Do you sometimes feel more at home in the water than on land? Does the world under the sea fascinate you more than the idea of scaling mountains or discovering the mysteries of outer space? An internship (and eventual career) in marine science may be perfect for you! Focused on understanding, protecting, and educating others about the important role that marine systems have on our daily lives, a marine science internship will give you a chance to learn these professional skills first hand.
Thankfully, we live on a very wet planet, and there is no shortage of opportunities to learn about and work in the marine sciences field. In some ways, you're limited only by your personal and professional interest and aspirations. If you're ready to dive into a career in marine sciences, take the first step and find the perfect marine internship.
Photo credit: Frontierofficial.
One of the biggest aspects of marine science involves improving our collective understanding of the world we live in. This means a whole lot of research and study is involved, as we track how ecosystems and species adjust to changing marine climates over time.
Whether it's counting members of a dolphin pod or measuring coral reef square footage, research is an important part of the entire field, and many internships focus on helping you master skills in this area.
Another important task for all marine scientists is in helping restore environments that have been damaged or altered to try and support the original species and biodiversity they once had. While this is far from an easy task, if you have a passion for environmental restoration, you can learn skills as an intern that you'll be able to practice throughout your whole career.
Similarly, environmental protection is another important skill you can practice while on an internship in marine science. This can be everything from helping protect coastlines from erosion to staking off areas of the beach when turtles come to lay eggs. Part of every marine science career involves doing your best to have a minimal impact on the ecosystems and species you study.
An unsung and land-based part of the marine science industry is on the administrative side: handling paperwork, managing permits, and policy-making, as well as lobbying and fundraising. These may not seem like glamorous parts of the job if you've dreamed of spending your working hours in scuba gear studying anemone and starfish.
However, it's also a pivotal aspect of your professional development. An internship should hope to give you insight in this area, too.
Where to Go
Luckily for you, the world is covered in vast majority by water -- many of the world's countries have coastlines, and nearly all study marine sciences in at least one form. Here are some of the most popular, but don't be afraid to think outside the box when looking for internship placements.
Among the top spots in the world for marine research and study, Australia's coastlines afford interns a wealth of opportunities to learn professional skills firsthand. Whether studying reef bleaching along the Great Barrier Reef or tracking any of the fascinating species that call the Australian waters home, there's a lifetime's worth of marine work here.
This small island off the coast of Africa might seem an unlikely option, but as the last known home to the Dodo in the 19th century, you can easily get a sense of how Mauritius could be compared to the Galapagos for land-based biodiversity and marine wildlife. Many precious marine ecosystems are still being studied around Mauritius, offering great opportunities for internship placements.
Costa Rica is easily one of the most popular spots for marine research and work, and there are thus lots of opportunities for internships in this Central American country. From conservation to research, you can find it all in Costa Rica, and also enjoy environmentally friendly tourism activities on your weekends.
Peru is a multi-faceted country, from a diverse food scene to a mountainous archaeology hotbed to wonderful surfing along the coast. It also offers a unique opportunity marine interns, in the form of the Amazon river. The world's longest river holds many secrets which you can work to discover as an intern in the region.
Understandably, Ecuador and the Galapagos are an unparalleled opportunity to study marine conservation with one of the most unique and isolated ecosystems in the world. From turtles to seabirds and fish, the wildlife in Ecuador are the stuff of most marine science intern dreams!
Planning Your Trip
Where to Find Marine Internships
Marine internships can be found in several places: through private companies, through higher education directories, and through government organizations that oversee marine science work in their country. Start by researching companies you know in the field to see what kind of opportunities they offer to interns (if any). Pay special attention to the titles they list for interns, as Googling these same job titles may yield other results at companies you haven't yet considered.
Tips for Applying
When it comes time to apply for internships, the general tips about making a successful application are always relevant: find ways to make your application memorable or stand out, and be sure to highlight any relevant experience you have in the classroom or in the field.
Additionally, consider allowing your passion for the field to show: many people reviewing applications share a similar passion, and this may help your application convey some of the same energy you'll bring to your internship responsibilities.
Depending on the type of internship you are placed on, housing may or may not be included in your internship. Most likely, more rural placements will provide housing (and potentially meals) as part of the benefits package, since housing may be scarce. If you end up in a major urban center near water or commute to work from a city, you'll likely be responsible for your own housing and other necessities.
Contributed by Valerie Stimac
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