Overview

Earn your PADI Divemaster certification while exploring the waters surrounding the islands of Fiji and Thailand. Plus choose from additional research or career experience!

This six-month internship puts you on the fast track to earning a living as a divemaster in any top diving destination your heart desires. It includes three months of intensive training in the South Pacific isles of Fiji and a three-month placement at a dive centre in Southern Thailand.

Photo of a pod of spinner dolphins

Start your dream career of diving and travelling the world by earning your PADI Divemaster qualification. First, journey to the rural village of Silana located in the Dawasamu District Fiji to start your theoretical and practical training. Here you will receive the Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality segment of the PADI Divemaster course. This unique offering by our partner & PADI teaches you about best practices when conducting underwater coral reef surveys. This is offered to participants staying for 2 weeks or longer. This will allow you to assist the permanent team stationed on the island with long-term, locally-led ocean conservation efforts aligned to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #14, Life Below Water.

Afterwards, you will join a dive centre in Thailand, where you will perfect your skills and complete your PADI Divemaster qualification. Using these qualifications you will also act as a recreational dive leader. The internship is designed to give you an intensive and comprehensive introduction to professional diving with the opportunity to experience two of the world’s most popular diving locations.

Highlights

  • Earn your PADI Divemaster, opening up a career in travel and diving.
  • Contribute to UN SDG, #14, Life Below Water in Fiji.
  • Complete our partner & PADI’s unique qualification, the PADI Coral Reef Research Speciality.
  • Gain experience working in a dive shop on a Thai island is really like.

Underwater photo of two divers collecting data on a coral reef

Our Award-winning Partner

Conservation Careers has teamed up with an award-winning, mission-driven organisation with a team of passionate experts across the globe who will make your experience a truly unforgettable one.

Founded in 1998, they run programs in 21 locations, in 13 countries around the world, each aligned to the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as the objectives of local partners. They welcome participants from all around the world and help facilitate their development into global citizens. This is how they achieve their mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Their commitment to running high-quality sustainable development and experiential education programs has earned them recognition from numerous organizations such as Panthera, the Seychelles Parks & Gardens Authority, as well as Stanford, NYU, Duke, and Ohio State.

If you register your interest below, you’ll put you in touch with our partner to take the booking and to plan your trip!

To see all our Conservation Careers Internship opportunities, please click here.

Underwater photo of sharks and other fish

Enhance your internship with Career or Research opportunities

You can choose to do only the Core Internship, or extend and specialise your experience by choosing between Career or Research internship options.

Career Internship

A career internship will give you a leg up into your career as a conservation or sustainable development practitioner. Career internships are best suited to participants who are looking to gain additional experience collaborating on impactful initiatives with our global partners.

The main focus of our career internships is for you to complete practical work at a base and then a range of virtual project work with our international partners.

Your career internship fee will cover your pre-departure support and materials, food, accommodation, training and orientation, long-term field staff, 24-hour in-country support, and project equipment. As well as:

  • pre-program training
  • three online courses endorsed by the University of Richmond
  • training on our partner’s ethics and work with the UN SDGs, your internship location and project focus
  • practical experience working in the field alongside local and international experts
  • a remote internship supervisor who’ll provide you with one-on-one support and guidance
  • a project with a partner
  • a professional reference upon successfully completing your internship
  • a LinkedIn reference and skills endorsement upon successfully completing your internship
  • access to a job portal of available roles in conservation and sustainable development
  • preference on opportunities to work for our partner
  • An employment guarantee (if your career internship was longer than 6 months).

You’ll also get the opportunity to gain insight into how projects are implemented in a variety of our career internship locations, when you meet and collaborate virtually with other career interns, and partners, across our locations around the world.

Research Internship

Are you in the process of completing a research paper, thesis or dissertation?

The main focus of a research internship is to support you in collecting and/or analysing the data that you’ll use to write up your paper. And thanks to our partner’s involvement in global conservation and sustainable development, you’ll be able to supplement your research with insights from existing datasets that were 20 years in the making.

Research internships also help you to prepare for your future career in the industry by giving you experience with field research methodologies.

