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Travel Feature: 2021 Summer Photos from the Ground

Although COVID-19 has altered and shifted 2021 travel, we have so many stories to prove that it is worth the extra precautions!

All of our interns this summer committed to local and international regulations to make sure both they and the local communities remained as safe as possible. But by taking these extra steps, these amazing participants were still able to have incredible opportunities and to contribute to Sustainable Development Goals around the world! We’ve put together a few of their stories below.

To learn more about how Kaya is addressing travel during the pandemic, please take a look here.

Julianna Volunteers in Zimbabwe

Julianna spent a few weeks this summer in Zimbabwe working on our Lion Rehabilitation and Conservation project. This project uses a multi-step process to reintroduce rehabilitated lions into the wild to ensure successful and independent lions and offspring. While it was only a few weeks, Julianna said the following about her time abroad:

“​​My little love letter to Zimbabwe obviously begins with its people. Never have I ever met such kind, welcoming, and personable individuals. The wonderful aspect of this adventure was not only learning about wildlife firsthand, but also absorbing and exchanging cultural norms with locals. During this trip I have learned so much about life and myself, and am so grateful to have had the honor of experiencing some of Zimbabwean life. Volunteering [here] has been a privilege, and will always hold a special place in my heart. I ❤️ Zimbabwe!”

Intern in front of giraffe in Zimbabwe

Walter Interns in South Africa

Walter participated in a Public Health and Medical Internship in Cape Town, South Africa to offer a different perspective to his medical studies in the United States. While shadowing doctors, he said one of his most rewarding moments was talking with patients. (All medical interns only participate in medical practices they are qualified for in their home country).

A couple of highlights from this week so far are that I had the chance to speak with patients about their HIV status. Many people have confided in me to share how they contracted the virus. I’ve always made clear that while I am not a medical professional, I can be someone they can talk to. Very eye opening. Giving out free condoms has been very rewarding.

Jacksonville University Marine Biology Class Studies in Belize 

This summer, a faculty-led group from Jacksonville University went to a remote island on the Belize Barrier Reef. While in Belize, the students studied marine ecology and biology and learned about local conservation efforts. Additionally they created a 2 week hands-on research project with daily snorkels in the barrier reef. We asked how the students would describe the trip to their friends and family – and you can see some of the excitement from the quotes below!

  • This was the best experience of my life so far. I’m very excited to say I gained a good level of field experience
  • Life Changing! I am so glad I did this and got to do marine science abroad in the field.
  • I had an amazing time filled with new friends and experiences. I grew a lot as a person and scientist
Lion Conservation

Kendal Volunteers in Zimbabwe

Kendal spent some time in Zimbabwe assisting with lion rehabilitation and conservation. Her day to day consisted of preparing meat for and providing water to the lions. She also helped with educational activities to raise awareness with the conservation efforts. When asked what her most memorable moment was she said:

Going to sleep to the symphony of roars.

Emma Interns in Ecuador

Emma interned in Puerto Lopez, Ecuador on a Whale Conservation Internship. She spent most days on a boat photographing whale flukes to help with identification efforts and contributing to the larger conservation data collection! (Even if something in your field isn’t listed on our website, reach out as we may be able to find a unique internship such as this for you!)

It took me all of one day to fall in love with Puerto Lopez. The neighbors are very friendly and are very patient with my Spanish. Every restaurant I try has amazing food. The perfect way to end my day is eating fresh seafood and listening to music playing on the beach. (see more about Emma’s travels and internship during COVID here)

John Interns in Belize

John participated in our Belize Marine Conservation Internship this summer! Here he learned about many conservation efforts in the area, participated in research, and took part in assisting with the invasive lionfish culling efforts (these lionfish are quite destructive to the biodiversity of the area and make great ceviche!) When asked what his most memorable moment was he said:

I think it would be the manatees spotting [spotted 11 in one location], it was such an incredible sight and they are such wondrous animals.

These are just a few of the incredible highlights of this summer! We can’t wait to see all the successes of fall 2021 and 2022. Want to make some memories of your own? Reach out to one of our advisors and they will help you start your adventure! 

Hope you found this blog interesting. To hear more about the projects that we offer please connect with one of our advisors using the chat now button, or feel free to request a brochure using the button opposite.


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