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Marine Expedition and PADI Divemaster Dive Center Internship

Enter the global scuba diving industry with a professional diving qualification combined with work experience and marine conservation training


Program Information

Get your PADI Divemaster qualification and boost your career when you join a scuba diving and marine conservation internship in Mexico’s picturesque Yucatan peninsula. Undergo an extensive training programme and gain in-depth knowledge into the marine ecosystem, then put this knowledge to work when you join a team to compile crucial research on tropical coral reefs and fish species.

United Nations
Sustainable Development Goals

Overview

Take a marine conservation and scuba diving internship while assisting critical marine conservation projects on the Caribbean coast of Mexico in the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Internship begins with our Marine Conservation Expedition. You will live and work for 12 weeks with a GVI research team and undergo an extensive training programme, taking your diving skills through to advanced level and gaining an intimate knowledge of the marine ecosystem. This knowledge will be put to practise while you work as part of a team to compile crucial research on coral reef and fish species.



You will be assessed each week in order to measure your progress, and if you are successful on your expedition you will then proceed to complete your PADI Dive Master course during your 12 week work placement with a local dive centre. This exciting opportunity will provide practical experience in the dive industry as you assist with daily operations.

After a successful internship, qualifying candidates may be given the opportunity to work for GVI or selected partner organisations in Mexico, or in other countries around the world where GVI operate. Field work positions can be paid or unpaid, range in duration from one month to one year, and availability varies. Qualification for positions is at the sole discretion of Global Vision International

All internships are geared at developing your leadership and role model skills, allowing you to develop a variety of key soft and hard skills that will put you a step ahead the rest of the pack. GVI have been running community development, education, and conservation projects since 1997 and our highly experienced field staff will help you gain and improve vital skill sets to improve your future job prospects.

Scuba Diving Requirements

You will spend the majority of your time on this internship scuba diving and as such you need to be qualified to at least PADI Open Water, or equivalent before you start the internship.

Program Details

Life on the Internship

Your First 12 Weeks

During your expedition phase expect working days to be long and starting early in the morning. Diving days will begin with preparing the dive boat, followed by a short journey to one of the research dive sites. Depending on weather conditions, we aim for everyone to have 1 or 2 dives/snorkels each day, 5 days a week, during which you will conduct underwater surveys after completion of your training.

On other days, you should expect to be involved in additional projects and activities, including training sessions, lab work,beach cleans, marine debris surveys, environmental education sessions at the local community depending on local and project needs at the time. The days are rounded off with an evening debrief, followed by dinner and time to relax and share stories. You will also be required to complete base duties.

You will have the opportunity to experience the best of two worlds, as the first part of your internship happens in a tourist area with all the basic facilities, an array of shops and restaurants around, for the dive shop experience you will go South to a remote fishing village with pristine ecosystems, part of another Marine Protected Park called Xcalak. The skills gained experiencing the two locations are one of its kind.

Work Placements

If you are successful in the first part of the internship your work placement will be conducted at our base, as part of our team.

Accommodation


During your expedition phase, you will be living on GVI’s research base in the stunning Mexico. Living conditions will be very basic as we aim to leave as small of a footprint as possible on the environment.

Accommodation at the work placements vary, but all offer basic to comfortable accommodation for their staff.

Project Details

Our work during the expedition phase of this Internship aims to assess the health of the Mesoamerican barrier reef system. We focus on Data collection for Fish and Coral species. Our goal is to increase local and global awareness of Marine issues and provide data used for policy-making decisions.

During this Internship you will earn recognised qualifications including:

  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Specialty

  • PADI Advanced Open Water

  • PADI Rescue Diver certifications

  • PADI Dive Master certifications

  • First Aid & CPR training (Emergency First Response Certification)

  • Biological Survey Techniques


Puerto Morelos's short, mid, and long-term objectives:

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfill our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Puerto Morelos:

  1. Provide data to our partners on the overall health of the reef, to be used for coastal management, and to have a better understanding of the Mesoamerican barrier reef system.

  2. Raise environmental awareness within the reserve.

  3. Minimise the environmental impact that visitors and other people have within the area.

  4. Increase in-country capacity within our partners and community members in the area.


How this project makes a difference:

Over time and with the contributions of volunteers, we have been able to amass one of the largest databases in existence on the condition, health and changes of any section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

As a result of our work, our partners have been able to continue with the protection of the Sian Ka’an reef system and local fisherman are now trained in diving and monitoring skills and partake in marine surveys with the park and Amigos de Sian Ka’an staff.

