• Greece
4 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Year Round


Price Details
Monthly fees of 650 euro include:
Living expenses (shared accommodation, all meals, wi-fi)
Use of equipment & research boats
Transport for working purposes
Greek language lessons

Students and recent graduates are advised to explore possible funding through their universities, by getting in touch with the Finance / International Relations / Placement/ Erasmus+ Offices at their Universities or other relevant grant providing organizations in their region.

*Travelling costs are NOT included and are covered by the participant.
What's Included
Accommodation Meals Wifi
Sep 12, 2019
Mar 31, 2024
37 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

The goal of the Archipelagos marine mammal research team is to monitor the regional status of marine mammal populations and their habitats in the eastern Aegean, a region where data relating to these species is largely lacking. Projects include

• Collecting and analysing data on cetacean presence, abundance, distribution and behavioural studies through boat, ferry and land surveys
• Collecting and analysing data on species movement, residency pattern and social structure using mark recapture photo-ID techniques
• Monitoring cetacean bioacoustics
• Collecting and analysing data on the presence, abundance, distribution and behavioural tendencies of Mediterranean monk seals and various sea turtle species
• Analysing microplastic content in marine animal digestive system
• Monitoring and assessing marine litter on shore and at sea
• The creation of an in-sea rehabilitation facility for marine mammals and turtles
• Cetacean and sea turtle basic first aid and stranding response

Program Reviews

4.79 Rating
based on 19 reviews
  • 5 rating 78.95%
  • 4 rating 21.05%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.45
  • Support 4.45
  • Fun 4.9
  • Value 4.15
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 8 of 19 reviews
Default avatar
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.

15 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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!

20 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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.
'' https://archipelago.gr/en/hands-on-projects-with-the-marine- 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.


26 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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.

32 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Sifat -E-
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Experience

As a graduate law student interested in the impacts of climate change on the environment, I found my experiences at the Archipelagos Institute of Marine Conservation in Greece not only incredibly educational but it opened my eyes to all the ways that climate change can impact marine life and by way of extension, human life as well. Although I had no prior hands-on experiences working with an environmental NGO, the staff and students from around the world, supported me in every aspect of my experiences there. It was an experience I will never forget and I hope to use it as a foundation for my moving forward with my studies in Environmental Law.

  • Dedicated and highly trained professional staff.
  • A hands-on opportunity to grow and learn
  • An added benefit is a chance to meet great people and the opportunity to work on your research for your Master's thesis as well.
  • No public transport but you can hire taxi.
51 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great internship

It was a fantastic experience and I am very sad it is already over. The supervisors are great, the directors are passionate, you're able to meet people from all over the world. . . And that's without mentioning the work experience you get! I was able to experience boat and kayak surveys, learn how to use QGIS, take part in flamingo surveys, etc. Not only you gain a lot of experience, but you gain it doing something meaningful and important. The accommodations are simple and it is not a place for everyone, but I think it was great for my internship. I would go back in a heartbeat.

  • -Great conservation work
  • -Get to know people from all over the world
  • -The employees are great and give great support
  • -Simple accommodations and gets cold in the winter
  • -A bit expensive
54 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Go on with your projects

Working with Archipelagos is a good opportunity to imagine, write and suggest you rown research project and link it with the ongoing projects of the associaction.
Then you will be helpd in managing and implementing it.
The NGO work in the islands of Lipsi and Samos at the moment and there are a lot of position for diverse interests: terrestrial, marine and GIS.
The balance work/free time is ok and the amount of effort is balanced with the background of the intern and the personal motivation. Highly suggested

65 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible opportunity!

I always felt like protecting the seas of our planet was something that should be everyone's responsibility. But, in today's world very few people think it's a priority and even fewer actually take action in that direction. But Archipelagos is one of these few non-profit organizations in Greece that is actually trying to make a difference. This internship gave me the opportunity to be part of that community, while exploring my interests and developing my research skills.
During the program I had the chance to choose a topic that aligned with my knowledge, skills and interests and work independently on my own project. Even though I had guidance by supervisors, most of thee responsibility was on me to organize my work, get the data that I needed and make progress. It was a really valuable experience to actually be in charge of a project and gave me an understanding of a lot of things that make research a lot more complicated than I originally though. I also learned that especially when it comes to such pressing issues, scientific research is not the only thing that counts. The scientific approach needs to be tailored to be used in conversations with government officials and policy makers in order to bring actual change.
But apart of a valuable learning experience, the internship was very fun giving me the chance to meet so many young, driven, and like-minded individuals from all over Europe. During the evenings and weekends, we would go explore the island, enjoying the sea and some breathtaking landscapes.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Maybe not the most surprising, but definitely the most unforgettable part was hearing the dolphins whistle when swimming right next to the boat. Going on boat surveys was definitely the highlight of my experience. Even though spending a whole day in the sea and the sun was exhausting, seeing dolphins was always so rewarding.
88 people found this review helpful.

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