'A life-changing experience'

Photo of Isabel Lundberg wearing a green pleated skirt and gray shirt in front of a two-story white building with brown balconies in Fijig in Fiji

Volunteering abroad is a great way to gain experience while exploring a new country for NDSU students who love to give back through service opportunities. 

Isabel Lundberg, a junior nursing major from Walker, Minnesota, volunteered in Fiji this past summer. During her time abroad, Lundberg taught second-grade math, reading and spelling.

Lundberg, who always has loved traveling and exploring new cultures, said she enjoyed learning about the culture and traditions of Fiji, as well as taking excursions to various parts of the islands. From her time in Fiji, Lundberg said she was able to obtain valuable experience she can apply to her major and future career.

“While it may seem that being a nursing student may not correlate with being a second-grade teacher, it does teach you how to be open-minded, considerate and more than anything, it teaches you to have compassion,” Lundberg said. “I was very thankful to have the opportunity to immerse myself in a culture so different than my own.”

In addition to the experience she was able to gain from volunteering, Lundberg said going to Fiji has changed her worldview. 

“I learned more than I can even begin to describe while being in Fiji. I would say that this was a life-changing experience for me,” she said. “The way I view the world is completely different. I am thankful for what I have and want for less. The Fijian people live a life based on gratitude. I can only hope to live my life the way the Fijian people do. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone. In the future, I plan to go back and visit all the friends that I made in Fiji.”

The trip was offered through an NDSU Study Abroad Services partner that offers a variety of opportunities to volunteer abroad.  

Tanya Kramer, the director of Study Abroad Services, said volunteering abroad is a way to connect to other cultures. 

“The value of volunteering abroad is the meaningful and compassionate engagement with people in the host culture. Being a conscientious global ambassador means learning from others and building connections that ultimately influence your worldview,” Kramer said. “Volunteering abroad is perfect for any major, but especially for ones whose careers are dedicated to serving people.”

Lundberg recommends students interested in traveling abroad take the trip as it’s a great chance to meet new people.

“If you are considering studying abroad, I highly recommend that you do. Go even if you don’t know anyone else going. I made more friends going by myself than I would have going with friends. The memories you make will last a lifetime.”

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