If you’re a creative person looking for a career opportunity in communications, then you know it’s difficult to get hired without a solid portfolio. But how do you go about developing that portfolio if you don’t have a job? Great news! You can jumpstart your career as a professional journalist or photographer with an internship abroad.
There are news agencies in Morocco and Ghana, radio stations in Argentina, and magazines in Thailand that would love to have you work with them. Here’s a chance to hone your reporting, social media marketing, and photography skills, and learn new ones as part of a team that makes a difference.
As an intern abroad, you can work with NGOs promoting social initiatives, companies with an established circulation, or new startups forging their social identity. Work alongside seasoned reporters and editors and learn the ropes quickly.
How do you know if a journalism volunteer placement is right for you? Ask yourself if you feel called to safeguard the truth. The purpose of journalism is to provide people with the information they need to be free and self-governing and to achieve this, you’ll need to have:
- An obligation to the truth
- Loyalty to citizens
- The discipline to verify information
- A sense of independence from sources
- Be able to monitor those in power with detachment
A journalist serves the community, and what they provide is truth and understanding. The internet and the great amount of information that funnels through it makes the need greater, not less, that the people supplying the news have integrity and the ability to verify the truth.
If you have a camera and a laptop and feel the call to be a watchdog, looking out for people who are often voiceless, then consider one of the programs listed below. These programs put you in-country, on the ground, being a part of a trusted news team.
Love Volunteers is a trusted, highly-rated volunteer organization. Launched in 2009, it has placed more than 20,000 volunteers abroad on meaningful projects. Transparent, low-cost fees are a mainstay with Love Volunteers, and many of its programs start at $280. Love Volunteers works in 34 countries worldwide, with more than 120 different projects to choose from. Previous volunteers give independent reviews with an average rating of 96 percent. Security is paramount, so Love Volunteers’ staff audits each program for safety, social responsibility, and impact. Their dedicated in-country teams offer 24/7 support.
Travel to Rabat, Morocco with Love Volunteers on a Journalism Internship with a news agency, learning how to investigate and report local events and news as it happens. If you have a background or interest in journalism or a good understanding of English, this practical placement will help you gain firsthand experience with an international agency. Internships are available with local news agencies, as well as international outlets such as Morocco World News and Sky News.
Some knowledge of French is suggested, but not required, and internships can be arranged based upon your skills and experience. While in Morocco, you’ll be working with a mentor who will monitor your workload and provide support when needed. This inter-cultural exchange benefits you with real-life experience and training in the field, as well as the news agencies using your stories. Your tasks may include:
- Writing news articles, op-ed pieces and more in English
- Editing articles that are written by correspondents
- Assisting with social media accounts and campaigns
- Video and photography editing
- Helping to develop digital media and online marketing strategies
- Developing style guidelines and training materials
- Helping to draft proposals for partnerships
- Helping to draft grant applications
You must be at least 18 years old to apply for this internship, and journalism experience is a plus. Arrive at the Rabat–Salé International Airport (RBA), where you’ll be met by the local team representative and transferred to the volunteer house. Orientation will give you insight into local and regional customs, traveling locally, rules and recommendations, and what to expect during your stay in Morocco. You’ll also get to know your hosts and fellow volunteers.
You’ll stay in a guest house, with cooking facilities and a fridge, in a safe, convenient suburb of Rabat, within walking distance to many of the city’s main attractions. You’ll share a room with another volunteer (same gender), and shared bathrooms have showers and hot water. Laundry facilities are available but basic. Meals are included at the house, and depending upon your work schedule, lunch can be purchased.
During weekends, go sightseeing in Rabat. This small, but entertaining, the coastal capital city has many attractions including beaches, parks, museums, ancient ruins, historic sites, internet cafes, and numerous restaurants with amazing local cuisine. Program fees are $1,149 for the minimum stay of four weeks, and you can stay up to 12 weeks.
A Broader View offers 245 volunteer programs in 25 countries throughout Latin America, Asia, and Africa. A registered US nonprofit organization, ABV places volunteers on projects last from one to 12 weeks in the areas of healthcare, teaching, conservation, community development, and women’s support.
