From Lab to Coral Reefs: Marie's Life-Changing Internship Experience in Bali as a Marine Conservationist
"To reach my goal of becoming a marine biologist, I would like to broaden my professional horizons and collect important professional experiences, especially in diving and working in marine habitats, while supporting your work in restoring damaged coral reefs. I am convinced that this Internship will teach me essential skills and valuable experiences for my further studies and future career." Marie, University of Bayreuth, Germany.
We sat with Marie from Germany during Bali Internships gathering and we talked about her experience the past months with the Coral Reef Restoration Program.
When Marie decided to leave her home country, to take up an internship program with Bali Internships, little did she know that it would lead to a life-changing experience and a newfound love for the mesmerizing island of Bali. As a Biology student in her fourth semester at the University of Bayreuth, Marie was eager to step out of the laboratory and delve into the practical world of marine biology.
Marie's journey began on the 3rd of October 2022, as she joined a prominent Nature and Wildlife Conservation organization in North Bali for a 12-week Scuba Dive Volunteer program. Excitement mingled with nervousness as she ventured into her first-ever volunteer program abroad, leaving Europe for the very first time. During her Skype interview with Bali Internships before arriving, Marie revealed that the decision to take up this diving project came from her professor, igniting her passion for marine biology and the ocean's wonders. She had always been fascinated by nature and spent much of her childhood outdoors, nurturing her love for the biological world. The pandemic had put her diving dreams on hold, but now she saw a golden opportunity to learn and explore the underwater world with the Open Water license in hand.
Upon her arrival in Bali, Marie was warmly welcomed into the Coral Reef Restoration team on site. During her time in Pemuteran, an annual festival in Pemuteran Bay took place, Maria assisted the organization to also partake in this festival. The festival aims to promote marine conservation and raise awareness about the importance of preserving coral reefs and marine biodiversity in Pemuteran Bay. Marie’s days were filled with preparing equipment and gas tanks for the 30 divers who would participate in the project. The festival atmosphere added a delightful touch to her experience, with 150 Balinese dancers and cultural events unfolding before her eyes.
The real adventure began when Marie and 40 other divers took to the ocean for reef gardening. Working side by side with local experts, they planted baby corals and provided them with essential nutrients using specially designed plastic bottles. Marie felt a sense of purpose and fulfillment as she actively contributed to the restoration of damaged coral reefs, supporting the conservation of the ocean's delicate ecosystem. Outside of her internship program , Marie embraced the vibrant Balinese culture and made friends with locals. She invested herself totally in the island's beauty, indulging in the breathtaking landscapes and biodiverse surroundings. Bali's charm had a magnetic effect on her, and as her internship came to an end, she couldn't bear to leave.
With her heart firmly set on becoming a marine biologist, Marie decided to stay in Bali for an additional year to support the organization’s initiative. Putting her life in Germany on hold, she chose to chase her dreams and passion for the ocean wholeheartedly. By now, she was an inseparable part of the community, working tirelessly to conserve marine life and make a positive impact on nature. Marie's dedication and enthusiasm impressed everyone at Bali Internships. Her ability to work in a team, sense of responsibility, and flexibility made her one of the most valued interns they had encountered. Through her journey, Marie had discovered the perfect blend of her interests and professional aspirations, and Bali had become her second home.
During our talk, Marie expressed her gratitude for the invaluable skills and experiences she had gained during her time in Bali. The opportunity to be involved in marine habitats, dive alongside experts, and contribute to nature conservation had only fueled her determination to become a marine biologist. She was certain that this internship had provided her with a solid foundation for her future studies and career. Marie’s experience is a testament to the power of following one's passion and stepping out of comfort zones. Her journey from a student in Germany to a dedicated marine conservationist in Bali exemplifies how a single decision can lead to a life-transforming adventure. Bali had worked its magic on her, and in return, she had become a guardian of its marine treasures, leaving an indelible mark on the island and in the hearts of the people she touched.
By Billy Bagus