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Belize Beach Conservation Course Credit Internship

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Belize Beach Conservation Course Credit Internship

Embarking on an internship abroad is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable practical skills and course credit in one’s field of study while experiencing full immersion in a novel culture.

Prices from US$2,595

A multitude of Frontier volunteers and interns are University or College students undertaking academic study. Why not make the most of your time abroad by adding volunteer experience to your resume as well as gaining academic course credit in your field of study. This internship will give you the opportunity to gain relevant work experience that will not only enable you to stand out to prospective employers but will also save you time and money; after all, a minimum of 4 weeks spent volunteering during your summer vacation works out a lot cheaper than another semester at College!

So how does it work? Volunteers can arrange with their academic institution to gain transferrable course credit by participating in our field programmes. Our research team both in our London Headquarters and overseas field staff will liaise with your academic course supervisors on your behalf to ensure that your participation contributes to your academic performance and confers course credits. Further to this, we are able to sign supporting documentation, verify your participation and provide mentoring and in-country support. To sum up, Frontier will be there for you every step of the way!

Nestled in Central America on the Caribbean coast between Mexico and Guatemala, Belize lies at the centre of the Mesoamerican "biodiversity hotspot". Pristine subtropical forests provide a refuge for wildlife and conceal ancient Mayan ruins whilst the warm clear waters of the Caribbean lap sandy Cayes offering access to the world’s second longest barrier reef and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; renowned for its spectacular snorkelling and diving.

Infused throughout is the country’s culture influenced by Belize’s Afro-Caribbean roots, creating a fabulous laid-back atmosphere.

‘No shoes, no shirt, no worries’ is the infamous motto for the Cayes off the east coast of Belize, and you will have the opportunity to discover infamous barrier reefs, dive the Blue Hole, marvel at an extraordinary array of colourful reef fish and rays, sea urchins, anemones, octopus and even sea turtles feed at luxuriant sea grass beds. You can explore this exquisite, untarnished underwater world as you snorkel off the Cayes of Belize.

You will have the chance to explore, chart and monitor extensive areas of pristine coral and vast seagrass beds, record populations of reef fish and conch and assist in annual reef health check. On shore you will explore the lush fringing mangrove forests, seasonal lagoons and littoral forests of red, white and black mangroves; the unique ecosystem which bridges the land and the ocean.

Your days will be eventful; the work will be challenging, rewarding and fun. Your discoveries will be of huge benefit to the conservation of these fabulous coral reefs and you will gain immense satisfaction from knowing that you have helped protect these precious natural resources for future generations.

The results from your investigations will supply vital baseline information on the Belizean coastline to enable the sustainable management of natural resources in the region and the protection of the marine wildlife in partnership with the Belize Fisheries Department.

  

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • We will tailor your internship to fulfill university/college requirements for independent study or course credit for your field of study 
  • 24/7 supervision and mentoring 
  • Direct liaison between with your mentor and university or college tutor
  • Your mentor can also provide a College reference at the end of your internship
  • Help to monitor & conserve coral reefs and observe  marine wildlife
  • Work on data from some of the world's best dive sites
  • Extend your experience of tropical marine and coastal zone conservation field work
  • There is also the opportunity to gain a qualification in habitat conservation

It is possible to gain Course Credits in the following fields of study:

  • Biological Sciences
  • Coaching 
  • Coral Reef Conservation 
  • Community Health
  • Conservation Biology
  • Construction
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystem Management
  • Healthcare
  • Health Education
  • Journalism
  • Languages
  • Marine Biology
  • Marine Mammal Conservation
  • Medical Placements
  • Teaching
  • Tropical Forest Conservation 
  • Tropical Wildlife Conservation 
  • Wildlife Management

PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

  • Intermediate level of English
  • Introduction to your Course Supervisor

FAST FACTS

Location Belize
Activities Snorkelling regularly (weather permitting)
Survey the abundance and behaviour of local manatee populations.
Explore, map and monitor vast seagrass beds 
Explore pristine coral reefs and their diverse array of fish and marine invertebrates, whilst assisting with surveying.
Opportunistic cetacean and shark sightings
Work with local Belizean partners and conservation organisations 
Work with local schools on marine biology topics and beach cleans
Contribute to the Cayes Management Plan and the overall Belize National Resource Management Agenda
Transport Airport pickup and transfer to the project site is provided for free if you arrive on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month.
If you want to join the project at any other time, you can book an airport pick up and transfer from Frontier for an additional $120USD / £95GBP.
Accommodation Beach camp on Caye Caulker
 

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go Pre-departure support
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt 
UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)
In-country Food
Accommodation
Airport pickup (for first and third Monday of the month arrivals), alternative start date possible
Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation (first Monday of the month arrivals) alternative start dates possible
Local orientation and training
24-hour international HQ back-up
Dive training for PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water price includes PIC cards, PADI membership, and use of Frontier project equipment and diving equipment including tanks, regs, BCDs and weights (personal dive kit i.e. wet suit, fins, mask, snorkel etc not included)
Dive training PADI Open Water US$620
Dive training PADI Advanced Open Water US$612
Discounted further dive courses: PADI Emergency First Response (US$221), PADI Rescue Diver (US$595)
 

QUALIFICATIONS

A variety of qualifications are available on many of our projects. For example, BTEC certificates and diplomas on our Group conservation projects and TEFL certificates and BTECs on most of our teaching projects. You may also be able to gain a CoPE to support your university application. For more information on these qualifications, please see the qualifications section of our website or ask your volunteer advisor.

