Program of Study: Natural Resources Conservation
Country of Exchange: Pacuare, Costa Rica
Program: International Service Learning Placement
Where did you do your internship?
For two weeks, I lived with a small group of UBC students in the coastal community of Pacuare, Costa Rica. Led by a local conservation organization, we worked together on various conservation and rehabilitation projects. During my placement, our group interacted with several community leaders and learned about the complex issues surrounding the dramatically declining sea turtle populations and the local community’s dependency on turtle eggs. Through our work, we aimed to educate the community on coastal ecology and biodiversity, and illustrate how to live in a more sustainable way, without a dependence on such a finite natural resource. Overall, we worked to develop a more in depth understanding of the connections between sustainability of the natural environment and local community issues.
What was the highlight of your international experience?
My international experience took my learning to an entirely new level. To be able to live and work in the local community and gain so many different perspectives was incredibly interesting and definitely served as the highlight of my experience. Because of my interaction with the local people in a foreign environment, I now understand why real-world experience is so invaluable. I was able to connect what I’ve been learning in school so far to the issues we were learning about in Costa Rica, and this will motivate and inspire me as I continue my schooling. It was such a unique learning atmosphere that helped me further my understanding of the local impacts of global issues, and I am so glad to have had this opportunity.
Aspirations after graduation
Like many undergrads, I am still unsure of what it is I see myself doing in the future, though I know for sure that I would like to further my education and narrow my studies around international forestry and international resource conservation. I have always had a strong interest in development, and try to maintain a global perspective in all of my studies. I hope to continue learning through other international opportunities such as this one, and will hopefully someday be working in South America or Africa.