Career Break: Professional Internships for Young and Mid-Career Travelers

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One of the most frustrating aspects of filling out any job description is the “experience” section. After all, if you are new to the field or you want to advance your career, you may have the skills you need but no opportunity to apply them in a real-world setting.

Interning abroad through one of these quality programs offers you hands-on job experience. Whether you are exploring a career in finance, healthcare, tech, or just about anything else, there is an internship available to support skill development.

Upon your return from an international professional internship, you will have something to list under “experience” – and often, this is the factor that ensures you outshine the competition. You will gain professional references, as well as cross-cultural immersion that simply isn’t available in your home country. Better still, you will make a tangible difference in the communities you touch during your travels.

VolunteerForever

Featured International Internships Abroad

These are some of the most highly respected volunteer abroad and international internship organizations in the industry. They offer projects in a variety of fields, allowing you to live and work around the globe:

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Maximo Nivel

No matter where you are in your career, Maximo Nivel has an adventure for you. These carefully planned internships are perfect for those who need to build skills to compete for their first job, as well as those who are looking for new challenges and new opportunities after getting all they can from their current positions. Long-term projects are available in a range of fields, so you can make use of your existing talents while developing new competencies.

These are some of Maximo Nivel’s most popular areas of focus:

  1. Education
  2. Special Education
  3. Micro Business
  4. Hospitality and Tourism
  5. Medical
  6. Dental
  7. Human Rights
  8. Veterinary Science

Students who are enrolled in Marketing, Sales and Client Service, or Accounting degree programs and those who are already practicing in these professions often choose one of the following options for an internship:

Micro Business Internships in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru

The globalization of markets has transformed how business is done, and e-commerce has opened the door for entrepreneurs in every corner of the world. When you intern in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru, you will be matched with a small business owner who is working hard to overcome their community’s unfavorable economic circumstances. An intermediate ability to speak Spanish is necessary to be effective in these placements, as you will spend your time working with entrepreneurs to create solid business strategies. You may assist with basic improvements in efficiency, production, and quality, or you could be tasked with finding new ways to connect with and serve international clients.

You can look forward to complete cultural immersion while building your Spanish vocabulary, and when your project ends, you will have an entirely new set of skills and experiences to add to your resume.

Human Rights Internships in Costa Rica, Guatemala, or Peru

Economically challenged areas often struggle to reach minimum living standards, such as access to healthy food, clean water, and quality medical care. Some face a variety of social and community pressures that limit their ability to be successful and productive, such as a lack of education or discrimination based on religion, gender, or ethnicity. A variety of nonprofit organizations, community groups, and government agencies are working hard to provide support in these areas, and you can be part of the solution.

When you choose a Human Rights Internship, you will be placed with an agency or organization that is already established, and you will contribute to projects intended to raise the standard of living for the target population. You might be asked to participate in research, fundraising, community outreach, or education, giving you an opportunity to grow your skills in these areas. Your ability to speak Spanish should be at an intermediate level, and you can look forward to seeing dramatic improvements in your Spanish-language ability during your time on assignment.

Intern Abroad HQ

Whether you are just starting out in your chosen field or you need an extended break from the stress of your routine workday, Intern Abroad HQ has the solution. This organization offers international opportunities to develop new skills that will give you an instant career boost.

Programs are available in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Central America, and they span a range of professions:

  1. Animal Care
  2. Business and Economics
  3. Education and Child Care
  4. Engineering and Design
  5. Environment and Conservation
  6. Healthcare and Special Needs
  7. Law and Human Rights
  8. Management and Organization
  9. Marketing and Communications
  10. Sports and Physical Education
  11. Tourism and Hospitality

Some of the most popular internships focus on business and management skills, adding critical experience to participants’ resumes. With so many entry-level job descriptions insisting on at least a bit of history in the field, an international internship can be the factor that differentiates you from the competition.

These are just a few of the projects you may wish to consider:

Hospitality & Tourism Internships, Guatemala

Embarking on a Hospitality & Tourism internship in Guatemala, you dive into the vibrant travel industry of Antigua. Each day, you assist hotels, tour operators, and start-ups, gaining hands-on experience in customer care, marketing, and event management. 

