If you’re the kind of person who aspires to be an influencer, then a career in marketing may be a great fit for you. Or if you’re a creative person and you enjoy working in the graphic arts – designing posters and fliers for school fundraisers – an internship with an advertising firm might be right up your alley. And if you enjoy writing and chatting with people about important current events, then public relations might be your forte.
What’s the Difference Between Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations?
Marketing’s goal is to create a transaction, so it is firmly based on the economic wellbeing of a company. Marketers work to improve their product’s approval rating and make a profit. Marketers also create material for promotion and events, so there is some aspect of graphic design involved. Bottom line: a marketer wants to build a long-lasting relationship with their customer. Publicity is not paid for, but communication is one-way.
Advertising covers paid promotional messages that attract customers. There’s a lot of flair with advertising, whether it’s a graphic design in a magazine or in a banner ad on a website, or an ad on a podcast. Communication here is one-way as well, and the goal is clear: sell something to someone, even if what you’re selling is a sincere and important message.
Public relations is where you’ll build and manage relationships between an organization and the public. The primary goal is to use information to gain support and goodwill. The PR specialist uses their writing skills to create press releases, website copy, and even dialogue for recorded content. Public relations does not pay for information placement, and the emphasis is on two-way communication.
It can be very difficult to gain hands-on experience in any of these three areas as a student, and oftentimes if you pursue a career in one of these three fields, you’ll still utilize aspects of the other two in your work. If you would like direct experience in marketing, advertising, or public relations, consider a volunteer placement or internship that allows you to travel, meet new people, and build your skillsets. From NGOs that support refugees to initiatives that encourage social enterprise, or through groups that empower women, you can find excellent career-building opportunities overseas.
Keep reading to learn where you can go and what you can do to gain experience for your dream career!
Volunteer Programs & Internships in Marketing, Advertising, and PR
Maximo Nivel has provided internationally accredited volunteer programs and internships in Latin America since 2003. Currently, Maximo Nivel offers numerous micro-business internships in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru.
During your internship, you can help local companies in a variety of sectors launch marketing campaigns, optimize business processes, and learn how to serve international clients. Locations include San Jose, Costa Rica (from $1,925 for four weeks), Antigua, Guatemala(from $1,495 for four weeks), and Cusco, Peru (from $1,525 for four weeks). To apply, you must have intermediate Spanish skills and be at least studying for a bachelor’s degree in communications, business, economics, or a related field.
Plan My Gap Year is a highly reputable organization that sends more than 4,000 volunteers and interns abroad annually.
The Vietnam NGO Volunteer Program provides all sorts of talent a chance to use their skills to tackle important issues in environmental conservation, human rights, and other areas. Engage in content writing, web design, fundraising, and other activities to bolster the NGO’s reach and influence. Fees start at $684 for two weeks.
In the world of marketing, advertising, and public relationships, having your finger on the pulse of global trends is the key to success. A business internship overseas with Projects Abroad is a different and exciting way to add real-world, practical experience to your resume. It now offers a number of internships that focus on this field, so you can hone your skills and stand out as a top candidate when applying for jobs.
The business internship in China (from $3,955 for four weeks) allows to work in Shanghai or Chengdu and gain global experience. You’ll work with a multinational company, shadowing business professionals and learning from them. You can get involved in many different aspects of marketing, advertising, and public relations during your time in China.
A business internship in Vietnam (from $2,765 for two weeks) offers a more unconventional internship, where you’ll play an integral role in promoting local small businesses. Help with developing and implementing marketing strategies to help businesses thrive.
Global Vision International launched in 1998 and now offers multiple award-winning volunteer programs. Their programs have a noticeable impact, as they’re focused on realizing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
GVI’s Business and Micro-Enterprise Internship in Cape Town, South Africa provides you with the opportunity to use your business and marketing skills to help small social enterprise companies achieve their mission and improve society for the better (from $4,345 for four weeks).
Founded in 2004, African Impact offers internship projects in 11 different countries on the continent, including two in Cape Town, South Africa:
- Marketing and Social Media Internship: Ethically market and promote tourism destinations with smart content marketing, advertising, and social media campaigns (from just $1,999 for 12 weeks).
- Photography Internship: Develop your photography skills as you increase awareness of wildlife and environmental conservation. You’ll be stationed near Greater Kruger National Park (from $7,732 for 12 weeks).
Priding itself on taking you off-the-beaten-path, Fronteering aims to preserve wildlife, environment, and indigenous cultures. Fronteering’s Journalism Internship in Accra, Ghanagives you the opportunity to cover stories about local issues and benefit the community (from $1,495 for four weeks).
A well-respected organization, A Broader View runs more than 245 programs across 25 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Check out their Radio Journalism Program in Cordoba, Argentina, where you can exchange knowledge and culture with local communications professionals and learn all about the radio business. (fees: starting at $895 for one week).
A great organization for teens, Global Leadership Adventures aims to inspire the next generation to transform the world. Their photography journalism projects are especially great for those interested in marketing, advertising, and PR.
Join Cuba: Culture in Focus photography journalism program, and snap pics of vibrant scenes in Havana (fees: $3,999 for 10 days). Or, sign up for the India: Service Through the Lens photography journalism course, and capture the stories of a great civilization.
Founded in 1989, Frontier has successfully placed more than 103,000 volunteers and interns abroad. The incredible variety of their journalism, advertising, and marketing internship abroad programs are amazing.
Participate in the Fiji NGO Media and Journalism Internship, where you’ll cover stories about conservation and community development. Or, sign up for the Tanzania Media and Journalism Internship, and use your videography, photography, or writing skills to report all that’s happening on Mafia Island (the Fiji and Tanzania programs both start at $2,595 for eight weeks). Another option is the Costa Rica Climate Change Media and Journalism Internship, which gives you the chance to create stories about volunteer work in the country (from $2,945 for eight weeks).
Global Nomadic started in 2009 and has found more than 10,000 placements for interns in over 40 countries. Here are two great photography journalism internships abroad:
- Argentina Journalism and Photography Professional Placement: Work with an NGO producing videos and photographs that cover various social initiatives in and around Buenos Aires (from $790 for two months).
- Thailand Journalism and Photography Professional Placement: Learn the Thai language as you capture what’s happening in Bangkok and craft compelling stories (from $940 for two months).
A renowned name in volunteering, International Volunteer HQ opened its doors in 2007 and has already sent nearly 90,000 volunteers abroad. Two marketing internships offered by IVHQ are:
- Belgium NGO Support: Put your communications and promotional skills to work, and help Brussels NGOs expand their charitable initiatives (from $495 for one week).
- Spain Creative Technologies Internship: Perfect for creative minds, use your photography, film, and/or graphic design skills to expand the presence of local NGOs in Madrid (from $720 for two weeks).
Use Your Powers of Persuasion to Change the World
If you have a way with words or design and think you’d enjoy a creative career influencing people, find out during an exciting volunteer trip or internship abroad!
The world is shrinking and needs communication specialists with global experience to help people make the right decisions. As a marketer, advertiser, or public relations specialist, you can use your powers of persuasion to develop big-picture strategies that help to change the world for better.