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How to find the Best Internships in Asia

Written By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer
Volunteer Forever | Volunteer in Asia

Internships have long been recognized as a valuable way to gain real-world experience, develop professional skills, and make valuable connections in any chosen career field. But in an increasingly globalized world, internships abroad, particularly in Asia, offer an even more enriching experience. Asia, with its diverse cultures, languages, and booming economies, presents a unique and attractive destination for interns from around the world.

Why Intern in Asia?


Interning in Asia provides a plethora of benefits. Not only do you gain exposure to different work cultures and practices, but you also have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of the region. Whether it’s picking up Vietnamese in Vietnam, understanding the nuances of Cantonese in China, or navigating the corporate landscape in Japan, an internship in Asia is a holistic learning experience.

Asia’s dynamic economies, particularly in cities like Shanghai, Tokyo, and Mumbai, are hubs for innovation and growth. Sectors such as technology, finance, and manufacturing offer many opportunities for interns. Also, countries like Vietnam and China are increasingly becoming popular destinations for internships, providing a blend of traditional and modern experiences.

Navigating the Internship Landscape in Asia

Spend your gap year in Asia - Volunteer Forever - stock

Language can be a barrier for internships in non-English speaking countries. However, many companies in Asia conduct their business in English, especially in sectors like software engineering and international business. Nevertheless, learning the local language can be a valuable asset and enhance your overall experience.

The cost of an internship program in Asia can also vary widely depending on the country, city, and the nature of the internship. Many internships in Asia are unpaid, and some reputable programs may require you to pay fees that typically cover accommodation and meals. 

Can I do Paid Internships in Asia?

Volunteer Forever | South Asia Volunteer Programs

Yes, there are opportunities for paid internships in Asia, though securing one might require a bit more diligence and perseverance. If you’re on the lookout for an internship that not only offers a rich learning experience but also a stipend, here are actionable steps to guide your search:

  • Identify Your Target Companies: Begin by researching organizations within your field that have operations across Asia. Compile a list of potential employers that resonate with your career aspirations.
  • Check Company Websites: Regularly visit the careers or internships sections of these companies’ websites to scout for paid internship openings.
  • Leverage Your Network: Platforms like LinkedIn are invaluable for connecting with professionals already employed by your target organizations. Networking can offer insider insights on forthcoming internship opportunities and may pave the way for referrals.
  • Craft a Compelling Application: Customize your resume and cover letter to showcase skills and experiences that align with the internship role. Highlight your eagerness to work in Asia, alongside any relevant language proficiencies or international exposure you possess.
  • Initiate Direct Contact: In the absence of listed internships, don’t hesitate to proactively reach out to the company’s HR departments or hiring managers with a well-prepared speculative application. Sometimes, hidden opportunities emerge from such initiatives.

Work Visas and Taxation:

working holiday visa

The process for securing a work visa varies by country, often entailing sponsorship from your employer. Start this conversation early to allow ample time for application processing and to ensure you meet all legal requirements.

Regarding taxes, the specifics depend on the host country’s tax laws and your immigration status in the country. For example, in Vietnam, the taxation system distinguishes between tax residents and non-residents, with different rates applicable based on your earnings and residency status. Non-residents, who do not meet the residency criteria, are subject to a 20% tax rate on their Vietnam-sourced income

Potential interns need to consider such tax obligations and seek professional advice to understand how it applies to their situation. It’s advisable to consult with a tax professional or utilize resources provided by the internship program to navigate these complexities. This preparation ensures compliance and helps you understand your net income after tax deductions.

Considering Alternatives:

Volunteer Forever | Volunteer in Asia

If trying to get a paid internship seems daunting, explore agencies or organizations that specialize in facilitating internships in Asia. Although some of these options may require a fee and not offer direct compensation, they provide invaluable logistical and social support, making your transition to working in a new country smoother and less intimidating.

Securing a paid internship in Asia requires patience and determination, but the professional growth and cultural enrichment awaiting you are immensely rewarding.

Explore the following reputable internship providers and get started interning in Asia!

