Overview

Work on conservation initiatives on Mahe Island, Seychelles, boosting the richest and most biodiverse ecosystem in the region plus choose from additional research or career experience.

As corals are vulnerable to climate change, conservation efforts across the globe are a priority for many marine enthusiasts. Seychelles plays host to coral reef internships, providing the perfect setting for ecological studies assisting with the protection and preservation of the local ecosystem.
Two major bleaching incidents, one in 1998 and another in 2016, have left the coral reefs in parts of Seychelles in jeopardy, with experts predicting that by 2050, there will be annual bleaching events in the region. On this internship, you are able to earn your PADI Advanced Open Water certificate as you embark on a journey of exploring, monitoring and conserving the reef population in the area. Receive the Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality segment of the PADI Divemaster course. This unique offering teaches you about best practices when conducting underwater coral reef surveys. This is offered to participants staying for 2 weeks or longer.

A portion of this program involves coral reef rehabilitation initiatives, including the protection of coral nurseries and working to transplant larger corals onto the reef. On average, you will experience one to two dives or snorkels a day during the week. All the data you collect on these expeditions is passed on to our key partners, including the Seychelles National Parks Authority, who use this not only to encourage the development of the UN Sustainable Development Goals but also in their broader decisions around the conservation of the region.

On this internship, you will get the opportunity to gain a formal leadership qualification in your time on the program. This not only provides the platform for professional development but is a great addition to your CV, should you wish to apply for positions within the industry after your completion of the program.

If you have a passion for corals, you are developing your skills as a current or future marine biologist or if you’re looking for a research topic to pursue as part of your studies, look no further. Our work on coral research is so specialised that it equips you with all the tools you need, not only to learn while you’re on the ground but to ultimately share your newly acquired knowledge back at home, contributing to the broader conservation of coral reefs around the world.

Highlights

  • Learning how to identify fish in the Indian Ocean.
  • Contribute to coral reef rehabilitation and reef recovery research.
  • Earn your PADI Advanced Open Water certificate.
  • Complete a unique qualification, the PADI Coral Reef Research Speciality.
  • Meet volunteers from all over the world, as you start to build your network within the field, and as you learn more about the various cultures around the world from your fellow volunteers.

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.

Location and life on base

Our base is located in Baie Ternay Marine National Park, a 3-minute walk from the beach. The building was originally a school that has been  transformed into an eco-friendly research base with classrooms for presentations, a recreation room to relax after a day of diving, giant hammocks for more relaxation, and a large grassy area with benches for eating or studying. Life on base is much like a big family and we share cooking and tidying duties on a rotation basis. Those who have completed their intensive survey and dive training, can look forward to a short boat trip to the dive site once or twice about 5 days a week, depending on the quality of weather conditions. On other days, participants conduct either marine debris surveys or environmental education sessions with the local community depending on the project needs at the time. Days start early with boat preparations, or training, and are rounded off with an evening debrief, followed by dinner and time to relax, take in the beautiful sunset, and share stories.

Accommodation

Participants sleep in dorm rooms of up to 10 people. Bathrooms are shared but split-sex, with showers and flush toilets. The entire building is equipped with electricity.

Meals

Sample the many flavours of Seychellois cuisine, from coconut water sipped fresh out of the fruit to green papaya salad. All food is provided by us and prepared by participants. Breakfasts include the usual eggs, bacon, toast, pancakes, cereals, and fruit. Lunch and dinner varies based on the tastes of participants at the time. Common meals include curries, stir fries, pastas, pies, and salas. Many participants also buy their own snacks, like banana chips and dried salted fish.

Communication

We are based in a protected natural reserve which means that signal does not cover the entire area. There are spots with good phone cover and we have a phone on base for emergencies. For high speed connectivity, our participants travel to Victoria’s many internet cafes.

Transportation

We provide transfers from the airport to our base in Baie Ternay National Park, which is about an hour’s drive. The beach is very close to our accommodation so we simply walk down the water to the boats, which are available to take participants out for a dive.

