Upon graduating from Bangor University, I made what some of my friends classed as a ‘crazy move’. Rather than participating in a graduate scheme or looking for a job like everyone else, I told them I had applied for an internship with the Reef-World Foundation instead. I have always been fascinated by the marine environment, which was highlighted in my school year book as ‘most likely to be watching National Geographic’. But being around the oceans and learning about the species that live them is what makes me happy so when I was accepted on the internship I was delighted! Not only would I be leaving the dreary UK for the beautiful, tropical Philippines, but I was also going to be learning about grass-roots conservation and the processes involved. I couldn't think of a more perfect next-step after completing university and I would hopefully be able to put what I had learned from all those textbooks into action in order to benefit both local people and the marine environment. After a few flight delays, a rather scary night in Manila, a 2 hour bus journey and a 1 hour boat journey, I finally made it to Puerto Galera where I and my 2 backpacks and one wheelie case were greeted by Sam and Rebecca. It was so nice to see not one, but two smiling faces and I knew almost instantly I was going to have a great 6 months. I had a free weekend before I started work to adapt and learn about my surroundings including; how much to pay for a trike, how to kill a cockroach, lizards are your friends, ants are very partial to cereal and variable pressure in the shower – its better just to wash your hair in a bucket. I also learned that just a 5 minute walk from the apartment is Aninuan beach which is simply stunning and just a short swim out from the shore is a beautiful coral reef. I couldn't think of a more perfect place and I have visited the beach almost every day.
My first day at work was great, I was given the week to settle in, learn about the work carried out by Green Fins, read books and go out snorkelling. But by Wednesday I was given two tasks – fundraising and arranging a Beach Clean for International Coastal Clean-up day on the 20th September. I am now coming to the end of my second weeks work and already I have learned so much, ranging from shark conservation to stakeholder involvement and local outreach projects. I am really enjoying waking up each morning and going to ‘work’ and I feel I have learned more about real conservation in the past weeks than I ever did in two years at University. I can’t wait to see what else there is for me to learn over the next six months.
I would really enjoy your company on my internship journey over the next few months and hopefully I will be able to give you an insight into the world of real marine conservation and the new concepts I have learned. Life is the bubbles!