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Human Rights & Social Work Internships Abroad: Women’s Support, Law & More

Robin Van Auken | Hands-on Heritage
Written By
By Robin Van Auken
Edited By
By Munira Maricar
Travel Writer

Updated for 2024

Are you ready to step up for gender equality, education, and basic rights for all? It takes a courageous activist to defend others, especially in countries where basic human rights are mostly ignored. If you feel the call to build hope, wage for peace, and fight the scourge of disease, take a look at an international internship that places you on impactful programs that support and promote the rights of others, particularly women, children, minorities, and members of the LGBT community.

When you accept the first step in a career that aids others, either through social work or empowerment of human rights, you join millions of other caring individuals who are striving to achieve the civil and political rights and responsibilities enumerated by the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights and a growing body of public international law.

Looking to gain insight into a career in law or social advocacy? Maximo Nivel is one international organization that can connect you with outstanding programs that let you work with change agents and other social workers who are focused on empowerment, gender issues, and social justice. Also, Projects Abroad offers a variety of human rights, law, and women’s rights internships. Or, join African Impact in South Africa and work for women’s rights.

If you’re well-organized, self-motivated, and reliable, and have a compassionate interest in international human rights, then keep reading and consider an internship with one of the trusted, featured partners below.

Featured Internships Abroad

Maximo Nivel


Maximo Nivel is a locally-operated organization founded in 2003, offering international education, study abroad, internships, and volunteer travel in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. Maximo Nivel connects with more than 4,000 people each year to deliver high-quality, safe, and affordable opportunities abroad.

Maximo Nivel offers internships in human rights that focus on social justice and human empowerment. Internship placements are with community organizations, NGOs, and government agencies, and interns often work in the areas of community outreach, education, research, and fundraising. Intermediate Spanish speaking skills are required, though you can prep for your trip through the organization’s online Spanish classes or its Native Spanish program to bring your skills up to the appropriate level.

Human Rights Internships in Guatemala

Travel to Guatemala for a human rights internship that focuses on gender equality, education, and indigenous rights and helps provide a voice for those facing severe disadvantages. Work alongside social workers and gain hands-on experience in issues of empowerment and social justice. Tasks include community outreach, education, research, and fundraising. Your four-week practicum costs $1595, but stay longer and accomplish more. Sign up here!

Human Rights Internships in Costa Rica

Sign up for a summer internship in Costa Rica and learn about social work in the areas of women’s rights, undocumented migrants, discrimination against refugees, representation of native peoples in politics, and inclusion of the LGBTQ community. Gain confidence as you improve your Spanish-speaking skills and assist with outreach, education, research, and fundraising. Depending upon your interest and ability, you may help with marketing support through website development, social media, and the creation of promotional materials. Consider a four-week program for $1,995, or an eight-week internship for $3,295Read more and apply here.

Human Rights Internships in Peru

Be a part of promoting human rights and political development in Peru when you select an internship with Maximo Nivel. Your work can help provide equal access to education and healthcare, and help alleviate discrimination against women, children, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQ, and indigenous people. Further your career when you work with community organizations, NGOs, and government agencies that help you develop skills and gain experience in research, and fund-raising for human rights issues. A four-week practicum costs $1,595, and an eight-week internship costs $2,295 with additional weeks only $195. Learn more and apply here!

Intern Abroad HQ

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Launch your human rights career through global networking and cultural exchange with Intern Abroad HQ, with coursework that includes guided reflection, combining personal development with professional competency building. Weekly reflection modules encourage you to gain soft skills that build your resume and lead to a resilient career. Programs are available year-round, with affordable destinations ranging from Ireland to South Africa, to Greece, to Bali, and beyond.

Law & Human Rights Internship in Cape Town

Intern in Cape Town and observe South African human rights experts, learning from these professional mentors how to develop resourcefulness and vision. Tasks may include law research, clerical support, client meetings, or general case management. Stay in a popular student neighborhood, near the University of Cape Town. Enjoy the attractions, vibrant entertainment, and a safe home away from home. You’ll need at least one year of relevant college/university study in a related field, such as law, political science, or social work. Program fees start from $2,184 for four weeks. Learn more and apply here!

Social Work & Community Care Outreach Internship in Tanzania

Join Intern Abroad HQ in Tanzania and support social workers and healthcare professionals in addressing inequalities in Arusha’s underprivileged communities. Assist in delivering essential health and education resources, providing mentorship, and tackling social issues like abuse and unemployment. Interns gain hands-on experience and make a significant impact while enjoying the stunning surroundings of Tanzania’s national parks and game reserves. Stay for a minimum of four weeks to 24 weeks, fully hosted with accommodation and meals included. This program is ideal for those passionate about social work and community outreach. Read more here!

