STUDENTS from St Columba Anglican School have returned from their Fiji immersion trip.
There were 36 students from year nine to 11 that went on the first of what the school hopes will be many trips.
Students travelled to the highlands of Fiji where they were involved in a number of service projects including building teacher quarters at Nasivikoso Village Primary School, and teaching English to students in kindergarten and year six to nine.
Nasivikoso Village was the highlight of the trip for many as students were welcomed into the homes of Fijian families as part of a four night homestay.
“Going to Fiji was the best experience of my life. Getting to know the country and the people was an unbelievable experience,” said year 10 student Elissa Veitch.
“It has really opened my eyes to how fortunate we all are living in Australia. I met some amazing people along the way I will never forget, and loved getting to know them.”
Students put their gardening skills to the test and planted over 1000 vegetable and fruit seeds for a working family farm in Vaturu Dam.
While staying in Momi Bay, students had the pleasure of cooking and serving traditional Fijian food for 50 women and children in a safe home.
There was time for some fun, students enjoyed a well deserved island hopping day to Musket Cove.
Year nine student Lana Pelser said she now realises how lucky she is.
“In Fiji I realised how lucky I am to have so many opportunities. It was amazing seeing another culture, their way of life and how different it is to ours,” she said.
The trip provided many opportunities for students to engage with the community, culture, language, giving to others and reflective process which made them all appreciate what they have in life.
Year 11 student Liam Wallace described the experience as a “wholesome, immersive and ultimately humbling”, while year nine student Zoe de Lepervanche said the families of Fiji made it possible.
“Our immersion into Fiji life was made possible by the beautiful, friendly nature of our host village and families,” she said.
“It was a wonderful feeling seeing all the bubbly Fijian faces and knowing that we have positively impacted the lives of others.”
The students were able to donate 100 new school shirts, a new OzTag kit, 60 children’s reading books for the local school, medical supplies and other personal items for the homestay families.
St Columba aims to run this program every second year to continue the partnership with Fiji and the community.