HOW SAFE IS IT IN CAMBODIA?
Cambodia is a very safe place. We’re happy to arrange your travel from Phnom Penh to the boat transfer port in Sihanoukville (as an organisation we always use Giant Ibis Transport which charges USD10 one way). We encourage our volunteers to bring their laptops and cameras, especially if they plan to be onsite for a while. Muggings and room thefts are rare but, as in all cities, it is a good idea to keep expensive items concealed whenever possible.
WHAT WOULD ACCOMMODATION BE IN TERMS OF BASIC AMENITIES? HOW MANY WILL BE SHARING IN A ROOM? WHERE IS IT IN RELATION TO THE RESEARCH CENTRE?
The accommodation is basic but very comfortable. It is housed in a building in the local community where our projects are based. In terms of amenities, you will have access to free WiFi, hot showers, good local cuisine (cooked for you in our staff canteen), a fan in your room, plenty of shelving and storage space for your personal items, access to the staff bar and access to the staff gym.
DOES THE ACCOMMODATION HAVE A BATHROOM? ARE THERE BASIC PLUMBING SERVICES? ARE TOILETS SHARED?
There is a shared toilet in the accommodation. The accommodation comprises of three twin rooms so space won’t be an issue. The site where you will have your meals and lectures (15 minutes down the beach) has running hot water showers, designated male/female toilets, mirrors, basins, etc. This would be the best place to shower each day – and there will be plenty of time to do so!
THE INFORMATION LEAFLET MENTIONS THAT DIVING AND SNORKELLING ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THE FEES. WHAT ARE THE PRICES FOR LONG-TERM RENTAL?
Diving equipment is provided (regulators, BCD and tank). However, we are unable to provide a mask, snorkel, fins, dive computer and a wetsuit (it’s not required in these warm waters). We have a partnership with a local dive centre, Scuba Nation, which gives big discounts to TMCP volunteers on equipment rental.
Is WiFi available at the accommodation or just at the office?
WiFI is only available in the office site – but it’s fast enough to use Skype on. USB Internet dongles, which can be used almost anywhere in Cambodia, can be bought in the country for USD10, and USD5 per month in credit would be ample for personal needs (emails, Facebook, YouTube, etc.).
The leaflet lists costs for a four- to eight-week volunteer program but I am interested in volunteering for six to 12 months. Is this possible and how much will it cost?
We can definitely design a long-term internship for you. The monthly costs would be dramatically reduced if you chose to stay longer. A six-month expedition would cost US$7450 (4800GBP) and a 12-month expedition would cost US$10,200 (6550GBP).
HOW LONG IS THE TRAINING PERIOD? IS ANY PRIOR KNOWLEDGE OR EXPERIENCE REQUIRED?
The training period is dependent on your current scuba diving qualification. The coral reef ecology course takes two weeks. During this time you will also receive training in career development and professional networking, delivered by our project director – a great catalyst for a fruitful career! If you require lessons in both PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water diving, then an extra week of training will be included (i.e., scuba training + reef ecology training + ‘career catalyst’ training = three weeks or reef ecology training + ‘career catalyst’ training = two weeks). The coral reef ecology course is comprehensive and is designed for people who have never been in the ocean before, although it is equally challenging for experienced marine conservationists. Don’t worry if you don’t have prior knowledge or training. Our project scientist is an excellent teacher and will be able to teach you everything you need to know!
What is a typical day for a volunteer like? What sort of activities would we engage in? Do we get any days off?
A typical day starts with breakfast at 8am, usually followed by a reef ecology lecture (or a dive session when you are trained). Lunch is roughly at midday. Following lunch, you will be out in the water scuba diving (either training or data collecting). Dinner is at 6 pm each day. The typical workweek is six days with one day off. There will be plenty of opportunities to explore the local area on your days off, visit neighbouring beaches, chill out at a local resort, play beach games, etc. The night before a day off is a designated ‘social night’ where volunteers and staff usually mingle over a few beers.