Galapagos Conservation Internship in Ecuador

PROGRAM OVERVIEW

Undertake a unique journey of conservation and transformation, working closely with experts to maintain Galapagos’ ecosystem.

Prepare to go on a once-in-a-lifetime journey that encourages you to become an integral part of the ongoing mission to safeguard the unparalleled ecosystems and rare species on the Isabela Island in the Galapagos. This remarkable opportunity promises to be transformative, not only for you but also for the natural world itself, setting the stage for a profound impact that will resonate for many years.

At the heart of your internship lies the organization that you will be working for, which is deeply committed to the conservation of the Galapagos Islands. By joining this organization, you are
entering into a dynamic network of passionate individuals, including local stakeholders, renowned experts, governmental authorities, and people with a passion for making a positive impact on the Galapagos.

The specific tasks you’ll undertake during your placement may vary depending on your role and personal preferences. However, the main focus of the tasks mainly revolve around environmental conservation and wildlife preservation. You’ll actively engage in activities designed to nurture and protect the island’s unique ecosystems and the rare species that call it home. Whether it’s caring for the Giant Tortoises, monitoring nesting patterns of Green Sea Turtles, or creating educational material to enlighten visitors about the island’s delicate balance, your efforts will collectively contribute to Isabela’s sustainability.

Furthermore, you will also actively participate in diverse initiatives aimed at the care and protection of the island’s natural wonders, ensuring that they continue to shine. This might include beach care, assisting the park rangers in zoo-keeping activities, and educating visitors about the rules and regulations vital for the safety of the tortoises and the preservation of their habitats.

Highlights

  • Engage directly in conservation activities such as habitat restoration and wildlife monitoring.
  • Join forces to ensure the preservation of the Galapagos Islands.
  • Acquire practical skills and experiences that will set you on a path for a successful career in conservation, environmental science, or related fields.
  • Share your passion for nature and conservation with the local community.
  • Embrace the rich culture and traditions of the Galapagos Islands.

ORGANIZATION

Intercultural Outreach Initiative (IOI) works with local authorities in the Galapagos National Park, schools, universities, and other international nonprofits to ensure that all its efforts are consistent with the needs of the local habitats and community. Collaboration and contribution are built into the ethos of the organization and by working together, they are ensuring that the wild and beautiful landscape of the Galapagos remains protected and thriving for centuries to come.

One of the many avenues through which they nurture ecological sustainability and social stability is by offering volunteer opportunities in various fields, offering study abroad programs in which students spend up to three months studying the local environment and learning the local culture, and by developing and implementing outreach projects with local institutions that address pressing conservation, education, and social development needs via fundraising and grants.

TASKS & REQUIreMENTS

Your internship will start with a six week period with a focus on onboarding and skill development (such as management, leadership, operations, first response, safety) while working on the projects at the same time. During this period you will be introduced to the organization, their long term sustainability strategy, and projects. After the initial six weeks period you will work more independently with the host organization and/or one of their project partners on one of the projects depending on your interests and skills, and the needs of the projects or within the community at the time.

Responsibilities

Tortoise Conservation:

  • Feeding and caring for the tortoises as well as maintaining their enclosures.
  • Assisting the park rangers with zoo-keeping type activities.
  • Assisting in educating visitors about Giant Tortoises and about the rules and regulations keeping the tortoises safe and the habitats intact.

Ecotourism Management:

  • Managing and monitoring the visitors and visitor sites near Puerto Villamil
  • Registering tourism related information, as well as generating statistical databases from your own surveys
  • Designing promotional and educational material
  • Running a satisfactory survey to visitors from different nationalities: the information collected will help to make decisions around tourism management
  • In case you have graphic design skills: design of maps, canvas, signs, etc.

Sea Turtle Conservation (Jan through May is nesting and hatching season):

  • Nest monitoring (early morning and/or at night):
    • determining nesting patterns of the Green Sea Turtle (the species that nests on Isabela beaches) and marking off laid nests
  • Observing and taking data on nest sizes
  • Beach clean-ups
  • Removing invasive plant species (kikuyo)
  • Beach profiling: once a month data are collected to measure the beach erosion

Requirements

  • Strong interest in nature and wildlife conservation
  • Good communication skills (English)
  • Minimal conversational Spanish-speaking skills
  • Ability to work independently as well as in a team
  • Flexible schedule that accounts for the day to day needs of working with a local institution
  • Physical ability to work outdoors with potentially high sun, element, and temperature exposure

WHERE YOU’LL STAY

Your accommodation in Isabela Island has been thoughtfully arranged with one of the organization’s carefully selected host families. You will share breakfast and dinner with your host family, while lunch will be provided by the organization’s partner restaurants. Also, at your host family’s house you will be provided with a private bedroom and bathroom with a fan, hot water, dresser or closet, and potable water.

Your host family’s warmth and hospitality will be the cornerstone of your experience as they share their traditions, stories, and a genuine connection that bridges cultures. Their insights into the island’s history, customs, and local stories will undoubtedly be one of the best parts of your internship experience!

Safety & Support

Safety & Support

The Galapagos islands are a safe destination, but as always look after your valuables and belongings.

