Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation

Why choose Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation?

Archipelagos, Institute of Marine Conservation is a Greek non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to researching and defending the biodiversity of the Greek seas and islands.

Archipelagos’ work focuses on a combination of multi-disciplinary scientific research with efficient conservation work, in which the local communities play an active part. This work creates a strategic foundation that enables and strengthens Archipelagos’ campaigns at a local, national and EU level, to defend the rich biodiversity of the eastern Mediterranean from the ever-increasing human impacts.

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Yes, I recommend this program

My experience at Archi

I interned in Archipelagos for 6 months, some of the most formative and life-changing months of my life. Samos was a truly magical experience, the kind I would wish on everyone at least once in their life. The people I met and the friends I made, will stay with me forever, this much I know for certain. If you want my opinion, I’ll talk on three aspects of life in Archipelagos.
First off, the technical side. If you’re like me, the first thing you would look for in an internship are the transferrable skills you would gain. The work experience bit. As someone who went there as part of my placement year, I believe the skills I got were extremely useful. I worked as a marine mammal research intern, which meant I got to go on boat surveys, learn how to recognize behaviour, species identification, and processing boat survey data. Aside from this, having personal projects meant that you could focus on something that you were interested in, adding to the research part of the experience. The supervisors were always super helpful, and would organize little workshops from time to time, for example programming with R, RavenPro, QGIS, SOCPROG etc., in addition to helping you navigate these softwares if you had a project that involved using it. These software skills are things that I would not have picked up in uni otherwise. We are also encouraged to join other teams on surveys even if you are part of just one, so we get to try a little bit of everything- I’ve been on many terrestrial surveys for example, as well as received snorkel survey training.
Secondly, the environmental aspect. It’s a quiet, magical little island, and I will say you have to be openminded and willing to accept it. There are no big cities, but it’s filled with beautiful greenery and amazing people. It has many beautiful hikes, and snorkelling in the crystal clear blue waters of the Aegean with diverse flora and fauna moments away from your fingertips is a crazy experience- if you’re joining the marine ecology team as well! With marine mammals, we have one of the last thriving subpopulations in the Mediterranean of the common short beaked dolphin, a species I saw quite a lot on my surveys.
Thirdly, and most importantly for me, the social aspect. I came with an indifferent mind, and left truly inspired, having worked with so many people who were genuinely so passionate and likeminded about conservation- it was just so infectious. The connections I made were invaluable, for the work aspect of things and otherwise. I met people from all over the world, made friends for life that I may not meet ever again- or possibly would! You never know, but that’s part of making these connections, if some day, I decide to visit the other end of the world, I will always have somebody. The locals have so many stories, if you sit to listen, and the most random things happened. I walked out of there knowing how to make density maps in QGIS, combing honey, burying a dearly beloved dog, analysing dolphin whistles, harvesting olives, learning about political affairs, planting lettuce, and learning about the simplicity and beauty of life- but that’s just me.
As you might have seen from other reviews, it may also have its problems, but its nothing that has really fazed me. They constantly take feedback to improve, the food for example has improved so much since I have been there, still continues to do so. You just have to come with an open mind, it is not a five star hotel, and you are not going to get everything exactly as you want, especially if you are accustomed to an urban life- but that is also why I think it would be good try it out. I believe it’s good work they are carrying out there, and I hope you get to see it for yourself.

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Yes, I recommend this program

fantastic internship!

I participated in this internship as a member of the marine mammal research team for three months and absolutely loved my experience! I was there from September to the end of November, and the weather was really perfect for the first half, and a bit stormy/cozy for the last few weeks. During my 12 weeks there, I participated in almost 10 boat surveys, multiple necropsies, had the opportunity to participate in many terrestrial surveys, as well as some snorkel/RUV surveys. These surveys, especially the boat surveys, were like nothing I'd ever experienced before and are incredible experiences I will cherish forever. The institute is led by people who are truly passionate about conservation and finding ways for humans and other animals to peacefully coexist in our environment and this is incredibly inspiring and motivating. We struggled a bit to get enough guidance and mentorship at times because supervisors were so busy, but they all went above and beyond to teach us their skills and were all very very knowledgeable in their fields, and very patient and hardworking as well. In terms of accommodations, the new base was pretty much perfect for me: we almost always had hot-water (during the sunnier months, the water is heated up entirely from solar panels!), the rooms were clean and airy, beautiful views, practically no mosquitos, comfortable beds, the food was local/organic, and the views were amazing! The wifi was often problematic, but most people had cell service so it wasn't too much of an issue. The location is also great, there is a store nearby and many restaurants, and two beaches within a 10-minute walk! Overall, I met some truly amazing people there that I hope to stay in contact with and learned so much about what it means to be a conservationist and an environmentalist. I cannot recommend this internship more!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing people, interesting projects and a beautiful place

I completed a three month internship at Archipelagos researching microplastics. My highlight was meeting like-minded people who share my concern for the environment. The microplastics team was small compared to the others but working with Anastasia (Scientific Director) and Beatriz (Senior Supervisor, also doing her PhD on marine mammals) was really inspiring and I learnt a lot independently working on a project. I also got involved in other team's studies like hiking for terrestrial reptile surveys, kayak surveys with the GIS team, a marine ecology octopus snorkel, and marine mammal boat surveys. There is so many ways to add to the projects at the institute and everyone is encouraged to get involved and share ideas.
I fell in love with Samos whist there. The hiking and rock climbing is beautiful and there's a lot to look at for anyone interested in entomology. The locals are really friendly! I recommend the experience to anyone passionate about conservation wanting to try living out of their comfort zone and meet amazing people.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Marine Mammal Intern

Hi all, Sjoerd here from the Netherlands!
My experience at Archipelagos was eye opening, and perhaps even life changing. Let me tell you more about it :).

