Abbie’s Kefalonian adventure

The chance to travel or study abroad as part of your degree is is one of the many great opportunities that you get whilst studying at uni.

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Last summer Abbie, a third year University of Portsmouth BSc (Hons) Marine Biology student, was lucky enough to go on an Erasmus+ placement to the Island of Kefalonia (Greece) .  Abbie spent two months out there, working as a field assistant on a sea turtle conservation project, whilst also conducting research for her final year project.

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On Abbie’s course, she’s learnt about a broad range of marine life and carried out a lot of field and lab work. The placement allowed her to gain a more in-depth knowledge of sea turtles, and learn new surveying skills.

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Whilst working as a field assistant, Abbie also conducted harbour surveys and turtle tagging. This was a hands on experience working with large animals, and also helped her gain confidence chatting to tourists on the harbour about sea turtles and their conservation.

On the left, is Barb, a famous local sea turtle, and the left is Abbie safely restraining a turtle ready for tagging.

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Whilst in Kefalonia, Abbie conducted research for her final project. She planned this research herself and carried it out with the help of other field assistants. When she was done, she brought it back to the university and wrote up her report.

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When you’re on placement, it’s not just about work, it’s also very important to go and visit the new country you are staying in! This is a picture Abbie took of the Melissani Cave in Kefalonia. Just look at the crystal clear blue water!

Abbie was also able to experience some of the local food and even learn some of the language in Greece.

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As well as this, Abbie also got to spend some of her free time snorkeling, and even made a few turtle friends along the way!

Look how cute they are!

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Whilst Abbie was out in Greece, she also celebrated her 21st birthday! Her team and volunteers decorated the apartments and bought her a cake to celebrate, which shows how being on placement allows you to meet new people and create lifelong friends.

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Conducting this research and conserving sea turtles was an incredible experience for Abbie, and is a brilliant start to her career. It will look great on her CV, and is definitely one of the highlights of her time at university!

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Abbie’s placement was a part of the Erasmus placement, so she received funding to help with the cost, and help from the University to organise it. She carried out the placement with Wildlife Sense, a sea turtle research and conservation project who take on volunteers from around the world.

That’s all for now, so let’s wish Abbie lots of luck with the rest of her studies and her career!

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