I graduated from Eckerd College in May, 2019 and received my degree in Marine Biology. I knew I wanted to study sharks, but before jumping right into graduate school I felt that I wanted to experience a bit more shark research.
I looked at many different programs to achieve this and then came across the South African Shark Conservancy, otherwise known as SASC. This Shark Academy program included everything I wanted and more, so I knew it was the place that would give me the environmental internship experience I needed. I got the amazing opportunity to join the internship South Africa experience at SASC for 8 weeks.
The SASC team offers airport transfers and dedicated accommodation for interns that attend their program. All of this is seamlessly co-ordinated and well communicated so that we are greeted with a warm welcome and little to worry about.
After a 15-hour flight and a 3-hour layover from New York to Johannesburg, I finally made it to SASC. This was my first time travelling internationally on my own. It was a little scary, but I felt a little more comfortable when I met some of the other interns at the airport. I finally met all of the interns at the house and we got along right away.
The first two weeks after I arrived in South Africa and the whole experience was incredible. During the weekdays, the other interns and I would travel back and forth to the lab. I noticed that it’s never an average day in the lab. There is always so much going on and so many exciting things to look forward to the next day.
The sea sickness on the boat while going on our shark field trips definitely caught me by surprise, but I’m sure this improves the more we go out on the ocean.
I learned so much in just two weeks of being here and embarking on field trips where we handled and tagged sharks, remote underwater baited bruving and so much more. It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve done and seen so many things that I have never experienced before. I highly recommend a volunteer or internship with the Shark Academy for anyone who is doing marine biology studies.
On the weekends, the other interns and I would try to explore Hermanus and Cape Town to get as much out of South Africa as we could. It was wonderful getting to know the other interns and staff members of the Shark Lab. We got the chance to see some penguins, visit the aquarium, go to beaches and visit the shops around Cape Town.