Apply for a free 1-month sabbatical trip to Antarctica

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 25 September 2019

If you’re over eighteen years old and you’d love to spend a month on an icy continent as a citizen scientist, then Airbnb’s sponsored scientific expedition to Antarctica offers you just that opportunity.

The month-long, all-expenses-paid sabbatical takes place from 18 November to 16 December 2019 and applications are open.

South Pole, research Antartica

Kayaking in Antarctica. Image credit: Barry Thomas

What you need to know:

  • Only residents of the following countries will be eligible: Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Dubai, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, UK and US.
  • You need to be free and able to travel to Chile and Antarctica and remain there for a month from 18 November 2019 to 16 December 2019, (plus a couple of days afterwards for possible unforeseen travel delays due to bad weather.)
  • You need a passport that is valid until at least 1 July 2020 and if required, you need to be eligible for a visa to visit Chile (South Africans don’t require a tourist visa for a stay up to 90 days).
  • You need to be passionate about environmental issues and its advantageous to have some scientific training.
  • You need to understand and speak a conversational level of English.
  • You’ll need to have a sufficient physical, medical and psychological fitness, which will be assessed by a medical expert based on your application, ‘to participate in a trip offering adventure with a bit more challenge, such as activity at high altitudes (3,350m), walking up to several kilometres elevation on uneven snow and ice, staying in remote field camps, or extreme temperatures (–40°C).’
  • Please note that due to the nature of the trip, individuals needing regular laboratory or medical imaging as part of ongoing medical treatment, those on anticoagulants, and those with a history of severe allergic reactions (e.g. anaphylaxis) are not eligible.

About the trip

You’ll travel to Chile and Antarctica and be required to remain in the scheduled locations for the full duration of the sabbatical.

During the trip you will undergo training for two weeks, both physically and mentally, so you’re prepared to conduct research in this harsh environment;

You’ll be expected to volunteer, during the whole sabbatical, in support of scientific research on the impact humans have on the environment, working as a team to collect and analyze snow core samples to determine if microplastics have made their way into the interior of the continent;

You’ll spend one week, after training, working with your team to collect samples to be studied in the lab, and building your research to see if microplastics are present in Antarctica’s interior.

Finally, you’ll spend one with your team, working on research outcomes.

Applications are open from 12:00am EDT (18:00 South African time) on 24 September 2019 until 11:59pm EDT on 8 October 2019 (05:59 Thursday 9 October in South Africa). Apply here.

If one month in Antartica sounds like too little, 25 September is the last day that you can apply for an all expenses paid three month trip as a volunteer on an expedition to Antartica with The South African National Space Agency (SANSA) .

Featured image: Barry Thomas/ Flickr






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