project review

Aitutaki is a paradise!

Review submitted by Andrew Hamilton
Review date 17 Nov 2019


I know it sounds cliche, but teaching in the Cook Islands really was a life changing experience for me. I completely fell in love with the people, culture and, of course, the sun in the Cook Islands.

The project takes place in Aitutaki, a smallish island of about 2000 people. Aitutaki is a paradise; if you imagine the perfect tropical island, with crystal clear waters, tiny coconut clad "motus" and pure white beaches, you will have a pretty good idea of Aitutaki. It is stunning. But the most overwhelming part of it all is the people, who are, by far, the friendliest, most welcoming people I met on my travels. As one of the few tourists on the island I stood out, but the I was completely accepted into the community by the joyful people of Aitutaki, who helped me in many ways, ranging from arranging an international call to England on my Mum's birthday, showing me how to husk coconuts and giving my tours of the lagoon. 

As for the project itself; at some times it is tough, at some times stressful, but always a wonderful experience. I was thrown in at the deep end, given a class of about 25 9-11 year olds, which was a little intimidating at first, but with a bit of planning and a lot of improvising I held it together and had a great time. Help was always on hand from the other teachers who were genuinely lovely people. By the end I had made strong friendships with all of my class and was a little heartbroken to leave, even if some of them were cheeky little rats at times! 

After class finished at about 2 PM I was free to explore the island, sun bath on the beach, join in the village volleyball or simply nap in the shade of my porch. This is a fantastic opportunity and I would highly recommend it to anyone.