I spent 8 weeks on the beautiful Beqa Island where I was given the opportunity to improve both my diving and survey methodology skills. I plan on studying to become a marine biologist this autumn, and consequently I loved being given the opportunity as an intern to create my own invertebrate survey which has now become a regular part of surveying. I also thoroughly enjoyed helping to collect information about mangroves in the area which we used to make a series of blogs and an accompanying video about Frontiers collaboration with WWF. Doing these things helped to feel like I was really able to make a difference. I loved spending time with our resident Fijian family, it gave the kind of cultural experience you wouldn't get through a package tour company. I also surprisingly enjoyed living a more basic life. Having limited luxuries made them feel so much more valuable when I got back to the mainland.
I would reccomend people bring a solar panel, as i liked to have some sort of contact with the outside world, and electricity is very hard to come by. The staff were great and did their best when power was limited. The three AROs deserve special mention for helping me learn all the fish species, reassuring me when I thought my diving was rubbish and generally keeping morale up with extra activities such as movies. Their planned trip to the gorgeous sandbar was also a highlight of my visit.
My only complaint worth mentioning is there is still a slightly neglected feel to the project. At times I felt like london wasn't interested in us. If a bit of money could be freed up to help with things like proper chairs (lugging tanks up and down a hill kills your back) and making said hill safe to navigate after rainy weather (an urgent problem), instead of putting extra costs on those of us who already paid a lot to be there, then I think morale at camp could be sky high.
That said, I truly enjoyed my time on the project and after only one day from camp I find I miss nearly everything about it (especially the people). I would definitely recommend to others, and would definitely return to Beqa if I ever have money again.