Location
  • Seychelles
Jul 13, 2020
Mar 26, 2022
16 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Join an internship program in the Seychelles where GVI staff, partners, and other international volunteers are all collaborating to create a sustainable impact. Each project focuses on habitat recovery, ecologies, or species research, and means that you work directly alongside field experts to improve your conservation skills and get ahead in your chosen career.

Whether you are; supporting the preservation of the country’s giant Aldabra tortoise, researching and protecting Lemon sharks, earning your PADI dive certification, or contributing to environmental awareness initiatives in local communities, the practical experience you gain is invaluable to your career development and future employment.

In your free time you could explore other islands, mountain rainforests, relax on tropical beaches, and enjoy traditionally prepared seafood, salads, and fresh local fruits.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Increase your employability by developing professional conservation skills and earning your PADI Advanced, Divemaster, and Coral Reef Research qualifications.
  • Live on the strikingly beautiful Mahe island, and explore other parts of Seychelles in your free time.
  • Contribute to necessary conservation efforts that are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Meet people from around the world who share similar passions for sustainable impact.
  • Become a global citizen, learning about universal issues and expanding your knowledge on different cultures, languages, and customs.

Popular Programs

Interns conducting research

With the sea turtle and lemon shark both considered as endangered species, your conservation efforts support their long-term sustainability. You will collect, tag and measure data on the population growth of the lemon sharks and sea turtles nesting habits, hatching rates, while also earning your ILM leadership qualification.

Student SCUBA diving

Experience the striking beauty of Mahe island, while earning your PADI Advanced and Divemaster qualifications, and Coral Reef Research certification. Develop technical marine conservation skills by learning to identify and survey native fish species and coral groups.

Student diving

In partnership with local organisations, earn professional marine conservation skills in researching, identifying, and surveying various fish species and coral reefs. You could also be a part of marine debris removal efforts and environmental education workshops.

Sea turtle swimming

Coral reef recovery is becoming increasingly necessary with bleaching events occurring world-wide. Contribute to local Seychelles National Park initiatives to protect coral nurseries, and assist in resettling larger corals onto the reefs. This is a way to gain first hand experience in the industry and expand on your conservation skills. You will also receive your PADI Advanced Open Water and Coral Reef Research Diver qualifications.

Program Reviews

9.45 Rating
based on 11 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 90.91%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
  • 5-6 rating 9.09%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Growth 8.3
  • Support 9.2
  • Fun 8.8
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 11 reviews
Default avatar
Linus
6/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Do I recommend it? Depends to whom. You might really like it or be rather disappointed

Tl;dr: My experience was overall balanced, 6/10. It’s a great programme on paper and many dive sites will let you experience great encounters with wildlife. The base management has also recently improved and everything is pretty well organised. However, the Seychelles base at Cape Ternay has a multitude of problems including high staff turnover, unreliable equipment (boat and compressor, diving gear is ok) and inability to manage effects of Covid-19. Also be aware that most participants are aged 18-23 and looking for a fun experience more than to create impact. If you’re looking for many serious and knowledgeable conversations about sustainability and conversation, this is not the place for you.

Long version:
I am a 34yo male from Switzerland. I was due to spend 2 months at the GVI base in Belize. However, 1 month before the start of the programme, I was advised that I had to choose another location because the Belize base hat problems getting the necessary documents to open. I chose the Cap Ternay Base on the Seychelles.

Unfortunately, I arrived shortly after a spike in Covid-19 cases on the Seychelles, which basically kept us in perpetual lockdown due to the Seychelles requirement of putting the entire group into isolation for 5 days if even just one person tests positive. Sadly, GVI proved unable to operate the base “safely” under these conditions, despite advertising that they could. This was less due to a lack of hygiene, but just the high infectiousness of Omicron which made new cases almost impossible to avoid. As a result, between Christmas 2021 and 07.02.2022 the base at Cap Ternay was in lockdown 4 times, for a total of about 22 days. This meant we were not allowed to leave base or dive (snorkelling was ok though). Under these conditions, the most reasonable course of action would have been to close the base until the Seychelles caseload or quarantine restrictions had improved. GVI however did no such thing, probably since that would have meant losing revenue.