Your research internship fee will cover your pre-departure support and materials, food, accommodation, training and orientation, long-term field staff, 24-hour in-country support, and project equipment. As well as:

  • pre-program training
  • three online courses endorsed by the University of Richmond
  • training on our partner’s ethics and work with the UN SDGs, your internship location and project focus
  • practical experience working in the field alongside local and international experts
  • a remote internship supervisor who’ll provide you with one-on-one support and guidance
  • support with completing a research paper or thesis
  • a professional reference upon successfully completing your internship
  • a LinkedIn reference and skills endorsement upon successfully completing your internship
  • access to a job portal of available roles in conservation and sustainable development
  • preference regarding opportunities to work for our partner
  • An employment guarantee (if your research internship was longer than 6 months).

Not to mention unforgettable, off-the-beaten-track, life-changing experiences!

Photo of the base buildings in Phang Nga

Life On Base

The base in Thailand is located in the heart of a small fishing village named Ban Nam Khem, which is about one and half hours from Phuket airport, and about half an hour from the popular resort town of Khao Lak. Situated within the Phang Nga province, this region was the worst affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. It’s estimated that almost half of Ban Nam Khem’s residents lost their lives in the tsunami, and today there is a famous memorial dedicated to them. Though steeped in tragedy, the people of the village refuse to be defined by their loss. The community has rebuilt itself and grown substantially since then.

Participating in this program in Phang Nga offers you the chance to slow down and experience living and working in a traditional Thai community, tucked away from the usual busy tourist hotspots. The base is a short ten-minute walk from the beach and a fifteen-minute walk from the centre of the village – where you’ll find little markets, shops and street food vendors that are open daily. When you’re out and about, you’ll often be joined by Tiger, the friendly village dog who lives across the road. He loves to tag along on adventures and visit the base. You will share a house that includes communal spaces – here you can learn and relax with staff and other participants from all around the world. On the weekends, you can explore the numerous stunning beaches, islands, caves, and national forests that the Phang Nga region is renowned for.

Accommodation

Our house is situated within Ban Nam Khem village. There is a lovely coffee shop on one side and a beautiful jungle on the other. You will stay in mixed-gender, dorm-style accommodation with a maximum of six occupants per room. Each room has a bathroom with a cold water shower and a flushing toilet. There are communal spaces for training, project planning and socialising with your new friends. We also have a homemade ping-pong table, a small barbecue area, and deck chairs to relax in after a rewarding day of project work. The study area has a great variety of fiction and non-fiction books. Our resource room is filled with helpful research and training materials, as well as many interesting books on conservation.

If you prefer more privacy, or require a faster Wi-Fi connection for remote work, you can opt for an accommodation upgrade at an additional cost. There are two options between the base and the beach, which are about a five-minute walk away. The first option is wooden bungalows situated next to beautiful lily ponds, which offer great views to watch the sunset and spot birds and butterflies. The bungalows have a double bed and a private bathroom with a hot water shower, a flushing toilet and small kitchen area with a fridge. The second option is a newly built two-story hotel. The large tiled rooms have good air conditioning, a big bathroom, and a kettle in each room. You will still make use of all the facilities at the base and join the normal schedule of activities and meals that take place there.

Transportation

On the morning of your program start date, a transfer will be provided from Phuket Airport Place to the base. A five-minute walk from the airport exit, the Phuket Airport Place hotel is our recommended pre-program accommodation. They also offer a free airport pickup if you request it at the time of booking your room. The journey from Phuket airport to the base takes between 1.5 and 2 hours. Some project sites are within walking distance of the base, and we provide transportation to the project locations that are further away, ensuring you arrive promptly to take part in your project work. You can easily get around the village on foot. Travelling further around the region in your free time is also quite easy to do with cheap and reliable buses between all major towns.

Communication

Wi-Fi is available at the base, but bear in mind it might not be as reliable as you might be used to back home. If you plan on working remotely while completing a program with us, we recommend opting for the accommodation upgrade, as the connection at the bungalows and hotel is a lot better. You can bring a network-unlocked mobile phone with you, or even purchase an affordable phone in Thailand. You can purchase an inexpensive local SIM card, making it easy to stay in touch when outside of the Wi-Fi range. You can buy top-up phone credit for reasonably priced calls, and phone shops are plentiful in the nearby tourist areas.