Amidst stunning Spanish colonial architecture, you network with multinational teams and learn from seasoned professionals. Your journey includes Spanish lessons, enriching your cultural and language skills. From liaising with clients to creating promotional materials, every moment is unforgettable, shaping your future career in the dynamic world of hospitality and tourism.

Business & Media Internship, Japan

Every student who has taken a course in management knows that many of today’s most fundamental management principles originated in Japanese companies. For example, the just-in-time manufacturing and continuous improvement models are based on methods developed by Toyota executives.

Instead of reading about Japanese business practices, why not see them first-hand? The Business & Media Internship in Japan offers an opportunity to do just that. Participate in a cross-cultural exchange of ideas while you contribute your talents and develop your skills with tasks related to social media marketing, blog writing, search engine optimization, market research, and sales support.

Start-Up Entrepreneurship, South Africa

Learning what it takes to launch a startup is the best way to gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of the business world. Whether you will return to an entry-level job in a large organization or you decide to sign on with a company that is just starting out, the skills you gain from your time in the Start-Up Entrepreneurship internship will make you an invaluable asset to your team.

Work with leaders who are creating something from nothing in fields like green energy, finance, management, information technology, and social entrepreneurship. Your daily tasks may include anything from marketing and communications to developing a strong financial strategy, depending on your interests and where your strengths lie.

GoEco

The impact of climate change has transformed entire ecological systems, and GoEco is focused on protecting the natural world. Participating in one of these projects is your opportunity to make a direct contribution to the health and safety of wildlife and their habitats.

Of course, GoEco is about more than just wildlife – there are plenty of internships that allow you to work with people, as well. Whatever you choose, you can be sure that your efforts will have a positive impact, and you will return with professional references and new skills that will help you advance in your career.

The majority of GoEco’s projects are geared towards the following areas:

  1. Wildlife and Animal Conservation
  2. Marine and Coral Reef Conservation
  3. Medical and Healthcare
  4. Community Aid and Development
  5. Teaching English Abroad
  6. Volunteering with Children

Whether you prefer a Western European placement, or you want to experience a totally different culture, GoEco has an internship for you.

These are just two of the options currently available:

Sri Lanka – Medical and Nursing Internship

Gain invaluable medical experience on the tropical coast of southern Sri Lanka. This program offers exposure to various wards in renowned hospitals. Participants can engage in observation-based learning or hands-on tasks, great for those with limited experience. Enhance your CV, explore Sri Lanka’s beauty, and network with professionals. Enjoy weekly activities like yoga and bike tours, while living in a volunteer villa near stunning beaches. The minimum commitment is one week, with options up to 12 weeks.

South Africa – African Wildlife Ranch Internship

Immerse yourself in wildlife care at a South African ranch home to over 90 species. Ideal for those interested in animal husbandry, veterinary studies, or conservation, this internship offers tailored experiences. Interns shadow staff, assist in animal training and partake in enrichment programs. Enjoy the flexibility to fit university requirements, with hands-on involvement in veterinary procedures when available. Live in a luxurious lodge, explore local attractions on weekends, and enhance your resume in a unique, conservation-focused environment. The minimum commitment is two weeks, with options up to 12 weeks.

Projects Abroad

Experiential learning isn’t a new idea. At its most basic, it is the principle that learning is more effective when paired with hands-on practice. Interning with Projects Abroad takes experiential learning to a whole new level, giving you the opportunity to put your existing skills to work while simultaneously developing new ones. 

Projects Abroad offers more than 133 internships across 22 countries, so you can gain expertise to prepare for your career or to break out of your current professional rut.

These are the major areas of focus for Projects Abroad internships:

  1. Business
  2. International Development
  3. Journalism
  4. Law and Human Rights
  5. Medicine and Healthcare
  6. Micro-Finance
  7. Social Work
  8. Veterinary Medicine and Animal Care
  9. Engineering

Those with a particular interest in business, finance, communications, and similar fields often choose projects like these:

Business Internship in Mongolia

Gain practical work experience in Ulaanbaatar, working with local companies and broadening your global business perspective. Choose an area of interest and collaborate with professionals across multiple sectors. Engage in staff training, organize workshops, and assist with research and business meetings. Ideal for second-year university students or recent graduates in business-related fields, this internship enhances your resume and networking opportunities. 

