More than just fancy bottled water, Fiji is the South Pacific island country of your dreams. Paradise is an understatement: the beauty of Fiji’s nine groups of islands is endless, volcanic mountains, bright turquoise waters, tropical rainforests, and coconut plantations. Picturesque beaches coupled with warm hospitality, a community-centered culture, and English and Indian influences make Fiji stand out among tropical high school program destinations. Get your fair share of outdoor and aquatic activities, relish in being welcomed with a warm Bula!, eat taro until you can’t no more, and prolong hearing Isa Lei, the national farewell song, for as long as possible.
Fiji’s population is concentrated on the major islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, but most high school programs in Fiji take students on a traveling adventure across several of the 300+ islands. Explore the urban capital, nearly-uninhabited islands, and local villages while practicing your Fijian vinaka and vinaka (please and thank you), just don’t forget your all-important sarong for the beach and visits to Christian churches, mosques, and Sikh and Hindu temples.
Nadi, pronounced Nandi because the “d” in Fijian sounds like “nd”, is Fiji’s jumping-off point. In Nadi high school students can enjoy live music at New Nadi’s Farmer’s Club before heading down to the Denarau Marina. Take advantage of your free weekends by catching a boat from Nadi to the Yasawa and Mamanuca islands (where Castaway was filmed!). There are plenty of budget resorts with surreal postcard-esque beach views to check out during any high school program in Fiji too. You can also visit the Garden of the Sleeping Giant to see native Fijian orchids, which will be a treat for all of your senses.
As the the capital on the largest island, Suva is the urban heart of Fiji. Get your Fijian history fix at the Fiji Museum, then check out all the fresh fruits at the Municipal Market. Witness some sizzling skills at the Mariamma Temple (where an annual fire-walking festival is held during June or August), get lost in the nearby Colo-i-Suva Cloud Forest, and sample Fijian dishes like duruka (Fijian asparagus) and kokoda (Fiji’s take on ceviche).
High school programs in Fiji take advantage of the biodiversity that exists on land and under the sea; several high school programs in Fiji take students from one magical island to another, hitting rural areas along the way. You can even get diving certified in PADI Open Water, spending days exploring impressive reefs and underwater ecosystems on Caqalai, or contribute to community development, from planting vegetable gardens to constructing harvesting systems to helping inside local classrooms, in the coastal villages of the Dawasamu District.
High School Programs in Fiji
One simply cannot talk about high school programs in Fiji without envisioning beautiful beaches, noticing the high population of Indo-Fijians, and questioning its long history of cannibalism. Naturally, there are high school programs in Fiji that take advantage of the archipelago, which is fit for exploring, experiencing, and understanding.
You can go to the Pacific on an exploratory trip for one, two, or more weeks in the summer or winter. Make your school breaks meaningful by choosing an adrenaline-pumping adventure travel program that will give you the chance to get involved in outdoor activities, community service, and cultural traditions in Fiji. Embark on a wanderlust journey by choosing to kayak, snorkel, whitewater raft, zipline, scuba, hike, play rugby, and even take a mud bath.
Fiji is also an eco-conscious location with lots of program opportunities for high school students interested in community service and volunteering. Students can work in more rural villages outside of Nadi, where poorer communities do not gain as much from Fiji’s tourism and sugar trade. Complete renovations in local schools and even help in the classroom if teaching is what you’re interested in. HIgh school students can also grab the chance to volunteer in marine conservation and conduct scientific research on a shark conservation project!
Whether you’re looking to volunteer, try out something new and adventurous, or learn more about Fijian traditions, there are tons of high school programs in Fiji led by trained, experienced staff members. High school programs in Fiji are structured, chock full of activities each day, and frequently incorporate cultural exploration. You’ll discover surprisingly unique Fijian characteristics along the way, from its rockin’ mix of Fijian and Indian cultures to its coexistence of Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.
When you have free time on the weekends, you can hit up the sand dunes at Sigatoka National Park or go diving at the well-known Great Astrolabe Reef in the Kadavu Group. Though Fiji is famed for being a honeymoon destination, it has options for travelers of all ages, interests, and cultural curiosities; there’s even an emphasis on sustainable tourism. Super cool, right?
Scholarships & Costs
Fiji produces tons and tons of sugar, it’s one of the main sources of income, but there’s nothing quite as sweet as financial support to enable you to jet off on a high school program in Fiji.
Heading to an isolated island nation that served as the crossroads of the South Pacific also means enduring the flight(s) to get there. Flight prices can get pretty expensive, but aside from that, your program provider will pretty much take care of the rest. High school programs in Fiji usually include accommodation, transportation, airport pickup and drop-off, and food (three meals a day!) for the duration of your trip. You can get an inexpensive meal for about eight Fijian dollars (FJ$), a bottle of water for about 1.90 FJ$, and a Coke for about 2.30 FJ$. Two-week programs for high school students in Fiji cost a pretty penny, but, as mentioned, there is tons included. Naturally, prices do increase as you add on weeks.
If high school program pricing seems a bit too much, don’t forget to search GoAbroad’s Scholarships Directory to fund your international experience in Fiji.
Accommodation & Visas
Whether the location of your high school program in Fiji is urban or rural, or spans many locations, buses, minivans, carriers (small trucks), taxis, or inter-island ferries will take you through the ins and outs of local Fijian life. Many high school programs in Fiji lead students on a journey through the Fijian islands, so accommodation is subject to change almost daily.
When deciding on a high school program in Fiji, think about what you would like to gain from your time abroad (on “Fiji time,” of course). While some high school programs offer shared rooms in dormitory-style accommodations, others offer homestays. Traveling programs will show you the beauty of several parts of the nine groups of Fijian islands, giving you the chance to see different aspects of the country’s culture. High school students that work in community development in rural areas will get a glimpse into Fijian life, language, and culture. Some high school programs in Fiji will integrate both travel and homestays too. Local village homestays allow you to understand and partake in traditions like learning to make lovo (a feast cooked underground) and drinking kava with Fijians. Be prepared to chow down on lots of food cooked in coconut milk, too!
The fabulous part about Fiji (other than, well, everything) is that citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand don’t need a tourist visa to attend high school programs there. You’re granted a visitor permit for up to 120 days, which is ample time to complete a high school program in Fiji! To double check the visa requirements, head over to GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
You might be thinking “Well, Fiji sounds perfect!”, and it definitely does seem that way; but, keep in mind that each and every place has its pros and cons.
Island Arrival. While high school program costs can be pricey, they do include a ton of travel details that you won’t have to worry about. The big ticket item is the flight, but when you set foot on the real-life wonder that is a Fijian beach, it will totally be worth it.
That Fijian Culture Though. Once you’ve arrived in Fiji, you won’t want to say moce (goodbye) to the sheer wonder of these multi-cultural, multi-racial islands. With its great Indian food (thanks to the Indo-Fijian descendants), eco-conscious efforts, and warm-hearted people, you really won’t want to leave after your high school program in Fiji ends.
More Than a Vacation. Discovering a place beyond the images that populate a Google search means connecting with the culture first-hand. Interact with Fiji’s incomparable blend of native, English, and Indian communities and unmatched biodiversity on land and sea during your high school program in Fiji.
From pristine coral reefs to fire-walking festivals to Taro Day (yes, a holiday paying homage to a Fijian food staple), Fiji is a stunning place to adventure, volunteer, and, above all, learn.