Ischia 2019

Dolphin research italy

I found out about this “dolphin and whales project” through google which redirected me to the Global Nomadic webpage. The location was very practical for me as I could book a direct flight to Napoli and then it was only 20 minutes by bus to Napoli harbour and 1h30 by boat to Ischia. The ferry takes you to one end of Casamicciola harbour  and the “Jean Gab”, our scientific boat, is at the other end of the harbour (10 minutes walk).

Barbara, the head of the project had given me all the necessary information on how and when to get there. The team on board was very flexible about the hour of arrival which allowed me to drop my bag in the morning, have a bit of touristy walk, a swim and then head back for the briefing.

The boat is fantastic, very beautiful, comfortable, perfectly designed to handle the sea; and there was plenty of space for all of us. As we came back to the harbour every night, we could enjoy the bathrooms of the Marina and a hot shower every evening.

Angelo the captain is a marvellous cook, who uses only fresh ingredients and adapts to any diet.

All these elements made us feel welcome and at home so the team of volunteers and the crew bonded immediately. We are still in contact now and plan to visit each other from time to time.

We learned a lot about cetaceans in this area: the different species, how to recognize them, how they behave, interact and communicate. It was a first time experience for me to really hear dolphins and sperm whales. It was amazing.

Our main job was to take shift for observation and spotting cetaceans. We also helped another association by counting some endangered birds at sea. And we took pictures and films.

I feel this project had an impact on the conservation of the species we observed and  public awareness. Most people from the island I talked to, didn’t know their sea had such animals still living there and it made them realize that they have to be more respectful to nature, that the Mediterranean sea isn’t a dead sea and that they have a real treasure at hand. They were all very interested. The association has already managed to get part of the waters to become a sanctuary and we have seen a sperm whale that was spotted 15 years ago for the first time! All the recordings of the sounds will be analyzed in the winter and have been helping the scientists in understanding a lot about behaviour since the project started. So it is very important to continue and help this project to survive.

I would definitely recommend this project as it always feels like an incredible chance to see those beautiful animals in the wild. The island of Ischia and its surroundings are also worth the trip. The food and the atmosphere were excellent and we had a great time even when we couldn’t get at sea due to the weather. Jean Gab is also an amazing boat. The team was very welcoming and interesting. They all knew a lot and we could have discussions forever.

Whale & Dolphin Conservation in Italy


Environmental Research Internship

Through out my duration at this project, I had a very challenging yet rewarding experience that has forever changed me for the better and i would gladly do it again. The internship itself was both what i expected and not what i expected at the same time. I would say the project made an impact at the individual level; However, not on an international level which would be a future goal for the project in my opinion. The organization that i worked with was a popular internship for students from the Netherlands since it was a dutch program but by no means was it known internationally.

I believe that if the project gained international popularity, they would make a larger impact as an environmental project. I do think i made a difference at this project because i worked hard on my field of study and i worked with several other students on numerous other projects. I think the most challenging aspect of this project for me was the fact it was a solely a Dutch program (unbeknownst to me) where 80% of the students were from the Netherlands. I think this made it challenging because although all the students spoke english, it was a completely different culture and most of the students spoke their native tongue for the majority of the time. It was hard to be one of two American students and feeling like an outsider for quite awhile. It wasn’t until two and half weeks in that people finally started opening up to me and i started making friends. Even though the adjustment phase to the people, the environment, and the schedule was tough at first, once i got comfortable and started making friends it was amazing. I overcame these challenges because no matter how out of my element i was, i remained outgoing, energetic, and positive which i think drew people toward me in the end.

I think the successes i am most proud of are: exceeding at my internship, making friends from all over the world that i will have for the rest of my life, and most of all: being open to all adventures and learning experiences that Costa Rica and my internship had to offer. This project did meet my expectations and the owners of the organization were both kind and welcoming. I would definitely recommend a project like this to a friend but i will say that i would also recommend they do their research and try to find a project that had a better diversity of students. In the end, this was unlike any internship or experience i have ever had but at the same time one of the best and i will treasure it for the rest of my life.

