Guest blogger Written by

Hi! My name is Martha and I am a studying BA (Hons) Communication & Media at BU. I have recently completed an international placement as a PR & Media Intern at Archipelagos who run marine conservation projects in Greece, thanks to funding from Erasmus!

The most enjoyable aspect of my placement at Archipelagos has been working with people from all over the world, students, graduates, volunteers. I have met people from a wide variety of fields including marine biology, wildlife conservation, geographical information mapping, illustrators, designers, researchers, communication students, videography and photography, ecosystem studies, marine conservation…the list goes on.

 Being introduced to my first role within a scientific NGO has been really interesting. Seeing lots of research projects in action can seem quite intense at times and the NGO is constantly busy. Whilst working on media and communication projects I have assisted with surveys on land and at sea, watched and learned from others developing research methods, collected and analysed data and even tracked cetaceans in the north eastern Aegean! On top of all this, I have worked on communication projects such as improving internal communications and article writing to partners, so I have had to stay focused within a busy working environment; enabling me to develop some great professional skills!

Archipelagos is made up of an incredible international based group of interns, some staying for a couple of months and others coming back, year after year. It is wonderful to meet people from so many different places, learn about their culture and also experience different working methods from them.

During my search for a placement the help and encouragement from the team at BU was wonderful; the resources provided and advice given at meetings was really helpful, letting me explore different options and carefully assess the benefits of one placement over another.

Whilst on my placement, Vianna Renaud, my Placement Development Advisor, has been really helpful. She has been updating my course via group email, social media and responded to individual queries I have had. The placement review meetings were really useful to ensure that I stayed focused to get the most out of my placement. I have also been encouraged to keep looking towards the next role or internship to improve my CV.

Professionally, I have developed my organisation and research skills, allowing me to prepare better for certain tasks and gain a deeper understanding of certain areas of scientific research in relation to specific projects. Personally, I have developed my communication skills, specifically open and internal communication, allowing me to work more consistently with my co-workers and adopt full transparency with staff and interns.

Working within conservation has confirmed my thoughts that I am definitely interested in humanitarian and environmental work. Whilst working at Archipelagos I have had the chance to talk to other interns about roles within environmental climate work. It is really interesting to learn about the routes others have taken and I have enjoyed researching around this whilst considering how to focus on my particular interests.

I would advise other students considering placement applications to aim to develop their core values of adaptability and willingness to help as this allows you to get the most out of your placement. It is really important that you commit to adapting to the environment you find yourself in and that you are willing to give everything a go. I have learned though my placement that the more involved you get, the greater satisfaction and sense of achievement you feel. Helping others with projects that you may never work on again, or taking on something that you didn’t initially think you were interested in can be a really valuable learning tool; when you help someone else with their projects, you are also gaining experience yourself.

My placement supervisor, Dr Guido Pietroluongo, Head of Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles Research at Archipelagos kindly said “During the selection interview Martha showed great communication skills and a special enthusiasm about the Institute and the philosophy behind our work.  Martha is a brilliant leader and an excellent worker, always available and reliable.” 

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