Climate

Seychelles has an equatorial climate, which means sunshine and warm waters year round. Tropical rainfall is common but more frequent from January to May and October to December. Weather is warmest from September through to May, and coolest in the middle of the year, from June to August, and water temperatures reflect these changes too.

Increasing Employability: Pre Departure Program Training:

Our programs are not only life-changing experiences but are also designed to help participants increase their employability. We have developed a curriculum to be completed prior to arrival in the country in order to ensure that more time is dedicated to program work once you commence your volunteer program.

Eight weeks prior to your start date, you will complete the following online courses in preparation for your in-country program:

PRE-DEPARTURE ORIENTATION (1 hour)

PROGRAM SPECIFIC TRAINING (1 – 5 hours)

MARINE CONSERVATION COURSE (10 – 15 hours)

LEADERSHIP COURSE (10 – 15 hours)

CAREERS COURSE (10 – 15 hours)

In order to obtain a certificate for the Marine Conservation, Leadership and Careers courses which are endorsed by the University of Richmond and UNC Charlotte, you will need to complete quizzes & assignments and will be given 4 weeks post program to submit your work.

If you are looking to travel in less than 8 weeks from now, you will still complete the course however this will be done in country and all content will need to be downloaded before arrival.

Health & Hygiene:

The work we contribute to across the globe remains important and new measures allow our participants to continue to join our programs and continue impacting positively on their world and the communities we work with. Changes to our existing protocols have been made by our health and hygiene team to strengthen our health and hygiene protocols and ensure that international standard safeguards are in place to protect our participants, staff and host communities. Please inquire for more information on the protocols.

Your impact

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or 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.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

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

Healthy corals are key to the health of our planet. They help fish populations regenerate themselves providing shelter for young fish, they assist in removing excess carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, and protect living spaces near the shore from damage by waves and storms.

In 1998 a massive coral bleaching event decimated many coral reefs around the globe, including the reefs surrounding the inner granitic islands of Seychelles. Coral bleaching occurs when rising water temperatures cause the algae that live on corals to detach themselves from their hosts. Algae is the main food source for corals and helps to maintain the structure of the corals. Warm waters are the result of climate change caused by excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Efforts to monitor the recovery of reefs in Seychelles were initiated after the 1998 event. This began with a 3 year project, named the Shoals of Capricorn, which extensively monitored the entire inner islands. The Seychelles Centre for Marine Research & Technology, SCMRT, was set up at this time to continue the work, and to aid the Seychelles National Parks Authority, SNPA, with the management of the marine parks. After the Shoals of Capricorn project the monitoring was then taken over by Reef Care International.

In addition to the high seasonal sea temperatures, the coral reefs around Seychelles, face numerous other threats such as population pressure, poaching, and unsustainable tourism, all of which are challenging to quantify without a solid, scientific basis. In order to effectively manage and conserve the reef, a continuous monitoring program is necessary to build up a comprehensive picture of the ecological health of the reef.

Coral and Fish Surveys

We established our project in Seychelles in 2004 with the aim of aiding SNPA. At over 20 sites across the North-West coast of Mahe, our staff and participants use the protocols of Reef Care International in order to survey the reefs noting the health of existing coral, evidence of new young coral growing on the reef, as well as fish species present and their numbers. Data on coral recovery, as well as fish abundance and diversity is passed on to the SNPA to assist with their management decisions, which might include updates to policies, expanding currently protected areas, or protecting additional areas. In addition, participants use a different coral monitoring technique, to provide data to CoralWatch, a worldwide coral monitoring methodology, based in Queensland University, Australia, which aims to monitor coral bleaching and recovery events around the globe.