Social Services Internships in London

If you’re passionate about social services, consider internships in London with placements in diverse organizations such as environmental NGOs, medical research institutes, and mental health care clinics. Engage in meaningful work to strengthen communities and enhance well-being. To qualify, you must be a full-time student or a recent graduate in a relevant field. With a start date every Monday, the program lasts from 8 to 24 weeks and includes accommodation. Explore London, one of the world’s most dynamic cities, while gaining practical experience and professional development. Program fees start at $6,658. Learn more and apply here.



Founded in 2006, GoEco has placed more than 10,000 volunteers and interns on a variety of impactful trips around the world. GoEco offers more than 150 volunteer abroad programs and internships in 44 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Australasia, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, and South America. GoEco was recently recognized as the Top Volunteer Abroad Organization from GoAbroad, Top Eco-Enthusiast by Greenmatch, and has been recommended by USA Today, the Today Show, Huffington Post, and many more.

Barcelona Food Rescue & Community Empowerment (Spain)

The Barcelona Food Rescue & Community Empowerment program in Spain focuses on combating food waste and empowering communities through sustainable solutions. Interns work directly with NGOs to support community development and social justice, which are crucial components of social work. Participants contribute to the fight against food waste and hunger by helping distribute surplus food to those in need, participating in community-building projects, and witnessing the impact of their efforts firsthand. The program also includes weekly training sessions and workshops to expand skills and knowledge, providing a comprehensive and impactful experience.

Empowering Women in Kathmandu, Nepal

Provide equal education opportunities to, and increase the employability of, the women of Nepal when you travel to Kathmandu for an empowerment internship with GoEco. Discrimination against women is rooted in Nepal’s patriarchal system, which often forces a woman to depend upon her father or husband. You’ll assist in removing some of the barriers women face by providing them with access to education through funding and flexible class schedules. Stay for one week and six days, or longer, with fees starting at $800. Learn more and apply here.

Antigua Medical Internship (Guatemala) and San Jose Medical Internship (Costa Rica)

Although these are primarily medical internships, they offer valuable experience for those interested in medical social work. Interns gain insight into healthcare provision in different cultural contexts and can develop skills in addressing the psychosocial aspects of patient care.

Projects Abroad

human rights internships

Projects Abroad, founded in 1992, offers global service opportunities that encourage mutual learning and cultural exchange. It has placed more than 10,000 people to work in 50 countries around the world. Choose an internship and augment it with a language course and a program for professionals that range from social, environmental, and economic projects. They are currently offering ten human rights and law related internships around the world.

Human Rights Internship in Argentina 

Individuals who are 16 or over with a strong interest in human rights can join the Human Rights internship in Argentina to gain practical experience raising awareness about justice and dignity for all in marginalized communities. You will work in the Projects Abroad Human Rights office in Córdoba alongside a dedicated human rights coordinator and local organizations to recognize and promote education about their rights. The internship is open to anyone, regardless of their level of experience or expertise. Participants will stay with a local host family, experience Argentinian hospitality, and live in a dynamic South American city. The internship runs year-round and you can join at any time for a minimum of two weeks. During your time as a Human Rights intern in Argentina, you will work on promoting and assisting basic rights, work on human rights programs in communities, and have the opportunity to participate in fieldwork and awareness-raising outreach. By joining, you can make a difference in the lives of vulnerable communities in Argentina.

Human Rights Internship in Mongolia

The Human Rights Internship in Mongolia offers practical work experience at NGOs in Ulaanbaatar, focusing on critical issues such as domestic violence, alcoholism, and children’s rights. Ideal for students in law, social work, or human rights, this internship provides valuable research and advocacy opportunities. Participants work alongside experienced professionals, gaining insight into human rights in a developing country. The program runs year-round with a minimum duration of two weeks. Click here to sign up.

Social Work Abroad

Sign up for an internship in social work with Projects Abroad and engage with the big challenges that affect communities around the world. Your internship could give you experience with issues such as alcoholism, abuse, and family problems. You may choose to work with families affected by HIV/AIDS. As you assist people who need support overcoming serious challenges, you’ll be gaining relevant work experience to pursue a career in social work. Take a look at the variety of programs available with Projects Abroad:

  1. Social Work in Ecuador
  2. Equine Therapy in Argentina
  3. Social Work in Ghana
  4. International Development Internship in South Africa
  5. Social Work in Mongolia
  6. Pre-Med Internship in Nepal
  7. Psychology Internship in Jamaica
  8. Psychology Internship in Mongolia
  9. Public Health Internship in Ghana

Internships are a great way for you to learn and grow in your field as you gain a deeper understanding of the types of social issues prevalent in a developing country. These internships are a different and memorable way to complete any practical requirements you may need for your social work degree. Stay two weeks or longer, and consider adding a language course for full immersion. Learn more and apply here!

