Internships in Thailand, with Intern Abroad HQ, support marine conservation initiatives and make a lasting impact. Interns with a passion for marine life, a willingness to improve confidence and knowledge in and out of the water, and a desire to develop underwater research skills and contribute to meaningful and impactful marine conservation, are encouraged to get involved! The Marine Conservation internships in Thailand provide education and training related to scuba diving, underwater research, monitoring and conservation. Situated on the tropical island of Koh Tao, the beaches are exceptionally beautiful, with white sand and clear turquoise waters. The program is available for students, graduates, career changers, and gap year travelers!
- Where in Thailand is the internship program located?
- How do I get to Koh Tao?
- When is the best time of the year to intern in Thailand?
- Do I need scuba diving qualifications for this internship?
- What will I learn and how will this benefit me?
- What can be expected from the food and accommodation?
- Are there any visa requirements for this internship?
- How much spending money should I budget?
- What are top tips for having a successful internship?
- I'm ready! How can I start planning my internship in Thailand?
Where in Thailand is the internship program located?
Our Marine Conservation internship is situated on the incredible island of Koh Tao, in the Gulf of Thailand. Its turquoise warm waters provide great visibility and abundant sea life, making it one of the world’s most popular diving and snorkeling destinations. This location provides the perfect setting for scuba training and certification, while also enabling participants to develop in-depth knowledge and understanding of coral reef ecosystems, threats to these environments, and ways in which they can be protected.
How do I get to Koh Tao?
You’d need to fly into Thailand first - the main international gateway is the Suvarnabhumi Airport (also known as Bangkok International Airport). You should then make your way to the Koh Samui International Airport (USM). After arriving at Koh Samui International Airport, interns will be required to (independently) take a short taxi ride to the ferry pier and journey (via ferry) to the island of Koh Tao, where the internship program is based. The ferry journey is only about 1.5-2 hours and the service operates twice per day, seven days a week. It’s possible to book this ferry journey online, in advance, and our Program Managers can provide assistance. Once you’ve arrived at Koh Tao, a pre-arranged driver will meet you and directly transport you to the accommodation.
When is the best time of the year to intern in Thailand?
Internships in Koh Tao, Thailand, have limited start dates, so you need to plan your schedule carefully. Given the highly structured nature of this program, start dates are only offered bi-monthly, commencing at the beginning of January, March, May, July, and September. The program is unavailable from November through till January, due to suboptimal weather conditions during this period.
Advance reservation is strongly recommended. Interns may choose to spend a minimum of 4 weeks, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. Note that advance arrival is required for anyone with no prior dive experience, who is planning to take all prerequisite dive courses on-site (at an additional cost), prior to the internship start date.
Whatever start date you choose for your internship, Thailand has a tropical climate year-round, with high temperatures and humidity. Koh Tao has enjoyable weather for most of the year, but the dry season tends to generally be between mid January to mid May, and the windy season tends to go from mid May to October.
Do I need scuba diving qualifications for this internship?
Yes, but don’t worry if you don’t have your qualification yet! We offer training which you can complete in Thailand, in advance of your internship start date. Training is available for different levels, so everyone is supported to qualify for this internship.
Just bear in mind that these courses have an additional cost, so ensure you work any extra training into your budget for the experience. However, extra training aside, the program fee for this internship covers up to 10 dives per week (subject to weather conditions) in addition to the rental of some dive equipment, including: BCD, regulators, wetsuit, fins, dive computer. (Interns are required to supply their own mask, surface marker buoy + reel, whistle, dive knife, and compass. These accessories can also be purchased when you’re in Thailand, through the local dive center).
If you need to do the full diving package, then you’d need to arrive two weeks in advance of your internship start date. In all cases, to commence this program:
- You must be able to float in a pool for 10 minutes unassisted.
- You must be able to swim 200 meters with no swim aids or be able to swim 300 meters using a mask, fins & snorkel.
- You must be medically fit to scuba dive.
If you are looking for a Marine internship that requires no scuba diving, we do offer our Aegean Marine Science & Island Conservation program in Samos, Greece.
What will I learn and how will this benefit me?
First and foremost, this is a professional scuba diving program, which offers participants with various levels of experience (from absolute beginner to fully qualified diver) gain a comprehensive introduction to topics including coral reefs, their rich and diverse ecosystems, threats to marine biology and ecology, and conservation measures which are undertaken for their protection. If you have a passion for marine conservation, then this internship provides an incredible opportunity to get out of the classroom and bring your textbook learning to life.
Short term interns (those joining for less than 8 weeks) should expect an introductory experience. This typically involves gaining an understanding of marine ecology, learning how to ID diverse marine organisms and their environmental threats, and the development of survey methods for underwater research, monitoring, and conservation. Interns have the opportunity to develop foundational skills and understanding of what balanced and healthy ecosystems require to thrive.
