Teachers experience true Fijian culture at school

Ellen Smith with some of her pupils at Ratu Filise Primary School, Fiji
Ellen Smith with some of her pupils at Ratu Filise Primary School, Fiji
The Southsea Alternative Choir  Picture: Paul Windsor

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VOLUNTEERS have just returned from the teaching adventure of a lifetime.

Natasha Smith and Ellen Smith, both from Portsmouth, went on a teaching trip to Fiji, a country in the South Pacific.

The trip, which was organised by Travel Teacher, aims to support the development of education in rural communities and make a difference to the lives of the children in partnered schools.

While in Fiji, the group helped the Ratu Filise Primary School to improve the students’ literacy and sporting capabilities, with lessons in English and PE.

However, it was not only a learning experience for the pupils.

Both Natasha and Ellen said they learned a great deal while away, both about themselves and Fijian culture.

Natasha Smith said: ‘I’ve travelled to a few countries and being a teacher was not on my agenda.

‘However, I can honestly say this has been the best experience of my life.

‘At nearly 30 years old I can’t believe how much I have learnt.’

Ellen Smith, 19, said: ‘The village we have been staying in has been amazin.

‘It’s been a great way to experience the Fijian culture and how they live.

‘Everyone has been so friendly and welcoming.

‘I can’t express how thankful I am to the families we have met.’

Founder and director Matt Ray believes that the experience is of great value for people who either want to go into a career in teaching, or are looking to broaden their personal horizons.

He said: ‘We have a passion and commitment to provide our volunteers with a life-changing platform which will take them out of their comfort zone.

‘With each project we intend to make a difference by inspiring the young people that we work with in the schools.

‘In addition to this we aim to encourage the development of transferable skills from our volunteers which will enable them to contribute positively to the world of work in the future.’

For more information about the teaching programme travelteacher.co.uk.