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C3 Internship Review – Elizabeth Windemeyer – Mauritius 2007

July 13, 2011

Towards the end of an aquarium internship I needed to start searching for the next step in marine conservation. My desires to learn about community centered conservation research led me to apply for the internship opportunity with Community Centered Conservation (C3). I was the first intern for Mauritius and anxious to be a part of the initial developments. I learned more than I even imagined. I acquired a taste of what kinds of obstacles must be overcome for such influential research to occur. I gained an understanding of the dire importance to obtain support from locals. I saw how C3 developed positive relations with university staff, fishermen, their neighbors, and many more islanders.

As an intern I was also able to interact with locals and learn about the cultural melting pot Mauritius is comprised of, from Muslim to Buddhists. I also saw the grant writing process and how to successfully finance projects in a developing country. Conserving the biodiversity of the Indo-Pacific, an ocean surrounded by developing countries, presents challenges that C3 boldly addresses. As a result, they carry out unique, valuable, and innovative research topics that truly impact marine conservation around the world. The internship provided me with life experiences in what it takes to set up a new organization, how to adapt to different cultures, introduced me to the Indo-Pacific and some of its biodiversity, and gave me some great friends I continue to keep in contact with.

I truly appreciated C3’s approach to establishing relations with Mauritians. They were never pushy but never taken advantage of either. They maintained healthy relations at all times. I also appreciated the respect and opportunities they gave me as an intern. They were always open minded to any new ideas I might have and supportive of trying some of them too! They truly provided an environment of growth, intellectually, culturally, and personally.

On a personal note, Mauritius was a beautiful island full of unique foods, fabulous markets, and great beaches. I still miss some of the foods and cannot find anything comparable! Weekends of exploration could guide you to gorgeous sugar cane fields, immaculate temples, or even just a secluded beach. C3 truly equipped me with unique experiences I almost always get asked about in an interview. In addition, I acquired skills I apply on a regular basis and memories I will never forget.

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