Unfortunately, this is not where problems ended. When I arrived on base, the boat used to bring the volunteers to the dive sites was still in its annual service. After it finally was done, there were unidentifiable engine problems that staff could not solve by themselves. Additionally, the compressor used to fill the dive tanks is an old beast, which is both super prone to breakdowns. (Being petrol-fuelled, it also emits high amounts of CO2, quite shocking for an organisation dedicated to environmental conservation which has been on site for 16 years.) As a result, there were many days even outside of lockdown when we could not dive either. At least the program manager could rent boats and tanks from local dives shops sometimes so we got at least some dives in. But even these were sometimes cancelled at a moment’s notice.

A word on participants: the typical volunteer is in their early 20s and from the UK. A considerable number of people also arrives from the US or continental Europe. Based on a call with a sales agent I had hoped for more participants that were similar to my age (34), life situation (career change) and strong interest in sustainability, but that was not really the case. People were mostly looking for a fun time. Not necessarily a bad thing, but for me it killed a big reason for doing the programme in the first place. Just something to keep in mind. If you consider all these points, you will also know if chosing the (career) internship, as opposed to the volunteering, is for you. Are you a student or recent graduate? You might get some really valuable insights, especially if you are in the field of conservation. If you're already an experienced professional, you will get little value.

Finally, most people join a GVI programme to do actual volunteering work. But do not be fooled: since GVI does not provide any species identification training beforehand, you have to learn everything on base. This includes very interesting but time-consuming workshop and self-study sessions as well as “point-outs” where you go diving or snorkelling and a member of staff points outs species for you to identify. This makes sense, since animals may look very different in the wild compared to a power point slide. It’s also fun! But until you get to actually surveying fish or even corals, you have will have spent at least 4-6 weeks, even under optimal non-covid conditions. Studying invertebrates takes less time (about 2-3 weeks under optimal conditions) until you can start surveying. This means if you want to do actual volunteer work, you should plan for at least two months, otherwise you just spend your time training and on fun dives.

All that being said, when things DID work, it was an amazing experience. I loved the diving around Cap Ternay and surveying is super fun! Especially when you see what happens with the data you collect over the long term. Unfortunately, these brilliant moments are balanced by the many frustrating ones. To be fair: things improved greatly in my second month and base management knows about the issues and promises to improve them. However, I can only rate what I experienced.

Here’s my extended pro & con list

+ Knowledgeable, fun and friendly staff which is also fairly experienced when it comes to marine conservation
+ great location in between two marine parks which are great for both snorkelling and diving and have beautiful beaches as well
+ day-to-day live is generally well organised
+ Feedback is taken seriously
+ surveying is SO much fun!

- GVI staff and organisation unable to keep base running during covid, bad & short-sighted decision-making considering the circumstances. This was a really big downside during my stay, especially considering GVI’s absurdly strict no-refunds policy.
- Diving happens less frequently and is less impactful than they promise, for a multitude of reasons. After 9 weeks I had a total of 47 dives (out of a maximum of 90), of which 18 were surveys, 5 were cleaning dives (“DAD”) and 9 for survey training. Meaning a third of all dives had nothing to do with marine conservation, which I consider a bit too much.
- Base in need of significant investment: need for new, electric compressor, several parts of the base are in disrepair and lots of trash lying around on premises.
- Not very ecological operations. Air compressor is a fuel guzzler, cleaning products are not bio-degradable (bleach to clean floors is swiped directly into nature), the recycling station is the biggest mess I have ever seen, though improvements on all
- More education on sustainability and conservation could and should be done during the programme.

Pros
  • Knowledgeable & fun staff experienced in marine conservation
  • Great location in an island paradise
  • Surveying is SO much fun!
Cons
  • Bad Covid-management
  • Not living up to its potential for impact
  • Base facilities in need of investment
2 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hi there,

Thank you so much for taking the time and energy to leave such a thoughtful review. I'm thrilled to hear you enjoyed your GVI program overall and found surveying so much fun! I'm sorry to hear you were disappointed with the Covid and equipment-related struggles you experienced while on base. We have taken this feedback on board and are investigating the matter further. If you would like to chat with someone further about your experience please reach out to feedback@gviworld.com. We are a feedback led organisation and as such, place significant value on all input from our participants.