African Impact


African Impact is a responsible, sustainable volunteer travel organization that has won multiple industry awards, including being voted the world’s Top Volunteer Abroad Organization by volunteers on GoAbroad four years in a row. Since 2004, they have hosted over 35,000 participants on 20 projects across 7 countries. The organization believes in the spirit of Africa and that the volunteer experience is just as important as the impact made. It is also recognized as a trusted specialist on volunteering and interning in Southern Africa. African Impact offers internships, as well as group, family, and high school projects. The minimum age requirement for their projects is 16, making African Impact a great option for teen and high school volunteers. 

African Impact manages its own projects and is able to provide tangible, real achievements on a regular basis. The organization has a Child Protection Policy  and ensures that volunteers complete a criminal record check prior to involvement. Experienced staff is on the ground to support volunteers day-in-day-out and the organization does not use volunteer support in replacement for a local person.

In addition to making a positive impact, African Impact also believes that volunteering abroad should be enjoyable. The organization offers a range of activities for volunteers, including teaching children in South Africa, assisting with wildlife conservation in Zimbabwe, working in hospitals or clinics in Kenya, and carrying out dolphin and marine research in Zanzibar.

Volunteering with African Impact allows individuals to gain new skills, knowledge and practical work experience, while also making a lasting impact on local communities and conservation efforts. The organization believes that volunteering in Africa helps to change perceptions and stereotypes about Africa and its people, while providing local communities with an exchange of culture, mindsets and ideas.

NGO Internship in Zambia

The NGO Internship in Zambia offers hands-on experience in community development, program planning, and policy implementation. Interns assist in managing education, health, and economic development projects, gaining skills in project management, fundraising, and strategic planning. For those unable to travel, the NGO Virtual Internship provides a remote opportunity to contribute to NGO operations from home. Participants engage in remote project management, fundraising initiatives, and strategic NGO operations, customizing their focus to specific areas of interest. Both internships provide practical skills and knowledge crucial to social work, offering the chance to engage with communities, understand global challenges, and build a professional network in international development and public health.

Gender Equality Internship

The Gender Equality Internship in Zambia is an opportunity for individuals interested in social work, NGO management, human rights initiatives, or female empowerment to play an integral role in initiatives that aim to enable women to follow their dreams, pursue their passions, and live the lives they deserve. As a gender equality intern, you will support young girls facing social isolation, high rates of gender-based violence, economic vulnerability, and lack of appropriate health services through workshops, mentorship, and support in areas such as education, health, safety, early pregnancy, self-confidence, and income generation. You will have the opportunity to gain exposure to international development issues, be supported by an internship supervisor to acquire and develop new skills, help develop new programs and monitor the impact of existing initiatives, work alongside other passionate volunteers and interns, and live in Livingstone, near one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – Victoria Falls. Click here to apply and learn more!

Female Empowerment Volunteer Project

The Female Empowerment Project in Zambia is an opportunity to work towards the United Nations’ (UN) Global Goal of Gender Equality in the traditional African town of Livingstone. Through African Impact’s initiative, The Girl Impact, you will support, educate, and encourage adolescent girls as they become empowered young women in their community. You will also bring local boys and men to the forefront of the conservation as you encourage the gender equality movement and overcome male/female stereotypes. As a volunteer, you will make a positive impact in the lives of adolescent girls by giving them skills, support, and inspiration, support open discussion and help change attitudes surrounding the ‘conventional’ role of men and women, work with local boys to introduce, educate, and raise awareness on gender equality, be part of a program that sees direct measurable results and work daily towards the UN’s Global Goal of Gender Equality, encourage business skills and income generation ventures at a women’s group, immerse yourself in local Zambian culture, and visit Victoria Falls, known locally as Mosi-oa-Tunya or ‘the Smoke that Thunders’. You will live in the heart of Livingstone at a private volunteer house within the Victoria Falls Backpackers Zambia, which has shared dormitory-style accommodation, communal areas, and daily housekeeping. Click here to learn more and apply!

