Archipelagos is a fantastic opportunity, but only if you're able to figure things out and work without having your hand held. You're able to work at your own pace, focus on projects that you're interested in, and receive support and education from a variety of supervisors from different backgrounds. But if you're lazy or you need other people to motivate you, it's very easy to start getting bored with the program.
On top of the interesting work, the locale and social aspects were incredible. I made a ton of friends and we did something interesting/different almost every single night. The food was amazing and if you're a fan of nature, you're gonna have an amazing time.
What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
1. If you're a university student, CHECK FOR GRANTS. I cannot stress this enough. Almost every university has money set aside to award to students that are taking internships abroad and representing their university. My university (University of Toronto) paid for basically everything except my airfare. If you're interested in conservation work but the internship's fees are too high, go check with your university first.
2. Do research BEFORE YOU ARRIVE. Find out which projects are being done during the months that you're arriving, find out what kind of research is needed, and even get in contact with some of the supervisors there before you arrive. Your first few days will be a bit overwhelming and it's a huge help to already know what you're doing.
3. Keep your expectations in check. This is an NGO on a tiny island that focuses on marine conservation, not a billion-dollar research facility in an urban city. Wifi may be worse, and living conditions will not be comparable to a 5-star hotel. While some people may complain about this, I found it to be a great experience since many conservation-related jobs involve working in rural or isolated areas similar to this one.
4. Don't focus all on work. Yes, you're there as an intern, but you've also got evenings and weekends off. Make some friends and try some new things while you're there. I didn't miss home once during my internship because I had an incredible group of friends with me.