Live with a host family, explore Mongolia’s cultural landmarks, and immerse yourself in a unique professional environment. The minimum duration is two weeks, with English language proficiency required.

Micro-finance Internship in Tanzania

Support female entrepreneurs from disadvantaged communities in Tanzania and help them secure financial independence. Gain practical experience by creating business plans, setting up marketing strategies, and presenting workshops, all under the guidance of an experienced supervisor. This internship, perfect for those interested in finance or international development, requires a minimum commitment of one week. 

Based in Arusha, you will work both in the office and the community, helping local women build their businesses. Live with a host family, immerse yourself in the culture, and make a lasting impact.

African Impact

Are you ready for an adventure of a lifetime? An internship in Africa could be exactly what you’re looking for, whether you’re taking a gap year, finishing up studies, or considering a career switch. It’s a fantastic way to gain real-world experience in your desired field or discover if it’s the right fit for you. African Impact has been connecting interns with unforgettable experiences since 2004. 

African Impact, internships are more than just making coffee runs. You’ll be an integral part of the team, making a sustainable impact in the community you’re working in, in fields like:

  • Community Development
  • Wildlife Conservation
  • NGO & Charity
  • Teaching

Embarking on an internship in Africa not only enhances your professional skills but also immerses you in diverse cultures and communities. Explore our top African Impact Internship picks here:

Public Health Internship in Zambia

This 4-week global health program in Livingstone, Zambia, is perfect for young and mid-career travelers aiming to improve healthcare access and quality. You’ll work in low-income areas, addressing health barriers, launching initiatives, and engaging with local healthcare workers and NGOs. Gain practical experience in data collection, workshop delivery, and social research methods. Live in a dynamic town near Victoria Falls and contribute to impactful public health projects, making a significant difference while advancing your career.

Wildlife Photography Internship in South Africa

Ideal for aspiring and experienced photographers, this internship in the Greater Kruger Area offers a unique blend of wildlife photography and conservation. Work alongside a professional photographer, developing your skills in pre-visualization, production, and editing. Your photos will raise environmental awareness and support conservation efforts. Enjoy living near Kruger National Park, capturing stunning wildlife images while contributing to crucial conservation projects. This program is perfect for those looking to combine a passion for photography with meaningful impact.

NGO Internship in Zambia

Perfect for young and mid-career professionals, this internship with The African Impact Foundation in Livingstone, Zambia, provides hands-on experience in NGO and charity operations. You’ll work on community development, fundraising, and marketing initiatives, supporting vulnerable populations. The program offers a mix of office work and community engagement, enhancing your skills in project management, donor relations, and impact measurement. Live in the heart of Zambia, exploring its culture and landscapes, while making a tangible difference in local communities.

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI) offers programs that immerse participants in diverse cultures and communities.

These programs are perfect for Young and Mid-Career Travelers looking to gain practical experience and contribute positively to global communities. 

Guatemala – Community Healthcare

This program in Antigua, Guatemala, offers interns the chance to provide healthcare and support to vulnerable groups, including the elderly, disabled, and children with HIV. Interns assist in daily care at assisted living facilities, participate in community workshops and health education sessions, and support healthcare staff in organizing medical treatments and rehabilitation services. Activities include feeding, bathing, engaging in therapeutic activities, and participating in medical campaigns and physical therapy, providing a comprehensive experience that integrates social work with healthcare.

Peru, Philippines, Vanuatu, Fiji (Public Health & Nutrition)

These internships focus on enhancing public health and nutrition, crucial for community well-being. Interns engage in health screenings and nutritional assessments to identify health needs, develop and implement health education workshops on disease prevention and healthy lifestyles, and promote physical health and wellness in the community. These activities provide practical experience in addressing dietary needs and sustainable health practices across diverse settings, making a meaningful impact on community health.

Costa Rica – Medical Volunteering

This internship in Costa Rica focuses on medical tasks while incorporating social work elements by educating patients and the community on health practices and social determinants of health. Key activities include assisting in medical and health services at local clinics and hospitals, participating in educational programs that address health literacy and community wellness, and helping develop and implement public health campaigns. This blend of responsibilities ensures a comprehensive approach to improving community health and wellness.