Improve your Spanish-speaking skills and learn how to broadcast the news on a volunteer program in Cordoba, Argentina. Join the crew at a relaxed, friendly, and professional radio station that promotes the culture of Argentinian rock music and reports the local news.
Your job will entail active listening, as well as interaction with the various broadcasters and producers of radio shows, so an intermediate knowledge of the Spanish language is needed. You’ll learn how to operate the console and help broadcast radio programs and news, and help perform soundchecks for local bands. You’ll need to know how to operate a Windows-based computer, be savvy with social media, and be proactive, sociable, and fun!
Fly into Córdoba Airport (COR), where you’ll be greeted by team members, who will help you get acclimated. ABV staff can escort you to your host family, help you exchange money, buy or rent a cell phone, and explain the local buses and taxi. They also will escort you to your placement, and offer support and supervision.
Stay with a hand-picked host family for a cultural exchange experience that will heighten your trip. Meals are included, and your work schedule is five hours per day, Monday through Friday. Stay from one to eight weeks, and on your time off, go sightseeing or travel the region. Córdoba is the second-largest city in Argentina, with a huge student population. It’s a blend of old and new, so you can spend your time visiting old ruins and modern art galleries, street markets, and restaurants. Program fees are $895 for one week, with stays up to eight weeks.
Global Nomadic connects people with transformative volunteer projects. Since its launch in 2009, more than 10,000 people have signed up with the group, traveling to 40 countries on projects that focus on conservation, wildlife rehabilitation, community development, and research. Global Nomadic is a great choice for young professionals looking to further their careers with an internship, a TEFL course, or a research volunteer project. Global Nomadic offers two journalism internships opportunities in Buenos Aires, Argentina, so take your pick of placement with an emphasis on photography or digital media.
On the Journalism and Photography Professional Placement, you’ll work with a dynamic, community-based NGO gaining hands-on experience filming and editing videos and photographs. The NGO supports social initiatives in Buenos Aires, and your assistance will help in its quest to attract volunteers and funding for its activities. You’ll work in the communications and marketing department, creating video testimonials, editing pictures, and translating subtitle text, so you’ll need to have an intermediate knowledge of the Spanish language. You’ll also need to bring your own camera and laptop for editing, and know how to use video editing software. Tasks include:
- Conducting interviews, editing photos, translating text, producing videos
- Working as part of a team on video production
- Updating and maintaining a YouTube channel
- Creating new digital media marketing approaches
- Visiting all NGO projects and collecting information
- Interviewing other volunteers to create video documentaries
- Editing photos and videos with subtitles in English
- Managing publications such as journals and blogs
- Organizing and attending meetings and get-togethers
You’ll stay in a new volunteer guesthouse with access to the Internet, a communal kitchen, bathrooms, and common area. The house also includes laundry services, a DVD room, library, book exchange, and housekeeping services. You are close to mass transportation, so you can easily get to the project headquarters in Buenos Aires.
Transfer from Ministro Pistarini International Airport, also known as Ezeiza (EZE), is not included, but a separate fee if needed. Program costs are $790 for eight weeks or $1,710 with accommodation in the guest house.
On days off, visit the popular Parrillas (steakhouses) that offer perfectly grilled beef, or take a small group tour around the city. Put your photography skills to use in La Boca, the city’s most colorful neighborhood, or take a day trip to see gauchos work with horses.
On the Digital Journalism Placement in Buenos Aires, you’ll gain valuable experience in travel writing and online journalism, working for a website in the heart of Argentina. Your job will take you out and about on unique, immersive tours, activities and excursions. This placement is a great choice if you’re thinking about a career in tourism or international communications and travel writing.
This placement is for you if you have excellent organizational skills and a strong work ethic. Another requirement is that you write a monthly report on your placement progress. You’ll work with a young and vibrant company whose website receives thousands of visitors per day. Your work includes writing and editing articles on a daily basis, as well as covering current events and news stories. Share your writing talents with local businesses as you help promote the “Paris of the South,” enticing people to visit Buenos Aires and sample the tango, futbol, colonial heritage cities, gauchos, and amazing local sights.
