Internships Abroad: Where To Go, What To Do, And How To Get Started

December 31, 1969

I am so excited for Volunteer Global’s new intern abroad programs. This year, we opened up several opportunities in Nicaragua, Mexico, and Belize for students wishing to gain hands-on experience helping communities in need—by putting their studies to practical use abroad, or even by helping with programs that allow for future career development experience, our interns provide a valuable service to our host country partners.ESL Teacher - Volunteer Global

Before signing up for an intern abroad program though, let’s look into this opportunity a bit more—where can you go? What can you do? And how do you get there?

Where To Go

Honestly, internships abroad are available almost anywhere. You can of course sign up for a placement program, which finds and promotes internships around the world with community-based organizations. But what if you’ve looked around (here’s a great place to start), and decided you want something a bit different—either in a country you haven’t seen represented, or even in a community you’d love to know more about?

Well, you can always reach out directly to a local organization in that country, asking if they’re in need of interns for their programs. Smaller organizations that accept international volunteers are a wonderful resource, and often are happy to take on longer-term volunteers or semester-stay interns. In exchange for your service, you may gain a more in-depth perspective on your project—how it’s run or what its overall impact might be, for example—than you would as a short-term volunteer. And remember, not all organizations outright advertise for their placements, so always feel free to ask if you come across one that piques your interest!

What To DoKenya volunteer program - Volunteer Global

I’m going to build on the same point above—you can probably find an internship in almost any subject you’d want to pursue. If you’re a communications student but you can’t land an internship locally, look abroad—providing marketing or PR assistance to a small organization all the way across the world not only can give you amazing, relevant experience in the field, but it also can provide much-needed assistance to a group that might not have the staff or resources to dedicate to the project on their own.

Just taking our programs in Nicaragua into account, at the base level, our interns help build relationships between Casa-Nica (our host country partner) and local groups they can provide volunteer assistance for later on down the road. In addition to seeking out and building those bridges, you’ll also help with a specific project of your own choosing—from agriculture, to English teaching, to zoo assistance. If just one group can offer that much, just imagine what else you can find out there with just a bit of digging.

How To Get There

So, how do you get there? I’ve got a few quick, easy ideas for ya:

  • Check out GO! Overseas’ intern abroad directory.
  • Sign up for one of our programs.
  • Connect with another organization in our Travel Buddy directory, which includes hundreds of volunteer abroad groups seeking assistance worldwide—and many of them include intern programs!
  • Connect with organizations abroad on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn; keep your profiles professional and updated, and stay in touch often.
  • Talk to your university career or study abroad offices—as internships abroad grow in popularity, you’re bound to find an amazing program, and even alumni, that you can connect with.

So! Have you interned abroad? Know of an amazing program? Post your comments below!

Photos courtesy of Creative Commons.

Article Categories: Research ProjectsStudent VolunteeringStudy AbroadVolunteer ProjectsStudent Travel