Written by Alexandra Myakonkova
On one fine summer day, I checked my university email and saw an internship opportunity from EAAFP! After checking the EAAFP website and seeing the purpose, objectives, information about the flyway, and migratory waterbirds, I started working on my internship application right away. It was always a goal of mine to work for an environment-related organization and EAAFP looked like a promising opportunity.
Fast forward to today—my last day of the EAAFP internship, I can say with confidence that I have learned much more than I ever would at any other organization. I have learned about the office culture and professional environment, the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF), species of migratory waterbirds living across the flyway, different Flyway Network Sites (FNS) and how unique each one of them is, setting up booths at events, organizing or hosting events, proper communication with partners and stakeholders, impacts of climate change and plastic pollution on migratory waterbirds, global value of wetlands and importance they play in the balance of an ecosystem, and the list goes on forever.
On the first day of my internship, I had the task of setting up and writing meeting minutes for the Management Committee online meeting. I was amazed that such an important task would be given to an intern on the first day, but it was a good learning experience for me! Many of the tasks that interns are in charge of during their internship at the EAAFP would not be given to interns in other organizations, but we had such an amazing team full of talented and hard-working girls that it’s not hard to imagine why our supervisors trusted us with such important tasks and had so much trust in our abilities.
The most memorable event that I got to experience was the 2019 SWS-Asia Chapter and KWS Joint Meeting that the communications team went to in Suncheon, ROK. We got to listen to various lectures from wetland scientists in Asia and even the United States. Their passion and love for nature truly brought motivation to continue spreading news and information to all of my friends about the importance of wetlands and nature conservation in general. We got a chance to watch a film called “Troubled Waters: A Turtle’s Tale” that made me tear up after seeing how much sea turtles were suffering from plastic pollution.
Internship at the EAAFP provided all of us with so many valuable opportunities and lessons to take away for the future. I’m glad that I got the chance to be a part of something so special and significant. It was a pleasure to work with such passionate and intelligent individuals for almost six months, hopefully, EAAFP will continue growing and more people will find out about it!