Coral Reef and Marine Park Conservation

Botond on the Marine conservation project in st Eustatius

By: Botond Polgári | Posted on: 06 Dec 2018

“I spent 3 months in the Caribbean as an intern. The application was surprisingly easy thanks to the lots of help by the Global Nomadic, especially Jeremy, and the

marine park manager  of St. Eustatius National Parks, Jessica. Getting there was pretty easy, at the airport I was picked up by Francois, the marine ranger. Luckily I got some days off to be over the jetlag. First, we were housed at the Caribbean Netherlands Science Institute.

The island is a small treasure but I needed three months to explore it well. I really appreciated that the other interns were helpful and guided me if I was lost. In the beginning, I was guided around the marine park.

The stressless life was sensible which means everybody was willing to help me, to teach me without pressure. A big surprise was the locals’ attitude towards each other. Everyone greets the other, waves at the other or uses the horn of the car. People are so helpful that I got lift many times, it did not matter where I wanted to go to. Although I thought there was no place to party at the weekends, in fact, there were some awesome places where we could feel good by dancing, singing and so on.

I gained a lot of experiences and knowledge during working with the project. Every week hid something new, but we had some projects as well. I could take part in the coral projects and learn all the methods from the preparing to the maintaining. We were spending the morning on the boat, diving a lot. During that time I have been able to learn basic ship handling techniques. I saw what makes a dive site suitable for scuba diving. The park possesses more than 20 dive sites, and these dive sites have the own beauty.


I had the opportunity to participate in other tasks of the national park such as working in the botanical garden. The environment had an effect on me there. Making the garden prettier and prettier at the foot of the volcano, in a more or less hidden place was fun. Furthermore, we conducted a beach mapping to estimate

the effect of erosion, beach cleaning, which surprised me how many kilos of garbage we can collect in one hour. It was awful to see with my own eyes what we cause with the plastics and other garbage materials. Additionally, the bird assessment made it more colourful. I could learn what the bird species of the island look like and sound like.

In free time, we went hiking up to the volcano Quill or in the Bovine National Park. There is no word what a person can meet there. I seriously felt I was in the Lord of the Rings. Of course, we visited the beach or went snorkelling, too. Or just throwing a barbecue party.

To sum it up, it was a great opportunity to learn new things, to gain experiences before continuing my study. I managed to get to know fantastic people”.



St Eustatius (Caribbean): Coral Reef & Marine Park Conservation




Protecting the Amazon

Emily Dryden volunteer in ecuador

By: Emily Dryden | Posted on: 04 Dec 2018

“On April 1, 2018, I set off on my first ever trip outside of the U.S. I knew I would be placed with an internship in Tena, Ecuador, and live with a host family but did not know much else. After three days of orientation with the program, I was assigned to live and work with the family and community just 10 minutes outside the city of Tena. My family operates a unique ethnobotanical park that has 15 acres of primary rainforest, an ethnobotanical garden, containing the most common rainforest plants, and a collection of caves that tourists frequent.

Emily Dryden volunteer in ecuadorMy responsibilities were to work with the family in their day-to-day tasks and also to observe and come up with a project in which I could use my unique skills to help them. The first few weeks, I observed and took in as much of the Kichwa culture as I could. I spent a lot of time with my host mom and her sisters crocheting and making artisan crafts. I was particularly interested in traditional medicine and and medicinal plants, so I gathered a lot of information from this as well.

Later in my stay, I began the project of creating a book of the most common plants in the garden. I interviewed many members of my host family about plants, which was incredible. They were able tell me so much about every plant in the garden just from their memory. With the help of a book that had descriptions of the plants in Spanish, I created a guidebook of 40 plants with Spanish and English descriptions as well as pictures of the plants from the garden. Other small jobs I helped with were creating labels for the different sections of the garden, routine cleanings of the park, and social media help.

Through my program, I also participated in project with a local school in Tena in which I and two other interns put on a three-class program about reforestation and the environment. Despite being surrounded by the Amazon, many of the children in the city schools did not know much about the rainforest or the plants in it! I was able to share the knowledge I had learned from my host family about medicinal plants with the students, and they were able to help me with my Spanish.

I definitely strengthened my Spanish skills. Along those lines, I believe I strengthened my communication skills, learning to communicate with my host family in a different language and with limited technology. I also gained confidence in not being perfect. I was super nervous to go into stores and speak poor Spanish at the beginning, but by the end I was going wherever I needed to, still with poor Spanish, but with confidence that I could get done what I needed. I also gained SO much knowledge about plants–recognizing them, some work with remedies and some work with planting them.

As a biochemical engineering major, I learn a lot about western medicine and how to modify things on the DNA level. Traditional medicine and this field are not Emily Dryden volunteer in ecuadoralways combined as they could be. I can see there being some potential with bringing the knowledge I have learned from the Amazonian plants to the world of the laboratories. Additionally being introduced to plants in the Amazon has opened up a new field of study for me that I may pursue.