Meals

This program gives you the opportunity to experience authentic Southern Thai cuisine, while still having the chance to share some of your own favourite meals from back home. You’ll make your own breakfast from a choice of items which might include toast, cereal, oats, eggs, and a variety of tropical fruit commonly available in Thailand. From Sunday to Thursday, lunches and dinners are prepared by local cooks. These usually consist of Thai and Burmese cuisine. Thai food can be quite spicy, but our cooks adjust the spice level to suit you. On Friday and Saturday you can prepare your own meals from food provided on base – or choose to eat out (at your own expense).

Climate

Thailand has a famously tropical climate, the perfect weather in which to enjoy Thailand’s many beaches. The temperature ranges from 22°C – 34°C (72°F – 93°C) throughout the year. There are two main seasons – the dry and the wet season, although it is hot and humid on most days of the year. The dry season runs from November to April and the wet season from May to October.

Culturally appropriate dress and behavior

When on project and in the local town participants will be expected to wear modest clothing and behave in ways in keeping with Thai customs.

Aerial photo of the base in Fiji, several small buildings among jungle

Training

This program is an investment in your career. No matter which you choose, you will be working toward improving your employability by mastering new social skills, gaining further technical expertise and earning qualifications in many cases. Most of our staff are, in fact, Alumni, and we have helped many of our Alumni discover, move toward, and earn their own personal dream jobs. Each program includes introductory workshops, ongoing presentations, as well as on-the-ground professional support provided by our very own trained staff members. In addition, our training programs are critical for helping us to ensure the long-term impact of our sustainable development projects around the world.

FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS | COURSES

All internships include three courses (Leadership, Careers in Sustainable Development and a specialisation course) offered in partnership with the University of Richmond and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS | ORIENTATION

Orientation: Your Health, Safety and Wellbeing

Learn about COVID-19 pre-departure guidelines, base expectations, personal and area hygiene practices and what we are doing to keep you safe.

Orientation: Travelling Responsibly and Ethically

Learn about the importance of child and vulnerable adult protection best practices and how to apply them while on project.

Orientation: UN Sustainable Development Goals

Introduction to the history and evolution of sustainable development, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and how these related to your project work.

Orientation: Further Opportunities for Impact

Learn about our country locations and further opportunities available to you during or after your program.

FOR ALL PARTICIPANTS AT PHANG NGA 

Community: Human Empowerment

Learn about our empowerment principles.

Conservation: Survey Techniques and Logistics

An introduction to different survey techniques and best practice guidelines for surveys; introduction to different types of data and how to record information via a datasheet.

Conservation: Biodiversity & Target Species Identification

Learn about biodiversity and how biodiversity is measured, and classifying different species and how to identify species that indicate the health of the habitat.

Marine Conservation: Pollution and Plastics

Learn about issues with plastic and measures that can be taken to help reduce plastic consumption.

Marine Conservation: Coral Reefs

Learn about what a coral reef is, its importance, how it is formed, how this ecosystem works.

The Importance of Responsible Tourism in Thailand

This presentation highlights the environmental issues caused by tourism to Thailand and helps volunteers make responsible decisions when deciding whether or not to engage in a wildlife encounter.

Introduction to Thai Language

Learn some basic Thai words and phrases which will help you integrate further into the village community.

Introduction to Thai Culture

A Thai culture presentation to help you understand more about important cultural details, and to make you feel more comfortable with any cultural differences you may encounter.

Underwater photo of two divers studying the sea floor

Your Impact

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Experiences

  • Learn to make traditional Thai and Burmese food
  • Visit the Buddhist temples of Ban Nam Khem
  • Practice traditional Thai yoga massage
  • Master Muay Thai self-defence techniques
  • Raft along the Sok River
  • Hike to hidden waterfalls
  • Visit an untouched mangrove island
  • Sleep in a floating river bungalow

Underwater photo of a coral reef with a shoal of red and purple fish

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and will also be one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many different activities that you can get involved in during your free time, or before and after your program.

On our community programs, the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore topics like local cuisine and religion, or how sustainable development challenges are affecting local contexts.

Festivals

February: Magha Puja is an important Buddhist holiday during which people make offerings at temples around the country.

April and May: Thailand’s New Year, also known as Songkran, is celebrated during April every year. It is a family-centred holiday, and many travel to their homes where they honour the older members of their extended families. They wash statues of Buddha, which represents good fortune and cleansing of the past before stepping into the new year. In May, Thai people celebrate Buddha’s birthday (also known as Visakha Puja). Community members gather at temples to give donations, listen to sermons, and chant prayers.

