Local Impact. Global Change.

Internships abroad

Are you looking for an on-the-ground internship opportunity where you get to contribute to real community challenges and solutions? 

If you want to make a difference only through meaningful, considered action that makes an enduring and systemic impact – GVI internships are for you. 

Community is at the heart of everything we do. We’re committed to project work that is locally-led and highly ethical. 

This is your chance to to turn your passion into practice and your research into results. Join one of our award-winning internship abroad program, ranging form gender equality and public health to construction, teaching and early childhood development.



Build a better world by contributing to vital, locally-led project work that strives for a more just and equitable future.


In line with the UN’s SDGs, we are committed to ethical and sustainable engagement with our local partners and communities.


Learn from the world’s most unique and significant cultures, in breathtaking remote locations.

Intern abroad
Types of internships

GVI offers some of the most highly rated internship abroad programs in the sustainable development sector. Each of our award-winning internships allow interns to work on one or more of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). 

Every year, hundreds of international students complete our internship abroad experiences. Our alumni have gone on to work at top global organisations like Unilever and Deloitte. Many have also gone on to found their own sustainable development organisations like Bushwise Field Guides

Depending on the kind of internship you select, you’ll have additional opportunities to collaborate with our sustainable development partners, or lead a research or data collection project of your own. No matter which internship type you select, you’ll be a part of impactful work that’s led by the communities we work alongside.

All of our international internship abroad programs include:

  • field-specific training by experienced professionals 
  • specialised work experience in international development focuses 
  • weekly one-on-one feedback with a remote supervisor
  • online training on GVI’s work, and your project focus and location
  • three University of Richmond endorsed online courses, in leadership or community development, as well as careers in sustainable development
  • a professional recommendation or LinkedIn reference and endorsements (depending on your internship type)
  • the opportunity to contribute to the achievement of the UN SDGs
  • the chance to connect with specialists in the international sustainable development sector from all around the world and start building your global network.


Many of our internship programs abroad also include additional qualifications like a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. 

Interns who have successfully completed their internship stand a good chance of working for GVI, or one of our many partner organisations. In fact, many of our current staff members were previously GVI interns. 

Students can join a GVI international internship for a minimum of four weeks, and internships can go up to as much as 24 weeks. Most students choose to complete a summer internship abroad because this is when they have a break in their academic calendar. However, some students arrange a semester internship with their academic institution and take advantage of our 12-week internship options.

Those taking a year off between high school and college or undergraduate and graduate school, can also take advantage of our 24-week internship opportunities. Some of these gap year internship opportunities include a three-month work placement either with GVI or one of our many world-class partner organisations in locations across the globe. 

While many students choose to complete an undergraduate or graduate internship with GVI, you don’t have to be signed onto a college or university degree program to join one of our internships abroad. 

If you’re in high school and would like to join a GVI program, you’re welcome to join one of our teen volunteering programs abroad. Specially created for teens between the ages of 15 and 17, our under 18 programs combine volunteer work with the chance to learn about the culture and history of the country you’re visiting. From the moment you enquire about your program options until the time you arrive home, we’ll take care of the details for you. We’ve been running teen volunteer pages since 2012, so you’re in safe hands with us. 

Hear from our interns

Who better to ask about what you can expect from an internship than our previous interns. To learn more about what you can expect when you join an international volunteer abroad program, visit our internship abroad testimonials page.

All of our internships abroad offer world-class work experience and training, and you’ll have additional opportunities to customise your internship to meet your personal, academic and professional goals. Our internships range from four to 24 weeks and are available as one of the following internship types: 

Maybe you’re deciding which career is the right one for you. We know this decision is a big one – and you want to be sure you’re making the right one. An internship abroad can give you the chance to work in a field you’re interested in and find out if that’s really where your passion lies. Or maybe you’ve finished studying and you’re looking to gain work experience before entering the workforce. With an international internship you can travel the world, contribute to sustainable community development projects, and gain much-needed work experience. 

If travelling isn’t an option for you, we also offer a range of virtual internships. Working remotely, you can still gain practical work experience. Choose from a range of topics, including marketing, media and communications, law advocacy and policy, and program management. Working on real-world projects, at the end of the internship you’ll receive a certificate endorsed by the University of Richmond and a professional recommendation from your mentor.

Training and support 

All GVI internships include comprehensive training and support before your program starts to make sure you’re fully equipped to make an impact out in the field. This includes:

  • GVI-specific online training that’ll set you up with insights into our project work, both globally and at your project location, and outline how your day-to-day activities feed into efforts to achieve the UN SDGs
  • pre-program support, including a group call with fellow participants that’ll get you ready with everything you need to know before you arrive on your program
  • two University of Richmond endorsed GVI Online courses: Leading Teams for Impact, and a specialisation course (in community development)
  • additional location and focus-specific training.


Once you’ve finished contributing to impactful project work on the ground, you’ll receive the following to help you take your experience forward to achieve your personal, academic and career goals. All GVI interns:

  • receive support and guidance from a remote career mentor through two career coaching sessions that’ll help you take the next step in your career
  • gain access to a GVI-exclusive job portal that collates roles in sustainable development sector, including GVI roles
  • will receive a boost on any applications to available GVI positions
  • are enrolled in the University of Richmond endorsed GVI careers course
  • have access to our alumni program.

