Intern at Wildlife Institute of India in Dehradun, India
For my 3rd co-op semester, I worked at the Wildlife Institute of India and developed a project in which my primary focus was around human-wildlife conflicts from a landscape perspective. I had travelled across the country to the state of Tamil Nadu to collect data in the field and had been there for three months. In the field I worked alongside a master’s student, as well as two researchers from the tiger reserve in the area. Every day we planned to go into the field at the necessary sites and collect data, rain, or shine. We were quite fortunate that it hardly rained as it is monsoon season, meaning that there is endless rain during these months. During this time, I was also able to interact with the locals in the areas that we stayed and conducted data collection in, as well as grasp a further understanding into the conflicts that the people in the area were facing with certain species of wildlife such as elephants, tigers, and leopards. Through this experience I explored part of my field that I knew little about while gaining valuable research skills by creating, implementing, and analyzing my own research project. This, however, is only one aspect of what I got to experience. Everyday, in the field I travelled to villages and collected data, it gave me perspectives into the lifestyles and social complexities driven within a different society. A global opportunity is in my opinion rare, and one of the best experiences that I got from joining the co-op program. I feel that as an individual I have grown not only personally but professionally. It has impacted the way I think about environmental issues worldwide as I feel more connected to a global community. If an individual is restricted to a country, they only see the problems that occur there and see them as a separate entity from the rest of the globe. However, by traveling outside, and seeing the issues of another place, it is so easy to see the correlations that occur and how problems in one country affect another so greatly. This would not have occurred if I had not gotten the opportunity from co-op to travel outside of Canada. Therefore, I encourage other students to join the co-op program to expand their opportunities within forestry and understand that there is much more outside of British Columbia and Canada.