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  • Marine Biology
  • Australia & South Pacific
  • C

Fiji Shark Behavior & Conservation

21 Reviews
Overview

Survey the biology, behavior, and ecological and social importance of these formidable creatures up-close and personal in their natural habitat.

Observe and study sharks first-hand on dives in a controlled underwater environment at the renowned Shark Reef Marine Reserve (SRMR). Conduct research projects on their behavior, analyze conservation efforts and come up with a few ideas of your own, as many species are in danger of extinction and in need of protection. Discover the similarities and differences among different shark species in lessons, then dive down and witness these different sharks in action.

There is even time for a cultural visit in a Fijian village, where stories of an ancient protective Shark God are shared. Return from this trip having collected vital data and engaged in meaningful cultural exchanges.

DatesGradesLengthTuitionAvailability
June 9 - July 3 C25 days$7,280Available
Earn & Learn
Fiji Shark Behavior & Conservation Earn & Learn

Earn & Learn

Fiji Shark Behavior & Conservation offers 3 marine science college credits through Lesley University. Additionally, students earn 8 hours of documented community service and may pursue 4 certifications.

EXPERIENCE REQUIRED:
  • PADI Open Water Certification
  • Minimum 18 years old
  • High school graduate
  • High school or college biology
  • Minimum GPA: 2.50
  • Completed at least one semester at college or graduated high school over a year ago
ACADEMICS & COLLEGE CREDIT
Course Description

This course is a survey of the natural history, biology, behavior, ecological and social importance, and conservation of sharks. Coursework will consist of both academic discussions and field work designed to introduce you to the methods and equipment that researchers commonly use for shark research. Although the characteristics and ecology of local shark species will be stressed, we will also examine global populations and their relationships with humans.

Course Objectives
  • Examine sharks and their relatives from an interdisciplinary perspective that will include comparative anatomy, physiology, ecology, animal behavior, conservation and related international policy
  • Survey similarities and differences among major shark groupings and what characteristics distinguish them, including a side-by-side comparison of differences between bony fishes and cartilaginous fishes
  • Understand the importance of diversity and apex predators in maintaining “top-down control”, and thereby the ecological health of these tropical marine ecosystems
  • Examine the use of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), with a specific focus on the Shark Reef Marine Reserve (SRMR), in shark conservation and the importance of connectivity of marine habitats for the protection of mobile marine animals
  • Understand the importance of sharks and their role in Fijian culture
CERTIFICATIONS

During this 25-day marine science course, students will enhance their diving skills by completing 24+ scuba dives, for which they may earn multiple certifications including:

  • PADI Advanced Open Water Diver
  • PADI Fish Identification
  • PADI U/W Naturalist
  • AWARE Shark Conservation
COMMUNITY SERVICE

Through service, gain a more meaningful connection to the cultures and communities you explore while taking an active role to address important global issues at the local level. In Fiji, work with our partner organization in the Shark Reef Marine Reserve, Fiji’s first MPA dedicated to researching and preserving a local shark population. Collect data for the marine reserve’s database, which is used for ongoing research in areas such as population dynamics, species interactions and shark conservation biology. The projects give you the opportunity to become engaged members of the community by working with local stakeholders and neighboring villages for a common goal.

  • Collect and input data for Shark Reef Marine Reserve database
  • Contribute to our partner organization’s long-term conservation of sharks
  • Volunteer at a local primary school and with a local animal rescue center

4 Certifications

8 Service Hours

3 College Credits

Fiji Shark Behavior & Conservation Itinerary

Itinerary

Shark study abroad program for college students
1

Eager to get in the water, head to Pacific Harbor for an orientation and introduction to the Shark Reef Marine Reserve (SRMR), recently established to protect and study the resident population of sharks, and in turn aid in the long-term conservation of sharks worldwide. Here, structured dives offer divers and researchers the unique opportunity to watch these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. There’s no better way to examine the relationship between sharks and humans than by diving in the water with these amazing creatures.