Upon successful completion of the expedition phase of this internship, GVI secures placements at local dive centres along Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Dive centres are carefully vetted by GVI to ensure you have the best training and work experience opportunities.

You will gain professional experience, practise leadership scenarios and help dive centre staff with the day-to-day running of the dive shop.

Your Impact

All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or UN SDGs. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.


Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.


Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.


What's It like?

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


Our 10 Ethical Commitments

 

Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


 

Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


 

Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


 

Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


 

Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


 

Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that ever participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


 

Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.


 

Local Ownership

We work to ensure that credit for the results of any project, along with any data collected, research conduct, or Intellectual Property developed, remains the property of local organizations.


 

Transitioning from the Orphanage Model

We do not condone and aim to withdraw support of orphanages and residential care centers.


 

Child and Vulnerable adult policies

We will live by our Child Protection and Vulnerable Adult policies.


Continual Development

As an organization, GVI is committed to striving toward best practice, and to educating both our potential participants, our partners, and the world at large about them. Both the volunteering and sustainable development sectors are increasingly, and rightly, under scrutiny. Many recent local and global articles highlight poor practices and questionable ethics GVI is widely recognized for striving to apply global best practice in the volunteering, education and sustainable development sectors throughout our operations by reputable organizations such as ChildSafe.


However, global best practice is always evolving and we dedicate both time and resources to engage with internationally respected experts and learn from the latest research to ensure our programs both fulfil their potential to create maximum positive impact, and minimise their potential to create unintentional negative impact. Along with and as part of the sustainable development and volunteering community, we are constantly learning and applying this learning to practice. We do not always get everything right, but we seek feedback from our community members, partners, participants and our staff, and react accordingly. We know are already doing a great job, and feedback we have received confirms this, but we aim to do even better and are continuously refining our operations to improve upon our already excellent reputation.


What's Included

  • 24-hour emergency phone
  • 24-hour in-country support
  • Access to Alumni Services and Discounts
  • Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated)
  • All necessary project equipment and materials
  • All necessary project training by experienced staff
  • Certification and summary of training and experience received
  • Community work workshop
  • Confidential professional reference
  • Coral reef ecology
  • Diving compressor training workshop
  • Final evaluation
  • First Aid & CPR training and certification
  • Introduction to teaching techniques
  • Leading biological surveys course
  • Live and work in a protected reserve surveying deserted reefs under GVI
  • Location orientation
  • Long term experienced staff
  • Meals while on project (except on work placements for long term internships)
  • PADI Advanced Open Water
  • PADI Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality
  • PADI Rescue Diver and PADI Dive Master certifications (not including PADI professional fees)
  • Safe and basic accommodations (usually shared)
  • Teamwork and leadership experience
  • Transfer to base location
  • Use of O2 equipment workshop
  • Weekly evaluation with your mentor
  • Welcome meeting
  • Work placement - if successful during the first 12 weeks of the internship

What's Not Included

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • Food during the placement portion of your internship
  • Internal transport to placements
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Meals (during work placement)
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • PADI Open Water
  • Personal dive kit, e.g. mask, fins, wetsuit, timer etc.
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Some equipment is not included
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Support & Safety

We won’t sugarcoat it — Traveling abroad is usually a complex process that carries an element of risk. But this is exactly why we’re passionate about providing extensive support throughout the process as well as the highest safety standards during the in-country phase. We believe that volunteering abroad should not only be impactful, but an enjoyable experience that carries as little risk as possible. This is exactly how we’ve been able to maintain our reputation as the most highly respected volunteering organisations in the sector over the past two decades.


Support

Once a participant books, they will be assigned a personal support coordinator who will oversee their pre-departure journey. The support coordinator helps to bridge the gap between program enrolment and arrival at one of our field bases. Your personal support coordinator will ensure that you are provided with all the necessary information required to apply for visas, background checks, and any other documentation.


Safety

Upon arrival at the airport participants will be greeted by a GVI staff member. All GVI staff are our own and all our programs around the world are run by our staff. All GVI field staff are background checked, Emergency First Response and safety trained. Our minimum staff to participant ratio is one to six, although on several bases we have a ratio of one to three. When finishing the experience, participants will provide feedback on all aspects of their program.


Health & Safety Case Studies

19 Nov

HOW GVI UPHOLDS HEALTH AND SAFETY

It takes courage to book a GVI program, get on a flight, and head off to somewhere new. Volunteering offers a level of cultural immersion that typical backpacking or holidays just can’t achieve. This is why thousands of people around the world participate in paid GVI programs.


