Illegal and destructive fishing practices, intensive aquaculture, high levels of tourism and unregulated boat traffic, are all issues that pose increasing risks to protected marine species and habitats.
Alessandra Chapman recently completed Intern Abroad HQ’s remote Environmental Law internship. Here, she explains how her online internship with a leading Marine Conservation NGO combines science with legal action to help protect and conserve the Aegean Sea.
Interns who choose a remote Environmental Law internship have scope to learn about legal analysis in the fields of EU fisheries legislation and illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fisheries. Interns who wish to intern in-person can join Aegean Marine Science & Island Conservation internships, for a more multi-disciplinary experience.
Why I chose this online Environmental Law internship
I want to attend law school to study environmental law. As the climate crisis worsens around the world, I have realized that this is the best possible path that I can take and one that I will probably want to stick with. Climate change is a global problem! While I’ve always known that I am passionate about environmental conservation and sustainability, I’ve not had the chance to put that into action with any formal study.
As I don’t have a background in law or environmental studies, I needed to assure myself that this is what I could see myself dedicating my life to. This internship has been a crash course introduction into law and policy and how we can use it to protect the natural world. While my internship is relatively short-term, it has confirmed my feelings that environmental law is the career field I want to pursue!
Key tasks involved in my virtual Law internship
My internship research focuses on the US military’s environmental protections and how they ensure that their training activities do not harm natural resources. Being a member of the US military myself, I can bring a unique perspective to this research.
- I conducted vital research on US military environmental laws and policies, as well as their application, compliance, and effectiveness.
- I contributed to the institution’s projects with research that will be submitted to the Hellenic Ministry of Defence.
- I utilized US military policies to influence the environmental and conservation efforts of Hellenic military training and operational missions.
I was informed that the results of my research will be given to an environmental rep within the Hellenic Ministry of Defence, which definitely makes me realize that the work I am doing can do some serious good for the Aegean Sea and all of its resources!
What it was like interning remotely from home
Although I have become very well acquainted with online work and communication throughout Covid-19, this was my first real work experience which was fully online and with supervisors that I have never met in person. It was a bit of an adjustment but I learned more about the communication methods that I prefer.
I found the end-of-week Skype meetings immensely helpful to guide me for the upcoming week. Having a face to face conversation with my supervisor to run through any list of questions always set me on the right course and boosted my confidence.
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Interning in a cross-cultural environment
I was impressed by the willingness of my host organization to include scientists, attorneys, and students from all around the globe, and promote perspectives from the international scientific community. The organization works closely with universities in Europe, America, and Asia and their core team includes scientists from all over Europe, the US, New Zealand, and India. It is an important reminder that as humans, we all have a stake in environmental protections. We are all interconnected.
My favorite outcome from the internship
My favorite memories from the internship were the breakthroughs and discoveries I made either with my supervisor or throughout the research process. In my Skype calls with my supervisor, I would review the progress I’ve made with her and she would tell me if I was on the right track or not, and if not, what to look for as I continued.
I would also have this amazing feeling every time I made new discoveries of past research on coral reef or mammal protections, which I could use as part of my research.
How this internship supports my career change
I feel more empowered now finally having some environmental science and law experience under my belt. By switching careers after five years, I am taking on a challenge in which I have no previous experience. While I can use my Bachelor’s degree to get into law school and my major in International Relations to focus on the global issues of climate change and environmental protections, I never specifically studied environmental science or pre-law.
It’s great to now have experience that specifically covers the field in which I am trying to enter. I feel confident discussing my internship project with potential interviewers, and I can reference this project once I begin school. That’s definitely something I didn’t have before and I’m super thankful for it!
Biggest learnings from my Environmental Law internship
One of the most important learning points from this internship is that law, and the advocacy that comes with it, takes a lot of research. A big part of the task is staying organized and finding effective methods of managing the influx of information. I used folders on my hard drive to keep everything together and created a well-organized report to break down everything I had found.
I was also reminded of the fact that law is a very broad field. I feel fortunate enough to know already what I want to specialize in. However, there are a ton of specialties within environmental law as well! I could try maritime, wildlife, conservation, international, oil and petrol, green energy, etc. and even within those, there are multiple different issues and problems to solve. This point is something that I will keep in mind while progressing through law school, so that by the time I graduate, I have a firm grasp of where exactly I want to go and what would make me happiest!
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.