Cook Islands Community Development

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1. In Brief

Make a stunning tropical idyll your home when you join this unique and unprecedented project. Visit a place of unimaginable beauty, where you can discover ancient folklore and legend whilst making an incredible contribution to a deprived community in this most far flung outpost of the Pacific Ocean. This project – the first of its kind – involves living amongst the welcoming people of Aitutaki, one of the Cook Islands, and making an invaluable contribution to the development of their community and the futures of their children. You will be able to immerse yourself in the lifestyle of a people who live in harmony with their natural surroundings, and who have a special understanding of the flora and fauna around them – making this a chance to have a gap year, year out or career break that is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Develop lifelong friendships
  • Visit this tropical paradise
  • Immerse yourself in the local community

PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

  • Minimum age of 17 years

FAST FACTS

Location Cook Islands
Activities Teaching English
Play sports & games
Rejuvenation & rebuilding work
Community environmental programmes
Soak up your surroundings!
Transport Pick-up from the airport
Transport to the project site
Accommodation Local house

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go Pre-departure support
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Advice on visas & equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt (UK only)
In-country Accommodation
Project orientation and training
Airport pick-up 
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ backup

QUALIFICATIONS

A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.

2. The project

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?

The work on this project benefits from a varied schedule including teaching and a range of village community projects. Students will be interested in life where you come from. You may be able to get involved teaching other activities such as sports, music or science, if you are interested and have the relevant skills. Rather than just seeing teaching as a way of transferring knowledge, you are inspiring and shaping young minds. By investing your time and skills with the children of the Cook Islands, whilst also helping to rebuild the school that is so vital for the futures of the young people here, you are creating a lifelong legacy that will create and open up opportunities in their futures. Living at the heart of the community is an incredibly positive and special contribution, and will be recognised as such by the people here. This is an incredible experience that will hugely benefit the local communities, whilst building your skill base and giving you an absolutely unforgettable Frontier gap year, year out or career break!

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

Your teaching or community work will bring you into your host community as a welcome new member. You'll teach children basic English and other subjects of your choosing, and you'll have ample opportunity to play sports and games with them, put on plays and concerts, and a range of other fun activities; the only limit is your own imagination and creativity. Whilst being some of the most flawlessly beautiful places in existence, the Cook Islands are economically limited and largely rely on tourism for growth and income, which is a precarious and unevenly dispersed source of financial security. Outside of the central larger islands, many of the smaller atolls suffer and education is under-funded and very poorly resourced. As well as teaching, you may be carrying out vital rejuvenation and rebuilding work, getting involved in community environmental projects or marine projects and other community activities depending on your skills, interests and what you would like to organise! As this project is not strictly structured it gives volunteers a great opportunity to really make a difference in their own way.

At the end of the day you are free to explore the islands, try a range of activities, or simply relax in the heavenly surroundings!

3. What to expect

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?

You will fly into Raratonga (the main island in the Cook Islands) from here you will take an internal flight to the island of Aitutaki, where you will be met by friendly local representative. You will have a day to acclimatise before being introduced to your school.

WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?

You will be lucky enough to stay in a local house right in the heart of the community, where you will be provided with mosquito nets and electric fans and where you will have access to all the basic facilities that you could need. Although basic, the house will be warm and welcoming, and you will soon feel fully immersed into local life.

WHAT WILL I BE EATING?

This is a self-catered project, and you will be able to buy local food from the nearby grocery store. The house has kitchen facilities for you to use. This gives you a great opportunity to experiment with local food such as fresh fish, fruit and vegetables and 'kumara' (sweet potato), as well as chicken and other familiar foods such as rice, eggs, cereal and bread. 

4. The reviews

Everything is going great!  | 12 May 2017
Everything is going great! i love the school and the people and the islands, yesterday i was out ...

Read more


A small island but so much to explore!  | 9 Jan 2017
Charlie's first update from a long term placement in the Cook Islands: Just a quick email...

Read more


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5. Gallery

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6. Extras

ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

The striking natural beauty of the island provides a myriad of opportunities and possibilities for your spare time. Explore the many beaches where you can enjoy a picnic in the lovely surroundings next to luminous waters that are perfect for snorkelling. See shoals of multi-hued and tiny tropical fish by diving or snorkelling one of the spots on the reef that are recommended for their great biodiversity. Other activities you might like to try are Aitutaki nature tours, where you can discover the plethora of birds, insects and much more that thrive in abundance here. In the evenings visit one of the "island nights", where you will enjoy the sight of some of the traditional dancing that is very popular here.

7. Dates and Costs

COSTS

4 weeks $2,095

Extra week $395

DEPARTURE DATES

This project is unavailable:

Sat 15 April - Sun 30 April (2 weeks)
Sat 22 July - Sun 6 Aug (2 weeks)
Sat 7 Oct - Sun 22 Oct (2 weeks)
Fri 15 Dec

Term dates 2017:

Mon 30 Jan - Thu 13 April

Mon 1 May - Fri 21 July

Mon 7 Aug - Fri 6 Oct

Mon 23 Oct - Thurs 14 Dec

 

DURATION

 

You can join this project for a minimum of 4 weeks

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go

  • Pre-departure support
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Advice on visas & equipment
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt (UK only)

In-country

  • Accommodation
  • Project orientation
  • Project equipment
  • Airport pick-up 
  • In-country emergency support
  • 24-hour international HQ backup

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Nearest airport(s): Aitutaki (AIT), Rarotonga (RAR)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Flights

Flights are not included in our trip costs. However, we have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with us. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact our dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .

Visas

For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.

Insurance

You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.


LEGAL STATEMENT
Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

8. How to apply

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.


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