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Volunteer Reviews

Alexandre St.Pierre-See, February 2013 I gained a lot of knowledge in science, but also on a personal level. Reef Doctor offers a great opportunity to learn to live in a small community. It was my first experience with first hand data collection for proper research, and that was very enlightening. I was lucky to be able to be part of the fishery surveys first days, and to witness all of the necessary corrections that need to be made and the potential problems that need to be accounted for when trying to develop a proper data collection system. Stand out memories I have a lot of good memories, some having to do with incredible dives, others of fun times with the people here at Reef Doctor camp. I have great memories of my trip to the Andringitra National Park with Philip, the other volunteer. Walking through different villages, and getting a feel of the local life. My best memories are probably of time spent with Gasy kids in the different villages, taking pictures with them, playing football or some other local game. I found my time at Reef Doctor very interesting, and I am very happy to have been here. It was a great first experience in a third world country, and I was happy to have people on camp from different countries and cultures to talk to and get to know. Thank you for having me.

Laura Puk, January 2013 I had a good time here and felt like I was actually contributing to the work here, which is not always the case with other volunteer organisations (in my experience). I am also happy I chose ReefDoctor to volunteer with because I really got to see what it is like go work for an NGO and heard about the good and the not so good sides of it. I also feel, that the money I spent to come here is doing good here for the community and is actually helping to make a difference, so I am happy about that. Overall I had a good experience and would like to thank everybody for the time and effort they put into training me. Stand out Memories: Definitely snorkelling with the dolphins and the exterior dives. I really enjoyed that!

Henry Duffy, April 2012 I spent 6 weeks on Reef Doctor’s marine conservation project, and I was left with a genuine feeling that both the volunteers and the organisation as a whole were making a tangible difference in Ifaty. I was able to learn a huge amount about marine science, whilst living in a far flung, beautiful corner of Madagascar My main motivation for volunteering with Reef Doctor was to carry out underwater research as a SCUBA diver, and I was able to do 2 dives a day almost every day, working with very knowledgeable staff. I was able to collect large amounts of data, whilst diving a variety of sites. The diving, and marine science training, took up the majority of my time, but there were numerous other opportunities to contribute to Reef Doctor’s work, such as teaching local children or implementing tourist permits for the local marine protected area. The variety of ways to get involved, both with the science and the local community, was very enjoyable. As a final point, the accommodation was basic (wooden hut) but very comfortable, and it’s almost worth going just for the food, which was consistently amazing!

Latest update I have now accepted an offer from Imperial to study their MSc Conservation Science, starting in September. I was able to use my Reef Doctor experience in my interview, and I just wanted to say thanks so much for providing my reference, I am really grateful for your help.

Toni Toreno, July 2012 “When you join a volunteer program in a field that you know little to nothing about, you don’t really expect to make a huge difference in the short time you’re there, but in just one week we managed to do just that.  From the Mangrove Planting Festival to the Coral Tree that the staff and volunteers envisioned, built and placed at Rose Garden dive site, we were able to put our own mark on the preservation for the future of the sea.”

Sean Conaty, March 2012 “All the staff that are involved here at reef doctor are really great; this includes all the local gassy staff. Everyone is always all to happy to help anybody where they can and always happy to make your day as easy as it can be. They are also all too happy to help you learn any extra things that you may be interested. Be it learning a bit of Gasy or French or even anything to do with the science.”

Amy Dingler, June 2012 “I found all of the staff in general to be very educated and have professional backgrounds in the marine field. I always felt like staff could answer any question I had and they were always happy to sit down and explain things to me that I didn’t understand or was curious about.The food was great. What can I say, Victor is amazing. Some of his meals are the best that I’ve had during my entire year abroad. In general I felt really taken care of at Reef Doctor”

Ben Noutch, June 2012 “Arriving as an open water diver with the extent of my fish knowledge coming from having watched Finding Nemo multiple times as a child and leaving an Advanced Open Water diver, trained in Emergency First Response and being able to identify 40 or so fish as well as types of benthos and invertebrates in the space of 5 weeks is something I’m very proud of. I’d like to thank Reef Doctor for making that possible”

Joanna Fraser, February 2012 “The malagasy staff here at Reef doctor are really wonderful. They infuse the camp with the Malagasy spirit of kindness and they work very hard”

Mike Hurst, August 2011 “The interaction between staff and volunteers was excellent, and everyone was made to feel that they were part of the team whether it was work related or with the diving and leisure activities. The diving was excellent and it was good to see that Health & Safety was of such paramount importance. I must take this opportunity to make a special mention to Manju who was an excellent boat captain and was extremely professional in his attitude and outlook.  I thoroughly enjoyed not only the experiences of Madagascar, Reef Doctor and the ethos of the project but also challenging myself to do something that was a little outside my personal comfort zone”

Peter Basset and Helen Mitchell, Nov 2010 “ReefDoctor was an amazing learning experience and we feel fortunate to have been a part of the organization.”

Rebecca Slade, July 2010  “I had a great time with ReefDoctor in Madagascar. It was an amazing experience and has helped me realise that I am keen to continue studying marine conservation in the future. I really enjoyed helping out with the seagrass surveys and being part of the sea urchin predation surveys. The other volunteers that I met and the staff were all very nice and helpful, I hope to keep in contact with a lot of them. I loved the people in the village and I like that they are also involved in some sort of way with ReefDoctor and what it does. Thank you for the great opportunity and wonderful experience”

Claudia Grey, January 2009 “I would thoroughly recommend the experience to anyone looking to spend a few weeks or months in the sunshine, diving into the amazing underwater realm, learning about a new country, and helping save a beautiful, but seriously threatened ecosystem.”

Gemma Clucas, July 2009 “My time as a research assistant at ReefDoctor was truly unforgettable. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so welcomed into a team and I would have happily spent many months there. One of the best things about it was having a free reign to get stuck into the things that interested me most and I really valued being able to contribute to the research and surveying side of things. The experience of living and working in Ifaty really opened my eyes to the real-life side of conservation and has inspired me to pursue a career in it, so perhaps one day I’ll be back at ReefDoctor!”

Aidan Hutchins, April 2009 “Not only did I gain and understand the basics required of me for my dive certifications, but I did enough diving where I feel very comfortable in the water and using those skills. I am confident about diving in other locations with other people”

Videos created by some of our previous volunteers:

A video of the underwater footage taken at different reef locations along the Bay of Ranobe by Amy Dingler in 2012.

A video created by Sandra Spethmann about her time as a volunteer at ReefDoctor in 2012.