1. The People

My number one favorite thing about Fiji was, no doubt, the people. They were some of the kindest I have ever met. As soon as we got off the boat, we were greeted with flower necklaces, fresh juice, and music. We stayed only a few short days, but as a guest in their home, they treat you as if you are part of the family. They took an interest in getting to know all of us. My only regret was not getting to know them more. As a shy person, I normally stay reserved in groups of people. I’m afraid to stand out, so I remain quiet. But if I ever find myself in Fiji, I want to head on over to Botaira Beach Resort, because it was awesome. Honestly, if they see anyone in need, whether they know them or not, they will stop and help. I love that.


2. The Vibe

It’s no question that another favorite thing about Fiji was the overall vibe. Everything is so much simpler there. I think I connect with this so much, because I’m minimalistic. I don’t need much to be happy. You could probably hand me a rock you painted and I would appreciate that so much more than a bought item. I like things with character, and things that show craftsmanship, and just the thought that goes along with it. In Fiji, they make hats out of palm tree leaves and it amazes me. Seeing them do daily things like husk coconuts or weave made me want to stay so I could learn myself. Also, the Fijian’s were just a fun group of people. They would joke and play games and the atmosphere was so positive the whole time. Their smiles are contagious.


3. The Weather

Now I come from Massachusetts, so when we were starting our semester in Fiji they were still fighting through winter. Luckily for me, I got to cut my time with winter short, and enjoy some summer weather in Fiji. Beware: it is humid at times. I think I got used to it pretty quickly though, and that is saying something, because normally I don’t like heat and humidity. I have to say, it did make me appreciate the cold showers more, and it made you feel refreshed. Even the ocean water was warm. Coming from a gloomy and snowy winter, to nice sunny days relaxing in the sun was a nice turn of events.


4. The Food

I knew that studying abroad I was going to need to buy and cook my own food. So, all of the planned meals in Fiji were such a bonus. I did not know what to expect when I got there, but I was delighted as soon as they served up some chicken stir-fry. It was the best first meal I could have asked for. Sometimes they would serve the meals buffet style, or individually plated. For the most part, the meals consisted of rice with veggies and an assortment of meats to choose from. I definitely got some protein in Fiji. Similar to how the heat made me appreciate cold showers, it made me appreciate all of the fruit we had. It was so nice and juicy and hydrating. I would not have minded if that is all I ate in Fiji. For real.


5. Snorkeling

Another favorite part of my time in Fiji was the snorkeling. This trip included a lot of firsts for me, and snorkeling was a really memorable one. I never open my eyes underwater except when I have goggles, but I’ve never gone into the ocean with a pair. I was seeing coral, and fishes, and more coral, and even more fish. It was awesome. The Fijian guide that took us out was spotting everything. I stuck by him so I would be the first to see what he saw. And one of those things, ladies and gentlemen, was a shark. Just the fact that I was swimming in the same water as a shark was amazing to me. Hey, I can now technically cross “swimming with sharks” off my bucket list.

Clear water Fiji

Michelle Dukette is a student at University of Rhode Island and a TEAN Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with TEAN in Auckland, New Zealand