For those enrolled in durations of 8 weeks or more, you’ll become a crucial member of the data collection team, and assume a lead role amongst research dive groups. You’ll collect valuable data from Koh Tao’s reef ecosystems, contributing to collaborative projects with the Thai Department of Marine & Coastal Resources and academic institutions, as well as scientific research publications.
What can be expected from the food and accommodation?
All interns in Thailand are accommodated onsite at a partnered dive resort, located on the beachfront. This is conveniently located for all program activities (walking distance). There are also some restaurants, smaller shops and cafes nearby. There is a medical clinic opposite the resort accommodation, which can be accessed (also within walking distance).
The accommodations include an outdoor swimming pool, shared outdoor lounge area, free WiFi, terrace, bar and cafe. Selected rooms can also offer a balcony and/or sea views.
Dormitory-style (shared) bedrooms are provided for internship participants. Expect to share a bedroom with up to two other people. All rooms feature a fan, and bed linen, but interns must bring their own towel(s) and toiletries. Lockers are available. (Interns should bring their own lock). Onsite services include a reception desk for guest support and housekeeping staff.
Private room upgrades are available, at an additional cost, upon request. (If you want access to a private room with A/C, then please ensure that you organize an accommodation upgrade in advance!)
Meals are not included, as affordable dining options are easily accessible (including a wide range of both Thai and Western options). There are a number of restaurants located close to the dive resort where interns will live during their time on Koh Tao island.
Are there any visa requirements for this internship?
Yes, this is relatively straightforward. For passport holders of certain approved countries, it is possible to enter the Kingdom of Thailand under a Visa Exemption Rule. Therefore, for most interns participating up to 8 weeks, a visa on arrival can be obtained in Thailand. This visa will initially be valid for a duration of 30 days, however a further 30 day extension can be applied for from the immigration office located on Koh Tao island. (Any nationalities not included under the Visa Exemption Rule can independently apply to obtain a Thai Tourist Visa in advance).
For all individuals participating longer than 60 days (if you’re going to do the internship program for 8 to 12 weeks, for example) you will be required to apply in advance for a 60-day tourist visa. This can also be extended by a further 30 days from Koh Tao’s immigration office, providing a total of 90 days visitor allowance within Thailand.
After a visa has already been extended, travelers are required to depart Thailand before its expiry date. If you are a passport holder of an approved country, under the Visa Exemption Rule, it is possible to re-enter Thailand to obtain a new 30-day visa on arrival (of which this can again be extended by a further 30 days, totalling another 60 days in Thailand). Such return journeys can even be arranged with visa/travel companies on Koh Tao, which organize a complete door-to-door, 24-hour bus service.
How much spending money should I budget?
Your program fee for the Marine Conservation internship in Thailand includes your accommodation and pick-up, in addition to all of the associated internship activities. However, you will have to budget separately for your own travel expenses (such as flights, travel insurance, any vaccinations, visa costs, etc).
Should you require any extra dive training courses, this will need to be planned and budgeted for in advance. (In addition to any diving equipment that you’ll need for this experience). Let us know if you want more information about the training courses available, which can be taken in advance of commencing the internship activities.
During the internship, a weekly budget of approximately US$150 should be sufficient for covering meals, while also having extra for snacks/treats/drinks and public transportation.
Keep in mind that - depending on your own spending habits and lifestyle choices - personal budgets can vary enormously. Local eateries are often more affordably priced than products and eateries targeted toward international tourists and it’s wise to research tourism activities in advance to get an idea of what you’d like to do and how much you need to earmark for this.
What are top tips for having a successful internship?
The most successful interns are typically those who are adaptable, have a positive mindset, and are confident enough to ask for a little help or assistance when needed. Come with an open mind and the willingness to experience a totally different lifestyle. If you expect everything to be the same as it is in your home-country, then you may be disappointed by differences, rather than ready to broaden your horizons!
Previous interns recommend others to learn more about the local culture and customs in advance, to ease any potential culture shock. You can then go on to respectfully discuss insights with locals you meet, to learn more and find new perspectives.
Since the internships are focused on personal and professional development, there is a degree of personal responsibility and independence that are important to keep in mind. Expect that your first week on the internship will focus on building the foundations of what you are going to do/develop over the remainder of your stay. Make sure to take it easy on your first week and take the time to acclimate. Drink lots of water, get enough sleep, use insect repellent and lots of sunscreen!
I’m ready! How can I start planning my internship in Thailand?
Found your ideal opportunity? Don’t leave it to the last minute, start planning now! Submit your interest via our online application form (for free). We’ll review your application to confirm you’re a good match for your chosen internship program and that there is availability for the dates you’ve requested. We can then accept you into the program. Once you’re accepted, you can reserve your place - then let the adventure begin!