Default avatar
Sam
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GVI Curieuse, Nov-Dec 2020

It’s so hard to be fair to any organisation like GVI during COVID times, but I’ll try. They have been under a lot of strain as the pandemic has shredded their industry, and communications with head office have been patchy at times, but I must give them a bit of leeway here as they are firefighting an ever-changing situation.

Curieuse was not my first choice of project this year, but in the end, it was the only option, and with time off work already agreed and non-negotiable, I had to do something! GVI are not cheap, and they were not going to make it easy to get a refund, despite verbal assurances of full flexibility when I booked back in July for another pair of programmes. So, determined to make the best of a tricky situation, I set off for the Seychelles.

I have no complaints about the setup, the work or the onsite staff at all. It’s a magical island, and the basic life was pretty much as I expected, and works well. I have not felt the lack of anything really, and easy access to neighbouring Praslin means that little luxuries are usually attainable. The attitude towards COVID has been common-sense, and has not impacted my enjoyment of the work on the island.

The weeks are well-balanced with lots of early starts and early evenings, many of which allow us to watch consistently spectacular sunrises and sunsets. There is also enough time off at weekends to explore neighbouring islands, or simply relax. Each week there is a stimulating variety of surveys to complete, many of which involve energetic hikes across the island on rough trails, affording time to spot wildlife and enjoy the views.

The animals are magnificent and it’s a real privilege to be able to work almost daily with nesting turtles and shark pups. Jazzy and her team helped me to feel fully involved with the work and are very knowledgeable about the island and its ecosystems. They have also been consistently flexible during this time, adapting their schedules and the work to changing circumstances.

Eight weeks here has been time well spent, and I’m pleased with how it’s gone, considering that it was not my ideal project. As an intern, I was also able to find my own mini-project, which became about illegal poaching, and completing this added another dimension to my time here. I would recommend the project to anyone with a genuine interest in these animals.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Come prepared to get stuck in and get your hands dirty!
21 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Sam, thanks for your review! I'm happy to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

Default avatar
Caroline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Truly Amazing Experience Like No Other

I completed the short-term conservation internship program on the beautiful Curieuse Island in Seychelles from September to December 2019. The experience truly exceeded my expectations. I don't even know where to begin. The staff, rangers, and volunteers on Curieuse were all wonderful and friends that I'm still in touch with 6 months after returning home and expect to be for a very long time. The accommodations may not be the most glamourous but you are steps away from the ocean and always have the sound of waves to fall asleep to (also how many people do you know can say they've lived in ruins from an old leper colony?! Pretty cool!). As an intern, I had the opportunity to conduct my own research project which was one of my highlights (you don't need to know what you want to research before you apply for the program). Also, as an intern, you become certified in Leadership and Management (ILM) and get to lead volunteers on surveys, which was a fun way to introduce new volunteers to the amazing work GVI does and what Curieuse has to offer. While I was there I got to experience the peak season for sea turtle nesting and shark pups. I never felt unsafe (even though I was standing in water with sharks and stingrays) and the staff makes sure you are well prepared before being put into any situation. Although, the days can be long and definitely physically demanding (you will get very in shape and the hikes will feel easier every time you do one) the work is rewarding and you have the weekends to relax and leave the Island or stay and explore Curieuse!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Research or contact a staff member to learn when peak seasons or surveys are. A big part of what made my experience so great was being there for the peak pup season for Lemon Sharks (the survey I was most excited for and got to do way more frequently and catch way more sharks than if I had gone another time when seeing a Lemon Shark isn't guaranteed) so do your research! I would also recommend bringing clothes you are comfortable ruining or even leaving behind. You will get very sweaty and dirty and be hand washing your clothes. Bring multiple water bottles, the days are very hot and you can easily become very dehydrated, especially on full day surveys where you may not be returning to base in the afternoon to refill.
23 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Caroline, thanks for your great review! I am thrilled to hear that you enjoyed your time with us as much as you did. Your hard work and efforts have certainly impacted this project in a meaningful way. Please do keep on spreading your love for GVI. And obviously, we would love to see you back on base soon!