shark studies in fiji
2

Under the instruction of professional researchers, observe and study shark biology, behavior and physiology, as well as the physical characteristics of the resident sharks of the SRMR. Get familiar with the research methods used by professionals out in the field and hone your surveying techniques. Then take your newfound knowledge into the field as you scuba dive with silvertip, grey reef, black tip reef, bull and tawny nurse sharks. Experience the thrill of studying these amazing creatures up close as they cruise along the reef slope and ledge that drops off into the abyss of the Beqa Passage. Collect and input data for the Swiss Shark Foundation’s studies on resident sharks, noting how many species of sharks you see on dives, the male to female ratio, who fed and which members of the named population showed up. Begin to identify the different sharks by name–— Hook, Crook, Big Mamma and Blackbeard, and perhaps have the chance to name one yourself. Learn about the relationship between the reserve and local villages, and how the project overcame challenges to create a successful balance between shark conservation, dive tourism, the interests of village fisherman, the local economy and the government.

college community service
3

After a warm welcome and formal introduction to the chief by the village spokesman, partake in a kava ceremony and feast at a traditional lovo while listening to locals tell stories of the ancient Shark God, the fierce Dakuwaqa. Take part in meke, traditional Fijian singing and dancing, and soak in the rich cultural experience. Learn about village pastimes such as cooking, weaving and dancing. Play games with the friendly local children and give back to this beautiful place by assisting with a service learning project. Venture to the Fijian captial of Suva, with it’s museums and vibrant markets, immerse yourself in this unique culture, and begin to see and feel the importance and influence of sharks on Fijian culture and vice versa.

shark studies & scuba diving summer program for college students
4

Back at the SRMR, continue your shark studies as you compile, summarize and discuss surveys and field research for your final projects. Talk about the role of sharks in the food chain and how they are critical to ocean ecosystems. Examine the negative impact of long line fishing, as well as the misrepresentation of sharks, from Hollywood movies to folk tales and myths. Take a breather from shark diving and enjoy the vibrant reef life Fiji has to offer. Soft coral dives in the Beqa Lagoon abound with over 250 species of fish from tiny critters to large pelagics. Encounter blue ribbon eel, lionfish, jacks, giant groupers, octopus and scorpionfish on unforgettable dives.

Fiji study abroad summer programs for college students
5

After 22 days of field study, discover newfound confidence in your research skills. Now, you can dive down and clearly differentiate species by defining characteristics. You can speak to their importance in an ecosystem, and fully understand the role and function of a marine reserve. Complete your trip with a whitewater journey down the Middle Navua River and marvel at rapids cascading down a stunning canyon lined with black lava rock, vibrant jungle and dazzling waterfalls. A feast on your final night gives you the opportunity to reflect and celebrate all you have learned and experienced on this extraordinary South Pacific adventure.

fiji summer shark study abroad program
  • Trip Highlights

  • Scuba dive with sharks while collecting data for your own research project
  • Study shark physiology, habitats, conservation and myths
  • Collaborate with local researchers to combat the misrepresentation of sharks in the media
  • Learn about the cultural and historical connection between sharks and Fijian culture
  • Kayak the Middle Navua River
Fiji Shark Behavior & Conservation Reviews & Testimonials

Reviews & Testimonials

Aadil N. from Columbia, MO

This was so much more than a college course; it was an experience that allowed me to learn, appreciate and experience the best parts of Fijian culture. I did not even think that was going to be part of the trip. Broadreach was not just studying abroad, it was learning to integrate into the culture and learning as much as we could about the people. I will forever suggest Broadreach to peers who are considering studying abroad.

Jessica O. from Center Moriches, NY

This experience was so much more than I was expecting. I got the opportunity to dive with some of the most amazing creatures on Earth, on one of the most beautiful reefs I have ever seen. Afterwards I learned about conservation of the underwater environment and specifically sharks in an open, comfortable, and often very passionate atmosphere. My fellow students are now some of my best friends, and people that I will remain in contact with forever. The two trip leaders I had, Mike and Honey, have given me so much, but most of all have inspired me to stay passionate and to use that passion to do things that can change the world in regards to the environment and conservation.

Aspasia Oosterwijk

We want to sincerely thank you for the extraordinary experience our daughter Kiki had on her incredible Fiji adventure. It was better than all of us could have ever imagined! She had the time of her life and surely a trip never to be forgotten! She absolutely loved diving with the sharks and can’t stop talking about it (and it’s already a week since she’s returned home). She met all new wonderful friends who share the same interests and passion for diving and shark research. Kiki had only positive comments about Karen and Dave (her instructors), including “they are so knowledgable”, as well as the dive staff!

