"This internship was one of the most valuable programs I have ever attended"
Jana Sprenger, from Germany
What I learned during my time at CFRW is very valuable for me. My previous education mainly concentrated on doing scientific theoretical research, scientific field work and teaching in university. After finishing this internship I would like to work either for an environmental organization or doing conservation-related research at university. Therefore, gaining practical experience in conservation work and environmental education over a longer period of time was really important for me.
I already took part in internship programs and volunteer work in several countries, but always for a shorter time period. This internship was one of the most valuable of these kinds of programs I have ever attended.
Giving us the opportunity to actually lead the Eco-Camp and to write a whole lesson plan was a great offer from the program, which is quite useful for future applications and work.
There will always be the chance to actually use the experience I made here. For instance, to write a lesson plan for a German educational program or to establish a watershed watch in my own community.
As I am not only interested in conservation work in my own country, but in working for international environmental organizations as well, I also need to get experience from other countries. For international conservation work it is necessary to know about the way conservation and conservation-related politics work in different countries.
We did a lot of work that took a long period of time like leading the Eco-Camp, doing research for the environmental lesson plan, writing the plan and staffing the boathouse. This allowed CFRW staff members to work on different tasks in the meantime.
Especially the lesson plan will be very valuable for upcoming educational programs. It will allow future interns leading Eco-Camps almost without prior training by a CFRW staff member. Additionally, it reduces the time they have to spend doing research about the subjects taught. All information needed is given in the plan.
I feel having international interns is a great idea in our globalized world. Conservation cannot work without having the whole picture in mind anymore. By teaching us your experience you certainly have an impact beyond your own community.
By educating international interns CFRW becomes part of training people who are well qualified to do international conservation work, because they gained experience in at least two different countries.
"Being able to lead the Eco Camp at the end of my stay was definitely one of the highlights"
Fraser Dane, Canada
I feel that the working abroad program has really benefitted me in my personal development. I was able to experience first hand the commitment that is required to run an NGO and how multi-talented each of the employees of the CFRW was. They not only have a great deal of technical expertise in their areas but have an incredible ability to bring people together and foster a community within the organization and it’s members.
Working at the CFRW gave me the opportunity to work on my social skills, which I did not realize would be so important for work on environmental issues. Connecting with people is very important to the perpetuation of environmental ideals. I had the chance to talk with people about the issues affecting the Cape Fear River basin and relate my experiences in Canada to those. Being able to lead the Eco Camp at the end of my stay was definitely one of the highlights of my internship. I was able to share my enthusiasm for the environment with not only the children at the camp but their parents as well.
My time with the CFRW has added to my enthusiasm for the environmental science program I am enrolled in this year. I have a head start with some of the concepts that are being discussed in my course. I believe I will be a better environmental educator by combining what I learned at the CFRW and what I am learning in class.
I believe that the CFRW benefitted from me because of the enthusiasm and personality that I brought to the organization. I feel that there is a certain type of personality (motivated, adventurous, and confident) that is willing to travel to make an impact in a community outside of their own country. I feel that the energy and enthusiasm I brought to the team was very beneficial to the educational activities I was involved with (especially those involving kids).
This will be an experience that I can share with the people that I know at home and who I work with in the future. It also shows a side of the States that the international population may not have experienced. Working with people such as the CFRW staff can do nothing but improve the perception of Americans with the international community. I have come home with nothing but good things to say about my experience in Wilmington.
While I was in Wilmington I knew that I was meant to give my time and energy to the organization when it was required. This was easily done because I was brand new to the area and had no other obligations. Attending the CFRW events was very attractive to me as it provided an opportunity to interact with people in the community and I may not have been as open to this if I was from the area. The reason being that if I was local I would have other social events taking my time.
"I feel this brings a fresh approach to the functioning of an environmental organization"
Feedback from previous participant, Mathew Craig
From an international standpoint, I feel I’ve been able to consider a slightly different perspective to water/ environmental management and its governance; whilst also acknowledging the foreign aspects of water management in an American context. I feel this brings a fresh approach to the functioning of an environmental organization, especially in an increasingly global society affected by climate change.
The Working Abroad program is very important to me. Volunteering for conservation organizations allowed me to gain experience, confidence and skills while building my resume over a 2-year period. I volunteered and interned for a total of three organizations, all with different lengths and styles. I learned first-hand what makes a program work and what makes it fail in the eyes of a volunteer. I also learned how valuable volunteer programs are to non-profit organizations and to the volunteer alike.
I believe the Working Abroad program benefits CFRW in ways a local intern program could not. International volunteers travel from another country to devote their entire 3 months to Cape Fear River Watch. This includes days, evenings and weekends. Local interns have responsibilities and social lives outside of CFRW. Scheduling is much less flexible and the idea of being “on call” 24/7 would be impossible for most local interns.
The Working Abroad program gives CFRW the opportunity to have an impact starting with the Cape Fear River while embracing the connection of the river and our world. Natural resources are connected on a global level. Freshwater resources, forests, fish stocks, healthy soils, coral reefs, and wildlife species around the world are vanishing rapidly. The loss of these resources affects the world economy and global security. I am so excited to know this connection is being made in real life right here at CFRW.