Study Abroad Fiji >Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

By: Abby Binion

Senior, Majoring in Human Development and Family Studies

Purpose: This blog was written to inform the audience on the diverse modes of transportation used throughout the study abroad trip.

Actually, trains are about the only transportation I didn’t take. This summer, I got the incredible opportunity to join an Auburn Abroad trip to Fiji and New Zealand. For about four weeks, we lived among a tribe in a small island in Fiji called Vorovoro. I learned about sustainability, picked up on some cool Fijian words (Le waga!), and met some of the most generous, happy people I’ve ever met in my life! In the middle of our time on Vorovoro, we also travelled into the mainland to stay at Cegu Valley Farm. There, we worked hard with the McCay family complete some of the bigger projects that they could only complete with the help of many hands. We harvested honey, chased goats, planted and picked fruits and vegetables, cooked, got the building of a composting toilet started, dug small trenches to bury pipes, milked cows, and more! When we left Fiji, we travelled to New Zealand. We started from the top of the north island in New Zealand and went on a road trip all the way to the bottom of the south island. We got to do some awesome excursions, such as a zip line canopy tour in the rain forest, a helicopter ride where we landed on a glacier, and an observatory tour in which we got to see hundreds of stars, planets, moons, clusters, and constellations more clearly than ever before.

As you can probably tell, we did a lot of travelling. Upon reflection of the trip as a whole, I began to notice how many forms of transportation we took. First, we flew by plane to Fiji. We immediately boarded taxis that transported us to our first hotel in Fiji. The next day, we took a much shorter plane ride from the south island, Viti Levu, to the northern island of Fiji, Venua Levu. We took a bus to a boat dock where we loaded and rode in a boat to our first permanent destination, Vorovoro.

As the island is so small, we joked that our feet were our transportation everywhere for those weeks. There is a saying that goes, “Vorovoro will harden your feet, and soften your heart.” Travelling to and from the mainland to the small island, we utilized the small boats often. For small excursions on the mainland in Fiji, and on the way to the airport as we left, we rode in vans.

We flew to New Zealand aboard a plane. We rented vans to travel all over the country. Upon travelling from the north island of New Zealand to the south island, we (and our vans) rode on a ferry. We rode helicopters on the tour of the mountains and glacier. When we went whale watching in Kaikoura, New Zealand, we took a large, fast tour boat. After the study abroad was over, I flew back to Fiji for a few days. There, I took two other new forms of transportation: the public buses and vans. The locals know how these work, so I made sure the friends I met on Vorovoro were with me to help navigate.

Planes, taxis, buses, boats, feet, vans, helicopters, and a ferry. That is a lot of travelling. I was so exhausted by the end of the trip, but I learned a little bit about how to combat jet lag and get accustomed to travelling in many different types of transportation. I experienced things I will never forget, and I learned so much more than I thought possible. My study abroad was the trip of a lifetime!

For more information about the Fiji/New Zealand Study Abroad program, come by the Office of Global Education located in Spidle Hall room 232, or e-mail Kate Thornton.

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