Environmental Research Internship in Costa Rica


Panda Care

wei panda care project china

This is definitely a lifetime experience and I learned a lot in this program. We spent the first two days in the city Chengdu and visited one panda base here. Also, we tried some local food and got to know each other in this program. We then moved to the Bifengxia Panda base to start the volunteer work. Our major work was to clean the enclosure and feed the panda. It’s the first time that I can get so close to this beautiful creature, and it is totally different from a sightseeing tour in the panda base. In this program, we also learned a lot about the food, habits and current situation of panda. We recognized the bamboos which panda majorly eat, we also made panda cakes for them.

During the leisure time, we had some cultural activities to learn about Chinese culture and language. I definitely recommend it for people who love pandas and want to do something for them. I do not know how much I have done for panda, but this program changed me a lot. It made me more determined in the animal conservation works and I hope I can make it my lifetime goal to care about our beautiful neighbors. Thanks this program to give me a wonderful summer vacation.

Panda Care in China


Discovering the Aegan Sea and the National Marine Park

I participated to the Dolphin Research Project in the Marine National Park of North Sporades in the first week of September. It all started at the beginning of the summer, I was looking for a job on Linkedin and saw an opportunity to participate to a marine biology project in Greece, thanks to Global Nomadic, I’ve always wanted to participate in a volunteering program since I’m a young kid, and this seemed like THE opportunity for these years. I saved some money over the summer for all the transport and living expenses.

I took my tickets knowing that I would miss the beginning of classes, but to me, an experience on the field is more worth it, and that’s in that mindset that I wanted to spend the week. Learning from skilled and genuine people, seeing what could be done, what could be thought to make things better. I reached the port of Alonissos on September 2nd in the afternoon and immediately got warmly welcomed by Kimon, the marine biologist in charge of the project for the summer, and the information staff. I met Dimos and Lila, two other volunteers that became my friends over the week. I spent a lot of time with Kimon, who told me more about the project and about how we would proceed. The 3 first days of research in the boat with captain Kostas, Kimon and the others went quite unsuccessful in term of spotting dolphins. This was mainly due to the weather conditions, the wind not letting us have adequate visibility. However, I learned so much (mainly thanks to Kimon) about the region, Mediterranean Cetaceans characteristics and how they have been seen behaving in the area.

The dynamics of the Marine National Park were very interesting to me, and indeed necessary to have a better understanding of the project goal(s). The Alonissos island is amazingly beautiful, and the area around the port and the people I met there were was as amazing (I will only mention it but the food I ate for a week there was truly godlike). On Thursday I got the opportunity to dive, I saw so many fish ! I feel like the fishing restrictions of Alonissos really have a positive impact, not only on the fish but also for the dolphins. Kimon told me that over the past three years, this area of the Marine Park became the only place in the Mediterranean sea where populations of the Common Dolphin were increasing, traducing a healthier environment for them. I really think that this project can make a difference for the future.

By analyzing behaviours and dynamics among and between the Common and Bottlenose dolphins, there is a chance for us to make the changes or implement the regulations needed for their protection and conservation. I got lucky and saw them ! It was an amazing moment, from the moment we spot them coming to the boat, and the whole time they’ve been spending around us. You could feel the excitement of the other volunteers on the boat as well, such crazy sensations when we interact with wildlife ! I’m very happy that we were able to see them even with the wind conditions. This was the reward of a whole week spent literally scanning the sea.

Finally, I spent so much time with people from the World (Portugal, Spain, Brazil) and I’m so glad that I got able to learn more about Greece and its people. I don’t think I could have experienced a better position for my first time in Greece and I would recommend this project to any nature lover, that want to know more about the REAL Greece, not the one you see in touristic pictures.

