GVI was a wonderful experience for me because of the doors that it opened. After six challenging yet indisputably valuable months of conservation and research on the GVI Jalova project and on placement, I fell completely in love with Costa Rica and the work that GVI is doing here, and took a job with GVI to stay on in the country. I am now back in Costa Rica after six months away, working at the same reserve where I was sent on placement, all because of the wonderful connections that GVI helped me to establish.
**Why did you choose to do an internship with GVI?**
I chose to pursue an internship with GVI because I wanted to shift direction from my undergraduate focus on geology towards ecology; GVI appealed to me as an opportunity to get field experience in biology, which would help to give me a more comprehensive view of ecosystems, with an understanding both of the abiotic factors through my background in geology, and of the biotic factors through my experience with GVI. From a personal perspective, I also hoped to put myself in challenging new situations, gain experience working in Latin America, and strengthen my Spanish.
**How did your internship help you achieve your personal and professional goals?**
Professionally, the experience has led to one opportunity after another: first, to continue working in Costa Rica on the Quepos project, which allowed me to live and work in a Spanish setting and gain experience managing volunteers; and second, to return to Costa Rica 6 months later to as temporary manager at Cloudbridge, GVI's partner organization in Costa Rica where I was initially placed on my internship. This has helped to give me a direction for my graduate studies in ecology. On a personal level, the conservation internship helped me to feel more confident in new and drastically different environments; and my experience on the community project helped me to gain confidence speaking Spanish, and immerse myself in the local Costa Rican culture.
**Has your GVI internship helped you develop your career and be more employable? Would you recommend your internship from a professional and personal development perspective?**
My GVI internship has absolutely given me skills that I need to be more employable, namely a knowledge of biological surveying, people management skills, and Spanish. Indeed it has already led to a job opportunity at Cloudbridge which is leading me into my graduate studies. Although I would not recommend GVI as necessary for career advancement, I would absolutely recommend it as an opportunity to broaden one's horizons, build confidence, expose oneself to new experiences and challenging situations, all of which are valuable skills in the working world.