Putting into words how this experience benefitted me educationally and for my potential career is extremely difficult, because this experience definitely has changed my life. Tangibly, this experience taught me so much about traditional medicine and medicinal plants. As a biochemical engineering major, I mainly see how medicine is made in labs, and it was awesome to see how medicine is directly taken from nature and used. I could see the collaboration of the traditional and western medicine being a potential project for my future.

Additionally, this experience opened up my worldview 100 fold. Before this trip, I had never traveled abroad. I now have new respect for protecting our natural resources, understanding native traditions, and balancing the complications that come with building up a developing country. I often found myself mentally distraught while learning about the struggles Ecuador has endured because the values we strive for do not always line up with success. For example, the average US citizen is all for protecting the Amazon, not realizing that the reason our country found success was through destroying many of our forests. I began to see the US from other countries’ eyes. This and so many other dilemmas I had never thought of came to light in my experience.

One of the biggest takeaways from my experience was learning to drop all expectations, and learn to enjoy whatever life wants to bring. Frequently on my experience, I would wake up and have absolutely no idea what the day would bring. Even if I had plans for the day, they could change at any instant. Between the frequent rain, less efficient communication, and a slower lifestyle, nothing was ever set in stone in the Amazon. While this was frustrating at first, I learned to love it. I stopped worrying about what I had planned and learned to appreciate what was happening in the moment. I believe that this aspect alone has made me more resilient and significantly happier as a person. I learned to stop putting the value of my day on what I planned to do, and instead on what happened and what I learned from it. It was a great practice in letting go of things I can’t control and letting God and the spirits of the Amazon lead the way. And in the end, everything was perfect. I believe that this practice will help me immensely in the future. I no longer look at what should have or could have happened, but what did happen and how that can help me.

There was a lot I couldn’t control in Ecuador, so I quickly learned to let go and just live. Life was much more exciting waking up without having any idea what I was going to do that day. While that same attitude is not always plausible in America, I can definitely use this new attitude when there are things I can’t control or something doesn’t go as planned. When I was able to drop the could haves, and observe the is’s, I was able to enjoy the small things that before were hidden. I think this will help my anxiety in the future. Second, I gained a new appreciation for mental and spiritual health. Before coming, I had dabbled with meditation and yoga, but wasn’t sold. Learning about shamans, good and bad spirits, bad air affecting physical health, and so much more, I realized how important it is to be healthy in mind, spirit, and body. I haven’t been back in the US for a week and I’ve already attended two yoga classes. I’m excited to up my mental and spiritual health now. I believe it will help me on so many levels, including my athletic career! I also gained skills working with different cultures as this was my first experience abroad!”


Amazonian Traditional Medicine, Herbalism & Ethnobotany in Ecuador


Becoming fully alive with the Fundacion

Lizzi Barker

By: Lizzi Barker | Posted on: 03 Dec 2018

“For 9 weeks in the Summer of 2018 I participated in an agroforestry internship through Global Nomadic. This opened me up to a company that produces and sells an energy drink made from guayusa, a ‘tea’ like leaf native to the Ecuadorian Amazon. I worked for the Fundacion, the non-profit initially attached before total separation in the Summer of 2018. The vision of the Fundacion is to improve local livelihoods and conserve tropical biodiversity by creating sustainable value for rainforest products. Throughout my agroforestry internship I undertook a variety of different roles and had the potential to participate in a number more, those of which I did participate in are listed below.

  • Creation and editing of monitoring guides.
  • Research into the health properties of Amazonian plants.
  • Creation and editing of communication products such as posters, handouts and product packaging.
  • Organisation of intern work.
  • Creation of a guide for future interns.
  • Creation and updating of vivero (plant nursery) inventory.
  • Reforestation project: rotating agroforestry fund.

The work I did with the Fundacion that I felt was most worthwhile was with the rotating agroforestry fund. It was the most rewarding in terms of the physical labour exuded and most insightful into how a non-profit project works to make a self-sustaining cycle incorporating both environmental conservation and livelihood protection. Work within this project involved number of different processes, each making up a cycle as shown below. One of the highlights of the internship was spending a few days with the Fundacion Local Community Coordinator (Leonardis) in the community of Mushullacta whilst monitoring the reforestation programme that had been implemented the previous year. Whilst staying with Leonardis’ brother and family, we would wake up to a breakfast cooked by the mother of the family (also the chief of the community), eat as a family, and then all set of to work, the children to school and the parents to their respective jobs. We spent our days hiking to nearby chakras to monitor the growth of plants alongside collecting information about the land owner and their chakras. After an intense day of work, we would then come home and await dinner whilst playing with the children of the family. The information collected during these field activities is then collated in annual reports that feedback to funders (in this case such as WWF) about the projects progress and act as proof of its ability to allow for reforestation alongside livelihood benefits.