Commercial Marine Species Surveys

Unsustainable fishing is also a threat to the health of the Seychellois marine life. In addition this also affects the wellbeing of the local community, because many rely on fish for daily sustenance, and the growth of the local economy, because seafood from Seychelles is sold to international visitors to the islands and consumers abroad. Its underwater treasures are also the reason why many visit every year, bringing capital into the country. We assist Seychelles Fishing Authority, SFA with monitoring commonly harvested species like octopus, lobster, and sea cucumber populations.

Marine Megafauna Sightings

Incidental sightings of marine megafauna like reef sharks and sea turtles occur frequently during dives, and this information is noted and passed on to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System or OBIS Seamap, an online database designed to keep track of various larger marine species around the world.

Marine Plastic Pollution Cleanups

Ocean floor clean up dives are also regularly conducted as part of the Dive Against Debris or DAD initiative. The data about marine plastics collected is sent on to Project AWARE an organisation established to monitor the abundance and diversity of marine debris around the world.

Environmental Education

Environmental education is also an important part of our Mahe program. The main aim of this program is to get locals involved in discussions around issues affecting their marine environment.

The main United Nations Sustainable Development Goal we work on at Mahe is  #14, Life Below Water.

Project Objectives

Mahe, Seychelles Long-term Objectives:

  1. Provide a long-term and consistent collection of data, assessing the overall health and development of the reef system in Northern Mahe on behalf of the Seychelles National Parks Authority, SNPA, to be used for regional coastal marine management and international understanding of changing reef systems.
  2. Increase the scientific output and awareness of the project through the publication of findings.
  3. Continue to support the International School of Seychelles by providing their students with environmental education with a strong focus on marine ecosystems and their inhabitants.
  4. Increase in-country capacity by providing training in environmental education and training to local communities.
  5. Continue to minimise our environmental impact at Cap Ternay and raise awareness of environmental issues amongst participants and visitors.

Exploration

Joining a program not only allows participants to collaborate with communities or work toward preserving unique ecosystems but it also offers plenty of opportunities to explore the surrounding area or travel further to see what other parts of the region have to offer.

Long term field staff are a great source of advice, and have helped us put together the following information on local travel options. Many decide to travel before or after their experience (subject to immigration restrictions), solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program. Please note that the below suggestions are not included in the program fee, and are for the individual to organise at their own expense.

Weekend trips

Victoria City

Victoria is only an hour from our base in Baie Ternay Marine National Park. Learn more about the particular blend of cultures that have shaped the Seychelles over the centuries. Visit Hindu temples built adjacent to Catholic cathedrals and sample dishes with both French and Indian influences.

Inner island hopping

From the capital of Victoria, you can catch a ferry to many of the other inner islands like Praslin, La Digue, Silhouette, Felicity, and Sister. Praslin is home to the Vallee de Mai National Park, a verdant palm forest thought by early explorers to be the original ‘Garden of Eden’ and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Praslin, and nearby Curieuse, are some of the only Seychellois islands home to the famous Coco de Mer palm whose seed is the largest known on earth. The island is home to the endangered Seychelles Black Parrot as well as many other endemic plants and animals. While in Praslin you could even visit our island and coastal conservation base on nearby Curieuse island. La Digue is the picture perfect tropical island, with several quaint guest houses and arguably the most beautiful beach in the world, Anse Source d’Argent.

Hiking and climbing

The inner islands of the Seychelles, where you will be staying while on this project, are made of granite which means there are many opportunities for climbing available. Visit Morne Seychellois National Park to hike or climb the highest peak in the Seychelles.

Water sports

Other than diving there are many other water sports in the Seychelles, like surfing, kayaking, sailing, snorkeling, and of course simply swimming in the ocean or relaxing on the beach.

Beau Vallon Bay

The most popular tourist spot on the main island of the Seychelles, Beau Vallon offers a massive stretch of beach lined with shops and restaurants.

Cap Matooka hike

Cap Matoopa is the name of the highest point next to our base, and offers spectacular views of Cap Ternay bay. Trek the jungle encrusted granite climb to the top to be rewarded with a magical Indian Ocean vista like no other.