July to October: In July, many Buddhists celebrate Asalha Puja, which commemorates Buddha’s first sermon to his disciples. This starts the annual three-month retreat of the monks, known as Vassa. The retreat ends with a celebration called Wan Ok Phansa. This is marked in Northeast Thailand with illuminated boat processions filled with offerings and beautifully decorated with flowers, candles, and lamps.

September/ October: Also known as the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, the Thai Vegetarian Festival takes place in the 9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, usually in September or October, and lasts for nine days. During this time members of the community abstain from eating meat, drinking alcohol and telling lies, in order to purify the body and mind. In the days leading up to the festival, the island is decorated with yellow Chinese flags. Phuket prepares for the festival by deep cleaning their shrines, setting up stages, hanging elaborate Chinese-inspired decorations and parade accessories. Dozens of vegetarian food stalls are set up and line the streets of Phuket Town. The festival is popular in towns and districts across Thailand, including Takuapa, where we celebrate.

November: Loi Krathong, the festival of a thousand lights, is celebrated in November. People set thousands of lanterns out on rivers and lakes around the country to pay their respects to the goddess of water, Ganga. It is a spectacular site that draws many international visitors each year.

Spirituality and religion

Most Thai people subscribe to Theravada Buddhism. There are many local Buddhist sites in the region of Phang Nga that you can visit to learn more about Buddhist customs. Travel to Wat Suwan Khuha to see the reclining Buddha or Wat Rat Uppatham to see a massive painted statue of Kuan Yin and Buddha rising out of the lush green countryside. In our local area you’ll find a mix of Thai, Chinese and Burmese Buddhism, which have their own temples and traditions. We are ideally located to experience all three.

Dancing

The fluid movements and opulent gilded costumes of Thai traditional dancing are recognisable worldwide. Learn about the six types of Thai classical dance, watch a performance, or maybe even attend a class where you can learn some traditional movements.

Cooking

Thai food is famous the world over and is known for its fragrant, spicy flavours. All participants receive cooking lessons from our local staff, so during your stay in Phang Nga you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to cook some authentic Southern Thai dishes. There will also be many opportunities to try different types of authentic Thai cuisine while out and about in your free time.

Languages

There are about 71 languages in Thailand with five main families: Austronesian, Hmong-Mien, Thai, Mon-Khmer and Sino-Tibetan. Thai is the national language of Thailand which is spoken by approximately 80% of its population. The Thai language is incredibly complex. It is tonal and altogether there are five tones: mid, low, high, rising and falling. This means you can say the same word five different ways, and it will mean five different things! All participants receive Thai lessons and you can learn more about the language by mastering some basic conversational phrases with the local community members. Viewed as a gesture of respect, members of the community love it when visitors make the effort to speak Thai. The members of our community also speak Burmese.

Phang Nga

Known for its amazing limestone rock formations, pristine beaches, and rich culture, Phang Nga is a pocket of paradise in Southern Thailand. Its beaches and islands offer many opportunities for spotting unique marine and terrestrial species. The community here is very traditional – making it possible to fully immerse yourself in traditional Thai culture.

Photo of a beach and boat viewed through trees

Duration, Dates & Costs

Duration of fieldwork: 24 weeks

Start Dates:

  • 2022 – 25 Jun; 17 Sep
  • 2023 – 07 Jan; 01 Apr; 24 Jun; 16 Sep

Costs: £12,095.00

Career and Research Internships have an additional cost. Please register your interest below for more information.

What’s Included

  • 24-hour emergency desk
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All project equipment
  • Food (except on long-term internship placements)
  • Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)
  • Group introductory call
  • Welcome presentation
  • Endorsed Specialisation Course
  • Endorsed Leadership Course
  • Sustainable project work
  • Leadership responsibilities
  • Program training
  • Remote Internship Supervisor
  • Preferential recruitment on our partner’s positions
  • Job portal access
  • Endorsed Careers Course
  • Career coaching sessions
  • PDF reference – upon request

What’s Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • COVID-19: Health and Hygiene Fee
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs

Photo of a diver jumping from a boat

Register your interest!

Reserve your place or ask a question