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?

Although Belize is distinguished from its neighbours in being the only country in the region with a British colonial heritage, it also has strong ties to Latin America as well as to the Caribbean. With one foot firmly planted in lush interior forests and another foot in the laidback and colourful Caribbean Sea, Belize’s animal and plant life are the stars of the country, thanks to conservation efforts from national and international bodies.

The Belizean government is now working with national management partners and international conservation and aid agencies to protect the county’s invaluable biodiversity. Co-management partners work alongside the Belizean Ministry of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development with long term aims to protect and conserve key marine and terrestrial hotspots. This is achieved through local conservation awareness, scientific monitoring & research, community support programs and implementation of protected areas co-management plans, and Frontier volunteers are an integral part of this effort.

Record marine biodiversity

To aid decision making and implement protected areas co-management plans, co-partners in Belize require long-term environmental monitoring to be in place to meet both national and international protocols, and for the establishment of more detailed research projects that can provide vital baseline data.

Through snorkel surveys you will survey coral, benthic and fish species using a number of common methodologies currently used in Belize plus taking part in simple community level assessments of these environments. Snorkelling under the supervision of a professional dive officer and research scientist, you will become confident and comfortable underwater. Your results will determine the sheer biodiversity of these waters and help formulate long term, sustainable management plans to protect this sensational island.

Other activities include surveying mangroves, a vital buffer against storm surges caused by cyclones, and an important part of the coastal ecosystem, opportunistic surveys of manatees, dugongs and cetaceans, beach clean ups, forest restoration work and annual surveys of conch, lobster and lionfish.

Belizean culture & communities

Working alongside the Belizean people will give you an insight into their colourful and laidback culture. Community work includes environmental education in local schools to explain Frontier's work, and interviewing local communities on their awareness and knowledge of the local marine reserves, particularly with regards to boundaries, zones and rules and the levels of involvement of local stakeholders in decision-making.

 

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

Soak up the chilled out, Caribbean atmosphere of Belize whilst taking part in a long term and sustainable marine research and conservation programme. The Frontier Belize programme is run in association with the Belize Fisheries Department, and this research and conservation project aims to provide the local communities, stakeholders and government bodies with the baseline biodiversity data they need to design and implement management plans for the future protection of this pristine marine ecosystem.

To gather the data needed you will undertake rapid sampling snorkel surveys, underwater line and belt transects (weather permitting for all diving), mangrove point centred surveys, opportunistic mammal surveys and socio – economic surveys, with one day off each week. Your activities will involve locating and mapping the extensive, pristine coral reefs and studying the various communities existing on them. The number of snorkels completed each week on the project depend on the quarterly science plan and itinerary as set by the Frontier field staff. 

Whilst snorkelling in this Caribbean Odyssey, you'll see an extraordinary array of animals from colourful reef fish species to nudibranchs, sea cucumbers to cushion stars and spiny urchins to octopuses. By the end of your project you will be capable of identifying a wide range of colourful and patterned reef organisms. If you participate in dive training (extra cost applies) you may also become an experienced and competent diver. Although the work is intense and challenging you'll get immense satisfaction from having made a valuable contribution to the conservation of this marine environment.

Volunteers who join the project for less than 4 weeks may not be able to participate in the full range of project activities and surveys, but will still be able to make a valuable contribution to the work. You will return home with vast numbers of photos, lots of new friends, a wealth of fascinating stories and extraordinary memories.

You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages and experiences, with members who all share a passion about travelling in developing countries and conserving nature. Your staff will be a friendly and welcoming group who are highly experienced in their research field and many of whom will have been Frontier volunteers at an earlier stage in their career.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?

Volunteers arriving before 2pm (local time) on the first Monday of the month will be welcomed by a Frontier representative at Philip S. W. Goldson International Airport. From here it's a short minibus or taxi ride from the airport to Belize City where you will then transfer to the project site via water taxi and be introduced to the Frontier-Belize programme.

You will meet the staff, receive some initial briefings, including an introduction to the science programme and techniques used, as well as health and safety lectures, so make sure your medical kit is complete and start reading your safety and medical briefs.

At the end of your stay we will transfer those of you who are on the monthly program back to Belize City from the camp in time for you to head back home or continue on your independent travels. If you are joining for less than 4 weeks you will make your own arrangements to return to Belize City at the end of your stay, from where you can continue your own independent travel or return home.

Independent travellers arriving on dates other than the first Monday of the month can arrange a separate airport collection (extra cost; $120USD / US$162GBP) by contacting the camp staff in Belize.

WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?

During the project you'll live in the beach camp alongside other Frontier volunteers and staff. We aim to provide you with a unique and memorable living experience. The Frontier camp was constructed by Frontier volunteers working with local craftsmen, using traditional building techniques and locally sourced environment-friendly, building materials and tents. The camp which is situated in a clearing on the beach has been designed to blend harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. Camp life is very simple, unsophisticated and fun.