Involvement Volunteers International (IVI)


Involvement Volunteers International (IVI) is an Australian charity and non-profit organization with over 30 years of experience in overseas volunteering. IVI offers a variety of human rights and social work internships abroad, providing practical experience and the opportunity to make a real difference in developing communities. With affordable volunteer travel, transparent fees, and a focus on safety and responsibility, IVI’s projects are designed to create positive social change. Here are some of the exciting programs available:

Refugee Humanitarian Work in Greece

In this program, you’ll support refugees on the island of Chios by providing essential supplies and assistance. You can help in various ways, such as distributing clothes and hygiene products, working in a free shop, and supporting hospital transfers. This hands-on experience is perfect for those who are compassionate and eager to help in challenging circumstances.

First Aid & Disaster Management in Fiji

Join this internship to help communities in Fiji prepare for and respond to natural disasters. You’ll work with local organizations on community education, emergency response, and recovery efforts. Tasks include distributing emergency packs, assisting in healthcare, and helping with rebuilding projects. This program is ideal for those who want to make a tangible impact on disaster-prone areas.

Community Construction in Nepal

Help rebuild schools, orphanages, and health centers in Kathmandu and surrounding villages. Your tasks will include basic construction, painting, and gardening. This internship is perfect for those who enjoy hands-on work and want to improve the living conditions of local communities. No prior construction experience is required, just a willingness to help.

Rural School Community Support in Bodhgaya, India

This program focuses on providing education and community support in one of the poorest regions of India. You can teach English, assist with health checks, and educate on nutrition and hygiene. Volunteers also help with construction and renovation projects in the community. This is a great opportunity to immerse yourself in Indian culture while making a significant difference.

Street Children Support in the Philippines

Work with street children in Tacloban, providing education, life skills training, and recreational activities. Your efforts will help encourage children to attend school and break the cycle of poverty. This program is ideal for compassionate individuals who want to support some of the most vulnerable members of society.

IVI’s internships not only provide practical skills and knowledge crucial to social work but also offer the opportunity to engage directly with communities, understand global challenges, and develop a professional network in international development and public health.

Volunteering Solutions


Medical Internship in Nepal with VolSol

Volunteering Solutions offers a range of programs designed for high school and college students, gap year travelers, backpackers, and even seniors. With over 17 years of experience, Volunteering Solutions ensures that every participant has a meaningful and impactful journey while contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. Here are some of the amazing programs you can join:

Women Empowerment Volunteer Program in Morocco

Volunteers work with NGOs to uplift Moroccan women, focusing on rights, reproductive health, and domestic violence. This program offers hands-on experience in advocacy and teaching, making a significant impact on women’s lives.

Youth Support Program in Portugal

Assist non-profits in Portugal, supporting underprivileged children with extracurricular activities and homework help. This program is perfect for those looking to make a positive impact on children’s lives while exploring Portugal.

Community Development Project in Barcelona, Spain

Work with an NGO in Barcelona on community-building projects. Volunteers engage in administration, marketing, and workshops, gaining international work experience and improving Spanish skills.

Medical Internship in Nepal

This program places interns in local government and private hospitals in Nepal, where they engage with a diverse patient base. This provides a valuable perspective on the social determinants of health, which is a crucial aspect of social work.

Global Vision International


Global Vision International (GVI) offers award-winning, high-impact programs in the areas of community development and conservation around the world. Founded in 1997, GVI has placed more than 24,000 volunteers and interns on projects with local partners, as well with international organizations such as Save the Children, The Red Cross, WWF, SANParks, and The Jane Goodall Institute. Its projects are designed toward achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, allowing volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to contribute to responsible projects.

Women’s Empowerment Opportunities Abroad

Explore the world and immerse yourself in new cultures with a women’s empowerment internship through GVI. The organization offers several initiatives that allow you to contribute to a sustainable cause, while developing yourself professionally through hands-on gender equality and women’s rights initiatives. Check out the following programs:

  1. Women’s Empowerment in Cambodia – Work on increasing gender equality awareness in Cambodia while teaching English.
  2. Cape Town Women’s Empowerment – Travel to sunny South Africa and help us make a difference and increase long-term gender equality efforts in Cape Town.
  3. Women’s Empowerment in Nepal – Join a dedicated team of international interns in Pokhara and contribute to sustainable women’s empowerment programs.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Internship in Ghana

Contribute to sustainable development while gaining valuable work experience. Interns improve equity and inclusion in schools and the community. Collaborate with educators to integrate new methods and increase awareness of existing inequities. Based in Kokrobite, this internship fosters lasting, locally-driven social justice changes.