Intern HQ

Intern HQ is a great choice for people who want to intern in Asia because they set you up with internships that fit exactly what you’re looking for. Plus, you get to join a group of people who are just as excited to learn and grow as you are. The best part? You can do most of these internships in English, but if you want to, you can practice speaking the local language. 


With options to earn academic credits and program fees that include accommodation and meals, Intern HQ represents a cost-effective, valuable opportunity to gain hands-on experience and international exposure.

Intern HQ’s Internship opportunities in Asia are based out of:

Across cross various fields:

  • Technology and Engineering: Countries like India, China, and Japan are at the forefront of technological innovation, making them ideal for software engineering internships. 
  • Business and Finance: Financial hubs like Shanghai and Tokyo offer banking, finance, and international business internships. 
  • Hospitality and Tourism: With its rich cultural heritage and booming tourism industry, Asia is a great place for internships in hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies. 
  • Environmental and Wildlife Conservation: For those interested in environmental science or animal conservation, countries like Vietnam and Indonesia offer internships in national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. 
  • Public Policy and International Relations: With the geopolitical significance of Asia, internships in foreign policy and international relations are available in think tanks and governmental organizations.
environmental volunteering in Bali

Explore our selection of Intern HQ programs in Asia:

  • Business & Media Internships in Tokyo, Japan: Immerse yourself in Tokyo’s dynamic startup scene with a Business & Media Internship, gaining valuable cross-cultural and business insights. You’ll work with companies keen on international markets, enhancing your skills in digital marketing, sales support, and more, while navigating the cultural nuances of a professional Japanese workplace. Eligibility includes at least one year of relevant study and a readiness to embrace language and cultural differences. 
  • Hotel Management Internships in Bali, Indonesia: Experience the heart of Bali’s tourism and hospitality industry through a Hotel Management Internship. Engage in operations across various departments of top resorts and hotels, from guest relations to marketing. This opportunity is perfect for those studying hotel management or related fields, offering a blend of professional growth and cultural immersion on Indonesia’s most visited island. English proficiency is required, and the internship aims to develop skills crucial for a career in hospitality. 
  • Marine Conservation Internships in Thailand: Dive into Marine Conservation with an internship in Thailand, focusing on coral reef ecosystems. With mentorship from marine biologists, you’ll contribute to research, monitoring, and conservation efforts, gaining skills in underwater survey methods and data collection. Recommended for Marine Science/Biology students or graduates, the program requires dive certifications but offers training for newcomers. Explore the marine biodiversity of Koh Tao while making a meaningful impact on reef conservation.


GoEco offers cool opportunities where you get to work on projects that matter. You’ll get lots of personal attention and guidance during your time abroad, and when you’re done, you’ll have a professional reference that can make your job applications stand out. 


GoEco focuses on helping out with community, wildlife, and environmental projects, making sure their projects are making a positive impact.  GoEco provides internship opportunities in Sri Lanka:

  • Dog Care and Veterinary Assistance: Dive into hands-on experience with over 2,000 abandoned dogs on the tropical coast of southern Sri Lanka. Enhance your veterinary skills, assist in rehabilitation, and enjoy cultural explorations beside breathtaking beaches. Engage in weekly yoga, movie nights, and monthly bike tours. 
  • Medical and Nursing Program: Elevate your medical or nursing education in Sri Lanka, engaging in a program that combines healthcare learning with cultural immersion. Gain hands-on experience in various medical settings, contribute to community health projects, and enjoy life near stunning beaches.

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad is all about making a positive change while growing personally and professionally. They’re the biggest around at offering these types of experiences, trusted for over 30 years. They focus on safe, responsible travel, ensuring you learn new skills, meet awesome people from around the world, and get the kind of support that makes everything smooth and easy. Whether you’re a high school grad, in college, or just looking to gain some real-world experience, Projects Abroad has got something that’ll fit what you’re looking for.