Your program is exceptional and you have achieved the goal of creating a life-changing experience that goes well beyond the classroom as you said in your thank you email. From the start of researching this program, Imogen was a pleasure to deal with, as was June from the travel agency. Receiving a call from Dave before the trip was comforting as well. Then to see the amazing photos and updates to keep us apprised of the daily happenings of our daughter’s life changing experience was just the best!

Kudos to you and your staff for a truly fantastic trip and fulfilling my daughter’s dream since she was a little girl … “to dive with the sharks”!

Chelsea B. from Arden, NC

This was the most unique experiences of my life. I have always known I would do Marine Biology but after this trip I am certain my field will be shark conservation. I have been dreading graduating college this upcoming year, but now I am excited to go into the world and make a difference with this new found knowledge.

Mallory M. from Towson, MD

I have learned more than I ever imagined I would and not just academically, though I learned a ton about sharks and conservation.

I learned about different cultures- how they live, their traditions, etc. One thing I learned from the Fijians is to be happy and joyful in whatever you do. They always had a smile on their face and were extremely welcoming of us into their culture.

I learned about diving-oh, so much about diving; especially diving with sharks. I am proud to say that I feel so comfortable scuba diving now. I learned about my instructors and now best friends. We all came in knowing nothing about each other and left as a family and as lifelong friends. I know I will be visiting each one in the future; I can’t imagine not involving them in my future.

Most importantly I learned about myself; to take a leap of faith, to try new things and to enjoy each day to the fullest. Be kind (like the Fijians), ask questions (in lecture), take a risk (the whole shark dive thing), and be open to all people. Lastly, I re-affirmed my passion for conservation, and I met so many people who I can talk to about and connections for my future. I want to work with marine life and conservation, while integrating local cultures. I never thought about these approaches until this program. I am now ready to take yet another leap of faith and chase after what I want my future to be. I have the confidence.

Charlotte Francisco from Groton, MA

Shark Behavior and Conservation in Fiji helped me learn so much about the importance of sharks and their behavior. It really inspired me to be passionate about my interest in marine science and sharks in general. I also learned a lot about Fijian culture and my admiration for the country and the natives is so much more than I anticipated.

Christine Irvin

The Fiji Shark Behavior and Conservation Studies program was amazing. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and reinforced my love of the ocean and environment. Although the shark dives were incredible, the most rewarding experiences were on land. I enjoyed helping out for community service and the village homestay was truly an eye opening experience. I was able to meet new friends along the way, be immersed in the Fijian culture, and experience a trip of a lifetime, thanks to Broadreach.

Alyssa C. from Bellaire, TX

This trip was very special to me. It helped me to further explore my interest in Marine Biology and sharks. I really loved the work we did and hope I can continue it. It will help me make some decisions on a college major as well. Also, I learned to live with others and to learn about them as people. Experiencing this new culture was also an amazing experience. I want to try and do more of that when I travel next. This trip has most definitely left its mark on me as a person and I will take what I learned with me.

Claire S. from Astoria, NY

I can barely form words in my head for this trip, but I’ll do my best. This experience has been absolutely unreal. I learned so much about shark behavior and conservation and will definitely try to spread my knowledge. Along with that, I can’t even begin to express how honored I am to have been accepted into the Fijian culture. The dive staff were so welcoming and I feel as if I have a family away from home. I will miss everyone greatly.

Danielle Barbiero from Brockport, NY

This trip was an experience of a lifetime and fulfilled all my expectations. The shark dives are incredible and unforgettable. The trip to Beqa Island was amazing. The people you meet on this trip are invaluable if you are pursuing a career in biology or conservation.

Grace K. from Brooklyn, NY

The people I met, our instructors, group members, dive masters and biologists; it felt like family on and off the boat. I learned a lot about myself and the goals I need to set in order to make me a better/happier person. All through taking and interacting with people of different experience levels.

Catherine Santiago

This trip was the best way we could have immersed ourselves into the Fijian culture. We learned about the culture and the local problems which made you care and understand it more. I loved the cultural experience we got from the village visit and I feel that I actually saw the true Fiji and not just the grand tourist destination.

Ben B. from Barrington, RI

When I signed up for this trip, I had no idea what I was in for. All I knew was that I would get to dive with sharks and go to Fiji . What I did not know was how much I would learn about myself through building a small family of like-minded peeps. Not only do I return home with a wealth of knowledge about the local ecosystems and cultures, but with 9 friends (including the instructors) who I feel as close and comfortable with as I do with my own family. And that is truly priceless.