When you select an internship with GVI, you’ll receive comprehensive staff mentorship, as well as feedback and evaluation on your self-directed project. This real-world experience prepares you for many challenges. At the completion of your internship, not only will you have developed as a leader, you’ll have a new sense of teamwork and problem-solving skills. Use GVI’s professional recommendation on your resume, and check out the opportunities for staying in the field with GVI following your internship. Learn more and sign up here!

Plan My Gap Year


Plan My Gap Year, a respected organization that receives great reviews from past volunteers, works with communities in need around the world and empowers volunteers to travel, understand, and make an impact. Founded in 2011, Plan My Gap Year sends more than 4,000 travelers overseas each year on safe and extraordinary adventures throughout Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America.

Childcare Volunteering in India

Make a positive difference in the lives of underprivileged children in Faridabad, a city near Delhi. As a childcare volunteer in India, you’ll work at a daycare center, helping the kids with homework, coordinating fun activities, and engaging in cultural exchanges. Many children at the facility have been abandoned or neglected, or can’t get enough care from their family due to poverty. Your help gives these children the support they need to reach their full potential. Duration is two weeks or longer. Fees start at $360 for two weeks. Learn more and register here.

Social and Community Renovation in Sri Lanka

When you intern in Sri Lanka with community renovation, you uplift more than the painted facade of the temples, walls of hospitals, and schools – you improve the community’s spiritual infrastructure. Volunteers carry out renovation work in schools, government hospitals, and Buddhist temple that struggle to find the money and labor within Ambalangoda. Renovation work completed to date include heavy support in the building of an eye clinic at the government hospital, constructing flower tables at the Buddhist temples and re-plastering and re-painting classrooms in schools. Your physical efforts can go far in improving the social welfare of the entire region. Fees start at $390 for two weeks. Learn more here!

Social Work and Mental Health in Sri Lanka

According to the World Health Organisation, the suicide rates in Sri Lanka are among the highest in the world, but it’s still a struggle to integrate mental health into the public health system. If you’re studying mental health or psychology, this program in Sri Lanka gives you the opportunity to gain a broad overview, understanding and insight into mental health care and needs within a different culture. Your time is spent at two hospitals where the mental health consultant doctor sets up their outpatient clinics. This placement lasts two weeks or longer with a fee of $450. Click here to sign up.

Agape Volunteers


Agape Volunteers specializes in volunteering, community development and conservation, and adventure travel throughout Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and South Africa. It offers meaningful, low-cost programs ranging from medical volunteering, teaching at public schools, coaching in sports and music, HIV prevention and outreach, and working with wildlife and conservation. Participants are covered by the Agape Travel Policy, provided at no extra cost, and there are no registration or administration fees charged to travelers, making Agape Volunteers one of the most affordable options if you want to volunteer or intern in Africa.

Intern as an HIV/AIDs Medic

If you have an interest in social work or health care, consider the role of an HIV intern in Kenya. You’ll be assisting in local clinics and community outreach programs, carrying out tests, counseling sufferers on home visits, and engaging in community education projects. Agape provides its participants with the chance to participate in an internationally-recognized HTC course that trains you in safe practice when dealing with sufferers, including for testing. You’ll also learn the key ideas in HIV counselling and community education, then spend time administering tests and helping to analyse results. Read more and apply here!

Refugee Support in Kenya

When you join Agape Volunteers in Kenya, you’ll provide sustainable aid to more than 700 families living in an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp. Established in 2012 by Agape Volunteers and its partner Marifiki, this refugee program encourages volunteers to visit on a weekly basis and provide food deliveries, help to construct fresh water supplies, and lend a hand constructing buildings, including houses. The organization also founded and supports a school at the camp, the Southern Cross Academy.

This support is needed because, for more than a decade, Kenyans have suffered from the humanitarian crisis that followed the 2007-08 presidential election that placed Mwai Kibaki as the elected official. This election lead to targeted ethnic violence, which resulted in casualties of more than 1,300 people, and the displacement of half a million more. The Kenyan government and the United Nations established IDP tent camps to house these internal refugees.

Your role, as an international volunteer in Kenya with Agape Volunteers, is to spend time at the IDP, offering assistance with medical outreach work, distributing supplies, or helping with the building and maintenance of ongoing construction projects. Learn more and get started here.

Ready To Go?

On an international, professional internship abroad, you’ll embark on your own life-changing experience when you are personally involved in the helping to generate social change in the world. An internship in human rights and social work gives you more than an opportunity to improve someone else’s life – you’ll also gain a better understanding of where your educational and professional future can go.


Want to know more about opportunities available to you worldwide? Check out these articles:

Volunteering Abroad for Refugee Relief

Indigenous Community Volunteering

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