With the help of a locally based social enterprise that focus on cross cultural exchange, the Fundacion interns are able to participate in traditional ceremonies that allow for further cultural immersion. In the Ecuadorian Amazon, these include forest feasts and traditional guayusa ceremonies, where communities wake up as early as 3am to drink guayusa tea, share ideas and interpret dreams. Weekends for interns are free and work days can be negotiated

(within reason) and the staff will willingly give recommendations on activities and guidance on how to get to points of interest. This gave me the opportunity to visit Yasuni National park, arguably the most biodiverse place on the planet. Here, we would experience the most beautiful sunsets and a plethora of flora and fauna. Our weekends were also spent canyoning in Banos, visiting botanical gardens in Puyo, swimming in Laguna Azul (Blue Lagoon) and hiking around lake Quilatoa and up Cotopaxi. The city of Tena where the internship is based also holds many opportunities for community immersion with ultimate frisbee being played weekly and daily free zumba classes taking place in Parque lineal.

This internship experience simultaneously lived up to my expectations and was very different to my expectations. The organisation goes above and beyond to provide intern support, with both pre and post departure orientations. The internship coordinators encourage being open about challenges being faced throughout your internship, such as culture shock and provide coping strategies for this. Runa in Kichwa language means fully alive. I believe that this internship gives a wider world view for interns and provided me with varying facets of knowledge such as emotional strength, academic growth and profession awareness, allowing me to feel ‘fully alive’ by being aware of my vision for my own future.”


Agroforestry Internship in Ecuador



Thanks for this experience!

By: Emma Desrochers | Posted on: 14 Nov 2018

“It was an incredible experience and truly different than just study abroad. It was a true dive into cultural immersion and I hope that everyone has the chance to have this experience. I really found another extraordinary part of myself that I had been pushing away for years. I found the part of me that was outgoing and confident. I learned to go with the flow and to relax and enjoy this life.

I am especially grateful for the children of the host families I stayed at. They taught so much about being carefree and just happy for what you have. They made me thankful for the members of my family that care for me so deeply. There is always something healing about the happiness of these children, even when they don’t have that much.”


Ecuador: Climate Change Mitigation, Agroforestry, and Sustainable Development




Indigenous Midwifery Report

Traditional Indigenous Midwifery and Amazonian Plant Medicine

By: Alexis Power | Posted on: 13 Nov 2018

“The experience definitely made me realize how much I love more traditional, organic forms of practicing medicine, and I don’t think I fit into more stressful, systematic medical environments. As long as interns go into the internship with an open mind and feel ready to really immerse themselves in a culture that is very different from theirs, then I think they would gain incredible life experiences from the program. It was well organized, Mika and Andy are very trustworthy and definitely know what they are doing, and they are happy to offer support however necessary at any point during the internship.

I feel extremely benefited by my enhanced perspective of medical practices worldwide, along with the interplay of traditional forms of medicine and Biomedicine. Then, in addition to that I feel like my immersion in another culture for a substantial amount of time is invaluable in how it guides my perspectives and interactions with the people around me both in and outside of my work life. I’m just super grateful to the organization for helping me to fulfill my longstanding dream of immersion in an another culture, learning indigenous medicine! Thank you for connecting me with the Kichwa people and giving me the chance to learn from people full of knowledge to share!”

Traditional Indigenous Midwifery and Amazonian Plant Medicine in Ecuador

Tanzania- Medical Placement

By: Lindsay Emrick | Posted on: 08 Nov 2018

“When arriving in Arusha, Tanzania I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.  But the experience exceeded my expectations.  I had the opportunity to volunteer at St. Elizabeth hospital for 2 months in several different wards including pediatrics, surgical/post-op and emergency/outpatient.  Everyday I had the chance to work

with very knowledgeable doctors and nurses and learned what it was like to be a health care provider in a third world country.  I was able to learn and help out in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to do in the United States.

In pediatrics the doctor we worked with always explained to us in detail about each of the patients conditions, how to examine them, and how to treat them.  We were given the chance to examine the patients on our own and test our own medical knowledge regarding what we thought may have been occurring.   In the surgical ward I was able to observe my very first surgery of a C-section.  During the operation the surgeon took the chance to explain to us in detail what they were doing step by step and explain how the team works together throughout the procedure.  When working with post-op patients I was able to treat wounds, clean burns, remove stitches, and work one on one with several patients.  In the emergency room I assisted in the first evaluation of the patients by taking all of their vital signs, examining their condition, documenting and triaging them appropriately.

The doctors and nurses were very patient with me and even taught me some Swahili in order to help me communicate and interact with the patients more efficiently.  Everyone at the hospital was so welcoming and friendly and taught me so much about the healthcare field.  I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, and I would recommend this program to anyone who has thought about traveling to another country to help out.  One day I hope to return!”


