Name: Saige Sulzberger
Major: Animal Science/Spanish
Hometown: Muscatine, IA
Company/Organization: BioAndina Argentina, Buenos Aires Zoo
Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Describe your internship responsibilities:
This summer (2011) at the Buenos Aires Zoo, I worked with Project Condor. My responsibilities entailed preparing feed for condors, cleaning cages, and observation. Condors eat meat, so we would weigh the meat before and after they ate it to monitor how much a Condor eats daily. Every day, the condors get a new piece, and the old one is taken out. Younger Condors involve a lot more work. We cut up the meat into pieces, to mimic the “chewed up” food from the parents. We cleaned out their cages once a week and each time they had to move between cages. We washed out the mini pools, the inside cages, and wooden posts. Observation was a big part of the internship, especially after surgeries to monitor health. We also monitored behavior in the wild, noting where they are traveling to, how long they travel in a day, and which condors are traveling together.
What did you enjoy most about this internship?
Observing Condors in the wild was the most enjoyable part of the internship. I traveled to the base camp, where they release Condors every year. The base camp is 45 minutes away from the closest town of 80 people and the only electricity available was via a generator. The best part about working at the base camp was being able to take your time. Everything we did, we did without worrying about a deadline. We set out extra meat for the Condors at night so they wouldn’t see us, observed them during the day from far away, and climbed mountains to track a Condor, and fix cages.
How has this experience impacted your future career plans?
This experience has definitely impacted my future career plans. After this summer, it has reinforced my interest in working with animals. However, this internship was all in Spanish and it has made me want to continue my Spanish even further. Maybe even consider a job in a zoo.
What resources did you utilize to obtain this internship?
I used the Internet to find this internship. I basically typed, “internships abroad” into Google and eventually found the Road2Argentina program. At first, I was a little weary about the program, but after doing more research it turned out to be a very large program in Argentina. I looked at their website and emailed them to talk about the internship. All I had to do was take a test to determine my Spanish speaking ability and pass at a certain score for my internship. I was accepted and the next step was to buy my plane ticket and pack up!
What advice would you offer to other students seeking similar internships?
I would advise students to do significant research before embarking on an internship not promoted through ISU, but don’t be afraid to take a risk because it may be the best decision of your life. If you enjoy another language, really get out there and travel to those countries. The language isn’t the only part to it, you have all the culture to learn too!