Recreational diving

The dives we conduct on the project have a strict research focus. However there are plenty of opportunities to go for a recreational dive in your free time.

Cultural immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but 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 is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of your experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in 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 diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.

Baie Ternay National Marine Park

Our marine research base is located in the secluded Baie Ternay Marine National Park,  a protected coastal reserve, about an hour’s drive from the capital of Victoria and the Seychelles International Airport. The beautiful bay area consists of coastal habitats including mangroves wetlands, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. Among the mangroves you will find species of fish, crab, and birds found exclusively in the Seychelles. Venture further into the water and spy green and hawksbill turtles snacking on seagrass. Deeper in, corals reefs start to span the ocean floor. The dazzling diversity of this underwater garden will surprise you. Here you can also spot emperor angelfish, butterflyfish, octopus, white-tip reef sharks and manta rays. You might even be lucky enough to spot one of the whale sharks who visit the islands for a short time every year.

Mahe

The marine conservation program in the Seychelles is based on the main island of Mahe, the largest granitic island in the Seychelles, surrounded by coral reef, granite drop offs and white sandy beaches. The island rises up to forest-covered mountainous terrain with steep winding roads throughout the island. Turquoise-blue waters house expansive fringing reefs providing habitats to a staggering variety of fish and marine invertebrates. The steep shelf surrounding the islands mean that along with the high diversity of reef fish, oceanic species such as tuna and sailfish are common just offshore. It is home to the capital of the Seychelles, Victoria. Despite being the most populous island in the Seychelles, it is has very few inhabitants compared to most of the urban areas international visitors are use to, and Mahe’s natural habitat is very well-preserved.

Seychelles

The Seychelles is a tropical archipelago off the East Coast of Africa, consisting of 100 islands. Islands located near the center of the group are made of granite and researchers believe that this means they use to form part of the Indian subcontinent. The granite islands attracted corals to their shallower waters and most of the outer islands of the Seychelles are based on coral or sand. The islands are famous for their biodiversity and are home to literally thousands of land and underwater species. The waters of the Indian Ocean are a haven for coral conservation efforts making the Seychelles a sought-after diving destination.

Experiences

During your program, you’ll also have the opportunity to experience tailor-made adventure and wellness activities. These have been specially designed to further immerse you in the diversity and richness of the habitats and cultures around you.

  • Learn to cook Seychellois Creole cuisine
  • Experience traditional moutya dancing on the beach
  • Stargaze and learn the southern constellations
  • Hike to the top of Mount Curieuse
  • Stand up paddleboard at sunrise
  • Visit Vallée de Mai in Praslin National Park
  • Spend the day at a secluded beach
  • Sleep under the stars on Mount Curieuse

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!

Duration, dates and cost

  • 4 weeks – £4,545
  • 6 weeks – £5,595
  • 8 weeks – £6,545
  • 10 weeks – £7,545
  • 12 weeks – £8,445
  • 14 weeks – £9,295
  • 16 weeks – £10,145
  • 18 weeks – £10,995
  • 20 weeks – £11,845
  • 22 weeks – £12,695
  • 24 weeks – £13,545

Start dates are as follows:

  • 2022: 03 Sep; 17 Sep; 01 Oct; 15 Oct; 29 Oct; 12 Nov; 26 Nov; 10 Dec; 24 Dec
  • 2023: 07 Jan; 21 Jan; 04 Feb; 18 Feb; 04 Mar; 18 Mar; 01 Apr; 15 Apr; 29 Apr; 13 May; 27 May; 10 Jun; 24 Jun; 08 Jul; 22 Jul; 05 Aug; 19 Aug; 02 Sep; 16 Sep; 30 Sep; 14 Oct; 28 Oct; 11 Nov; 25 Nov; 09 Dec; 23 Dec

What’s included

  • 24-hour emergency desk
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Welcome meeting

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 (where necessary)

Reserve your place or ask a question