Program of Study: Natural Resources Conservation
Country of Exchange: Mastatal, Costa Rica
Where did you do your internship?
I worked at Rancho Mastatal Sustainable Living Center in Mastatal, Costa Rica. I found the internship through their website and applied as a 3-month intern through their online application. The process was fairly easy and the application was more like a very detailed cover letter. They were really interested in knowing about me as a person and what my goals and interests were, unlike most application processes where you have to manicure the perfect version of yourself. A few weeks later I was offered the internship.
What did your job entail?
It was a very versatile community living arrangement, everyone does many different things. Some of my major jobs have been animal husbandry, tree planting (emphasis on nitrogen fixers and fruit trees), tree and plant propagation and seeding, harvesting and manufacturing of fertilizers, trees, and perennials. I adopted some planting beds as my own, where I had seeded the plants and cared for them during my time at the ranch. As an intern one also plays a larger leadership role, as there is a constant turnaround of guests and volunteers. There are also shared community responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning shifts.
What was the highlight of your international experience?
As a Conservation student I think I came into the internship thinking I knew so much about sustainability and conservation. My stay there showed me that the knowledge I brought home is so much more than I went with, and there is still so much more to learn and work on when it comes to natural resource conservation. I cannot pinpoint a single experience. My entire stay here has inspired me to bring many of the practices I have learned here home and find ways to apply them in our modern North American framework.
Aspirations after graduation
After graduation I want to find an ideal location in North America to set up a sustainability center that can be applied to boreal/subborreal ecosystems. What they have going here in Costa Rica is fantastic, but by applying these ideas and techniques to a North American framework I believe we can have a profound global influence on sustainability practices.