What will I be doing on the project?
During your first week on the project, you focus on your diving course. By the second week, you’ll be in the water and can start doing research.
Let’s take a look at a few of the specific things you’ll do:
- Complete your PADI Open Water Diving qualification
- Conduct survey dives to do important research
- Help with beach clean-ups and get muddy planting mangroves
- Expand your horizons by experiencing Fiji and its culture
High school students volunteering with sharks in Fiji will focus on the following areas:
Learn to dive and get a PADI Open Water qualification
The first part of the project will focus entirely on getting you comfortable in the water. Those who have no diving experience will do a PADI Open Water course. If you already have that qualification, you’ll level up to Advanced Open Water.
PADI diving certifications don’t have an expiration date, so this qualification will enable you to explore underwater worlds for many years to come! Once you’ve completed your PADI training, you’ll also take part in a Shark Conservation Diver Course.
You’ll be conducting survey dives in different areas of Beqa Lagoon which will include a shark dive under supervision of qualified Dive Masters. You’ll be collecting important data that will be part of our global shark research.
On the tamer side of things, you will help us do beach clean-ups. Local children will join you, making it a great opportunity to talk to them about ocean conservation and share why it’s important.
You will also help plant mangroves. Mangroves provide homes to many species of plants and animals. They also play a protective role for communities and vulnerable coastlines by preventing soil erosion and providing cover from extreme weather. Mangrove reforestation plays an important role in our overall conservation efforts in Fiji.
In 2017, high school volunteers planted approximately 2,500 mangrove propagules in the Projects Abroad nursery!
Experiencing Fiji and its culture
During your two week program, you will also have plenty of opportunities to socialise with your fellow volunteers, make new friends, and experience island life.
Staff members will be present to supervise and guide all these activities to ensure everyone’s safety throughout the programme.
Who are our partners?
Our partner dive organisation, Beqa Adventure Divers, are at the forefront of shark protection in Fiji. Their safety record on shark dives is 100%. There have been no shark related accidents or injuries to any divers on their shark dive trips.
We also work closely with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) who help all our volunteers get their diving qualifications.
Finally, the WWF also supports our work through various research projects. WWF Global Shark Programme Manager, Ian Campbell, has described our Shark Conservation project in Fiji as “the most important shark conservation project in the world.”
Where will I be working in Fiji?
This part of the island is renowned for its 80 km stretch of pure white sand and cobalt oceans. With water-based activities being central to this project, you will have ample opportunity to explore the magnificent natural beauty.
Importantly, you will also be playing an important role in preserving beaches through cleanups and mangrove reforestation.
During your stay, you will be sharing same-sex dormitories with your fellow volunteers.
Meet the team in Fiji
We set out the aims and objectives of our projects in documents called Management Plans. We use them to properly plan the work you’ll do. They also help us measure and evaluate our achievements and impact each year.
Ultimately, our Management Plans help us make our projects better. This in turn means you get to be part of something that makes a real impact where it’s needed. Read more about our Management Plans.
Measuring our impact
Every year, thousands of High School Special volunteers and interns actively make a difference around the world. During their time abroad, they contribute towards achieving long-term goals and make a long-lasting positive impact on the communities where they work.
We produce an annual High School Specials Impact Report, which documents some of these achievements. Find out more about the impact of these projects, and read the latest report.
Safety and staff support
Your safety and security is our prime concern. We have many procedures and systems to ensure you have all the extra support you need as a young person travelling abroad. Our Projects Abroad staff are there for you 24 hours a day during the week and over weekends to provide constant support and guidance. Our staff also make sure you feel comfortable and safe at your placement and accommodation. If you encounter any problems, they will be available to help at any time.
Find out more about safety and backup.