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C3 Internship Review – Rebecca Bunnage – Philippines 2011

November 30, 2011

After university I found myself in the situation most conservation students find themselves in; looking for work that requires field experience that I didn’t have. For that reason I chose to do this internship to gain the experienceand to have the opportunity to work abroad. At the start of the internship we were definitely thrown in at the deep end. With only a small team at this point and lots of work to get done, there were plenty of late nights and early mornings. The project was brand new when I got here so the first things to be done were the planning and preparation. The fact that the project was completely new actually made things rather hard at times and was the source of some frustration, but it’s all good experience.  It was a bit scary at first to be given so much responsibility in the planning stages, but it’s the best way to learn and I was glad of the challenge.

 

 

There are two aspects to this programme; the dugong project and the capacity building project. I was given the task of writing the proposal for the capacity building project and all that it was to consist of; IT and English lessons, a lecture series and a youth activity programme. I was also given the opportunity to write an article for a magazine which was exciting, as welllearning important skills such as GPS mapping and project planning on a larger scale than I was used to. Although the capacity building side of the project was all given the go ahead, there were some problems later on and a lot of it had to be put on hold which was disappointing.When the other half of the interns arrived the field work began, in the form of key informant interviews and seagrass surveys. I’d not been involved with KI’s in any work I’d done before but they are an interesting way to experience the lives of the local people in all the nearby barangays. Everyone I’ve met here has been incredibly friendly and generous. In fact one aspect of the internship that I’ve particularly enjoyed is being able to get to know the community so well. Living in a small town for three months has meant we’ve built some great relationships with the local people. Everyone wants to say hello as we walk down the street and the kids all remember our names; we’ve been made to feel really welcome and it’s great to have been a part of this friendly community.

With so many interns we often got our work done ahead of schedule, leaving us plenty of free time to have some adventures out of work hours. Being able to explore more of Busuanga and its beautiful islands was an important part of my experience of the Philippines. It’s such an amazing country and we’ve spent some incredible weekends camping out on empty beaches, snorkelling over stunning reefs and travelling on the crazy local vehicles. Spending this time and getting to truly experience the Philippines has been a once in a life time opportunity and something I’ll never forget. The one thing that has absolutely made this experience is the team of people I’ve had the chance to work with. To have a group of people from all over the world live and work so closely together for 3 months sounds like a recipe for disaster, but it worked brilliantly.

I’ll leave this internship with a newly inspired interest in marine conservation, fantastic memoires and a love of the Philippines.

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