My experience with IGS’s Internship Around the World program was both illuminating and inspiring. Through this program I had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii, Fiji and Australia and catch a glimpse of their natural beauty and the cultures that cultivate them. As a biologist, I was excited to find an internship that focused on marine biology in these amazing places. In Hawaii we studied the effects of tourism on spinner dolphins, we assisted with the fingerprinting of green sea turtles by taking photos of their profiles, and we received certification as humpback whale naturalists. In Fiji we studied reef ecology, specifically looking at sea grasses and the incredible biodiversity there. We became scuba certified and had the opportunity to go on several dives. We also discussed effects of climate change, as a huge area of coral had been bleached due to abnormally high water temperatures the year before. And lastly, in Australia we stayed on an island near the Great Barrier Reef, where we spent more time learning about reef ecology and conducting independent research.
While studying the biogeography, native flora and fauna, and human impacts on ecosystem health, we were also immersed in rich histories and traditions through a village homestay in Fiji, camping in the Australian outback, and hearing stories of Hawaiian mythology while watching lava from an active volcano flow into the ocean. For me, these experiences uncovered a compelling relationship between humans and the natural environment, and I started to develop a better understanding of the connectivity and interdependence between them.
Overall, this internship broadened my perspective on the interaction between environmental, socio-cultural and economic issues while reaffirming my interests in biological sciences. It helped me realize that environmental stewardship and problem-solving is centered around the interface between humans and the natural environment, and moving forward involves a multi-faceted approach that incorporates the needs of the locals, scientists, engineers, businesses, and administration involved. This motivated me to pursue an interdisciplinary Doctorate that would allow me to advance in a career that facilitates a more collaborative process between researchers, the public, and policymakers to create positive change in regards to healthy ecosystems, cultural needs and the economy. I feel lucky to have been able to participate in this program, and I hope others are able to take advantage of this great opportunity to learn and grow through ICE’s many internships.
Tiffany Yap, M.S.
Doctoral Student, Environmental Science and Engineering, UCLA
Mix and match internships in two or three countries. Choose whatever topics/locations you dream of. We will tell if it is doable or not. Typical durations are 4-12 weeks per internship. The above itineraries are just examples. You create your own program.