Hi, I’m Laura! I interned abroad to see some new places, gain some experience, and develop new skills in an area of interest for my future career. If you are interested in the Aegean Marine Science & Island Conservation internship, read on for some first-hand feedback about what it’s like.
Tell us about your internship in Greece! What are you involved with this summer?
This Summer I am completing a summer internship in Marine Science and Island Conservation, on the island of Lispi in Greece. I am part of the Institute of Marine Conservation’s multidisciplinary team. As part of this team, I am helping researchers conduct surveys, monitoring boat activity around the island, assisting with land use mapping and doing macroplastic collections and separations for cataloguing and so much more.
There are a significant number of important projects underway, so it is important that the Institute has the extra help from interns, so that research projects and studies are completed to a high standard and on time.
I will be working on the bioacoustics project in the next few weeks when there is less wind. However, I am currently doing a literature review on microplastics in the marine environment and their effect on sponges. I am also using data analysis to help with the data collected on surveys.
Why did you choose to do this summer internship?
For me, this internship was to see the other areas of the Earth and Biological Sciences that I did not cover in my undergraduate degree. I do not have any background in Marine Sciences, and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to gain an understanding of this are and to travel after finishing college. I also thought that even if I decided that Marine Science was not for me, that I would learn some new skills and gain an appreciation and an understanding of how I can contribute as an individual.
What new things have you been learning as an intern?
So far I feel as though I am developing many of my skills from university, including report writing and data analysis, both of which are critical skills for an environmental scientist. I have done optional workshops for GIS and R, and I feel like this will be very beneficial to me, for whatever area of environmental science I work in in the future.
Collaborating with interns and supervisors of diverse backgrounds and experiences on projects has helped me in further developing my communication skills. So, while I may not know what area I want to specialise in as a new graduate, I think that this internship will provide me with a great experience and a sense of direction after my 8 week internship is over.
How did you find out about this internship and why do you feel it’s important to support its conservation efforts?
It was just by chance that I came across this summer internship opportunity, but I do believe that more awareness about these kinds of opportunities needs to be created. This would bring more attention to the conservation work done here for the Aegean.
One thing I have noticed is the amount of work that everyone does. While the surveys do not take long there are several that have to be completed each day and all the data from these needs to be compiled and analysed. The work is never ending and constantly being added to. Having the interns here barely scratches the surface. However, the staff are so dedicated and passionate about their work, and they don’t mind.
Funding can be a challenge for non-profit, non-government environmental organizations, but I really admire the stance on funding taken by this team. They are careful to ensure that their work in the interest of marine conservation is unimpeded by politics. Therefore, the participation and support provided by interns who share similar values (when it comes to environmental conservation) helps the team to focus on the project work that matters.
What has been different about the internship, from what you’d imagined?
Honestly, I expected the work to be more intense and for the Island to be much less vibrant than it actually is. So, it is fair to say that this whole experience has exceeded my expectations!
There is a lot of work done during the day, but it is split up nicely. I am also with many other interns and supervisors who are very friendly and helpful, so it makes everything enjoyable, and time passes so quickly. At the beginning of the internship, I thought that once I arrived I would be thrown straight into work, but we had a very easy first week, to settle in and get acclimated. I really appreciated this, as the summer heat affected me, before I could get used to it. There was a tour and some general information presentations about how things work and what the organisation does.
After reading about the internship experience, in advance of arriving and starting, I expected Lipsi to be less likely than it actually is. The locals are very welcoming, and it is so laid back and relaxing here.
Joining with other internship participants has really helped in settling in. During free hours, I have made so many friends and I enjoy exploring the island as everything is within walking distance.
What advice would you give to others who want to join this internship?
I would tell anyone thinking of doing this internship, do not hesitate to come to Lipsi and join the professional and passionate team! It is a great experience on a beautiful island.
One piece of advice I would give is to take it light on the packing for your trip (there are pharmacies and supermarkets here!). Coming to a new place for such a long time when I have only been away from home for a maximum of 4 weeks in the past, I think I would have been more relaxed about it if I thought it was going to be this good. The food may not be 5-star but otherwise, I have had an amazing time so far!
How can I get started?
Our step-by-step guide on how it works provides you with more information on how to get started. The process is user friendly and there are two options you can take to get the ball rolling.
If you’re unsure of which internship program is right for you, you can simply check availability to submit an enquiry which will help us to point you in the right direction. If you want to chat over the phone, you can also find our full contact information here.
If you already have an idea of what you want to do, and when you want to do it, you can submit your application. It doesn’t cost anything and won’t take more than 5 minutes. However, your formal expression of interest provides the foundation for us to help you take the next steps.