Volunteering and Internships for Students
I have been here on the Perhentian Islands for about one month and I’m still excited for the beautiful landscape, the warm people and of course the amazing turtles we are working with daily. On the 10th my teammate Joel, Kinsey and Elliot and me saw the first turtle nesting at Tiga Ruang during our night patrol. It was so amazing seeing the turtle laying her eggs in the sand, measuring her carapace and taking photos of her for photo identification!
Teaching women through the Women’s Empowerment program, I was able to deeply connect with the Nepali women I worked with, even considering the huge language barrier between us. It was a joy and honor to teach them. I We spent the lessons laughing and actively interacting with each other, ensuring that they were learning as much as possible. It was very hard to leave them after three weeks. In such a short time, they embraced me into their world.
A truly memorable experience was refereeing two days of soccer. The monks truly love the sport and had a 2 day schoolhouse tournament, which I was requested to referee. The youngest monks were the spectators and cheerleaders, beating plastic bottles and plastic drums, cheering their houses on.They played on a small pitch dug out of the side of (literally) a mountain, the ground was dirt and the goals made out of metal poles. In two hours of soccer, I think I only had to give a single foul, which to me exemplifies the spirit of comradeship and gregarious nature of these incredible people.
In addition to the teaching, I got to work at an orphanage in Kathmandu. I cannot explain the affect of those astoundingly beautiful children. Just to hold a child in need of a hug. To feel a hand slip so readily into yours simply to feel love and affection freely given. To feel special to someone. It bursts your heart. Their delight in each other and what little they have is truly inspiring and I will never forget them.
I spent five weeks in Punakaiki, at the New Zealand Conservation Experience project both as my first experience outside of the United States and as my internship. It was kind of nerve-racking at first because of being somewhere totally new and not knowing exactly what to expect, but in the end, it was totally worth it!
The intense learning process began the very first day we arrived, teaching us physiology, behavior and survey methodology of different sea organisms, as well as different aspects of the ocean. At the same time, what we learned we practiced in the ocean through surveys, collecting valuable data for the Seychelles National Park Association (SNPA) to monitor the coral reefs in the country.
Then I discovered the one-month Greater Kruger Area Wildlife Photography and Conservation project. Living at Dumela Lodge in the Greater Kruger Area surrounded by game reserves I returned to the wonderful world of the South African bush. We walked, drove, and camped as we improved our photography skills and captured birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, flora, landscapes, lightening, sunrises and sunsets.
Through the photography aspect of the program I was given the perfect opportunity to increase my photography skills in the midst of one of the most bio diverse places I have ever been. GoEco provided us with amazing photographic opportunities through the many day trips we took. Whether it was Kruger National Park, The Blyde River Canyon, or Khami Reptile Park the photographs turned out absolutely amazing. Not to mention the fantastic daily game drives in local reserves.
There is a very special thing about this population, you can form relationships without much conversation. Even though I speak basic Hebrew, it wasn’t enough to converse; however, I was able to make quick connections with the participants by engaging in the activities that they enjoyed i.e. jewelry making and card games.
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