You will be staying in tents or locally built huts, your "shower" will be a jug or a bucket of water and you cook over an open campfire: so prepare for the basic, virtually footprint less, unencumbered lifestyle! On occasions you may have to journey further to reach a remote survey site, then you will stay in a "satellite camp"; basically a mosquito net pitched on a distant beach.

WHAT WILL I BE EATING?

Food on camp is simple and nutritious and consists largely of locally sourced fresh vegetables and fruit, rice, beans and noodles, all of which are purchased from nearby communities thereby helping to support the local economy. Luxuries such as chocolate, peanut butter and drinking chocolate are available in Belize City, so make sure you stock up before heading to your field camp or at nearby stalls accessible only by boat on weekends.

Part of your role on camp will be to help with the cooking. Creating spectacular meals over an open campfire or baking bread in the campfire oven will become second nature: so get your cookbooks out now and start thinking up recipes! Also, with luck you'll be invited to local feasts and festivals – a great way to engage with local communities and discover local cuisines and cultures.

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ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

The Frontier-Belize camp is fun and in your spare time you'll have opportunities to swim and snorkel, play football against the unbeatable local side or try out beach volleyball. Alternatively you may enjoy a traditional Saturday night themed camp party, play backgammon, poker or chess, or join in a camp quiz night. After a long hard day of snorkelling and diving you may prefer to relax with a drink and sway in the camp hammock, or sit around the campfire and chat to your new friends.

You will have weekends to enjoy the local culture, excursions, hostels and restauarnts on Caye Caulker or the wider area of Belize. Local tour operators offer the chance to dive at the famous Blue Hole, learn to kite surf, windsurf and sail or relax on locally built boats on sunset tours. These can be organised in country via the Frontier-Belize staff. Alternatively you can travel back to the mainland to visit the renowned Belize Zoo, famous Xunantunich Mayan ruins or lush tropical forests. 

Dive courses run monthly commencing on the first Monday of the month

  • Single Day snorkelling off the boats US$17
  • Single Day Dive US$51
  • Double Dive US$85
  • 4-dive package US$170
  • 10-dive package US$340

Courses

  • Discover Scuba Diving US$110
  • Open Water Dive Course US$620
  • Advanced Open Water US$612
  • Emergency First Responder US$221
  • Rescue Diver US$595

*Medical certificate is mandatory for participation in dive courses

Modern conveniences

Caye Caulker

  • ATM
  • Bars / cafes
  • Bicycle hire
  • Daily sailing excursions
  • Hostels
  • Internet cafe
  • Supermarket
  • Western style restaurants

Belize City - 40 minute water taxi at your own cost

  • Attractions; Belize Zoo, Museum of Belize, Belize Tourism Village, Government House
  • Banks / ATMs; Heritage Bank, Atlantic Bank, Belize Bank, First Caribbean International Bank, and ScotiaBank
  • Bars / cafes
  • Bureau de Change
  • Cinema
  • Dentists
  • Hairdresser
  • Hospital
  • Internet cafe
  • Local and traditional restaurants
  • Medical clinic
  • Pharmacy
  • Post office
  • Supermarkets
  • Western style restaurants
  • Western Union

COSTS

4 weeks US$2,595

5 weeks US$3,045

6 weeks US$3,345

7 weeks US$3,695

8 weeks US$3,995

9 weeks US$4,345

10 weeks US$4,645

12 weeks US$5,195

20 weeks US$7,445

Extra weeks US$445

PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water training US$1,232 PADI Advanced Open Water training US$612 (at least PADI Advanced Open Water training necessary for marine surveying)

 

DEPARTURE DATES

First and third Monday of every month.

Alternative dates available on request, at an extra cost.

DURATION

You can join this project for a minimum of 4 weeks

WHAT'S INCLUDED

Before you go

  • Pre-departure support
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt 
  • UK residential briefing weekend including food, accommodation and training (extra cost applies)

In-country

  • Food
  • Accommodation
  • Internal ground transfers & in-transit accommodation
  • Local orientation
  • Project training
  • Project equipment & materials
  • Dive training PADI Open water US$620
  • Dive training PADI Advanced open water US$612
  • Discounted further dive courses: PADI Emergency First Response (US$221) and PADI Rescue Diver (US$595)
  • FREE use of Frontier dive kit including Regs, tanks, BCDs, weights, compressor (personal dive kit i.e. wet suit, fins, mask, snorkel etc not included)
  • In-country emergency support
  • 24-hour international HQ back-up

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Nearest airport(s): Belize City Goldson Intl Apt (BZE)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Insurance

For detailed information on flights, visas and insurance, click here.


LEGAL STATEMENT

Please read our legal statement regarding the running of NGO projects.

To apply for this placement, click on "Apply Now" below. Fill in the short application form and one of our advisers will then call you back to answer any questions and make sure this is the perfect placement for you. Applying doesn't cost a penny and you won't pay anything until you're completely happy and you're ready to reserve your place.

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