Marieke Oosterwijk

This trip was an experience of a lifetime. I was slightly nervous about being homesick since we were so far away, but as soon as we got here we had warm and welcoming instructors and seven great kids. The shark dives were incredible and like nothing Ive ever seen before. There are no words to describe the feeling of being face to face with majestic and magnificent, yet feared creatures in the Pacific Ocean. The Fijian natives were all so friendly and the dive staff was extremely helpful. The Broadreach was an amazing time and cant wait to come back.

Natalia Schoenberg

This trip was the perfect way to combine the cultural experience of a different country with the academic experience of my personal subject of focus. Whether we were diving with sharks or living with a traditional Fijian family, there wasn’t a single moment in which I didn’t feel like I was gaining life experiences that I couldn’t get anywhere else in the world.

Patrick Goebel from Independence, OH

This was the best trip I have ever been on. Diving with the bull sharks is an unbelievable experience. Pictures, videos and words cannot even come close to what you actually see and feel like when you are in the water with the sharks. I would do this program again in a heartbeat!

Victoria Gomez

Life Changing!
This trip help solidify my choice of becoming a Marine Biologist. Not only did it give me the passion to push on but pulled me in a totally different direction. If it weren’t for this trip I wouldn’t be who I am today nor living up to my full potential. From jumping in the water with heaps of sharks, to volunteering in a Fijian village, this trip opened my eyes to a world I never knew exsisted. A MUST DO! SO AMAZING!!! Best diving I have done anywhere in the world.

Sarah B. from Triplett, MO

I’ve done two Broadreach trips now and this trip has exceeded my expectations greatly. Both were wonderful but I felt in Fiji I had a home away from home with the dive masters and the Fijian culture. Everyone is so welcoming and sweet. It’s definitely a place to visit!

Lauren Torres from Hollywood, FL

Onshore experiences were some of the most memorable parts of the trip. For example, meeting the children and painting schools in small Fijian villages gave the whole group an amazing feeling. The people are warm and welcoming. They treat you as family and are grateful to have you visit and help out.

Ryan Djay from Kirkland, WA

The diving was the best I have ever done and Fiji was a beautiful place to call home for a month. I am going to try to take home the joy I have found here.

Scott Dalquist

O.M.G. Best trip of my life!! I will never forget this!!

Fiji Shark Behavior & Conservation FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:
What is included in the tuition cost and what additional expenses should I expect?
Answer:

Trip tuition is all inclusive for instruction, food, accommodation and activities from the time you arrive on location. However, you are responsible for your airfare, spending money (we suggest about $150-200), any required textbooks, and student expenses such as medical fees and optional college credits. Some trips require scuba gear which can be rented, purchased or in some cases borrowed from Broadreach. For more information about expenses that might apply to your program, click here.

Question:
Are flights included in the program tuition cost?
Answer:

Airfare is not included in the program tuition cost, mostly because students join our programs from all over the U.S. and other countries around the world. Some programs also have internal flights which are not included in the program tuition, and we’ll provide details on exactly how to book those once you are enrolled.

Question:
How does travel work?
Answer:

For most programs, we have a few recommended flights and an arrival time range, and we usually give you the option to book flights on your own or through our travel agency partner. A few programs have required group flights, which we set up in advance. Students travel independently, but often meet up along the way, and we collect student itinerary details. Broadreach instructors will be waiting in the arrivals hall of the destination airport to greet each student, and they’ll be wearing special shirts and holding a Broadreach sign. We also mail students Broadreach shirts to wear while traveling which makes it easy for them to identify each other. Typically, making travel arrangements and the actual travel days go very smoothly.

Question:
When is the application deadline?
Answer:

We accept applications on a rolling basis until each session is full. So, the sooner you enroll, the greater chance you’ll have to get into your first choice program and session! Some of our most popular program sessions fill as early as the fall.

Question:
What is the application process?
Answer:

Step one: submit your initial application online with a $35 application fee. If there is space, you can secure your spot with a $1000 deposit while you complete the secondary application. Step two: we will send you login details to complete your secondary application (academic reference, personal statement, interview, transcript). Once we accept your secondary application pieces and you’ve paid your deposit, your place on the program is secured!

