Kristin Dickerson joined the Media and Communications internship team in Greece internship in Greece for 6 weeks. Here’s Kristin’s take on life as an intern, internship activities, what it’s like interning within a multi-cultural environment, and her advice for others.
What was it like settling into your internship abroad?
It definitely took until the second week to find a solid groove and become much more comfortable in my new home. I would definitely advise others in similar situations to let go of the anxiety of trying new things and to let yourself step out of your comfort zones. The conservation work that I am exposed to here is eye-opening. At home, I constantly read articles, write papers, and contribute to lab experiments concerning environmental issues. However, during my internship in Greece, I have been able to experience these issues and fight to make a difference first hand and in person. My favorite part of the first week was the people - the majority of the native Greek citizens that I have met are kind, helpful, and funny.
What does your typical day/week look like as an intern?
The main goal of my internship placement (an NGO institute of marine conservation) is to not only collect and analyse data about wildlife in Samos, but also to relay this information to the community in hopes to spark public action.
As a part of the Media and Communication team, I regularly think of new ways to grab the attention of the public in an interesting and meaningful way. I use skills in photography and photoshop, social media platforms, website design, as well as my experience in science and scientific communication to keep the Greek community aware of the benefits our conservation efforts bring to the island, as well as ways in which people can play their own part in the environment protection efforts around them.
I spend each day cleaning the beaches of plastic, logging data of marine mammals during snorkelling expeditions, and personally discussing current issues with the locals of the community. I have played a major role in creating booklets, posters, and leaflets to advertise fundraising efforts for the Institute’s new marine mammal refuge and dolphin sanctuary project.
I also contribute each day to large projects such as macro-plastic surveys, bird surveys, monk seal surveys, and eco-navigation surveys. I’m learning skills in more active roles than I’m used to in school. I will be able to use this experience in a long-term career to push myself to go out and gather information and make a difference myself, rather than working only behind the scenes.
Aside from these activities of my internship, I have even become involved in planning English lessons and fun activities for refugees living within the community. When I first imagined Greece, I imagined beautiful beaches and sunny days. Though there’s plenty of this, Samos Island also has various social projects within the local community. The refugees I have met here are kind, interesting, and intelligent people. I am extremely humbled to be able to play a part in their journey and help them as they transition to a new culture.
What’s it like interning in such a multi-cultural internship environment?
There’s an incredible amount of multi-culturalism here - other interns come from dozens of different countries, background, and cultures, some of which I have never been exposed to. I’m interning and working alongside people from the USA, Greece, England, France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Australia, Scotland, Portugal, Italy and many more countries.
We use our cultural differences to spark new and interesting conversations, always eager to learn new things that we would never have known before coming together. I’m learning about the major differences in education, government, transportation, amenities, and language between the US and most European countries.
My perceptions of other cultures and ways of life are changing every single day as these immersions show me things I never could understand unless I experienced them myself. I’ve never met people from so many different countries, and I’m so excited for the opportunity to be able to work with them and bring skillsets from all over the world together.
Although it can be difficult to collaborate and communicate effectively sometimes between different cultures, my experience here has taught me certain skills. For example, when there is a language barrier, patience is incredibly important. As long as both sides are as clear and simple as possible in their communication, and can work together without frustration, communication can be very easy and effective. I believe that if I can find ways to break down so many language barriers and learn to communicate with those from all over the world, then I’ll be able to communicate with anyone!
What advice would you pass onto someone else beginning an internship in a culturally diverse setting?
I would advise keeping a very open mind, pay attention to everything around you, be patient and understanding, and never be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, especially when you have the chance to try or learn something new. There are thousands of incredible and diverse cultures around the world, and there’s few better opportunities to truly immerse yourself in different ones than an internship abroad. My internship in Greece has taught me an incredible amount of open-mindedness and gratefulness for things I never thought I would have the opportunity to experience.
Want an internship in Greece that will work for you?
Internships in Greece are available year-round and are offered in conjunction with Intern Abroad HQ’s guided reflection program. You’ll need to be passionate about conservation, have an adventurous and outgoing spirit, and be ready to get stuck proactively into dynamic activities. There is a minimum duration requirement of 4 weeks and a high level of initiative and independence is required. Come prepared to cooperate, contribute, and create!
Learn more through our Q & A style Greece blog.
To get started, submit an application online. Applications are free and non-obligatory.
After applying, we’ll send you more details about how to confirm and we’ll answer your questions too.
To confirm your participation after being invited to do so, you’ll need to take care of the US$299 Registration Fee. This enables us to provide services and pre-departure support. (Review our affordable internship fees online).
Get ready to book your flights to Greece! We’ll support you with prepping for your trip and other aspects of the upcoming adventure!