1 Nov

GVI’S COMMITMENT TO SAFETY AND SECURITY

As the saying goes: ‘Expect the best, plan for the worst’. Cliched or not, we take it to heart. This tenet is at the core of how GVI operates when it comes to promoting the health and safety of our participants, staff, and local community members at all of our 20+ bases around the world.


6 Nov

HOW GVI REMAINS PREPARED FOR NATURAL DISASTERS

The weather isn’t just a topic for polite small-talk here at GVI. We have emergency action plans in place for all scenarios. So when the weather, or other natural forces, takes a nasty turn, we are prepared to respond to stormy situations.


5 Nov

HOW GVI MANAGES PARTICIPANTS EXPECTATIONS

Once GVI has matched a participant to a program that suits their passions and goals, our team aims to set the right expectations for them. In the event that false expectations around a program are created, the GVI team takes immediate action to ensure that the situation rectified.


Country Exploration

Volunteering with GVI not only allows you to participate in programmes assisting disadvantaged communities or endangered ecosystems, but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your programme. Many decide to travel after volunteering, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on the programme.

Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Yucatan field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Mexico!

Optional Side Trips

As a large and vibrant country, Mexico can seem daunting at first, but here are a few ideas to get you going in the Yucatan Peninsula on your weekends off:

In this region you are spoilt for choice in the number of opportunities to explore a stunning underwater world. You could start with snorkeling with turtles of all sizes in Akumal Bay, where they are protected and come to feed; dive or snorkel within the unique cenotes (the underwater river systems); dive Cozumel, where the wall dives along the island have been voted as part of the world’s best top ten diving locations; or, for a full weekend, try Isla Holbox, a small island off the north of the peninsula. It’s a beautiful, tranquil place, great for a quiet weekend away. Whale sharks (the world’s largest fish) migrate up near the island from June to September and snorkeling alongside them while they filter feed is a truly breathtaking experience!

Alternatively, if you are looking for a break from the water, make your way to Río Lagartos where flamingos flock and river crocodiles abound; visit Bacalar – known as the lake of seven colours due to the various shades of blue; or visit prime breeding areas for the hawksbill, loggerhead, leatherback, and green turtle (May to October).

Immerse yourself in the surviving Mayan culture of the area and visit remote and untouched Mayan archaeological sites, such as the famous and easily accessible sites of Tulum and Coba, or visit the beautiful and majestic Mayan ruins of Palenque in the Chiapas region. And finally, the colonial city of Mérida is the peninsula’s cultural capital and the local artisans of Izamal will be sure to offer you some souvenirs of your trip.

Further Travel Opportunities

If you want to travel throughout the rest of Mexico either before or after your time with us, there is more than your fair share of interesting places that are well worth a visit. Take a trip to the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and experience lowland tropical forests and have an opportunity to try and seek out threatened species; the island of Espíritu Santo offers kayaking with whale sharks (seasonal) and sea lions; if you are keen to try surfing, Puerto Escondido is rated as one of the world’s best surfing spots.

Oaxaca is a beautiful city to visit on the Pacific Coast, a colonial city with some of the nation’s most magnificent architecture, also offering several archaeological sites including the Zapotec ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further south, San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, is definitely worth a visit. Colourful buildings, historical architecture, and impressive nearby ecological sites with fun activities will easily keep you entertained for days.

Neighbouring countries to the south, Guatemala and Belize offer something different yet again. In Belize, island hop all the way down the coast, stopping to dive the Blue Hole, another world-class dive site. Guatemala can be reached easily by bus and offers everything from the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Antigua, to volcanoes, the beautiful Lake Atitlan, adventure sports such as mountain biking, and the majestic Mayan ruins of Tikal.

If you do decide to spend time travelling through Central America, make sure to allow yourself time to take it all in, because this region will pull you in and not let go!

Cultural Immersion

Engaging intimately with a new context teaches not only global awareness but adaptability and critical thinking, skills highly valued in the modern marketplace. Local and cultural immersion is encouraged on all our programs around the world, and is also one of the most enjoyable aspects of the GVI experience. Luckily, there are many activities you can get involved with in your free time, or before and after your GVI program. On our community programs the focus is on cultural topics, while on marine or wildlife programs the emphasis is more on the environmental element. Use your evenings and weekends to explore diverse and eclectic topics like Theravada Buddhism in Laos or how plastic pollution and climate change affects Indian Ocean coral.


Select a Start Date

  • 2019
  • 2020

Select a Duration

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Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Herritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.

Arrivals

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.


As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile. This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.