I did an internship for a period of 3 consecutive months, from the 21st of August till the 10th of November. A perfect time span I would say. I vividly remember arriving on the island and wondering what I just got myself into. I was pretty worried I have to admit, this was my first experience travelling alone, and it's quite a big step. Luckily tho this feeling got replaced quickly. I arrived at the base, introduced myself to some people, and immediately got in a nice conversation. This gave me a feeling of comfort, and this feeling stayed with me for the rest of the internship.

Samos itself is a gorgeous island that's surrounded by the lively Aegean Sea. The island has a lot of hiking trails, cute towns, good food, and amazing people. Usually during the weekends we would rent a car or cycle, and explore the island. During the summer you will be amazed with all the wild fruits like peaches and figs growing everywhere. They are delicious

Moreover, I love the fact that there are so many experiences to gain, and opportunities to take. Experiences you cannot academically gain. Whether this a terrestrial survey at night, looking for chameleons. Or an overnight boat survey, looking for the Aegean's mysterious creatures of the depth. And so much more.

Opportunity wise, there are a lot of options. Personally, I chose the path of starting my own project. With guidance of Beatriz (one of the sweet supervisors) I started up a project regarding the exploration of cetacean behaviour with innovative technology. I wrote a short article for the website regarding this, if you are interested feel free to read more on it! If I am lucky, I can even pursue this project next summer! If everything goes according to plan, it could potentially open a lot of doors towards the marine biology sector for me.
'' mammal-research-amp-conservation-team/ ''

Also, I gained experience in computer related skills, whether this is processing boat survey data, mapping in Qgis, or the usage of SQLiteStudio.

On the other hand. I am sure you read more reviews, also some that are slightly less positive or perhaps even negative. And yes, there are imperfections. The food is not always the best for example, but with some slight adaptations and some creativity you can make something decent. On the other hand, because of this we often went to the bakery close-by, and got a nice ice cream as a lunch-dessert. Not the worst I can tell you :) Also, the cook is the sweetest person, she likes to have a chat with you, and is open-minded when it comes to ideas for the food she makes.

Further the base does have it's flaws, but nothing that was genuinely upsetting me. Maybe for some people it is, but you have to remember that we are on a relatively 'primitive' island, compared to our western homes that are supplied with all the luxury. I think it is actually good, for especially a Western person to spend time on Samos. Relatively quickly you notice that everything moves slower, and people actually take their time for something. I think that it is a healthier lifestyle.

As you can see, I am very grateful for this internship, and there was nothing else that I would have rather done this summer. I was fortunate enough to meet people that I can now safely call family. The internship on itself is great, but the people truly make it something to never forget. And as long as you are open-minded, you will also have this experience.

Small disclaimer tho: saying goodbye to these people is really hard, I bawled for hours, but what can I say. I'm emotional.

If by now you made the decision to go Archipelagos, I want to say, goodluck, experience as much as you can, and make the absolute most out of it. You don't get a lot of experiences like this in your lifetime.


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Yes, I recommend this program

My experience at Archipelagos

My experience at Archipelagos was one of those that changes you somehow. It taught me about simplicity, the rooms were not luxurious, but the truth is that we are at a research base, we don’t need much more.

It also taught me about patience. It showed me how important is motivation and the attitude to change things in order to call for action. Sometimes more planning or control doesn’t mean it’s better. So I had to slow down, and I think this is something we should all apply to our stressful fast paced western lives.

On the other hand, the fact of having different bases at different places of the island allowed us to explore and realize the breathtaking opportunities Samos and Lipsi offer nature wise. There are many hikes you can enjoy!

Moreover, I loved the fact they have different teams, so you can always feel welcome. I am a psychologist who has a deep love for nature and specially the ocean. I would have never imagined I could fit in a nature conservation organization. However, I realized about the importance of multidisciplinary as a way to face current problems. Complex problems can only be approached efficiently through an interdisciplinary view. So this experience made me realize I could connect somehow my discipline to nature through a master in Planetary Health, in which I am currently enrolled.

I learnt so much about things you cannot learn academically, that I would push everyone to live an experience like this once in life. Specially for the people. You develop such strong connection because of the fact of living in a small community, that the bonds that remain are very strong and sometimes, forever.

The team there, starting from the cook, which is super sweet and always willing to add new recommendstions or receipes. To Mikalis, the gardener and handy man that fixes everything that stops working. To Anastasia, the face of the organisation, which I consider is a very strong and determined woman, with super good intentions to make a better place, from the people to the ocean. Then we have Bea, a super energetic and determined project manager. She is powerfully devoted for her job, so she will make sure you feel comfortable during your stay and will be there for anything you need, and you can see that from miles. Lastly we have Peri, the captain, one of the most pure human beings I have ever met. He will teach you about how things used to be before we humans came and changed everything for “progress”. He will transmit you the importance of worrying an paying attention to what it’s important in life, and most of the times it comes to spend time with those you love. Try sharing a pita and some wine with friends and fev gatos, you will see what I mean.

Said that, I would like to say that if you decide to come, you should be open minded. You will find people from different backgrounds , from different cultures that do and manage things probably different that you would. And of course many things could be improved, we are not perfect. But you need to be aware of where you are, you are not coming to a hotel, be open to the experience and immerse yourself in an ocean of new lessons, Archipelagos and the ocean, with its values and biodiversity have so much to teach to all of us.



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