Originally I had planned to do my thesis first, but during the course Leisure, Tourism and Environment and Globalization in period 5 the director of the New Zealand Tourism Research Institute (NZTRI) gave a guest lecture and introduced the institute to us. I had already heard from former MLE students about their internship experiences there which made me curious about the institute’s work. After the lecture I got the chance to talk to director in person and he told me about the different projects NZTRI is involved in and interns can contribute to. Especially the range of projects and the possibility of working on marine tourism related projects intrigued me immediately and luckily my application was successful. Of course other factors like New Zealand as a location (it has always been a dream of mine to spend some time there) and the established partnership between NZTRI and Wageningen University encouraged me as well.
What are you doing in your internship?
It is actually quite hard to summarize my tasks in a short paragraph here because they really depend on the projects and can be quite diverse. In general I would say the other interns and me support the researchers in their work on various projects whenever it is necessary. Hereby tasks can vary from preparing educational materials for a workshop on eco-tourism for workers in Samoa, via best-practices analysis on international theatres to conducting interviews with local business owners or analysing visitor surveys about the Cook Islands. I really enjoy getting hands-on experience after one year of studying.
Any outstanding stories that you would like to share about your experience?
I would say the kiwi experience as a whole has been/still is something special but a few things definitely stood out. Since NZTRI is part of the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) I got the chance to attend a number of very interesting seminars and research roundtables on marine tourism related topics and could make some valuable connections for the future. One other really fun experience outside office hours has been the invitation of one of NZTRI’s clients to a musical premier in Auckland.
After my internship I will write my thesis and make use of all the hands-on experience I gained during my internship. Right now there are two possibilities I am considering and one developed from a conversation I had here at AUT. With the help of my education in Wageningen I hope to successfully contribute towards linking tourism and (marine) conservation in the future.
From your experience, what would you recommend to current students looking for internship opportunity?
I know it probably sounds cliché, but don’t hesitate to take the chances which arise during your time in Wageningen and in particular during your internship. There are many possibilities out there even if they are not directly in front of you. If you have an idea go for it, be persistent and talk to people, you may be surprised what opportunities may emerge.