactive actives that come under the four themes of culture we’re exploring. Every village is unique and therefore every project has its own flavour.
As we have said, every village is different and the youth may wish to teach you skills and knowledge entirely different from what is mentioned below! But if you were interested in the sorts of things that you may get involved with, here are some activities and topics that have been covered in the past:
Identity and Custom
- Fijian Family (family tree and unique relationships)
- Origin stories and local history
- Yaqona (Fiji’s ceremonial drink)
- Lovo (traditional method of cooking)
- Cooking at Home
- Fishing / Gathering
- Meke (traditional dance)
- Vucu (traditional song)
- Handicraft (local designs)
- Bilibili (traditional raft building)
- The Effects of Globalisation
- Youth Perspective
- Gender Perspectives
- Religious Perspective
Fijian life is incredibly communal and friendly. The entire village live and work together. Fijians farm together, maintaining crop plantations which feed the whole village. They fish together, later dividing their catch, and families will all come together in the evenings to play cards, strum the guitar, chat and dance the night away as they drink Kava.
The villages are all relatively small and close knit communities with usually around 20-50 or so families. During the project, you will stay with your own Fijian family in the village. The Fijian families will treat you as one of their own. If you are lucky, you may also live with a family who has children and your little Fijian brothers and sisters are always so intrigued and incredibly excited by the arrival of visitors from afar! Conditions are basic; expect cold bucket showers, pit toilets and limited electricity.
You will eat with your Fijian family, who provide all of your meals in the community. Think Pacific fund any costs of this food so our teams pose absolutely no burden on the local resources. You may often find many different people at your home for lunch and dinner – in Fiji it is custom to invite anyone who is passing into the home to eat. Food is very carbohydrate heavy, so expect lots of root crops such as dalo and cassava, and also lots of fish, as this makes up the bulk of a typical Fijian diet.
Trust us when we say that there really is nothing like a Fijian village! However, the comparatively basic standard of living, the communal nature, the strong religious beliefs and the traditional customs and values in the village, may take time to adjust to. It is completely normal to feel a little out of your depth in the first few days. With the support of your Fijian family, your team and our leaders, we find it doesn’t take long to adjust to life in the South Pacific.
The majority of Fijians speak both Fijian and English. There may be some language barriers with pronunciation, but as long as you talk slowly and clearly in English there is little difficulty in understanding each other. Young children and some elderly members of the community may not speak any English at all and it’s great to learn a few Fijian words as early as you can.
‘Fiji time’ is something you will soon be accustomed to – and it has the ability to change everything. South Pacific Islanders take everything at their own unique, mystifying and incredibly slow pace. This can sometimes seem frustrating, but don’t let it get to you; its better to smile and take any changes in your stride and welcome this beautiful, relaxed and refreshing way of life!
Hear our Fijian staff talk about life in a Fijian village.
Follow the village headman (Turaga ni Koro), as he gives you a guided tour of Buliya, Kadavu.
Hear about Fijian culture from one of our Fijian Project Managers.
Hear from community members talking about their experience with Think Pacific.
We pride ourselves on the delivery of a safe, structured and personally supported experience.
Your expedition fee includes your food, accommodation, in-country travel, resort briefings, R&R, weekend activities, emergency support and your expedition leader team living alongside you 24/7. Expeditions also fund the work of the Think Pacific Foundation (Fijian charity FJ 989) enabling us to support thousands of youths annually to ensure sustainability of the aims.
£195 GBP / $345 AUD
This secures your place in the team and gives you access to our Global Skills Programme, an online course to give you the foundations of success before departing for Fiji. It also provides personal support from your project co-ordinator, full access to our pre-departure resources, live online preparation webinars and your expedition t-shirt. Your registration fee is additional to your project fees.
Students can apply for scholarships and bursaries to join our projects in Fiji.
To find out if there’s funding available at your university or in your area, download our funding guide. (Coming soon)
16 Day = £1400 GBP / $2450 AUD
1 Month = £1950 GBP / $3350 AUD
Our philosophy is to provide a high quality and exceptionally well structured volunteer project. Our expeditions are packed full of adventure and cultural insight, whilst having safety and support at their core. Click ‘What’s Included’ below to learn more.
Your travel costs are not included in the project fees. We support you every step of the way to book return flights, personal travel insurance and we process your visa when in Fiji. Please see the approximate costs below within ‘ What’s Not Included’.
Think Pacific works in partnership with many universities across the world to support student mobility and employability. There are scholarships and grants available for students from individual university departments and/or governments in several countries.
Students can apply for scholarships and bursaries to join our projects in Fiji. To find out if there’s funding available at your university or in your areas, click here to access our grants and funding guide.
If you have any questions about funding prior to our funding guide being launched, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our philosophy is to provide a high quality and exceptionally well structured international project. Our expeditions are packed full of adventure and cultural insight, whilst having safety and support at their core. We also ensure that through our charity, the communities you support receive long-term financial and physical assistance year-round. Think Pacific is not the cheapest volunteer organisation around, but this is for all the right reasons.
All our expeditions include:
- Airport welcome by Think Pacific Expedition leaders (or resort meet and greet if you arrive early).
- All in-country project-related travel.
- All project accommodation.
- Briefing and orientation at a resort.
- All meals during your briefing, 3 and a half weeks staying with your Fijian village family and during your final day of R&R.
- Guided weekend activities such as a short trek or attending community events.
- Organised evening Fijian activities including kava ceremonies, lovo feasts, mat weaving,
- Think Pacific Leaders and Fijian guides living with you 24/7.
- In-country Director, Fiji based Project Managers and UK team providing planning, risk assessment and 24-hour back up support.
- Comprehensive pre-departure information & personal project planning.
- Your project donation towards the youth development goals in Fiji (which is used to purchase educational and sports equipment, fund scholarships and training for local people and build village facilities and school classrooms).
- International flights – £800 – £1200
- Personal travel insurance £60-£100
- Spending money for extra food and snacks, Fijian clothes and items of a personal nature (we advise bringing £200 – £300 spending money).
Apply for university funding to cover flights and insurance.
- Access to the Pre-departure Portal.
This portal provides the step-by-step process to prepare for Fiji, including fundraising information, flight information, kit list, visa, cultural preparation. Student can watch videos with our team in Fiji and download document.
- Contact our team.
You can contact our team anytime between office hours, either give us a call on 0113 335 9919 or email; email@example.com.
- Online community/network.
You can communicate with fellow volunteers, alumni and our team through our online community, hosted on the Might Network app. Within 3 months of you departing to Fiji, you shall be entered into a private group with your volunteer team.
- Live Pre Departure webinars
Our team host live sessions in the months leading up to your project. These are a great way for you to ask questions and delve deeper into planning for your project. They also add to the excitement!
- Global Skills Programme
We have created an online course to give you the set you up for success before departing for Fiji! Complete short-courses in: Fijian Culture, Sustainable Development & Global Leadership.
- Briefing (3 nights) = Resort Accommodation
- Project aims (24 nights) = Traditional village homestay
- Rest & reflection = (1 nights) = Accommodation in Nadi
- Briefing (2 nights) = Resort Accommodation
- Project aims (13 nights) = Traditional village homestay
- Rest & reflection = (1 nights) = Accommodation in Nadi