Chantal Cornelissen on her internship at the Foundation for Sustainable Development
Chantal Cornelissen did her internship at the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD), the Netherlands in 2015
My internship was at the Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD). FSD is a research and consultancy foundation, coordinating projects such as the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) and the Dutch phenological network Nature's Calendar. FSD, the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP ) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Commission on Ecosystem Management are working together to establish an internet-based database of Case Studies on the use of the ecosystem services concept in ecosystem management. My internship was focussed on working on several aspects of the database. My working place was in Wageningen with the FSD, and I had contact (mainly via skype and mail) with a contact of IUCN-CEM in the USA.
The FSD was a nice working place, though I was not seated with direct colleagues of FSD, but with other students. Still, there were regular coffee breaks in the morning and afternoon with the people present, both of FSD and others. I also had supervision from a distance, as the contact of IUCN was located in the USA. This can be quite challenging. My recommendation would be to try and stay on top of it from the beginning and make sure to keep in regular contact.
For an internship in general my biggest advice is to not be afraid to ask questions. It is normal that it might take some time to really get an idea of what is expected of you, where you want to take your project and how you should function in the new working environment. You don’t have to know everything before the start of the internship, it is a learning environment especially aimed at learning these kinds of skills.