Make sure to visit your doctor and dentist for a check-up before your internship and to get all the recommended vaccines and/or medications necessary to stay healthy. There are no reports of Malaria at Galapagos.

Communication

Communication

There is a reliable Wifi connect at the project where you can do video calls. It’s recommended to also buy a local SIM card.

Meals

Meals

Meals are included in the fee. You will have breakfast and dinner with your family. For lunch you are able to choose from a list of 10+ restaurants in town offering meals in partnership with the host organization. You sign for your meal and your host organization will pay for the bill.

Location details

Location details

During your stay, you will find yourself on Isabela Island, the largest of the Galapagos Islands, where every day promises you a new and exciting adventure. This island is located in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador and is known for its stunning volcanic landscapes, including the Sierra Negra volcano, one of the most active volcanoes in the archipelago. The island’s diverse wildlife, including Galapagos penguins, giant tortoises, and marine iguanas, make it a popular destination for everyone who truly enjoys and values nature.

DATES & RATES

Fee Breakdown

You can start this internship every first Monday of the month.

What you’ll pay (2024 rates)

8 weeks USD 5,500

9 weeks USD 6,000

10 weeks USD 6,500

11 weeks USD 7,000

12 weeks USD 7,500

Inclusions

  • Careful matchmaking. It takes time to find the right internship for each person, and we take this process very seriously.
  • Initial interview with one of our team to gauge your skills, interests, and desired learning outcomes.
  • An academic internship eligible for university credit. Check with your university to confirm if this internship qualifies for credit or alternatively we can assist you with purchasing transfer credits.
  • Local ferry transport from Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz to Isabela (and return)
  • Work permits and Galapagos visa (waiving the USD 100 National Park Entrance fee)
  • Your own room with a local host family
  • Three meals a day
  • Assistance with your visa arrangement and other preparations
  • Local coordination, course training, and certificates
  • Supervision and support during your stay
  • Regular check-ins during your internship with your supervisor
  • Troubleshooting if needed
  • A reference letter at the end of your internship

Exclusions

  • Flights to International airport in Baltra (via Quito/Guayaquil)
  • Transfers from Baltra to Puerto Ayora
  • Visa and medical/travel insurance costs for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
  • Obligatory USD 20 Galapagos tourist entry fee (cash at airport)
  • Meals, drinks, snacks, and items of personal nature (f.e. curios, gifts, clothing)
  • Costs for additional excursions or activities
SCHOLARSHIP & FUNDING

FAQs

Some of our most commonly asked questions for programs in Ecuador.

What can I expect from an internship in Ecuador?

You can expect to work on your Spanish language skills while gaining hands-on experience in your preferred field. From exploring diverse ecosystems to engaging with local communities, your stay in Ecuador will provide you with insights into the country’s rich biodiversity, while the challenges and accomplishments that you experience will foster your adaptability and global perspective.

Will I have time to explore the country during my internship?

Yes! There is always time to explore the surrounding area. Our nonprofit partners are based around the country (and on the Galapagos Islands) and they can offer recommendations about which places are the best to visit! When you are based on the mainland, some of the highlights of Ecuador are, for example, the city of Cuenca or the Cotopaxi National Park. If you are based on the Galapagos Islands, there are great excursion options on the island(s) including fantastic diving. If you are keen to also explore the mainland of Ecuador, you will need to do so before or after your Galapagos internship because of the distance (and costs of the flight).

Does an internship in Ecuador qualify for university credit?

Yes, but you must ensure with your university that your supervisor approves this. It is also possible to purchase transfer credits that can be added to your internship.

Will I be paid during my internship?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to receive any kind of stipend while interning. As your internship with the nonprofit organization will be unpaid, you can check out ways to fund your internship here. The wealth of knowledge and opportunities for both professional and personal growth throughout your experience are invaluable!

QUICK FACTS

LOCATION: Galapagos, Ecuador
PROGRAM FOCUS: Community Development & Conservation NGO
TASK FOCUS: Turtle/Tortoise Conservation, Eco Tourism,  Monitoring
LENGTH: Min. 8 Weeks
COST: From USD 5,500

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Make a difference in preserving unique species working with world-recognized conservation authorities.
  • Join an effort to keep the Galapagos Islands in good conditions.
  • Develop leadership skills.
  • Enhance your Spanish language skills
  • Live and work in the Galapagos Islands.
ENQUIREAPPLY NOW

HOW TO APPLY

If you’re ready to apply for this internship, here’s what to do:

APPLY

Fill in the application form (it will show in a new screen) which includes sharing your CV to us.

GET STARTED

SPEAK WITH AN ADVISOR

We’ll set up a call with you to go through your application.

INTERNSHIP MATCHING

If we feel it’s a good match, we’ll set up a call between you and the supervisor for this internship.

PAYMENT

If everyone’s happy, we’ll provisionally confirm your placement! We’ll then send you the invoice for the deposit, getting started with the booking process and all the info you need.

CONFIRMATION

Only once we receive payment of the deposit your placement will be confirmed.

NEED TO MAKE AN ENQUIRY FIRST?

Or if you’d just like to ask us some questions about this internship first, just fill in the contact form below. We’ll be happy to assist!

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