The Monkeys of Merazonia – 6 weeks in Ecuador

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I have embarked on a 6 week international program in Ecuador. I am volunteering at the animal refuge Merazonia in between the Andes and The Amazon. I am surrounded by so many animals I may not get the opportunity to work with in Australia. I get to take care of and play with Capuchin and Woolly monkeys, tamarins and kinkajous!

Professionally the insight I’ve gained into the thought, care, maintenance, difficulties and dynamics involved in caring for and releasing wildlife has been invaluable. I embarked on a camera trap project, adventuring through some very dense and beautiful cloud on the edge of the Andes.

I wish I improved my language skills prior to arrival. My level of Spanish did not affect my time at Merazonia. However taking a Spanish course may have helped to improve my skills and enhance my interaction with locals. I developed a familiarity with the people which gave me a deeper sense of ease with the community and its people as well as an appreciation of the privilege and opportunity I have in being able to travel and study as I do. I gained a great amount of pleasure and satisfaction from having this cultural experience As a volunteer at Merazonia I treated the placement in the same way I would a new job. That is; to prioritise a very high work ethic, an ability to learn quickly and to act proactively. I feel that I did all I could to ensure these things and based on positive feedback, believe I was valued as a volunteer during my time at Merazonia. I valued the experience immensely both in terms of professional and personal gains.

This experience has reinforced my strong commitment to good work ethic regardless of whether I am paid to work or paying to work, as I was in this case. The chance to learn a new information and new skills was also a relished opportunity for me and reinforced my strong desire to pursue new experiences and seek knowledge in my professional career.

Philippa (Pip) Smith – Master of Emergency Management 2018

CSU Global Note: Philippa undertook this program in association with the CSU subject SCI302. To find out more about these types of experiences and how you can link them to your CSU degree contact csuglobal@csu.edu.au or visit our website.

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