Marine Research Assistant, Volunteer Project in Indonesia

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The Gili Shark Conservation Project is a small conservation and data collection program. It is the first of its kind in the Gili Islands, and takes an active role in conservation issues in Indonesia’s three Gili Islands; Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno, and Gili Air.

We are always looking for enthusiastic people who want to live in paradise and make a difference during their holiday. Help the sharks and the community of Gili Air by giving your time and love. You don’t need to be a shark expert or a diver to join our project, however a passion and commitment to shark conservation is important. We appreciate all the unique skills that you can bring to our project and welcome people of every corner of the globe.

During your stay with us you will learn how to dive/improve your dive skills, become a scientific diver and a shark conservation diver. We teach you how to conduct different kind of scientific dives and you will learn a lot about shark research and marine life.

  • Live on a beautiful island
  • Increase your diving & conservation skills and knowledge
  • Work together with a small wonderful dedicated team
  • Make friends for life

Questions & Answers


based on 18 reviews
  • Impact 9.2
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 16 - 18 of 18

Everlasting memories

My time with Gili Shark Conservation was a very positive experience. My peers, advisors, and mentors were always very supportive and knowledgable, and I always felt like everyone was very approachable. The staff at Villa Nangka were very welcoming which created a comfortable home environment and a sense of family. The dive instructors from Oceans5 were all very funny, down to earth people that made difficult courses enjoyable and less intimidating. Our daily survey dives were always a new and fun adventure that taught me useful skills and helped me become a better diver. While working side by side with the other shark volunteers everyday, I built special bonds with each and every one of them that I will cherish for the rest of my life. GSC also helps the volunteers be active within the community through weekly beach clean-ups and uniting the community to learn about and support shark conservation. Having the opportunity to work with others that have the same goals about shark conservation has been one of the most rewarding experiences I've had, and I would definitely do this again.

How can this program be improved?
Splitting a toilet between eight different volunteers was difficult in the morning. But I would love to see other learning aids implemented into the program, as well as more shark related activities.
I believe that outreach events to the community and partnering with other organizations/universities would be the biggest opportunity. There are many opportunities/possibilities for this program, I can't wait to see the growth in the upcoming years!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Peace, love, and sharks

When I arrived at Villa Nangka, I had to remind myself I wasn't dreaming and all of it was real. It has such a tranquil feel and it's so beautiful with plants and flowers everywhere. The staff immediately made me feel welcomed and part of the family at Villa Nangka. Meeting the instructors at Oceans 5 Dive was a similar experience as well. They are all very friendly and helpful. Getting any kind of certificate with any of the instructors there will definitely be a fun experience. Going on fish survey dives with the Gili Shark Team was also so much fun and a learning experience every time. This project will teach you how to identify several species of fish pretty quickly and how to be an environmentally conscious diver. I also enjoyed the weekly beach clean ups and uniting the community to support shark conservation. I am beyond happy I had this opportunity and now I am even more passionate about marine life and I'm sure everyone who volunteered feels the same. It was an amazing feeling finally being around people who are devoted to marine conservation.

How can this program be improved?
I was a volunteer for four weeks and I can't say there are any areas in need of improvement besides having one more bathroom for the volunteers to share would be nice since there is only one bathroom for 8 people.
Yes, I recommend this program
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I don't have a lot of experience with other projects but I spent 7 weeks with the Gili Shark Conservation and I wouldn't want to spend my summer any other way. Everyone in the project is extremely passionate and make you feel like family as soon as you come in. The island offers good food, good diving, nice beaches, and lovely people whether they're locals, travelers, or expats. Volunteering anywhere will always be what you make of it but this is what I believe made the project special for me:
1: The project gave me lots of freedom. There is enough structure in the program to always be busy but the project doesn't require you to eat at a cafeteria everyday. In fact you can choose what to eat pretty much every meal. Also what you do on your weekends is completely up to you. I felt like this aspect makes every volunteer's experience unique and really allows you to be yourself. For example, one weekend I spent doing a freediving course, and another weekend I took a day off and went to Bali to explore and dive with manta rays!
2: Genuine people. Everyone on the island lives there for a reason. There are many expats who fell is love with the island and they make it very contagious. I'm not sure if I met anyone that could be considered "normal" here but that's what made it awesome.
3: Lots of diving. 8 dives a week was the schedule I was on. I'm not sure how many other programs offer but you definitely get your fair share of dives here. Yeah there's data input and other on-land activities but I came to dive and I most definitely got to do so.

All in all this project may not be the most high end and/or structured as some other programs but the work is fun and fulfilling. When I volunteered the project was relatively new and I'm sure it's only getting better! 10/10 would recommend to anyone looking to do dive related volunteer work.

Yes, I recommend this program


Meet the Staff

About Gili Shark Conservation Project

For decades, Indonesia has been ranked as the number one shark fishing nation in the world. Make a real difference in conservation through research and join our research team in Gili Air.

The Gili Shark Conservation Project is a small conservation...