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An Education Abroad trip in college is often the chance of a lifetime but what does that actually mean?
For the 21 participants who went on the Summer 2014 trip to Fiji, it meant a non-stop, action packed itinerary in one of the world’s remote countries. The Fijian Experience is completely hands-on. The students didn’t hear lectures about the culture, they immersed themselves in it. They dressed in Fijian attire for different excursions and took part in Fijian traditions.
One of these traditions was taking part in a Fijian Kava Ceremony which is how a village welcomes outsiders. Another activity the group observed was a fire-walking ceremony, a tradition that has been passed down in the Fijian culture for centuries..
The group interacted with locals in the village, and they were able to visit the schools on the Beqa Island, their home-away-from-home stayed for the majority of the trip.
“My heart was touched by the locals and the kids with their amazing hospitality,” said Lauren Stanley
Another aspect of Fiji that MTSU’s students were able to experience were excursions at sea—or under it to be precise. Every attendee on the trip spent five mornings exploring the coral reef and diving among wrecked fishing boats. The students saw angel fish, lionfish, sea stars, sea fans and an entire myriad of wildlife and coral below the surface.
Beqa Resort’s Dive Masters were top notch and thorough. They pointed out various sea life, led the group to different sites, and explained ecological concerns that surrounded the reef. Many of the students became certified specifically for this trip while others were already certified.
“I challenged myself and got Scuba certified and hiked miles upon miles,” said James Pritchard.
This summer, for the return trip, students will have the option to become Scuba certified or opt to snorkel while others explore the below.
No Education Abroad trip would be complete without an historical excursion to enthrall students. For MTSU’s group, that meant a hike through the Sigatoka Sand Dunes located on the main island of Fiji: Vitu Levu. Artifacts ranging from broken pottery to an ancient burial site have been unearthed at this location. This year, the group will have the opportunity to plant trees at the edge of the dunes and give back to Sigatoka’s community.
What else is new this year for this program’s participants? An extra day has been added so that students will have the chance to experience more of the main island and have an excursion to one of Fiji’s national parks before they leave. Students will hike the park, swim in one of its natural water falls, and zip line through the canopies on the final day.
This year’s trip is May 28 – June 7. Space is limited and trip is already about half full. A deposit is required to reserve a spot and those who made the commitment are already applying for MTSU’s Education Abroad scholarships. It’s shaping up to be another amazing program for MTSU’s Education Abroad!
Fiji Trip Pictures Featured Below: