Volunteer Testimonials
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Here are some reviews from our volunteers and interns, Please share your experiences with us.:

Hi, my name is Miriam, I am a 25 year old student from Perth, Australia. I came to Koh Seh to gain practical experience for the final year of my marine science degree.
I only stayed for a very short time. During my time with MCC, I was put in charge of making a seagrass herbarium, we made concrete blocks for an underwater navigation park, collected over 100kg of rubbish from the beach and had night swims with bioluminescent plankton.
It has been such an amazing experience being a part of a passionate marine conservation family.
 
Date of Posting: 26 February 2017
Posted By: Miriam Bell
Australia
Hi my names Max Duckworth. I’m a 19 year old. Marine Biology student from the university of Technology, Sydney.
I chose to come to Koh Seh on a month long volunteer program to better understand Marine Conservation in Southeast Asia, while also pursuing my passion of diving. This beautiful part of the world is helping me to learn and further my understanding of the marine environment.
 
Date of Posting: 23 February 2017
Posted By: Max Duckworth
Australia
Hello! My name is Kian, and I'm from the US. I am currently taking a gap year before heading to university to study global health. I was looking online for conservation organizations in Southeast Asia, and when I stumbled upon the MCC website, I knew I wanted to participate in some way. So far, I have learned to dive and spot seahorses as well as helping out with other projects on the island. It has been amazing to learn about the fight for conservation, and how MCC is fighting a fight where most of the odds are against them. Although I am only here for a month, it has been a great experience to learn about all that MCC does, and do my part to learn and participate where I can. The island is absolutely beautiful, and the community here is very strong.
 
Date of Posting: 17 January 2017
Posted By: Kian
USA
Hi, my name is Monika and I’m from Australia. I was a zoo keeper back home but quit my job and sold all my stuff to travel around Asia and volunteer with different animal organizations that focus heavily on conservation. I chose to volunteer with MCC because the organization is doing active work improving the marine ecosystem, something that I wanted to explore and learn more about.
It has been exciting and thrilling challenges learning to scuba dive here, and eye opening every time I go into the water. Swimming with bioluminescence during the night dive was a definite highlight! Island life has been fantastic, even though I’ve kept busy, the vibe is relaxed, an ocean view is everywhere you turn, and with all the friendly smiling faces you can’t help but be happy. I’m definitely not ready to leave the island and my plan is to come right back.
 
Date of Posting: 10 January 2017
Posted By: Monika Lapka
Australia
Our names are Anya and Raphael and we are from Ukraine and Germany. While travelling through Asia for 5 months, we decided to join MCC for 2 weeks of volunteering.
We have been interested in Marine Biology and Marine Conservation ever since we started diving more than 2 years ago. We wanted to know more about this fantastic hidden world and how to protect it. This is why we decided to look for a marine conservation project during our Asia trip. MCC is exactly what we were looking for and the work that is done is just fantastic. It shows how much can be achieved in short time if people work together in a team and have full dedication.
We hope that we can continue contributing something similar once we are back in Europe and can use the experiences gained during our time at MCC. And of course we hope that we can come back to Koh Seh someday for a longer period.
It’s great what you guys at MCC are doing, keep doing it!
 
Date of Posting: 12 December 2016
Posted By: Anya
Honeymoon, Ukraine & Germany
Hi, I’m Kate. I’m 22, from England and I just graduated from a Zoology BSc at University of Manchester. I want to study for a Masters in International Nature Conservation so I decided that coming to MCC would be great experience for me. So far I’ve been having an amazing time becoming an advanced diver here but I’ve also been helping out with beach clean ups and path creating. It’s hard work but we have lots of fun because we work as a team. I’m over halfway through my time here but I know I won’t want to leave! I love the way of life here and I feel as though there’s still so much more to learn and more I could contribute. One month is definitely not enough time here, everyone should stay longer.
 
Date of Posting: 12 December 2016
Posted By: Kate
Zoology BSc, England
Puzzling as it may seem at first, as in where should one go when it comes to looking after our sea, our home, Marine Conservation Cambodia is an ideal place.
Its an island, less then a km long consisting of open minds, inspiration, adrenaline, tonnes of knowledge, craziness, big appetites, creativity and much more. In other words, a place where one can get rich as a soul. People from different backgrounds, any background, come together for one cause. And knowledge is shared for which some of us are so thirsty. The criteria required is willingness to do. I'm not sure if its for the fainthearted, as the opponent they face isn't exactly small. One may get an idea of their constant pursuit of conservation over the website through reports, articles, blogs, testimonials, videos etc, but once your there, you will be able to clearly see and feel for your self the cause and effect of this group of people. And the fact it can be done and you can be a part of it. It is for real. I'm glad to have met you all though this little coincidence we call life. Ill be back. :)
 
Date of Posting: 18 October 2016
Posted By: Gautam Pahwa (gotham)
Dive Instructor, India
Marine Conservation Cambodia was one of the best experiences of my life. I have always lived nearby a big city with lots of family and friends and haven’t tried to expand my comfort zone a lot. I decided to do my three month university internship with MCC after reading many helpful reviews from past volunteers and contacting their very responsive staff (Delphine is incredibly good with emails considering you have to stand on the pier to get the best internet service!)

There is no denying that living on the island takes a lot of adjustment. The bungalows have two barrels of water (fresh and salt) for bucket showers and squatty potties. You have to save up your laundry all week and then take it with you to mainland to get it washed because there is often not enough freshwater to waste on laundry. It is vital to cooperate with constantly changing volunteers and make sure the living and working environment is beneficial and harmonious for everyone

One thing I think MCC should have volunteers be more aware of is the children and dogs. I, personally, love kids and puppies, but for some it was more difficult. Paul has four dogs and one had just had eight puppies before I arrived, which was a lot to handle at first. The four kids have to be watched often and are still learning manners and when to give personal space. I brought books and another volunteer brought watercolors and pens which can keep the kids entertained and occupied. I think it’s good to be prepared to work with the two older kids an hour a week so they learn from a variety of different people continuously.

Besides all of this, MCC is generally amazing. The staff is always open to new ideas and so many new protocols and volunteer’s suggestions were implemented just in the short time I was there. A new bungalow was built, two gardens were started, a children’s play was created, and the volunteers began cooking and doing dishes—all while continuing with daily life on the island.

I learned how to dive in a very comprehensive way (I received both my Open Water and Advanced while there). Amick, one of the MCC coordinators, took time out of conducting seahorse research to teach me the basics when we didn’t have a dive instructor. I continued to do practice dives with Brayden, the team scientist. Once MCC’s dive instructor arrived, I was thoroughly prepared and passed easily because of their constant help.

Just while I was here, MCC created an MFMA proposal for the Cambodian government, an EU proposal about oyster reefs, tagged seahorses as part of a PhD project, multiple seahorse surveys, in addition to coral reef assessments and reports for both Koh Seh and nearby islands. The Koh Seh reef has some of the best water quality in the area and by far the largest biodiversity, which really pushes the continuation of conservation by the volunteers and staff. I really enjoyed not being forced into daily tedious chores by renowned scientists and instead working closely with trained researchers with many years of experience to actually fully learn skills.

Living on the island was definitely a growing experience but I think MCC helped me in every way. Everyone pitched in to teach me how to make spaghetti sauce for Friday dinner. Everyone gathered together to play Fun Fact Friday every week in order to bond and relax after the workweek. Everyone surprised me on my birthday with cake and a party, and did so for the other five people who also had birthdays while I was there. I met people from all over the world (Australia, Holland, Canada, Belgium, UK, Austria, Italy etc.) and of all ages: other people on university internships but there were also older volunteers—one mother even brought her six year old! MCC is a community and a family and one of the best places to stay for marine conservation and learning.
 
Date of Posting: 08 August 2016
Posted By: Alex Merkle-Raymond
19 years old, Environmental Science Student, USA
Vive la commune !

Vivre en commun comporte son lot de défi. Vivre en commun, sur une ile, coupée d’internet, de téléphone intelligent et de ce qui constitue dorénavant notre quotidien est un défi supplémentaire. Toutefois, quand un objectif et une motivation sont partagés par les individus impliqués, on arrive parfois à de belles surprises. C’est ce dont j’ai été témoin au cours des derniers jours lors de ma visite dans la deuxième famille de mon ami Amick, c’est a dire MCC.

Je ne m’éterniserai pas sur les différents projets de nature scientifiques ou écologiques qui motivent les gens que j’ai rencontré au cours des derniers jours. Je vais plutôt m’en tenir à vous entretenir de la vie communautaire que ceux-ci partagent. En effet, des gens de tous les milieux, pays et âges se retrouvent ici car partageant le désir de protéger les fonds marins. Cette motivation fait en sorte qu’ils sont donc confinés sur une ile à vivre loin du réseau d’aqueduc et électrique dans des conditions qui nécessitent parfois beaucoup d’adaptation. Ce mode de vie alternatif et communautaire, est pour moi la plus belle réussite dont j’ai pu être témoin.

La vie sur l’ile, avec ces repas en commun, ces taches partagées et la coopération de tous, permet de faire émerger un sentiment de communauté et de vivre ensemble au quotidien. C’est vraiment quelque chose d’unique dans cette ère d’individualité et de chacun pour soi. En effet, l’époque des communes étant bien révolue, quand pouvons nous maintenant être témoin (ou surtout participant !) d’une vie communautaire regroupant plusieurs dizaines de personnes coupés du monde ou presque? La réponse est que sur cette petite ile du Cambodge, c’est précisément ce qui est en train de se passer. Ce seul fait, en soi, est une très belle réussite et mérite d’être souligné : vive la commune !
 
Date of Posting: 02 August 2016
Posted By: Remi
Canada
What beautiful place to be! I have been working with MCC as a volunteer in the beginning of 2015 and it was the best time. The first person I met was Sao. Since it was already late when I got to Kep, she helped me find a place to sleep so I could take the boat to the island the next morning. Life on the island is very basic, but it shows you how much you really need in live. Paul and his kids Jasmine and Fern were living on the island with me. They are so adorable.


Work basically consisted of reef surveys back then, so I got my dinving license with Gabor, the diving teacher on the island back then. He was the best teacher you could imagine, and in the evenings, he told us stories about his diving experiences from all over the world. As soon as I got my license and learned what all the fish and inverts are called with Delph, we surveyed around the islands close to our island. After about 2 dive trips a day, we wrote down our results in the evening, working on a scientific report.


At the end of my stay we even went to other islands and interviewed local fishermen to analyse the situation of illegal trawling, which destroys the ocean and all its creatures.





Living in a bungalow with two pretty ladies called finella and carrie from australia and the US, we share lots of funny memories. I cant wait to visit Finella and Max, another volunteer, in Australia this year.





All in all, this space is to small to write down all the memories and experiences. All I can say is that, in spite of some doubts about living in Cambodia at the beginning, it was an awesome experience, which I would do again over and over again :).
 
Date of Posting: 26 July 2016
Posted By: Kati Nispel
Munich, Germany

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