‘I never wanted to leave’ – Meredith’s seven life-changing months in Fiji with Lattitude Global Volunteering.
I was a volunteer with Lattitude Global Volunteering at a rural school in Fiji for seven months in 2015. During my placement I was a librarian, a Year 5 teacher and a school fundraiser. I helped students improve their confidence through reading workshops, was put in charge of my own class whilst their teacher was on maternity leave, and organised various fundraising events to improve the school.
I loved my time in Fiji. I treasured seeing my class of Year 5 students improve their English. I relished the opportunity to learn the Fijian language and to live in a vibrant, lively community with few modern distractions. It was a way of life that was completely different to anything I had experienced before, and I never wanted to leave.
The most memorable day of my placement was when one of my less confident readers, a shy boy who wouldn’t read in English, brought his library book to our reading session and proclaimed, “Look Miss, I can read this!” He then proceeded to read his book very calmly and confidently to me in English. It was extremely rewarding seeing him so proud of himself. This one moment made all the frustrations, hiccups and long hours of teaching melt away, and really highlighted the impact I was having.
‘It was so rewarding to be such an intrinsic part of the community and be treated as a Fijian’
Throughout the seven months I was in Fiji, I never stopped learning. I learned how best to open a coconut, and how to cook taro; how to manage a class of 25 mischievous Fijian children and how to plan a series of workshops. My placement has equipped me with so many skills that will stay with me forever, and given me the confidence to use them.
My Lattitude Global Volunteering placement was a life-changing experience. I think and see things differently now; I’m more appreciative of the things I have, and I have a better idea of the values I want in my life. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a part of the world I never thought I’d get the chance to see and experience a culture so different to my own.
My experience was a real eye-opener, and it wouldn’t have been as good without the support and guidance of Lattitude Global Volunteering.