• 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
Nov 14, 2023
36 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

4.76 Rating
based on 17 reviews
  • 5 rating 76.47%
  • 4 rating 23.53%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.4
  • Support 4.5
  • Fun 4.9
  • Value 4.2
  • Safety 4.85
Showing 1 - 8 of 17 reviews
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.


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.

5 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.
26 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
27 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

39 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.
64 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

The Marine Mammal Programme is a one in a lifetime experience with likeminded individuals. Everyone is very helpful and passionate about their work. There is a lot of projects you can work on. You work mostly from Monday till Friday, and can hang out, rent a car and do fun stuff in the weekends with all the other interns. I loved the environment and made connections for a lifetime! Would definitely recommend this internship to anyone loving marine mammals, Greece and unique people from all over the world.

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

Excellent internship for independent, motivated people

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.
65 people found this review helpful.

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