Madison Kopack is a student at Rider University the and a current ISA Photo Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Suva, Fiji.
As someone who has been a home-body for most of her life, moving across the world for four months seemed quite nerve-racking at first. However, I knew deep down that I would regret passing up on this once in a lifetime experience. The culture, people, and sites are constant reminders of why I chose such an amazing country.
My first Fijian sunset looked like something that you would only see online, this is the moment I knew I was really in paradise!
We started our first full day in Fiji with an arts tour in Pacific Harbor where we learned about different aspects of the culture. This is chief’s house, which is made out of dried palm tree leaves and is considered very sacred.
Once the tour was over, we were invited to have a traditional Fijian meal that was cooked in a lovo pit. A lovo pit consists of hot rocks that are placed about a foot underground. Lovo essentially means ‘a feast cooked in the Earth.’ The food is placed on top of the rocks with palm tree leaves covering it to cook it nice and slowly. On my plate there is chicken, taro (a potato-like root), lettuce, tomato and cucumber, and taro leaves cooked with coconut milk to make a spinach-like dish.
The next day we took a boat ride up the Navua River where we participated in a Kava Ceremony. This is where the native Fijians performed traditional dances and officially welcomed us to their village by inviting us to drink Kava with them. Kava is water mixed with the powdered root of the pepper plant, which creates a temporary numb feeling in your tongue and lips. A Kava Ceremony is only for special occasions, we were now considered family!
Now that we are part of the village, we were invited to interact with the local children and explore the area more.
Just when I thought the island couldn’t get any more gorgeous, my friends and I woke up at 5:30AM for the sunrise. As you can tell, it was worth it!
The best way to join a new culture is to dive right in!
The world awaits…discover it.
Love it! Can’t wait to see more!