GVI offers internship abroad programs in a number of different focus areas, including teaching, community development, women’s empowerment, global public health, construction, and business and micro-enterprise development.

Keep in mind that all of these programs are available as either a research, career or core internship. You can speak to your enrolment manager for the full breakdown of your preferred program.

Community development internships

Students looking to gain experience in international community development will find many opportunities with us. They can choose an internship with a specific community development focus like education, health and wellbeing, or gender equality, or they can choose to complete an internship with a holistic view of community development. We offer international community development internship opportunities in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Nepal, Peru, South Africa and Fiji

Teaching internships

GVI offers teaching internships abroad in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Nepal, Madagascar, South Africa, Thailand and Fiji. On these programs, interns have the opportunity to teach a range of education levels, from pre-primary, primary and secondary school students to young and middle-aged adults. 

The most commonly taught subject is the English language and in Thailand teaching interns can even complete their TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. 

Interns completing a teaching internship with GVI can also gain experience in early childhood development. In Madagascar, interns have the opportunity to deliver early childhood development training modules to caregivers and community health workers. On a teaching internship in Nepal, you’ll learn about the role of education in international sustainable development.

Interns train by supporting local educators, first learning skills like lesson planning and classroom management, and then, as they gain work experience, are given opportunities to lead portions of classes or even full lessons. 

Please note that GVI does not support orphanage volunteering in any of our program locations. For more information see our stance on orphanage volunteering and our Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy

All staff and participants are required to complete a police background check before arrival on their chosen program, and on-site child protection training is provided once they arrive to volunteer. We also protect children from cyber and real-world threats by ensuring that our marketing material follows child protection best practices.

Global public health internships

GVI offers global health internships in Cambodia, Ghana, Nepal, South Africa, Thailand and Fiji. You can be part of the work being done to help communities to prevent transferable illnesses by conducting UNICEF’s WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) workshops with children.

Work to prevent non-transferrable illnesses like diabetes and cardiac disease by leading physical education lessons and nutrition workshops with local students and other community members. In certain locations, like Fiji, you might also get the opportunity to facilitate maternal and prenatal health, as well as infant and toddler health workshops. In some locations, our global public health interns also conduct emergency first aid workshops.

Please note that GVI doesn’t offer any medical internships abroad. The reason for this is that GVI abides by the principle of primum non nocere or “first do no harm.” We simply aren’t comfortable with the potential risks for patients involved in international medical internships. If you’re considering a medical internship abroad, we suggest that you fully investigate the ethical concerns around medical internships, ask the internship provider you plan to use about their operational practices, and make an informed decision afterwards. 

Women’s empowerment internships

For those students who would like to work specifically on gender equality issues, we offer women’s empowerment internships abroad. 

Perhaps you’re a law student who’s committed to eradicating gender inequality and enforcing women’s rights, or maybe you’re a medical student who is focused on women’s health, including reproductive health, prenatal and infant care. You might want to work as a psychologist or social worker and are looking to help women empower themselves by teaching them skills to expand their employment opportunities and creating a community of women to support them on their journey. Those studying to be teachers might also be interested in focusing on helping girls specifically with challenges to achieving their goals. 

GVI can offer you the opportunity to learn about the challenges women in specific local contexts face around the world. What are the differences and what are the similarities? You’ll learn about the kind of support that is most valued by local girls and women in communities around the world. In the process, you’ll master numerous skills, like teaching adults and leading workshops. You might also be given the opportunity to complete a research project focused on women’s issues in the community. We offer international women’s empowerment internships in Cambodia, Ghana, Nepal and South Africa

Construction internships abroad

Does your idea of weekend fun include tinkering, fixing up, refurbishing, building or otherwise innovating practical solutions? Are your social media feeds filled with beautiful rooms and DIY solutions? Are you looking at going into professions like carpentry or architecture?

A GVI construction internship abroad might be the ideal international internship opportunity for you. In Fiji and Ghana we partner with local construction professionals to provide infrastructure development at local schools, build rainwater harvesting and recycling structures, and create community gardens. Learn technical skills  – like how to measure accurately and plan appropriately – and transferable skills – like intercultural communication and teamwork – which are important in the construction sector. Our international community development internships in Nepal and South Africa might also include some construction work in addition to the focus on teaching and women’s empowerment.

What makes a country, city, or location one of the “best” places to intern abroad? It really depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for traditional, run-of-the-mill options, then GVI is not for you. We’ve always been more interested in off-the-beaten-track destinations. If you have a taste for the authentic and unusual, and a need to get out of your comfort zone, then it seems our values are aligned. 

We set up our international sustainable development projects where the resources we provide can be of the most use. This allows our interns and volunteers to work in some rather exceptional places from remote research centres in densely jungled rainforests and tiny uninhabited tropical islands to Buddhist temple schools and economic refugee communities. 

With us, interns can truly travel the world, as we offer international internship opportunities on every continent excluding Antarctica. Choose an internship destination that speaks to you from those we’ve listed below. 