Medical Internship in Tanzania

Help save the water in Tofo!

By: CAROLYN RANGER | Posted on: 08 Nov 2018

“I participated in the Marine Research & Whale Shark Conservation Project in Mozambique for 2 weeks and time flew by as we were kept busy throughout. Every day was filled with a variety of activities that allowed us to develop an awareness of the issues that concern our oceans and its inhabitants. I believe that we did make an impact in this field as we walk away from the project being better stewards of the sea.

As my time was so short, I wonder on the difference I made to the project yet I am confident that through the discussions I held with other participants and the project leaders that some of my suggestions will be considered.

I encountered only a few challenges which were mostly related to transportation. I arrived a day late but I wasn’t informed that I had to pay for my own taxi. The second time we went to visit the community school, we had to pay for our transportation. Then, finally I had to coordinate my own transportation at the end of the project.  These are little inconveniences but are manageable.

I am proud of the pictures I was able to capture underwater. I strongly suggest that you possess a scuba certification prior to your arrival so you may benefit more from the dives and may get more immersed in the experience. It would have been nice to dive a little bit more.

I would recommend this experience to all those who enjoy the water and seek to get involved in a worthwhile cause.”


Marine Research & Whale Shark Conservation Project in Mozambique


Tanzania Medical Placement

By: Madeline Gurewitz | Posted on: 08 Nov 2018

“I first learned about medical projects abroad from a friend who went through a different company. After researching many programs I decided Global Nomadic best fit my needs and outlined what I wanted to get out of the experience. My main concern was safety while I was abroad seeing as how this was going to be my first trip to a third-world country and I didn’t have much background on what to expect. Thankfully, one of my project managers, Charles, was incredibly helpful in answering each one of my many questions ranging from what the accommodation would be to what everyday life would be like in Arusha. Overall, my pre-departure planning was extremely thorough so I would be prepared when I finally arrived in Tanzania. In terms of paying for the trip, I had been working and saving money so I was financially able to support myself and pay for the trip without fundraising. 

I arrived at Kilimanjaro Airport around 2 pm, just an hour after my friend who was also doing the project with me who was waiting at the airport with open arms. I was so thankful to have done the project with a great friend who would be my support system when I was feeling under the weather about halfway through my placement. The staff was extremely friendly and welcoming. We would soon become good friends with a few of the women that would come in and help out around the house, along with the security guards and chef! They helped u with our Swahili and gave us tips on local paces to go for a cup of coffee or day trip ideas. In terms of the local area a culture, I had researched the town of Arusha before I arrived so I would have some idea of what the town was like, however honestly that didn’t prepare me the way I would have thought. I understood that I was going to be living in a third world country and things would be drastically different than my hometown in California, but I don’t think there was any way I could have truly prepared myself for what life would be like there. Apart from the culture shock I had, it was nice to know that my fellow volunteers had gone through the same thing. They would give us little tricks and tips from how to stay positive when I was feeling homesick to what Dala Dala (bus) to take to get to the local mall. I made some amazing friendships there that I still talk to today, and I’ve been living back in California for a few weeks! 

Going into my placement, I had a Bachelors degree in Kinesiology and CPR/BLS certification so I knew I wasn’t going to be preforming surgeries or anything advanced. Even though I was not as qualified as other volunteers, I was still able to observe surgeries and small procedures, along with take vitals. Myself and a few other volunteers I became close with would rotate from the surgical ward, to pediatrics, to outpatient where we took vitals like height, weight, temperature,  blood pressure, and pulse. Personally, I felt like I was being helpful most in outpatient care because the job of taking vitals was what an experienced nurse was previously doing, so by us taking over,  there was an extra nurse available to help patients. I think the biggest challenge I encountered would have to be the language barrier. While living at the house,  the women that worked there would teach us the basics of Swahili so we would be able to communicate with he locals, however when it came to working in the hospital, knowing how to say “where is the bus station” didn’t help much. Thankfully one of the outpatient nurses taught us how to say the important medical terms we would need to properly take vitals. 

In terms of successes, I would say my I am most proud of going on this placement in the first place. I have always wanted to travel to a third world country and being able to help lend a hand in a hospital and explore an incredible place like Africa was incredible rewarding. Not only was the volunteer aspect very beneficial to myself growing as a person, but being able to meet amazing people and live in their hometown for a couple months was indescribable. We had the chance to go to a Massai village to see their way of life, travel to Zanzibar for a weekend, take a day trip to the Hot Springs, and go on a life changing safari. I think doing a project like this is something everyone should so at some point in their life, whether it is working in a hospital like myself, or playing with children at the orphanages, it will change your life. This experience was immensely humbling and eye opening which is why I hope everyone gets to experience a journey like this. “


Medical Internship in Tanzania