Question:
What do the academics involve? What if I don’t take the program for credit?
Answer:

Academics will vary by program but usually include journals, discussions, lectures, research projects, and a midterm and final exam. We expect all of our students to participate fully in the academic course work on our programs, regardless of whether they have chosen to take it for official college credit.

Question:
How do college credits work? Where are those credits accepted?
Answer:

We partner with Lesley University in Cambridge, MA to offer college credit for our academic college programs. Those credits are widely accepted at colleges and universities all over North America, and we can often let you know if an alumni student has transferred those credits to a specific school in the past. For more information, click here.

Question:
How many students are in a group? What is the male/female ratio?
Answer:

The majority of programs will have a maximum of 12 students in a group. We aim for a balance of males and females, but in our experience, the gender ratio plays a small role in the success of each program.

Question:
Do most participants come alone or with friends?
Answer:

Most participants come alone, so there is no need to be concerned if you don’t know anyone else on your program. It’s normal to be a little nervous about not knowing other students in advance, but within a day of starting your program you’ll be laughing and sharing exciting adventures with new friends.

Question:
How does Broadreach address safety?
Answer:

Safety is our top priority, and it is something we evaluate from every angle throughout the year. We’re very proud of our safety record over the past 26 years of running international programs for students. There are so many ways to address how we handle safety, including the extensive experience and training of our instructors, the specific locations we choose to visit, the relationships we have established with our local partners, and the 24/7 support we provide our groups. We have extensive program-specific risk management plans and safety standards that we adhere to. We’d be happy to talk about safety in more detail for the program you’re considering if you’d like to call our office.

Question:
Do I need to purchase travel insurance?
Answer:

We require that students have at least $100,000 of emergency evacuation coverage and some kind of international medical coverage, as well as coverage for scuba diving for programs that include diving. We offer two different policy options, or if you already have a policy that meets this criteria, we would just collect those policy details after enrollment.

Question:
What does tuition protection cover?
Answer:

Our Tuition Protection policy covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state). It’s also a great comprehensive travel insurance policy, including medical coverage, emergency evacuation, travel delay, baggage (loss or delay), etc. The cost of the policy ranges from $319-379 based on the program duration. For more specific coverage details, please call our office.

Question:
Who will my instructors be?
Answer:

Broadreach instructors are highly experienced, passionate, energetic and supportive. The average age of our instructors is 28 years old, and depending on the program, they meet specific qualifications (a Master’s degree in the subject area, PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certification, foreign language fluency, Wilderness First Responder certification, etc).

Question:
Do your programs accommodate food preferences or food allergies?
Answer:

We do our best to accommodate allergies and food preferences but we consider the situation, country and the program to determine whether it will be a good fit for the specific dietary restriction. It’s important that you let Broadreach know well in advance of any food preferences or allergies so we can determine whether your restrictions will work on your program.

Question:
Can I contact Broadreach alumni families for more information?
Answer:

Absolutely! Just call our office and we can put you in touch with past participants who have joined the programs that interest you. Our alumni families are happy to share their first-person experiences.

Question:
Where will we be staying?
Answer:

Accommodations vary by program, from private villas to jungle cabins to beach cabanas to research stations. We love staying in smaller local accommodations with authentic character rather than big chains, and we rarely camp.

Question:
What should I pack?
Answer:

We provide an extensive packing list for each program that we revise every year based on student and instructor feedback, and most of the items you probably have already. If you’d like to look at a packing list for a certain program, just let us know and we can email the most current version to you.

Question:
How does payment work? Is the deposit or tuition refundable?
Answer:

We require a non-refundable deposit of $1000 to lock in your spot (pending your acceptance into the program), and then the final balance can be spread out and paid in a few different ways. The final payment is requested by about 3 months before departure. Our optional tuition protection plan covers cancellations for medical reasons up to 100% and cancellations for any other reason up to 75% (except for residents of NY state).

Question:
Do you offer any discounts?
Answer:

In the fall, we have a few different early enrollment discounts– please call our office for more information. We also offer a 5% discount on the second enrollment from the same immediate family in a summer. This offer is available to an individual student or siblings. The 5% discount will be applied to the program of lesser cost, and cannot be combined with any other discounts.

Question:
Do you offer scholarships?
Answer:

We do offer some scholarships through the Broadreach Foundation. Please visit www.broadreachfoundation.org for more information and to apply online for scholarships.

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