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Intern Success Stories: From Rainforest Leader To GVI Laos Education Coordinator

Intern Success Stories: From Rainforest Leader to GVI Laos Education Coordinator

3 mins read

Elizabeth Wells joined the Ecoteer family back in 2016. She interned at the Merapoh Rainforest Station in Malaysia; trekking in the ancient Teman Negara rainforest and interacting with the local communities. 

Having now secured a promising career with GVI (global Vision International), Elizabeth tells us all about her job and how her experience with Ecoteer helped her realise her passion. 

What position did you have with Ecoteer?

I was a Rainforest Leader Intern at the Merapoh project.

intern holding up numbers to teach children

What was your most memorable part of your role as an intern?

Definitely teaching and working closely with the local Malay community and the Batek Orang Asli (original people of Malaysia). In fact my internship was when I first started developing and delivering education programmes. The Batek community were not part of a formal education system at the time, so I helped run classes for the children. I focused on developing their skills in reading and writing Bahasa Malaysia, as well as in arithmetic and science. My team and I also set up English programs for the local Malay students as a supplement to what they were learning at school.

Where do you work now? 

I work in Laos in Luang Prabang as an Education Coordinator for GVI Laos. 

A map of Laos with a star on Luang Prabang

What are your new responsibilities?

Our main aim at GVI is to provide increased access to education and skills development, as well as promising human empowerment. We also run classes and workshops in a variety of skills and subjects. I design, over-see and deliver some of the learning programs and mentor the volunteers who teach the classes we provide. 

What is your favourite part of the project?

I love working with the students and seeing them develop and learn. It is also great to see them pursuing careers and further education when they finish studying with us. Working with such humble and dedicated students is inspirational, and definitely one of the best parts of the job!

Elizabeth pointing to a whiteboard, teaching children English

How did your internship help you on the way to your career?

It really developed my passion for this career and inspired me to start teaching, Being immersed in the Malay and Batek cultures, and working so closely with those communities also opened my eyes to the importance of empowering people to realise their opportunities. This is one of the most important aspects of the work I do now. 

Describe some of the skills you learnt interning?

Even though my current job is not directly related to the position I held in Merapoh, I am still constantly using a lot of the skills I learnt. Such as in community liaison and respect for other cultures. I am also starting to work on community conservation programmes through workshops and awareness campaigns, a lot of which was inspired by my work with Ecoteer. 

It is amazing to hear about how well our Ecoteer alumni are doing! We hope Elizabeth’s story inspires all of you future teachers and conservationists to make your passion a reality.

If you interned with us in the past and now work in a related field please contact us, we’d love to hear from you!

To explore our current interning vacancies, click here

Alternatively, if we have inspired you to try your hand at trekking for conservation, check out our amazing rainforest volunteer project

To find out more about GVI Laos follow them on Instagram.
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