“Offering a world of opportunities”

Posted 16 Dec 2012

From the great diving during the day to the relaxing culture andollie busy nightlife in Kota Kinabalu, my four month internship at Downbelow flew by. I arrived on the 28th July as a newly certified rescue diver with 40 logged dives, and when I left on the 1st December I had reached the status of IDC Staff Instructor with over 250 dives. Upon finding Downbelow I had planned to stay for one month to complete my Divemaster program, with the possibility of completing my Instructor Development course in the month after. However due to the cooperation of the office girls, and their immediate email responses I was convinced that the service at Downbelow was of the standard that I had read about, and I got a good deal on a combined 2 month internship. On my first visit to Gaya island was astonished by seeing such beautiful nature, just five minutes by boat from Borneo’s largest city. I was welcomed with open arms by the highly professional local staff team, and had the chance to fundive for a few days to get into the routine. Resident Course Director Richard Swann offered his valuable knowledge to not only get me and the other 6 other September IDC candidates through the Instructor Exam, but to also prepare us for the real world by giving more than just what PADI has to offer, such as his employment workshop. Richard was an excellent role model through the process by being fun at times, and serious when necessary, which motivated me to continue with my MSDT and IDC Staff programs. I, along with a fellow IDC candidate each certified over 25 students before the November IDC which we then followed. This time the group consisted of 6 candidates, allowing for suitable personal attention, but also large enough to create a nice social study environment in the neighboring rooms at the accommodation.

During the Specialty instructor program, the distinctive Shark Conservation was my favorite. Throughout my program, there was never a hassle to get a day off to see the City and the rest of Borneo because of the effective scheduling done in the KK times square office. Downbelow is not only well located for a PADI pro internship, but the high level of professionalism in the GoPro team and the support staff allow for an enjoyable and valuable experience that is unique to the diving world.

Ollie Smeenk

Class of September 2012 IDC


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