From Divemaster Internship In Perhentian Islands To PHD Student At Swedish University Of Agricultural Sciences
Our new Intern Success Stories is from Carlotta Meriggi. Carlotta is an Italian researcher that worked for Fuze Ecoteer on the conservation divemaster internship in the Perhentian Islands in 2018. For 8 months, Carlotta helped the Dive Team in marine and coral research. She also helped coordinating volunteers during their adventure with the Perhentian Marine Research Station
. In November 2018, Carlotta came back to Europe after a challenging
but rewarding experience
as a divemaster intern
in the Perhentian Islands
. Straight after her return, she was selected at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
where is now working as a researcher.
What is your background?
My love for diving
started 9 years ago. In my free time, I was diving to explore the underwater world and its wonders. During this period of my life, I decided to be more involved in the study of marine life and ecology. I studied Biology in Pavia, Italy and then moved to Holland. Where I successfully completed a Master Degree in Marine Resource Management
specializing in Marine Ecology. In the meanwhile, my passion for coral restoration
was growing more and more. I worked
for 5 months with REEFolution Foundation
in coral reef restoration
. Back from this amazing experience, I worked hard for other two years in order to get more dive qualifications
like the Divemaster
. My experience and studies allowed me to get the role as the Dive Research Assistant & Volunteer Coordinator
Why did you choose to do this internship?
I was looking for starting a career in marine conservation
with a focus in coral restoration
. Furthermore, acquire technical skills
and practical knowledge
is an imperative for my field . In fact, the Dive Team was conducting coral surveys
around the islands which were some of my preferred activities
. I found out to be very interested in the awareness talks
and scientific partnership
. Lastly, the idea to work in a paradise like Perhentian convinced me to go and begin the internship journey!
Which are the skills you learnt whilst being an intern?
It was surprising how this internship helped me develop completely new skills. For instance, I learnt how to prepare presentations for volunteers and local community with zero knowledge about marine conservation. I had to explain complex concepts in simple words. Additionally, I improved my diving techniques and learnt about survey methodology. The methods used by PMRS are common in some PHDs and research centres. The university selected me among other candidates. Mainly because I had lived and worked in a multicultural and international team for 8 months in Malaysia.
What does a typical week’s work involve?
Our mornings activity was diving with volunteers. After breakfast and short briefings, we were ready to take a boat. Normally the day before, as intern I could choose the place for next day’s diving. In many occasions, I selected where to go for coral surveys. After lunch, we were planning activities like presentations. Help volunteers to develop personal projects. Write blog posts and prepare monthly reports. On Saturdays we were busy in organizing beach clean ups.
Which were the most rewarding moments?
I really enjoyed organizing events in collaboration with the Eco-Education Project
at the local school. Sometimes I was teaching children about corals.
I would explain to them basic aspects
of marine conservation
. One day, we went to a village’s beach for a snorkelling lesson. I was impressed by the interest and curiosity of the kids in front of nature’s beauty. They showed great sensitivity about coral destruction issues. I believe there’s still hope for changing things
. We need to educate the younger generations to protect nature and wildlife
. Awareness talks
were some of the most rewarding moments
of my internship. Thank you Carlotta for sharing your diving experience with Fuze Ecoteer. We would like to wish you good luck for your career in marine conservation! Hopefully your story can inspire
more people to be the next dive intern
at the Perhentian Marine Research Station