• Marine Conservation
  • Volunteer and Adventure

5 top scuba-diving and marine conservation programs (in the world’s best locations)

Article by Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah

Posted: August 5, 2022

Whether you’re embarking on your very first scuba-diving trip, or aiming to become a PADI Instructor to introduce others to the sport, these scuba-diving internship opportunities will take you around the world and teach you about marine conservation. 

Some of the most exciting destinations in the world are underwater. From sidling up to sharks in Fiji, to swimming around technicolour reefs in Mexico, and watching sea turtles float through crystal clear waters in Seychelles, the biodiverse bounty of the ocean is best appreciated while diving. 

A qualification from The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is your ticket to an underwater world. Plus, it can support your studies or career in marine biology, or set you on a path of travelling the world and teaching diving as you go. GVI’s diving internships abroad are an exciting way to qualify for a range of PADI certifications, including Advanced Open Water and Instructor while gaining a deeper understanding of marine ecosystems. 

Here are five awesome scuba-diving and marine conservation internship opportunities in outstanding locations around the world. 


1) Join a marine conservation and PADI Divemaster internship in Fiji



Fiji is a sublime diving destination, with hundreds of coral species and more than 1,000 fish species. A marine conservation and PADI Divemaster internship abroad is the ideal way to maximise your time in these tropical waters.

Weather permitting, you’ll go diving every day, conducting underwater surveys, discovering Fiji’s coral reefs, and becoming familiar with the abundant marine life in the area. 

Part of this internship abroad includes a work placement that will give you the chance to gain valuable experience and enhance your career. Working in a dive centre, you’ll help with day-to-day operations and practise leadership scenarios while undertaking your Divemaster course.

On dry land, you’ll be based in the village of Silana, where you’ll experience Fiji’s famous hospitality and the local way of life. Swap your scuba gear for hiking boots and climb the lush green peak of the nearby Tova mountain, or make the most of living minutes from a palm-fringed beach. 


2) Start your diving career early with a PADI Open Water teen program in Mexico



If you’re between 15 and 17 years old, you can join a marine conservation teen volunteering program in Mexico and gain your PADI Open Water qualification, while learning about ocean conservation. 

During the program, you might spot sea turtles, rays or even manatees. This is a chance to find out whether marine biology is something you would like to pursue, with a range of activities including lab work, beach clean-ups, and community work. And, of course, discover a passion for scuba-diving. 

Based in Puerto Morelos, on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, the GVI base is right on the beach. You’ll be able to enjoy a laid-back Mexican lifestyle, complete with tacos and the chance to learn conversational Spanish. You’ll meet other teens from around the world, and together you can go on adventures like snorkelling with whale sharks, walking through centuries-old Mayan ruins, or swimming in the crystal clear waters of cenotes. 

While we believe in empowering you to take on new challenges and explore the boundaries of your comfort zone, we take child protection, and health and safety, very seriously. As such, we make sure you’re closely supported and guided along each step of your journey. On base, you’ll have our background checked, Emergency First Response and safety-trained field staff looking after you, and we take steps to keep your parents in the loop throughout your program. For their peace of mind, we have a parents info pack which shares more information about how we look after teens on internship opportunities abroad. 


3) Dive into the world of coral reef ecology and conservation with an internship in Seychelles



Coral reefs are irresistible to divers – they are also under increasing threat. Combine the wonder of exploring Seychelles’s reefs with conservation initiatives designed to boost the marine biodiversity around Mahe with a coral reef ecology and conservation internship abroad. 

The warm, crystalline waters around Mahe island are home to spectacular coral, but following a major bleaching event in 2016, they are increasingly fragile and susceptible to further marine heat waves. During this internship abroad, you will be involved in monitoring and conserving the reef population. This opportunity is perfect if you would like to focus your marine biology studies or career on corals. 

As part of this internship abroad, you’ll have the opportunity to get your PADI Open Water certificate, followed by GVI and PADI’s unique qualification, the PADI Reef Ecosystem Diver (RESD) Specialty. This specialised course is a chance to learn how to correctly identify coral reef species, including fish and invertebrates as well as the corals themselves. You’ll learn how to survey reef ecosystems and monitor indicators of the diversity and health of the reef, honing your expertise in corals and their conservation. 