Default avatar
Jamie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Island expedition internship

I chose to complete an internship in Seychelles with GVI because I truly loved my experience volunteering with them the first time and thought it could only get better. I was absolutely correct! I spent six weeks on Curieuse Island and loved every second. I met wonderful people from around the world with similar interests as me. I spent my time learning about the island and all of its many projects from giant tortoise survey, sicklefin lemon shark catch-and-release, to my own intern project on land crab diversity on different beaches. I loved the daily hikes around the island and snorkeling experiences. Our down time we spent getting to know each other and having game nights. I would recommend this adventure to anyone looking to find new adventures and maybe a little peace and quiet.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I went wading in the shallows along the beach in front of camp early in the morning before breakfast and had a sicklefin lemon shark swim right up next to me just swimming along enjoying the morning.
22 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Jamie, thanks for your review! I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

Default avatar
Amie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best 3 months of my life!

Signing up for the short-term internship program on Curieuse was the best decision I’ve ever made. You have a chance to explore your own interests in the field while taking part in all of the exciting projects that GVI have to offer on this beautiful island. The staff are so passionate about what they do and the base is run so smoothly it felt like home after a few short weeks. Even if you’re just considering doing this program DO IT you won’t regret it. Like many before you you’ll fall in love with this island, it’s wildlife, tranquillity and of course the ocean, which is only metres away from where you sleep. It was the most incredible and happiest time of my life. I've had experiences I never even dreamed of and animal encounters that have amazed me.

20 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Amie, thanks for your review! I'm so happy to hear you had such a great experience with us. We welcome you back to base again sometime in the future. In the meantime, please do keep on spreading your GVI love!

Default avatar
Sophy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable 6 week internship on Curieuse

Over June and July this year I completed my 6 week internship with GVI on the beautiful Curieuse Island in the Seychelles. I learnt so much from this experience and gained new skills from all the awesome staff. Everyone I met there helped shape my time to be the best it could be and I'll never forget it. From the stunning beaches to the sweaty hikes, the cheeky tortoises to the cutest shark pups there was never a dull moment.

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing needs changing
21 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Sophy, thanks for your review! I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

Default avatar
Jon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Interning in Paradise

As an intern in the Seychelles, you truly have some once in a lifetime experiences. I still have to remind myself that it wasn't all a dream, it was in fact reality!

I was involved in a massive range of projects during my time on Curiuse. One day we'd me tickling tortoises to keep tabs on their progress, the next we would be wading swimming through the mangroves taking soil samples to measure the salinity and temperature. It's safe to say no two days are the same on this program!

I never felt out of my comfort zone when I was there too. The staff are all experts in their fields so they know the limits and have been doing it for years! They also know great places to go during your free time, so on the weekends we weren't short of ideas!

Cycling around La Digue, relaxing at the Paradise hotel and eating all of the ice cream on Praslin were just a few things we got up to as a group at the weekends.

19 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Jon, thanks for your review! I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

Default avatar
Sheila
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

home away from home

It was hard at first, getting used to living in expedition conditions. But I would recommend this program to everyone!! Its literally changed my life.
Diving two to three times daily, making some amazing friends ill have for life and memories ill forever cherish, all I can say is do it!!
Dont come here expecting luxury though, remember its a volunteer expedition and you have work to do. From cleaning, cooking, maintenance and studies, its not easy. It dosnt take long to get into the routine though and I am planning to go back again as soon as I can!!

What would you improve about this program?
Communication between the base and the dive shops needs to be improved, a lot of things were missed and had a few unexpected costs arise from this.
19 people found this review helpful.
Response from GVI

Hey Sheila, thanks for your review! I'm thrilled to hear you had such a positive experience with us and enjoyed your time on base as much as you did. We'd love to have you back on base sometime soon!

Questions & Answers