Our mission is to ensure that every volunteer, student or intern leaves Oceans Research with a new found confidence. This will empower them to excel. Feedback from our alumni allow us to gauge our success in delivering on this commitment.

My experience at Oceans Research was amazing, because South Africa is amazing, because the team is amazing and.. the White Sharks are amazing! For the first time I worked on the field, I understood what it means to work in the field of conservation. I understood how to conserve marine animals and the oceans. I came home more aware. And I met wonderful people!

My name is Madeleine Sherman and I am from Honolulu, Hawaii. I was an intern with Oceans Research in August of 2017 and can honestly say it was the best month of my entire life. Having the opportunity to see white sharks in the wild, along with other local fauna is truly an incredible experience. There was something so humbling about seeing these beautiful creatures up close and personal every single day. Interning with Oceans Research provided me with invaluable skills that helped me with future internships as well excelling in my college courses. I was able to make life-long friendships with other interns, a year later and we still all talk almost every day! I would recommend interning with Oceans Research to anyone interested in marine science and conservation.

I came to oceans 2017 in July. Something that I was always curious about being a future marine biologist was how scientists identified a large pod of dolphins or whales, or if there was numerous sharks in one area. Being at oceans I can say I walked away with enough knowledge on fin identification; this is something I’ve never forgotten and i still use this skill daily during my summers.

It is not often that students get the opportunity to participate in real-time scientific research at an institute where the expectations for their contributions are so high. If a high school wants to have their students understand what it means to work, and live, in the world of marine conservation, there is no better place than Oceans Research.

My name is Greta Hayden-Pless and I am currently a senior at Juniata College in the States studying Marine biology. I had heard about Oceans Research through my advisor who knows the creator of the program and we have sent other students there as well.

I had spent three years dedicated to learning all I could about the marine environment and gaining as much experience as possible. However, the one month I spent at Oceans, doing the internship I learned more than I had in three years at my school. You are immersed into a hands-on learning that you don’t get t experience much else. You are constantly supported by the field specialist when you have questions and they share their knowledge with you and teach you new things, but they also expect you to be independent once you gain your stride.

I was an intern June 2017 between graduating from undergrad at Wake Forest University and entering veterinary school. Since I was going into veterinary medicine and enjoy learning more about Marine Wildlife, I took the internship to gain more experience in aquatics and to practice shark handling. During my time with Oceans Research, I was able to help with gastric lavages and cortisol blood draws in pyjama and leopard catsharks. In addition, I was able to help track the white sharks in Mossel Bay through the internship and with Andy Casagrande.

There was so many learning opportunities, so never be shy to ask questions. From monitoring dolphin migration patterns, watching cushion stars move around a pool and recording fish species on videos, there is enough diversity to appeal to everyone. There is time to explore the area, so I recommend going outside your comfort zone and go jump in a cage to be even closer to the white sharks!

I absolutely loved my time spent with oceans research! When I first entered the lab I found it to be feeling like a home. The staff always made me feel welcomed and truly wanted to teach me everything they could. When I volunteered I felt as if I was truly helping in the research. I learned so much, not only about sharks but also other skills like animal identification, animal care, and critical thinking. I would recommended this experience to anyone, not just because it is an amazing program but also because the time you spend there a life changing experience.

The moment I made eye contact with my first great white, something inside me shifted. I was instilled with a drive to conserve these misunderstood creatures, and Oceans Research provided me with a foundation of unique skills in the field of shark conservation. After completing my internship with Oceans, I have since gone on to work towards my Master’s degree in marine conservation at the University of Miami. Because of my strong background in research and unique skillset, I am now in the UM Shark Research and Conservation Program where I am assisting in ground-breaking research in shark biology and conservation. I can’t thank Oceans enough for the opportunities it has led me to!

I made what was then an irrational decision to head to Mossel Bay in 2013 to work with Oceans and White Shark Africa for two months. I truly had no idea what I was getting into I just knew that I wanted to work with big sharks and I wanted to travel somewhere great for that. This decision became one of the best ones I’ve ever made. I met some of the most incredible people in the world in the employees, the locals and my fellow interns. I got to experience cage diving and open water diving like I never had before or have since, and I wouldn’t trade the hands on research and boat life for anything. Mossel Bay truly became a home away from home for me and since my initial internship I’ve traveled back to South Africa 4 more times, and it is somewhere that I will return for my whole life. That initial trip was a positively life changing one, and I am happy and proud to advocate for and continue to work with these organizations.

The skills I learned during my three months with Oceans Research would have taken me years with other institutes to do. The experience I gained during my time at Oceans Research has definitely helped set me apart from other people in the same field.

Showing that you are willing and capable of collecting data in sometimes harsh conditions and demonstrating an understanding of how to begin analysing that data are practical skills that you may not learn in your university coursework. These are skills you can learn at Oceans Research and will put you miles ahead of your classmates. I’ve seen many interns go on to complete graduate degrees at very prestigious marine institutions, form their own successful conservation organisations, and form lasting friendships that may result in future collaborations down the line.

My story is not unique, I am a product of Oceans Research and persistence. For all those on the fence about joining the internship I encourage you to apply. This program will set you on a pathway in life. Enjoy the ride!

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