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Reflection on the internship
The participation in the workshop made me enthusiastic. Before I had some doubts whether such
workshops could end in useful results, because there are many stakeholders each with their own
interests. However in this workshop all stakeholders were really committed. It was interesting to hear the
ideas and discussions between the different stakeholders. These kinds of meetings are of importance,
because they contribute to a better understanding among the different parties. It permits that
information can be passed and topics can be discussed in more depth. It is also a way to make each other
enthusiastic and it stimulates to put things into action. Through the workshop I learned about
conservation and management, but I want to learn more about it. Especially the regulation, protection
and management by policy and the way how human-animal conflicts could be mitigated are interesting
Within the internship I did a lot of fieldwork. Because of this I have seen of what aspects you have to
think while organising a project (equipment, boat navigators, and permissions).
Furthermore I have learned how an education program can be set up and what things have to be
taken into account. It is important determine the knowledge present and to adjust the program to each
group. It is of importance to convey an objective and supported message taking the viewpoints of people
into account. I became also aware that local people have a lot of knowledge that could help in research
Before the internship I did not have any experience in environmental education and I had no idea if it
could work. In the future I would like to do some environmental education, because I have seen now that
people can be reached and that you can receive a lot of new insights.
Research methodologies (field methods/methods to analyze data)
I increased my knowledge on methodologies used to investigate rivers and the distribution and
abundance of river dolphins. I got ideas what weaknesses methods for studying freshwater cetaceans can
have. For example, the survey timing has to be considered. Most surveys are during the low water period
because the environmental conditions are then the best. However the differences and effects of changing
water stages on the dolphin distribution is unknown. Also the search effort is an important aspect.
Several observers are needed who search for dolphins in a reliable and consistent manner. Searching for
several hours can cause a decrease in attention of the observers. It is also difficult to make one
standardized method. The differences in river-channel morphology make it difficult to allow one standard
There was one goal that I could not reach in this internship. I planned to work on a project in more
depth. This means, be part of the whole project from the preparation till the data analysis and
interpretation of the results. Unfortunately, the actual project in which I should participate was
postponed (investigation of lakes along the Mamoré River). Therefore a new plan of activities had to be
made. I planned to help in the data analysis of the first dolphin census, but this was also postponed by
the project leader. The participation in the second dolphin census came unexpectedly and a little late in
my internship period and there was no time left to do analyses. I would have liked to practise more
within my internship, but at the end I only learned about data analyses from the literature.
Working in another country with persons from another culture
The internship was an opportunity to get immersed on a deeper level in another culture. It was really
experiencing to see how other people live. It also helped to look at things from a different perspective.
Beside language, I did not experience difficulties caused by different cultural backgrounds. An
interesting and open attitude of the people has helped.
An internship abroad was also a good way for me to see whether I could work outside the Netherlands. I
hardly experienced problems and I got really fast used to the different way of living. Also the fieldwork
came easy to me and I felt a full member of the project teams.