4) Become a PADI Divemaster and support marine conservation in Seychelles, plus gain work experience in Thailand



Expand your scuba diving skills and experience when you join a marine conservation and PADI Divemaster internship in two spectacular locations on the Indian Ocean. 

The GVI base in Seychelles is located in Baie Ternay Marine National Park, only minutes from the beach. In this idyllic location, surrounded by tropical rainforest and secluded beaches, you’ll be able to appreciate the incredible biodiversity of this island. In the water, you might spot marine megafaunas such as rays, dolphins, and sharks. 

In Thailand, you’ll be located in Phang Nga on the Andaman Sea. This area has a vibrant underwater world. In the clear, blue waters you can see octopuses, sea turtles, and colourful anemones. 

As part of this program, you’ll get to experience working in a dive shop in Thailand. This gives you the chance to gain insight into the diving industry and learn how to plan and run dives as you work toward your PADI Divemaster. 

This comprehensive, 24-week internship will give in-depth knowledge of marine research and conservation, along with a range of qualifications. By the end of your internship abroad, you’ll have a PADI Divemaster qualification and GVI and PADI’s unique Reef Ecosystem Diver (RESD) Speciality. Plus, certificates in Marine Conservation, Leading Teams for Impact and Careers in Sustainability from the University of Richmond. You’ll also complete your Emergency First Response (EFR) first-aid certificate. 


5) Join a marine conservation and PADI Instructor internship in Mexico and get work experience in a local dive centre



A PADI Instructor course is a 30-week program that takes you from being a recreational diver to possessing all the skills and qualifications you need to train other divers. With a coral research and marine conservation focus, this PADI Instructor internship in Mexico will equip you to become an advocate for marine protection in a career which could see you working in dive centres around the world. 

The internship includes a work placement in a local dive centre, so you can experience what it’s like to pursue a PADI Instructor career. Your work placement will see you develop your leadership skills by assisting with, planning, and leading dives. 

While mastering the skills you need to succeed as a dive instructor, you’ll also be learning about marine conservation research. You might conduct underwater surveys on the mighty Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, help collect plastic waste from local beaches, or contribute to endangered sea turtle research. This experience will deepen your dive career by expanding your understanding of marine biology initiatives in protected areas. 

You’ll gain other qualifications including GVI and PADI’s unique Coral Reef Restoration Diver (CRRD) Distinctive Specialty, an EFR certificate, and certificates in Leading Teams with Impact, and Careers in Sustainability from the University of Richmond. 

And of course, while notching up all of these impressive qualifications, you’ll be immersed in Mexican culture, enjoying Mexican cuisine and working on your Spanish skills while enjoying the beach vibes of Puerto Morelos. 

GVI offers a range of scuba diving and marine conservation internship opportunities. Boost your diving skills and marine conservation career by applying for an internship abroad today. 


By Petrina Darrah

Petrina Darrah is a freelance writer from New Zealand with a passion for outdoor adventure and sustainable travel. She has been writing about travel for more than five years and her work has appeared in print and digital publications including National Geographic Travel, Conde Nast Travel, Business Insider, Atlas Obscura and more. You can see more of her work at petrinadarrah.com.
what’s up next?
Endangered Species That Have Recovered: Stories of Hope

Discover the inspiring stories of endangered species that have recovered from the brink of extinction. Learn how you can get involved in conservation efforts.

You might also like these articles

The Rising Tide of Marine Plastic Pollution
Read the article
What Degree Do You Need to Be a Marine Biologist?
Read the article
Marine Conservation
Endangered Marine Animals: The Crisis Beneath the Waves
Read the article
Exploring Marine Biology Jobs
Read the article
Marine Biomes: Understanding the Different Types of Ocean Ecosystems
Read the article
The Fastest Marine Mammal: Exploring the Top Contenders
Read the article
How Many Marine Animals Die From Plastic Pollution?
Read the article
Marine Conservation Volunteering: How You Can Make a Difference
Read the article
The Fascinating World of Marine Animals
Read the article