Krystelle is the most recent member of our National Scholarship Program in Fiji. She participated as a 4 week volunteer on our marine expedition and this is what she'd like you to know.
Before I tell you about the experience let me first introduce myself to you. I’m a recent Marine Science graduate, a typical Suva City girl. With that being said, the second thing I need to tell you is THE ISLAND IS NOT EASY. Don’t get me wrong, it has chill days but you are coming for a conservation internship, not a vacation. You will be thrown into shared accommodation with people you literally just met before you got on the boat. Hot days where the sun feels like it’s following you around, long hard working days and vegetarian food only [as you can tell I’m carnivorous!].
Now all the terrible parts are out of the way if I haven’t traumatized you too much here’s what you get in return.
You get the best staff and mentors one could ask for, you get the “postcard” background to every photo you take. You wake up to the sound of birds and the ocean, with the occasional bark from the two residents guardians-Reena and Sai! You get to dive in the most pristine waters and see the delicate balance of a reef system first hand.
This is just the overall awesome goodness of the Island.
Personally, my experience started on a bumpy road [the kind that makes you want to go back home], I got dehydrated on the first week- yes I am Fijian and I got dehydrated so hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! While on the mend I went on a simple snorkel, I learned more in that 30 mins then I did in a whole semester of school. It’s great to have a background in this stuff but it’s useless if you don’t know a thing about what they look like in the wild.
When I finally got back to 100% I got certified, on my last open water dive, I met 3 turtles, a ridiculous amount of fish and colors to put a rainbow to shame.
Without sounding cheesy or cliché, I’d give up so much more for this experience, I’ve received support and help for every possible situation. I count every person on the Island as family, I’ve been inspired to save the oceans and given the practical tools to accomplish this. My mind has been opened up to an insider outsiders perspective. As a Pacific Islander, I couldn’t see a better way to conserve what has fed our Pasifika for generations.
I’ve only spent 4 weeks on the Island but it feels like 4 years with the knowledge and experience it’s given me. Thank you GVI I could never repay you for what you’ve given me.