"We run over a dozen study abroad programs all over the world, and this is by far the most immersive, transformational experience for our students."
Dr. Kate Thornton
SINCE 2013, WE'VE FACILITATED RIGOROUS STUDY ABROAD PROGRAMS ON THE PRIVATE ISLAND OF VOROVORO, FIJI, WHERE WE ARE HOSTED BY THE MALI TRIBE IN THEIR UNTOUCHED TRIBAL HOME.
Fiji, a volcanically formed archipelago of 333 tropical islands, is world-renowned for its stunning beaches and scuba diving and proudly ranks as one of the happiest countries in the world.
Lesser known is Fiji’s multifaceted culture. The indigenous culture in Fiji has been remarkably well-preserved thanks to a unique set of land-rights laws. So, today’s culture has been forged from hundreds of these native Fijian tribes, vestiges of British colonialism, and the waves of Indian immigrants brought over as indentured servants.
FIJI STANDS OUT AS A PREMIER CULTURAL DESTINATION
FOR THOSE WHO CAN GET BEYOND THE TOURISM BUBBLE.
ON THE REMOTE ISLAND OF VOROVORO, WE GET TO DO JUST THAT.
What Makes Us Unique?
Functionality You Will Love
The Remarkable Location Leads to an Unprecedented Level of Cultural Immersion
Vorovoro is not just any island. Deeply sacred to the local Mali people, it serves as a community gathering place and is the home of Tui Mali, their revered chief, who is our host and welcomes us to his island. The private island also offers four volcanic peaks, untouched beaches, and unparalleled access to the Cakaulevu Reef, the third-longest barrier reef in the world.
Far off the tourist path, Vorovoro is located in one of the most remote areas of Fiji where ancient tribal ceremonies, beliefs, and customs remain strong.
To safeguard this rich cultural heritage and their island home, Tui Mali keeps trips infrequent and group sizes small. Thus, when Vorovoro momentarily opens its doors, you are not greeted by blasé hospitality professionals, but instead by local farmers and carpenters excited to share this time with you. The culture shared with students is then neither demonstrative nor perfunctory. Additionally, for the Mali community, the exchange itself serves as a welcome means to celebrate their heritage and protect it from globalization and mass tourism.
The Challenging, Authentic, yet Safe Learning Environment
Vorovoro provides the unique opportunity to live side-by-side with Fijians within a space and rhythm structured specifically for experiential learning. In this way, Vorovoro is a living classroom – safe yet challenging.
Students live within the heartland of traditional Fijian culture, but they also observe the tribe’s complicated relationship with the modern world. Students witness the economics of a tiny, developing island nation – where the main industry, tourism, often comes at the expense of their rich natural resources and culture, and where the main export is water, despite Fiji being freshwater-poor. Living in sync with the tides and weather, students experience firsthand the effects of climate change and the steps Fijians are taking, both locally and globally, to fight it. Furthermore, in a country with two major ethnic groups, the politics of indigenous rights vs. immigrant rights are constantly at the foreground.
On Vorovoro, as students open coconuts, live alongside the Mali people, and discover a new way of life, they are constantly challenged to rethink their views on sustainability, multiculturalism, globalization, and tourism.
Easy to Implement and Operate
Our program is straightforward for universities to introduce into their study abroad portfolio and is simple for professors to run, year after year.
We can provide you with a comprehensive program packed with carefully curated activities, interdisciplinary excursions, and pre-trip materials that empower students to be active participants in their learning.
Easy Student Recruiting
Recruitment for the program tends to come naturally, as students find the idea of a study abroad program on a tropical island in the South Pacific very appealing.
Minimal Professor Legwork
BTG handles logistics, administration, and base programming, leaving professors free to oversee the course and supplement it with their expertise as desired.
Customizable Trip Itinerary
Programs tend to last anywhere between 10 and 40 days. We have a thoughtful range of add-on packages available to further enrich your program, such as local internships and homestays.
DR. KATE THORNTON
Our partnership with BTG has enabled our program to have a meaningful and long term relationship with the Mali community. Serving as our bridge to the tribe, we are able to work with BTG to facilitate not only logistics within Fiji but also navigate cultural norms during our time in country. This understanding of how to navigate Fijian village culture, developed over many years, is invaluable to both our program and our students. There is no way we would be able to achieve the levels of trust and community engagement without the active work of BTG.
STUDY ABROAD STUDENT
Participating in a study abroad program on Vorovoro was one of the best decisions I have ever made! I fell in love with the island, the culture, and most of all, the people. I literally dream about going back. Vorovoro and the people who live there will always have a piece of my heart.
STUDY ABROAD STUDENT
I was always amazed at how when I had interviews for engineering jobs, everyone wanted to know more about Fiji. They wanted to know what exactly I was doing on this remote Fijian island, and how this fit into the bigger picture of who I was an an engineer. In Fiji, I had the opportunity to work in a foreign work environment, lead a diverse team, and meet deadlines while capitalizing on scarce resources. The one month I spent in Fiji was actually more beneficial to my career than the year I spent at my manufacturing job.
VOROVORO IN THE NEWS
Too Much Seawater, Too Little Drinking Water: Fiji's fight to withstand climate change
Far Beyond the Classroom: Auburn students transformed by study abroad program in Fiji