Projects Abroad provides internships in the following countries in Asia:

Business and microfinance internships with Projects Abroad

Explore our selection of Projects Abroad programs in Asia:

  • Business Internship in Mongolia: Engage in a dynamic internship in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where you’ll gain firsthand business experience at local companies. Perfect for undergraduates and recent graduates in business-related fields, this opportunity lets you apply academic knowledge practically, enhancing your CV, and expanding your global business understanding. 
  • Engineering Internship in Sri Lanka: This engineering internship offers practical, real-world experience in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Ideal for students and recent graduates eager to apply classroom knowledge in the field, enhance problem-solving skills, and explore Sri Lankan culture. Tasks may include working on AutoCAD designs and software development. 
  • Physical Therapy Internship in Nepal: Observe and learn from physical therapists in Nepal’s hospitals and rehabilitation centers. This internship, suitable for students and those interested in global health, provides insights into care for adults and children with special needs in Kathmandu or Chitwan. 
  • Occupational Therapy Internship in the Philippines: Gain valuable occupational therapy experience in the Philippines by assisting in the treatment of patients with disabilities. This internship is open to students and graduates, offering a chance to learn from professionals, develop treatment plans, and perform community and home visits. Enhance your CV with international experience while contributing to community welfare. 
  • Micro-finance Internship in Cambodia: Support entrepreneurs in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to achieve financial independence through business training and micro-loans. This internship is suitable for individuals with intermediate English skills, providing a comprehensive understanding of micro-finance in a developing context. Tasks include interviewing loan beneficiaries, monitoring businesses, and providing training, making a tangible impact while gaining valuable experience.

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol)

Volunteering Solutions is a trusted organization that’s been setting up awesome internship experiences for over 15 years. They make it easy and affordable for everyone, from high school and college students to medical students and even backpackers to find a program that’s right for them. Whether you’re looking to gain some real-world experience in media, or healthcare, or just want to help out, Volunteering Solutions has got you covered with programs all year round.

VolSol provides internships in the following countries in Asia:


Explore our selection of VolSol programs in Asia:

  • Healthcare Internship in Jaipur, India: Engage in a healthcare internship in Jaipur, shadowing medical professionals in major hospitals. Ideal for pre-med, nursing, and medical students, this program offers insights into the Indian healthcare system, local language, and culture. Requirements include being 18+, a clean criminal background, and professional attire. 
  • Journalism Internship in Chiang Mai, Thailand: Join a media and journalism internship with Northern Thailand’s leading English-language entertainment magazine. Work in publishing, marketing, and distribution, gaining valuable industry experience. Requires a minimum 4-week commitment, open-mindedness, and a portfolio of editorial work or writing samples. 
  • Medical Internship in Kathmandu, Nepal: Gain practical medical experience in Kathmandu’s hospitals and clinics, assisting and observing professionals. Open to pre-med, medical, and nursing students, this internship enhances understanding of healthcare in a developing country. Requirements include being 18+, providing a clean criminal background check, CV, and proof of education. 
  • Nursing Internship in Galle, Sri Lanka: Intern at a hospital in Galle, rotating through different departments for a comprehensive learning experience. This program suits those enrolled in or recently completed a nursing degree, offering exposure to a variety of medical practices and patient care in a public healthcare setting.

Global Vision International (GVI)

GVI is all about hands-on experience while making a real difference. They get you involved in a variety of projects, and with GVI, you’re not just another intern; you’re part of a team doing meaningful work alongside experts and local communities. By offering real-world experience, leadership skills, and professional development, GVI not only contributes to your personal growth but also invests in your future success. 

GVI provides internships in the following countries in Asia:

volunteer in Thailand with GVI

Explore our selection of GVI programs in Asia:

  • Elephant Conservation Internship in Thailand: Dive into the culture of Karen elephant-keeping communities in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This 2 to 12-week program offers hands-on research experience with semi-wild elephants, teaching English, and biodiversity surveying, enhancing your career in ecology, wildlife management, or conservation biology. 
  • Coastal Conservation Internship in Thailand: Embark on a coastal conservation journey in Ban Nam Khem, working towards UN Sustainable Development Goals. Over 2 to 12 weeks, engage in turtle conservation, beach cleanup, and environmental education, perfect for those studying or interested in marine biology, ecology, or environmental science. 
  • International Development Internship in Nepal: Launch your career in international development in Pokhara, contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goals. This 2 to 12-week internship offers experience in education, health workshops, and community development, ideal for students or professionals in education, public health, social work, or psychology. 
  • Gender Equality Internship in Cambodia: Strengthen your skills in organizational development focused on gender equality in Siem Reap. This internship involves teaching English, running gender-focused projects, and professional training, suitable for those studying or interested in development studies, gender studies, or international sustainable development.

