Hitting the half way mark as a GVI Fiji Teaching Intern
Half of my teaching internship has now passed and I am now moving onto the next phase…to live full time with a Fijian family in a new village where I will be the only volunteer in a different Primary School. How have I found the experience so far? As an older volunteer I knew I was unlikely to have many contemporaries but I have been delighted to find that I am not the only mature volunteer who is off having adventures. The younger staff and volunteers have all been wonderful, fun and great company, making it feel like I am still surrounded by my children and their friends.
Teaching has been a new experience, completely different to my previous career. The children have been fun, lively, receptive…and challenging – as are children the world over; frustrations when things don’t go according to plan are counterbalanced by happy successes and most days end with a sense of achievement.
Memories are many and varied, the beautiful sunrises every morning through the coconut trees; the amazing view over the village and ocean from the school; the beautiful sound of the children singing the Fijian National Anthem every week as they raise their flag and the Meke, a traditional dance performed by some of the students
…..not to mention all the local fresh food we have been fed at the numerous village communal meals.
And best of all our families – living in a village has been such a wonderful experience, showing the side of Fiji that would never be encountered by only visiting the resorts. We are all adopted by a family, not just for the length of our stay but forever, they truly would be happy for us or our families to return and stay with them at any time in the future. They are such very friendly, kind, happy, generous people who share everything they have with others.
Staying here for a longer period does mean you see a number of other volunteers come and go but bonds are formed quickly, fun times had and the fortnightly departure of a number of volunteers can be emotional, especially with the villagers serenading the leavers with the traditional ‘Isa Lei’ leaving song.
Older volunteers don’t be shy, it’s amazing to experience new cultures at all times of your life and Fiji is definitely one that should not be missed. You have so much to offer as well as learn and will be welcomed with open arms by everyone here.
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