Whale watching: students travel abroad to volunteer

July 2015

UCB students jetted off to Arona, Tenerife to volunteer as Research Guides on the Atlantic Whale Foundation’s (AWF) whale watching boats. 

The students, who ranged from college-level to postgraduate, volunteered at the ports of Los Gigantes, Puerto Colon, Las Galletas and Los Crisitianos, parts of one of the world’s largest whale watching centres. They worked with the AWF and the Tenerife tourism industry to promote cetacean awareness and conservation leading up to the grand opening of the island’s first Cetacean Information Centre. 

As well as being on the boats, students analysed and interpreted data in the research room and worked in the Whale & Dolphin Information Centre, speaking with the island’s tourists and learning more about the local tourism environment. 

In their free time, the students had the opportunity to take trips and complete activities that helped them get acquainted with the island and provide them with more local tourism knowledge to share with tourists. This included kayaking, mountain-trekking, horse-riding, camping on the beach, snorkelling and gaining diving qualifications. 

Robert Goodfellow, BTEC Travel and Tourism student, said: “I had such a great time; the views on the island were incredible and I saw so many whales up close whilst working on the boats and learned a lot about tourism in Tenerife. 

“I’ve been diving and snorkelling and hiked up the island’s ‘Lunar Landscape’ trail, which was a challenge, but I’m glad I did it. The whole experience was amazing.” 

This was a great and privileged opportunity for our students. They have taken this whole experience in their stride and have become confident and enthusiastic volunteers. UCB will continue to work in partnership with the AWF to support a larger group of students for next years programme and make it even more successful.

Clare Hopkins, Employability Tutor in hired@UCB