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Costa Rica: Environmental Research Internship report

“Immersed in the middle of Costa Rica nearby a small village called San Miguel, I got to experience first hand with biodiversity data collection, permaculture and reforestation. Contrary to other places in Costa Rica where, for quite a high price, I was only offered to interact with animals kept in refuges’ enclosures, I encountered real wildlife at their door step: sloths, armadillos, kinkajous, coatis, toucans, oropendolas, tayras, one caïman and so many other multicoloured birds, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and insects! At this farm, where we were all staying, activities included: setting camera traps on the wild trail; learning about and helping on the permaculture garden; biodiversity plot counts; sustainability and environmental work; tropical plant research and drawing; normal gardening (also encompassing clearing paths and redirecting rain water); walking the two adorable dogs; evening’s cards, games or films on the newly installed flat screen and sometimes going to the local bar! Once to twice a week, depending on people’s projects, we also went to the reserve. There, in the middle of the jungle, we were checking on the newly planted trees’ health and collected data on fauna accompanied by either Hanneke or Maarten (who run the project) and Tapa (a local guide) as safety always came first. During the weekends, at our own cost, some of us travel in smaller groups to Puerto Viejo, Cahuita, Turrialba where we enjoy beaches, national parks and obviously bigger bars!

All of this comprised a bed in a sturdy wooden bungalow type of room shared with two others (max of 4 per rooms) and three Costa Rican meals a day made by two women from the village. Although having no biology background, I was surrounded by knowledgeable students who took their time to explain everything in English. I was the sole non-Dutch speaker and, without requesting it, all students surprised me by doing their final presentation in English!

I sincerely recommend going there. To my knowledge, you won’t experience anything like this in Costa Rica where you can really see and help wildlife in their natural habitat surrounded by knowledgeable people.

A special thanks to all the students who made me feel very welcomed for over a month and of course to Maarten and Hanneke who always took the time to explain everything properly and answer all my questions. It was definitely a new engaging and enjoyable learning experience!”


Environmental Research Internship in Costa Rica


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Alex B