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol)

Volunteering Solutions offers exciting opportunities for students and professionals to intern abroad and gain invaluable experience. These programs, available throughout the year, are perfect for those aged 18 and above. Interns will not only work in their chosen fields but also immerse themselves in new cultures, enhancing both personal and professional growth.

Applications for 2024-2025 are now open, offering a chance to boost your resume, learn new skills, and make lifelong memories.

Journalism Internship in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Ideal for media and journalism students, this internship in Chiang Mai offers hands-on experience with Northern Thailand’s leading English-language entertainment magazine. Interns work in various departments, including editorial, multimedia design, and marketing, gaining valuable skills while contributing to the magazine’s production. Located in the heart of Chiang Mai, participants enjoy exploring the vibrant city. This program requires a minimum commitment of four weeks and provides a comprehensive orientation, accommodation in a volunteer home, and opportunities to immerse in local culture.

Dental Internship in Greece

Perfect for dental students and pre-dental students, this internship in Athens provides hands-on experience in a clinical setting. Interns shadow English-speaking dentists, observe various dental procedures, and gain insights into dental public health, orthodontics, and oral surgery. The program lasts from 2 to 12 weeks, allowing interns to learn Greek culture, explore the country, and meet like-minded peers. Accommodation is provided in fully furnished apartments, and interns enjoy the flexibility to discover Athens during their free time.

Physiotherapy Internship in Ghana

This internship in Accra is ideal for physiotherapy students and professionals seeking international experience. Interns work in holistic therapy centers, focusing on muscle building, rehabilitation, and stress management techniques like Shiatsu or Tai Chi. The program runs from 4 to 16 weeks, offering a flexible schedule from Monday to Friday. Participants live in a volunteer house, enjoy meals, and explore Ghana’s rich culture. This opportunity enhances intercultural competence and provides valuable work experience in a developing country’s healthcare system.

Global Vision International (GVI)

Are you looking for an internship where you can contribute to real community challenges and environmental solutions? GVI internships offer opportunities to immerse yourself in new communities abroad or contribute to vital project work from home through virtual internships.

Committed to ethical and sustainable engagement, GVI’s programs focus on locally-led projects in areas such as: 

For young and mid-career travelers, it’s important to choose internships that offer meaningful experiences, opportunities for skill development, and the chance to make a significant impact. These internships not only provide valuable professional and personal development opportunities but also allow travelers to immerse themselves in diverse cultures and environments, making them ideal for young and mid-career individuals seeking impactful and enriching experiences.

Here are three internships that stand out:

Marine Conservation Internship in Seychelles

This internship offers the chance to work on coral reef ecology and conservation in one of the most beautiful and ecologically significant areas of the world. Interns will gain hands-on experience in marine biology, research, and conservation techniques. Plus, the Seychelles is a stunning location that attracts adventurous travelers. The focus on coral reefs provides unique scientific skills and conservation knowledge, making it appealing for those looking to enter environmental and marine sciences.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Internship in Ghana

This internship focuses on promoting justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion within communities in Ghana. Interns will work on projects that address social justice issues and support marginalized groups. This internship offers a profound opportunity to engage with and learn about important social issues, making it ideal for those interested in human rights, social justice, and community development. Ghana’s rich culture and history also provide a compelling backdrop for this experience.

Wildlife Conservation Internship in South Africa

Interns will work on wildlife conservation projects, potentially including work with big cats. This internship involves fieldwork, research, and conservation activities in South Africa’s diverse ecosystems. South Africa is known for its incredible biodiversity and iconic wildlife. This internship offers a chance to work directly with animals in their natural habitats, providing valuable experience for those interested in wildlife biology, conservation, and environmental science.

Final Thoughts

Every opportunity to enhance your skills and apply them in real-world settings will benefit your career, both in the short-term as well as the long-term. However, an international internship gives you a special edge. In addition to the hands-on experience you gain from any field placement you take on, you add a cross-cultural element that isn’t available at home.

No matter which project you choose, you are sure to come back with a deep understanding of the risks and challenges facing communities in other parts of the world. In today’s digital culture, people from every corner of the globe can connect in seconds, and the ability to effectively serve diverse populations is a must, no matter what profession you are in. The experience offered through international internships is invaluable to future employers, making you a top choice in a sea of otherwise unremarkable candidates.

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