Arrive at Ezeiza Airport (EZE) in Buenos Aires and be met by a team member, then transferred to your accommodation, where you’ll have an orientation to the project. You can stay in shared apartments, family homestays, student residences, and private apartments. All options include towels, sheets, WiFi and utilities. Spend your weekend sightseeing in this beautiful city, with architecture that’s a mix of French and Italian, as well as Spanish. Embrace the nightlife and dance your cares away at a disco, and while you’re there, learn the Tango. Program costs vary, depending upon your choice of accommodation, starting at $1,550 for four weeks.
Spend two months in Bangkok, Thailand on an exciting journalism internship focused on the Asian creative industries market. The advantages of this internship include Thai language training, deluxe accommodation, and access to exclusive business networking events. The creative arts are booming in Southeast Asia, and this placement with a leading PR firm gives you the opportunity to begin your creative career in a competitive industry. Learn from experienced mentors as you develop your photography and writing skills abroad.
Your placement begins with a one-week Thai language course, preparing you with the knowledge you need for placement, and for life in Asia. Some of your duties will be:
- Preparing photo material for campaign
- Selecting subjects and equipment
- Reviewing photographs for best work
- Editing pictures using Photoshop
- Writing professional articles and other creative pieces
You’ll also be working closely with the company’s sales team, so you’ll learn all aspects of content production, including customer acquisition, and how to develop and pitch ideas. You’ll need to commit to several months on the job, and you need photography and writing skills for this placement or relevant academic experience. You must be fluent in English, be self-motivated, and able to work in a team environment.
You’ll arrive in Bangkok and be met at the Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), then escorted to your accommodations, which include a fitness center and a pool. Fees start at $3,125 for the standard package at two months.
During your free time, visit the many temples, take a long-tail boat through the floating markets, catch a tuk-tuk to the Grand Palace and Was Prakeaw, or lose yourself in the sea of shops and restaurants in the Chinatown Market.
Fronteering offers experiences that are far from ordinary in places rich in nature, wildlife, and indigenous cultures. Its vision is to provide adventure travel placements to remote locations on volunteer projects that care for the environment and preserve animals. Founded in 2007, Fronteering’s goals are to make a difference to communities that can benefit from the input of volunteers and to provide exciting and significant experiences to individuals.
Become a foreign news correspondent when you travel to Ghana in West Africa with Fronteering and volunteer to work with a local newspaper. If you have experience in graphic design and web page design, then you can expand your communication skills with this four-week journalism placement.
This is an opportunity to assist with gathering the news, writing articles, covering conferences, researching tips, and investigating reports. Be the first to know what’s happening in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Work with local people and communities gathering stories while learning about the culture and people.
You’ll be transferred to and from the airport in Accra (ACC), and given a city tour and introduction to Ghana by a team member. Accommodations are in a volunteer house with a large living/dining area, and shared dormitory-style sleeping. Other communal areas include terraces, balconies, and the garden area. There is a fully equipped kitchen for volunteers to prepare food together since meals are not provided. Cooking lessons are available, however, and shops and gourmet restaurants are within walking distance.
Also included in the fee is a two-day visit to the tropical rainforests of Kakum National Park. On days off, spend time at the beach, or go bird watching as many birds migrate through Ghana. Other wildlife you might see include elephants, crocodiles, hippos, water buffalo, and lions.
Program fees are $1,495 for four weeks, with stays up to eight weeks available.
Head to British Columbia for this exciting environmental internship in Vancouver. The mission of the program is to develop and implement environmental conservation strategies. As part of that, you’ll be helping out with various journalism and media-related duties, including researching and writing reports on local environmental conditions and initiatives, doing public relations work, and educating the public about the importance of environmental conservation. It sounds like quite the experience, right?
What’s also great about this internship in Vancouver is that you may be able to earn credits at your university (if you’re enrolled, of course). So, not only can you build your resume, but you can also get even closer to graduating. Be sure to check with your university and Fronteering before applying.
When you’re not busy, explore the wonderful city of Vancouver, which includes sites like Granville Island and Stanley Park. Want to learn more? Program fees begin at $1,595 for eight weeks. You can intern for up to 20 weeks.
Tell Stories with a Purpose
With so many exciting volunteer options around the world, you’ll be able to create a standout journalistic portfolio to propel your communications career. You’ll also add travel writing to your resume when you complete an internship abroad. Become a world traveler and a storyteller with a purpose.