As my internship at the Blue World Institute came to a close, I thought of a few final things that I’d like to share in this final blog post.
First, to anyone planning on interning at the Blue World Institute, here’s a bit of advice: 1) be vocal about what you want to learn and 2) be on your toes at all times. I went into my internship with a few goals, most of which were focused around learning a bit more about working with RStudio and ArcGIS software. During the first couple of weeks of my internship, I just did the tasks I was assigned and didn’t really say much about these goals I had in mind. Thankfully, when it came time to do some analysis, I was upfront about them with my supervisor. I enjoyed my work a lot more after that, but I think saying something sooner would have allowed me to get some more experience with different types of data analysis. As for being on your toes, it’s relatively self-explanatory. The work varies from day-to-day, sometimes even from hour-to-hour. At the drop of a dime, you could be leaving the office and heading out to sea for some data collection.
For anyone planning on interning in Croatia in general: plan your travels ahead of time and print a map! It’s rather unsettling to have to walk through an unfamiliar city in the middle of the night with your luggage on hand and almost no idea where you’re going.
In terms of future plans, I think interning at the Blue World Institute gave me a much better idea about what it’s like to have a job in the natural sciences field, especially when there’s active research involved. I learned how it can be difficult to find the right balance in terms of where to dedicate your time, but in some instances, you have to just go with the flow. At Blue World, our research was always weather dependent, so we often used forecasts to decide where to direct our efforts. Sometimes we would spend the whole day in the office working on logging and analyzing previously collected data, while other times we would spend the whole day at sea searching for/collecting data on the dolphins. Furthermore, I learned a bit more about how to think critically about data and the importance of learning from others. From talking about my findings with the research team to reading scientific journals, there was always an opportunity to view my data in a new light. On a quick note about education, I think I’m even more inclined now to continue my education in Europe, even if it’s not in Croatia.
All in all, I’m very happy with how my internship turned out. Apart from gaining some insight into what life is like in Central Europe, I gained I lot of valuable experience and met some truly remarkable people. It was tough to leave, but who knows? Maybe I’ll find my way back to Lošinj some day.