My name is Jorien van Schie, a 23 year old BSc biology student from the Netherlands. In the period of February 2016 till July 2016 I did my internship at Marine Conservation Philippines. From the moment I arrived at MCP it felt like home. Beautiful place, great atmosphere and lovely people. I came to MCP as a non-diver so the first two weeks was spent learning how to dive through the PADI Open Water Course and the Advanced Course. The following weeks was fish-ID training and of course during all those weeks it was settling down, getting used to every days program and getting the hang of the MCP lifestyle.
Together with the science officers of MCP and my supervisors we agreed on a subject for my own research. My subject became the efficiency of marine protected areas in the south-eastern part of Negros Oriental (the province of where MCP is located) the emphasis of the research was on the reef fish and a few of their environmental factors. During my internship there was a Dutch thesis student and she did her thesis about the role of nursery habitats of the reef fish in the effectiveness of marine protected areas. We had a huge overlap with our researches so all trainings and surveys were conducted together. It was really nice to work together, same struggles, same goals, same experiences and so much fun together.
During our studies it was always exciting to see what surprises are waiting for you, day after day. Strong currents, disappearing transect markings, car troubles, choppy entries and exits, aggressive Titan Triggerfish or physical problems. You have to work with what you have so just go with it. If you have to postpone activities, so be it. Long-term planning is the most difficult thing to follow when you are at MCP or comparable programs, but it makes sure you stay sharp and it is never ever going to be boring.
MCP gave me a lot of responsibility during my stay and I loved it. Because of that I’ve seen more and learned more than I could have expected. Working with so many volunteers teaches you a lot about yourself, about your functioning and your social skills. I Learned more about teaching, doing research, creative thinking, planning and of course marine biology. I created a new passion, called scuba diving and I’ve seen the need for conservation of (marine) life. I can say that this internship was the best experience for me, not only schoolwise but also personally. I know now that a social interest is an important addition for me for doing research and for my future.
The biggest thanks to my friends and the most lovely founders of MCP, Soren Knudsen and Helle Dalgaard Larsen, for having me and to Dolf and Annelies Andringa for getting the best experience out of my internship. Of course a big thanks to everyone I had the pleasure working with at MCP and making every day a new adventure. If you want to read my research report, you can download it here.