WORK CONTENT AND DESCRIPTION
You'll intern in a leading research and experiential learning organisation in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. We offer structured learning through our programmes which is delivered at a higher level in the internship through one-on-one mentoring and frequent training workshops.
The internship goes beyond teaching skills required to plan and lead ecological studies; we focus also on the professional and personal skills sought by employers which makes our interns very employable by the end of their internship. We hope to ensure that as an intern you have a truly inspirational experience where you are able to contribute to sustainable, well-structured and meaningful projects.
Our Internship programme creates jobs for local people, rather than replacing them. It is hoped that interns gain as much as they give and come away fully understanding the goals of the projects and how they contribute. We ensure each intern’s experience is thought-provoking and will challenge their own viewpoints and perspectives, as well as providing a deeper understanding of local realities and cultures.
24 week Itinerary
Day 1 Cusco - Airport collection and Acclimatisation
Day 2 Cusco - Registration & Orientation
Day 3 Travel Cusco to the cloud forest, overnight in the cloud forest
Day 4 Arrive at the MLC
Day 5 Conservation research training
Day 6 Community Project training & Welcome Party
Day 7 Day off
Day 8 Emergency First Response (first aid) course
Day 9 Conservation research programme Training
Day 10–67 Training Phase Project Work
Day 68 Travel to Cusco
Day 69–70 Homestay with Cusco family
Day 71–75 Homestay with Cusco family & 5 days Spanish school
Day 76–84 Free week off (note you will have to arrange your accommodation for this week)
Day 85–86 Work in Cusco Office
Day 87 Travel to Cloud Forest
Day 88 Arrive at MLC
Day 89–171 Work Placement
Day 172 Travel to Cusco
Day 173 Sign out
*Schedule subject to small changes
Daily life in the rainforest
In the rainforest the day starts and ends earlier than normal to make the most of available daylight. You’ll adapt to your new rhythm in the rainforest within your first week. Some of our projects run on different timetables but generally you’ll find yourself in bed early, ready to get up either before or just after dawn.
The projects you will undertake combine a mixture of mental and physical challenges, one day you might find yourself carrying 10 kg of batteries and SD cards to check camera traps throughout the forest, and the next day you could be helping to set up butterfly traps. The work we do here at the Manu Learning Centre is very physically demanding. There are long days in the forest with high temperatures and humidity and difficult walking conditions. We therefore ask that you are able to easily walk 10km carrying a 10kg pack within 4 hours before you come here. If you’re enthusiastic, hands on and keen then you’ll have a great time pushing yourself with these challenges! Our friendly, experienced staff will always be on hand to help and guide, so please don’t be afraid to ask.
Below is an example of a typical day, which will vary based on which projects you’re scheduled on:
5:30am Up early to visit the clay lick, and monitor the blue headed macaws
7:30am Trek into the forest to checkbutterfly traps
3-5pm Work in the MLC biogarden
5pm Spanglish lessons whilst helping with dinner in the kitchen
7:15pm Night transect for amphibians
10:30pm Return to lodge with amphibian bounty. Shower, hot chocolate then bed! (Note there would be no early start the following day due to the late night)
During your 10 week training phase you will develop and learn vital skills whilst covering every aspect of the Center's work in the Amazon. We emphasize the integrated nature of conservation, providing a solid foundation in environmental science as well as the economic and social contexts of our sustainable community programmes.
During this phase you will receive Emergency First Response (EFR) certification from qualified instructors, develop tropical field skills, learn survey methods, lead survey groups to collect quality scientific data and learn about wider conservation, biodiversity and cultural issues; all while making a positive contribution to our work and aims. Staff will mentor, guide and assess your progress throughout the placement, helping you pass the initial phase of the programme and become eligible to move on to the work placement.
Due to the challenging nature of the internship, only participants who are able to meet the expected standard will advance to the work placement phase of the programme. The standards and specific objectives that interns must achieve are explicitly defined in mentor reviews and evaluations, and will cover: health and safety, acquisition of knowledge and skills, logistics management, organisation, communication, interpersonal and teamwork skills, leadership, initiative, problem solving, and professionalism. Please note that the full programme fee is non-refundable even for participants who do not advance to the work placement; however they will be able to stay on as a volunteer.
After completing your 10 week training phase you will have a 2 week break in the Inca capital of Peru, Cusco. For the first week you will participate in a 5 day Spanish immersion course and 7 night homestay; even if you have no background with Spanish this will be an excellent opportunity for you to improve your language skills in one of the most beautiful and culturally unique cities in South America.
The second week away from the rainforest has no set itinerary and is considered a self-funded, open week for you to have to yourself, visit nearby sights such as Machu Picchu or meet up with friends. As this week is not part of the programme so you must plan your own itinerary/ accommodation and budget accordingly, although we are happy to provide suggestions if you wish.
Work Placement Phase
Providing you successfully complete the volunteer stage, you will be allocated a 12 week work placement depending on your abilities and what is required in the field at that time. This decision will be made by our field team out in Manu and we will do our best to meet your preferences, however due to the changing nature of the rainforest and the needs of our research team, this may not always be possible and so we ask for your flexibility. Normally interns take over one of our long term projects or are given a new project that addresses the goals and needs of our research.
Whilst you will be allocated a specific project to manage, you will also be involved in running and assisting other projects as well. Your project may be based around environmental sciences, agricultural practices, zoology, animal behaviour, ecology and conservation biology; depending both on local needs and your own interests.
The information that follows is as accurate as possible, but please keep in mind that the rainforest is an unpredictable place. There are two distinct seasons in Manu: wet, between December and April, and dry, between May and November. Approximately 1,200 millimetres (67 inches) of rain fall during the wet season, during which there is typically heavy rain most days.
Forest surveys are cancelled during heavy rain but there is always something to work on. Daytime temperatures are high throughout the year, but are more extreme during the dry season. During the dry season temperatures can reach 40°C during the day. Cold fronts may occur for two days to a week during the dry season months, especially from May to July; temperatures during these fronts may feel very cold at night.
IMPORTANT – Please be aware that choosing a programme during wet season might mean programme activities and staffing may vary; contact us for more information.
Trekking through the jungle is hard work. You will encounter many diverse challenges during your time with us and for this reason we have some basic requirements for our interns. All interns must be able to:
- Independently follow verbal and visual instructions.
- Traverse over uneven and muddy terrain on a daily basis. You may be required to walk up to 10 km (6.2 miles) a day for survey work, carrying a heavy pack in a hot, humid environment.
- Enjoy being outdoors all day in all types of weather, often exposed to intense heat or highly variable weather conditions, which may include sudden tropical storms. Enjoy being outdoors in the potential presence of wild and possibly dangerous animals, snakes, and insects.
- Get in and out of a small boat and ride seated while wearing a personal flotation device.
- Carry personal daily supplies such as lunch, water, insect repellent, sunblock, camera, and some field equipment (butterfly traps, etc.). Some assistance will also be needed in getting supplies from the boat or van, however, heavy lifting is not required of those who cannot manage it.
- Get low enough to access and collect samples on the ground and in the brush, and to check or set up camera or live collection traps.
Please note that Spanish language is not a requirement for the internship however future interns are encouraged to take some classes beforehand to understand the basics, as this will allow you to get more out of your experience. A great emphasis is placed on interns to learn and practice Spanish during their internship to at least a basic to intermediate level.
4th March - 23rd August
29th April - 18th October
24th June - 13th December
19th August - 7th February 2020
14th October - 3rd April 2020
9th December - 29th May 2020