So I have now entered my third week of a five week internship, and I am having one of the best times of my life! It is definitely hard work but, not only has it really confirmed what I wanted to do with my life after uni (which is pretty reassuring), it has given me a wealth of experience that should help me get the next qualifications or placements I need. The leader of my internship has also agreed to act as a reference for academic qualifications I apply for, which is even more of a bonus as I might start applying for PhDs this year.
The picture is of me (with ginger hair)
an adult male howler monkey
almost ready for release.
My standard day here is getting up at 6:30am to feed the monkeys; this involves going into their cages and feeding them fruits, as well as mucking them out, and more often than not getting my hair groomed before I can escape. Then I help with a manatee feed, which involves catching a juvenile manatee in a large sheet and lifting it just far enough out of its water to bottle feed it some milk. After that I take the centre’s lone otter out for a swim in the lagoon, and feed her a chick to get her back into her cage when we’re done swimming. Then there’s another monkey and manatee feed before lunch. Afterwards there’s the third monkey feed of the day, we feed the otter again, and feed the centre’s other (larger and older) manatee. Finally we feed the monkeys once more and that’s usually it for the day, although we also carry out some basic maintenance around the centre too, such as repairing roofs and the mosquito netting over windows.
All of this should give me more to talk about in interviews, as well as being a fun experience. From aspirating a manatee, to tracking troops of howler monkeys through the jungle, I’m hoping it’ll set me apart from other candidates.
I’m taking a few days off the placement now to go travelling through Belize with another intern and someone who just completed their master’s project here, which is another advantage to doing an internship in a foreign country. For anyone else interested in a biological/conservation internship, the centre I’m doing mine with is called Wildtracks and so far I would strongly recommend it!
Ed (Student Blogger)