GVI’s professional apprenticeships, more in-depth than internships, span six months and come with a career guarantee. You’ll start with 12 weeks of project work, learning from experts, followed by a 12-week placement with an NGO partner. This experience equips you with valuable skills and industry connections, setting you on a clear path to a career in conservation or community development. It’s an immersive way to make a real impact while preparing for your future job.

GVI has professional apprenticeship programs in Thailand and Nepal.

Interning vs Volunteering – What’s the Difference?


Volunteer programs can be similar to internships in terms of what they provide:

  1. Skill Development: Both can enhance your skills – internships are tailored towards gaining skills and experience in a specific profession, including networking with professionals in the field. Volunteering can also offer skill development but is typically more focused on personal growth and contributing positively to society. 
  2. Experience: Each offers valuable experiences that can enrich your CV/resume. Volunteering, like interning, can demonstrate your commitment, work ethic, and ability to work in diverse settings. 
  3. Networking: Both internships and volunteering allow you to meet new people, expanding your professional and personal networks. 
  4. Impact: Whether it’s contributing to a specific field through an internship or supporting a community cause, both paths enable you to make a tangible impact.

Choosing between interning and volunteering depends on your goals, availability, and what you hope to gain from the experience.

If you’d like to explore volunteering opportunities in Asia, here are a few reputable providers:

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is the world’s leading volunteer travel organization – trusted by 135,411 volunteers since 2007. With program costs starting from just $20 per day including accommodation, you won’t find a more affordable and trustworthy organization for impactful volunteer vacations, gap years, volunteer trips abroad, or an alternative break.

Volunteer Forever | Volunteer in Asia

IVHQ’s Asia programs are based in the following locations: 


Alongside their internships, GoEco offers over 150 volunteer programs in 40+ countries, emphasizing sustainability and responsible travel. It has now become a notable organization in volunteer tourism, sending 2,000+ volunteers yearly with an average stay of four weeks.


GoEco’s Asia programs are based in the following locations: 

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad also hosts volunteer activities across Asia, with opportunities to deeply integrate with local traditions, and contribute to ongoing, sustainable progress in less advantaged communities. Taking care of all logistical aspects so you can fully immerse yourself in your project, you can dedicate your efforts entirely to making a tangible difference in the community you serve.

Volunteer in South Asia with Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad’s Asia programs are based in the following locations: 

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)

Established in 1989, Involvement Volunteers International (IVI) is an Australian non-profit that’s championed global volunteer efforts for over three decades, with 25,000+ volunteers in 23 countries. 

IVI ensures these efforts contribute positively to local employment and the broader growth of the communities served by providing a certificate of completion and tailored group opportunities.


IVI’s Asia programs are based in the following locations: 

Volunteering Solutions (VolSol)

In Asia, alongside their Internship Programs, Volunteering Solutions shines by offering a plethora of remarkable and cost-effective volunteering opportunities worldwide. These ventures are designed not only as avenues for contribution but also as immersive learning experiences aimed at uplifting communities in need. With program fees starting at just $200, VolSol offers a diverse range of volunteering options tailored for anyone!


VolSol’s Asia programs are based in the following locations: 

Global Vision International (GVI)

In the same locations where one can undertake Internships or Professional Apprenticeships, GVI also offers a broad spectrum of volunteering opportunities accessible to participants of all ages. The Organization stands out for its inclusive approach, welcoming volunteers with varying levels of experience.


GVI’s Asia programs are based in the following locations: 

A Gateway to Global Experience and Opportunities


Living in Asia, even for a short time, allows you to experience day-to-day life in a completely different context, from navigating local markets to understanding workplace etiquette. However, finding the right internship in Asia requires some groundwork, but despite these challenges, the effort can pay off significantly.

Internships in Asia are not just about gaining work experience; they’re about growing personally and professionally in a global context. Whether it’s through developing new skills, understanding different business practices, or simply living in a new culture, the benefits of an Asian internship can influence your career and life perspective for years to come.