Dolphin Research Project in Greece


Whale Shark Conservation and Marine Research: My Experience

alicia boatman Whale Shark Conservation and Marine Research

Upon arrival at the tiniest airport I’ve ever been to, I immediately met with other volunteers and project staff who were there to welcome us and drive us to the project site. I never expected to make such fast friends with the other volunteers, however the common interest we shared in volunteering, conservation, and travelling, connected us all instantly. Over the course of the month, the volunteers, scuba shop staff, and project leaders truly became family. Tofo is a tiny, close knit community where you quickly know everyone; this creates an incredible atmosphere that feels safe and extremely fun.

alicia boatman Whale Shark Conservation and Marine Research

As someone who came to the project having absolutely no scuba diving experience or knowledge, I was a little afraid that I would struggle to learn, or would not be able to learn quickly enough, however the staff and my amazing dive instructors were able to help me overcome my fears quickly and get me out scuba diving immediately.

Seeing my first whale sharks, manta rays, dolphins, humpbacks, sea turtles, stingrays, and sharks was the most unfathomably incredible experience of my life. The size of these animals and their ability to live in a world so different from ours makes it so magical to swim along with them. What made it even more special was that while I was swimming with them, I was also collecting data that would in turn be used to help improve understanding and conservation.

Between ocean safaris and dives, this program gets you out into the ocean frequently, where you can quickly develop not only your diving skills, but also your scientific data collection abilities in a marine environment. Data collection and data entry are an important aspect of this volunteer role, and are also great skills to put on a resume! Overall, volunteering with Whale Shark Conservation and Marine Research, has been the most humbling, rewarding, and education experiences of my life.


Marine Research & Mega Fauna Conservation in Mozambique


Mongolia: TV & Print Journalism Internship

Mongolia: TV & Print Journalism Internship

Though my internship in Mongolia was quite short, it was very productive. I gained new experience and learned the way Mongolian TV works. I appreciate the opportunity to work with both MNB and TV5 channels. These two channels are very different. Therefore, I managed to observe TV journalism in Mongolia from various perspectives.

The first 3 days I spent working with MNB World at the ABU Asia-Pacific Robot Contest (ABU Robocon). As I was the only member of MNB World team who could speak Japanese, I assisted in communication with Japanese team and Japanese sponsors on site. It was a great opportunity for me to practise English-Japanese interpretation. Furthermore, I worked as a camera operator at the event. It was a good opportunity for me to master my camera operation skills, as I do not have many chances to film such big events as ABU Robocon by myself. Usually at such events I cooperate with a pro cameraman and only film by myself at the events of smaller scale. So, it was very exciting for me.

The rest of my time I worked with TV5 Mongolia. The biggest challenge for me was communication with the team as they could speak neither English nor Japanese. Only one lady could speak Russian, and nearly all my communication with the team was either via this person or via Google Translate. But on the bright side, I managed to pick up some Mongolian phrases.

Every day I went with a different reporter and a cameraman to cover daily news. Most of the time I just observed their work, but sometimes I interviewed foreigners in English, Russian or Japanese and did some fact-checking concerning foreign statements. I assisted to prepare numerous news, among them “WHO provides new equipment for the local hospital”, “3 killed in a car crash accident in Ulaanbaatar”, “Buddhism conference at Gandan Monastery”, “New fashion trends in Mongolian traditional clothes”, “A new road will ease the traffic in UB”, “International Marathon Mongolian Steppe”,  “Beginning of a new study year at school”, “Khovd province watermelons”, “Korea and Mongolia cooperation conference”, “A man killed his wife”, “The 80th anniversary of the Victory of Khalkhin Gol Battles Exhibition” and so on.

In addition, my everyday task was to pick up recent news and articles about Mongolia from foreign resources. I checked resources in English, Japanese and Russian and then prepared a short summary in Russian so that my Russian-speaking colleague could translate it into Mongolian and make more news on Mongolia from a foreign perspective. We broadcasted about 2-4 such news every day.

