Studying abroad in Fiji

Schultz poses for pictures with children from the village he met.

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Schultz poses for pictures with children from the village he met.

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While in Fiji the study abroad students participated in so many cultural events and lifestyles. So many in fact, that it can be difficult to pinpoint one exact memory that stands out among the rest. One very memorable experience I had while in Fiji was staying overnight in a traditional Fijian village. The locals tend to live a much simpler life than most developed countries. On the second week of our journey, we were set up with a host family to show us around the village and see how they live day-to- day. We helped them with herding the animals, cooking dinner and keeping an eye on the children. All of the village kids loved us and had a great time playing soccer, singing songs and getting to know their families. Their houses were simple but still very cozy. Each house had some furniture, usually a small TV and  comfortable beds. Dinner was served and we all sat on hand-woven dinner mats made of dried palm tree leaves. As the night came to a close, people gathered around in a particular house and played guitar while we sang and talked about our adventure so far. The locals are always friendly and inviting and had plenty of dogs and cats roaming around to play with. Seeing how a different culture lives can be an eye-opening experience. It really makes you appreciate what you have in your own life.

It’s easy to find yourself immersed in the culture while studying abroad. You soon forget your hometown roots and can really assimilate to how people live in a different culture. In my opinion, immersion is one of the most incredible things you will be exposed to while studying abroad. Making friends with locals and establishing long-term relationships with the people you meet while there is something very few people get the chance to experience.

Derek studied in at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji in the fall of 2016.

Contact the Education Abroad office for more information: [email protected] and 608-342-1726.

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