Psychology Student Volunteering & Placements in Fiji

Published 02/07/2018

Our summer and university projects are well underway here at Think Pacific.

This year promises to be something special, with so many passionate volunteers and students joining us over in Fiji for an unforgettable experience. 🇫🇯 🏝️

We thought we’d share some stories and highlights from the projects throughout summer, to help showcase what our incredible teams are up to.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and discover how 2 Psychology students in their 3rd year, got on in Fiji this summer.

Introducing Gemma Kermode and Daniel Roberts, from the University of Bath 🙌 🎉

Both Gemma and Daniel are studying Psychology and have very kindly provided some insights into their time with us in Fiji and how it’s helped with their studies and future career opportunities.

We’re passionate about providing an experience that helps students gain valuable skills and unique experiences that can help them in their careers and with personal development. We’re so happy Gemma and Daniel thought outside the box when it came to picking a Psychology placement and joined us on this adventure to the farthest corner of the globe. They chose to head out to the remote Fiji Islands as part of their degree to put their psychology studies into practice.

We think this is a fantastic way for students to enhance their time at university by gaining such unique real-world experiences.

Fiji may not be the first place students think of when deciding to pick somewhere for their Psychology placement, but we hope Gemma and Daniel’s stories help showcase why it may just be the best place for students to go!

(Are you at university looking for a life-changing adventure that’ll also provide unrivalled personal and career development? Download our brochure and learn more about Think Pacific and our projects to Fiji.)

Psychology Placements and Volunteering Abroad

We love psychology here at Think Pacific.

The scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context,” Psychology is undoubtedly an incredibly valuable subject. It can be applied to almost any context, making it a great option for any student to study.

Spending time abroad, particularly as part of a placement or internship, is really valuable for Psychology as it allows you to broaden your understanding of people, cultures, behaviours and circumstances. This helps not only boost any Psychology student’s CV, but also provides unrivalled personal development and taught skills that will shape their career choices.

Gemma and Daniel are 2 great examples of Psychology students who didn’t take the standard placement route and instead went off exploring a developing country, to use their degree to impact youth and early learning development.

Gemma explained that “Getting the opportunity to experience a beautiful part of the world that not many people are lucky enough to see,” was one of the key motivators for heading out to Fiji.

Her highlights included:

“Meeting all the Fijian people and experiencing their lifestyles and how happy they are.”

“Working with the children, and seeing real progress in their education.”

“The friendships that I’ve gained through other volunteers, we lived and shared so many incredible experiences together.” 

Daniel Roberts explained that, “There were so many highlights from my experience out in Fiji. The little things such as the walk back to the village from school in the sun and then being greeted by my little two year old sister and the rest of the family is something I will treasure forever.

“Working in the school and forming a bond with the children was a major part of project, especially the relationship you have with the children you work one-to-one with. I had formed a particularly strong bond with the 3 boys in class 6 I was working with as I stayed in the same class for the entire project. One of the most rewarding moments for me was looking at the class’ English exam results and seeing that one of the boys got the third highest mark in the class when he was in the bottom three the year before. I couldn’t have been more proud of them.”  

“Despite it being one of the saddest moments of my life, I will never forget the morning we left the village. Having the whole village line up and realise how much impact we had had on them and how much they had had on us showed from the emotion that we all went through. How much the last 2 months meant to us really hit home that morning. Village life with my Fijian family was the biggest highlight for me and I believe it is something I will never be able to find anywhere else.” 

We believe volunteering in Fiji as part of a placement at university goes beyond academia and has far reaching personal impacts.

Gemma explains “Before project I didn’t consider just how much project would impact on my life after returning home. It has made me realise what I want to do with my future and that working with disadvantaged children is something that I am passionate about. I feel much more humble and appreciative of everything that we take for granted back here in the UK, seeing how happy my Fijian family were with the little they had and how happy I was without the things I’m use to made me realise that I don’t need as much as I’m use to at home.”

Before project, I was focused on how I would get along with my Fijian family and the villagers. One thing I didn’t realise would happen is the bond I have created with my fellow volunteers. I made friends for life on project and they are the only people that can truly understand the experience and that is why we will always be close friends.”

But as well as unique experiences and forging incredible bonds with Fijian families and other volunteers, doing a placement in Fiji offers clear, tangible skills that will help support any student.

My teaching skills have developed on project, and my confidence in teaching/group activities/presenting” – Gemma Kermode

Daniel also discussed, “the life skills that I developed on project is something that will benefit me for the rest of my life. Having to deal without the things that we take for granted back at home made me realise what we really need and what is important in life.

“One aspect of project that I wasn’t expecting was how much planning and organisation was required to ensure that myself and the children get the most out of the experience. I needed to plan every day in order to ensure that I get the most out of my time and in order to provide the greatest benefit for the children. My time keeping skills have definitely improved from this.

“As a team we were required to work together for the majority of the experience, so it would be very difficult to work in this setting if I struggled in a team orientated environment. Due to this my teamwork skills have developed greatly and I thoroughly enjoyed working in such a great team with fantastic people.”

Where to go on a Psychology Placement?

When it comes to psychology volunteering, placements or internships, the world’s your oyster, so dust off that atlas and get planning.

But for the adventurers out there… the ones bored with the humdrum… the dreamers… the doers… we recommend you give Fiji serious consideration.

In the wise words of our Psychology placement alumni, Gemma, “Step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself! Its a once in a lifetime opportunity that will stay with you forever.”

To learn more about Think Pacific and how our projects can support your degree, simply contact us today or download our brochure to learn more.

p.s. Thanks for taking the time to feedback on your placements Gemma and Daniel 😊

We hope Fiji stays with you wherever your psychology degree takes you.

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