At first glance of the marine conservation volunteering program in Tenerife, I knew that’s what I wanted to do for this summer. I have a strong connection to Canary islands because my favorite writer lived there so I’ve read a lot about it. And the job itself is perfect—to update social media posts of the program as a journalist. Though I knew almost nothing about marine life, I had a lot experience working for social media and being a journalist is what I want to do in the future.
Before departure, the only thing I worried about was the living condition of the program house. I had never been volunteering before, and I’m kind of a “neat freak”. After getting there, I was freaked out at first because there were ants everywhere in the house. But after one week, I started to get used to it and learned how to cheer myself up to do something more important than worrying about the ants—they were not going to leave you alone anyway.
My job was harder than I thought before, not technically, but because besides writing posts, I had to do the same work as other marine life volunteers, and I’m the only one doing the journalism internship there during that time. At first, I found it tough but now I feel lucky having opportunities to do all the work with others. Marine life was a brand new field for me, and growing up in an inland city, I’m not familiar with anything related to the sea. Doing the research work on board everyday opened up a new world for me. I learned a lot about the ocean and the animals. Besides that, since all my fellow volunteers are keen about water sports, I tried a lot of water sports for the first time with them. I still remember how amazed I was when I saw the beautiful seabed which usually appears on the TV screen with my own eyes during my first snokling. And they also fixed my cold by “forcing” me to swim in the freezing sea.
The most important part of my volunteering experience was the people I met there. From my lovely roommate who share the same cloth and shoe size with me, to the sailors on the whale watching boat, everyone was so interesting and had so much for me to learn from. My fellow volunteers are the most friendly, caring and open-minded people I’ve ever met. Our crazy night outs, road trips and happy cooking time will never fade in my memory.
I always feel excited about living in a totally new environment and meeting new people, but Tenerife made me even more willing to do so. I hope I can have more such opportunities in the future, to explore both of the world and myself.