I came to Mongolia in a very busy period. In fact, a lot of events for the 80th anniversary of the Victory of Khalkhin Gol battles were held in Mongolia within this period and it was a good chance for me to contribute to TV5 work. I even had an opportunity to participate in live broadcasting at Khui Doloon Khudag during the performance of the Russian Knights (Russian Air Force). I was on air commenting the event in Russian language. On 3rd of September Russian president visited Mongolia and parties signed a new treaty. Unfortunately, I could not cover this news by myself because as an intern I did not have a journalist ID and therefore had no access to the venue. However, even staying at TV5 office I provided my team with necessary information and updates from Russian media.

To sum up, I am very proud that I contributed in news coverage on relations between Mongolia and Russia, also I learned a lot about how Mongolian TV channels work. There a few things that differ from Russian and Japanese TV and I feel I can put into practice some of them in my future work. This internship made me better as a journalist. It was not only a good journalism experience, but also a great life experience for me. I met nomad families, I lived with a modern Mongolian family, made a lot of friends all over Mongolia, studied Mongolian worldviews, values, culture and history. This internship expanded my horizons. I feel very inspired to continue exploring the world and to keep improving my skills in journalism.

As for TV5 crew I feel that I made some small changes in their office too. As you might know, about 59% of Mongolia’s residents are under age of 30. Most of TV5 crew members are about 23-30 years old and do not have much experience in communicating in foreign languages. For many of them, I was the first foreigner they tried to communicate with on the daily basis. And they did their best. Many of them started paying more attention to foreign languages. I believe that if they know foreign language better, it could be really beneficial to TV5 work.

Live broadcast at Khui Doloon Khudag, Mongolia. One of the events for the 80th anniversary of the Victory of Khalkhin Gol Battles.

TV & Print Journalism Internship in Mongolia



I developed in so many meaningful ways

Peru: Micro-enterprise Business Support

This experience was amazing, but that doesn’t cut it. I developed in so many meaningful ways, yet in so many small ways as well. I learned the importance of flexibility, of hard work, of deep relationships. We got to see how the members of local communities live, how they work, and how they have fun. It was incredible to see. While the work was at times tiring and gruelling, at the end of the day, it felt great to see that we had helped the communities grow and continue to see improvements. The staff were fantastic. Every single staff member was helpful, hard-working, organized, caring, and just plain bad-ass. They supported us on the project and off, and I hope to stay in touch with them for a long time.

Micro-enterprise Business Support in Peru


Finding this programme was a dream come true

South Africa: Anti Rhino Poaching Project

I have always known that two of my greatest passions are making a difference to the world we live in, and animals; animals of any size or shape, even if they’re not cute and fluffy. After leaving behind the sciences when I went to study at university, I thought my opportunity to work with animals or the environment had completely slipped away. However, to my absolute delight I found out about the wildlife conservation programme in Limpopo, South Africa. Finding this programme was a dream come true, but I had no idea the impact this trip would have on my life.

The four weeks I spent on Karongwe were unarguably the most valuable four weeks of my life. Every day held new awe-inspiring moments, from the breath-taking sunsets every night, the variation of wildlife around you out on drive everyday, or even just the stories shared with other volunteers while sat around the braai, under the clearest night sky imaginable. For me, one of the most amazing aspects of the experience was how lovely and knowledgeable the staff are, and how they would never tire of you asking them questions about anything and everything. I cannot get over how much I learnt about the wildlife and I am so grateful for that. I also gained so much from the reserve work as it is great to physically see what you have done, even if it is absolutely exhausting, knowing that you have made a difference. The trips into the near community were also a huge highlight for me as it really opened up my eyes to a whole other world. I could not recommend volunteering for the wildlife conservation programme in Limpopo more. I have made memories that will last forever, made friends from all over the world and been inspired to pursue a career in conservation.

Anti Rhino Poaching Project in South Africa