Internships in Africa

Africa is the site of much international development work. The United Nations, and other global sustainable development organisations, support local communities in this region with increasing economic growth, women’s equality, and quality education. 

GVI offers many internship opportunities for work abroad in Africa. Students can complete international community development internships in three countries: Ghana, Madagascar and South Africa. 

Intern in Ghana

Ghana is a West African nation, known for its cultural heritage, equatorial forests, warm waters of its palm-lined beaches, and the vibrant music scene of its capital. 

GVI runs international community development projects in Kokrobite, a traditional seaside town, an hour from the capital of Accra. Here international community development interns can work on education and gender equality initiatives. 

Intern in Madagascar

When you join a teaching internship in Madagascar you’ll be based on the tropical island of Nosy Be. Our base is located next to the Lokobe National Park – the last remaining rainforest left on the island. 

You’ll gain experience teaching primary school learners in a formal setting and adult learners in an informal setting. During the day, you’ll assist local teachers with their primary school classes, working with them to prepare lesson plans and other resources. In the evenings, you’ll work near our base to support Lokobe park rangers with conversational English classes.

Intern in South Africa

In the greater Cape Town area, another hub of South African tourism, we offer community development, women’s empowerment, teaching and global health internships. Interns work at a local primary school and a local nursery school in a nearby informal settlement (known as a township). 

During your internship in South Africa, you’ll have an opportunity to learn about the unique context of South Africa and gain experience in education, sports, health education and women’s empowerment projects.


Internships in Asia 

Intern in Cambodia

Home to Angkor Wat – the largest religious building in the world – Cambodia has become an incredibly popular destination for international visitors over the past decade or so. This increase in tourism has created many economic opportunities for its citizens. 

GVI runs women’s empowerment, teaching and gender equality internships in the town of Siem Riep to assist locals with taking full advantage of these new opportunities. There’s also a need for a greater awareness of the impact people have on the local environment. Students interested in community development can complete an international development internship with us in Cambodia. Environmental education forms part of this program. 

Intern in Nepal

The gateway to the Himalayas, Nepal, is a bucket-list destination for most adventure-loving globe-trotters. During an internship in Nepal, you’ll be based in the town of Pokhara, about a three-hour drive from the capital city of Kathmandu.

Join one of our international community development internships in Pokhara to assist Nepali individuals with learning and increasing their professional development skill sets to take better advantage of the opportunities tourism affords. From our base in Nepal, we also offer internships in the fields of global health, women’s empowerment and teaching.

Intern in Thailand

Thailand is one of the most visited countries in the world – and our most popular base for interns and volunteers. During an internship in Thailand, you’ll live and work in Phang Nga province, a small coastal province famous for its beaches, islands and underwater life. 

If you’re looking to start a career in global health, join our public health internship abroad. Alternatively, we also offer teaching internships in Thailand (with the option of becoming TEFL certified).


Internships in Latin America

Focus on community development while putting your Spanish language skills into practice. Learning Spanish will enable students to participate in many international development projects as it is the second most spoken language in the world.  

Intern in Costa Rica 

We run community development and teaching internships in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, in the town of Cartago. Through locally-led projects, community members can take greater advantage of the economic opportunities afforded by the many travellers who visit Costa Rica every year. 

Along with supporting educational initiatives in the town, creating environmental awareness among locals and international visitors is an important part of our work here.

Intern in Peru

The small town of Oxapampa – which is located 500 kilometres from Lima – is often shrouded in mist from the lush cloud forests found in the Peruvian Amazon jungle. It’s from this base that GVI operates its Oxapampa community development programs.

Interning in Oxapampa allows you to take part in an internship focused on community development. Assist local Peruvian communities to work on development projects that they have identified as important. This could involve tasks such as teaching English or assisting with community development initiatives. 


Internships in Australasia 

There are also many development initiatives running in this region, focusing on issues such as education, health and wellbeing, as well as economic growth. Students interested in international community development can gain experience learning about these types of initiatives in the context of the Pacific islands. Our internship destination in the Australasian region is based in the Fiji archipelago. 

Intern in Fiji 

When you intern in Fiji, you’ll live and work in the district of Dawasamu, on the main island of Viti Levu – an area that is relatively untouched by tourism. As an invited member of the local community, you’ll have the privilege of experiencing traditional culture and hospitality. 

Our internships in Fiji focus on global health, international development, teaching and community development.

How to fund your international internship, apply for credit, and use financial aid

Many academic institutions now consider international internship programs – from reputable providers like GVI – to be programs with a similar value to study abroad programs. For this reason, they’re often keen to allocate credits for these programs. This means you can make use of your financial aid to fund your internship abroad, while also earning credits that count towards your qualification.

Although GVI international internship programs aren’t automatically accredited internship programs, many of our interns have applied and received credits for their internships through their educational institutions. The first step is to contact your international education office or your academic advisor. 

After more than two decades in operation, GVI has become well-known to academic institutions around the world including: Stanford University, Duke University, University of Oxford, New York University, Northeastern University, University of Brighton, University of Bath, University of East Anglia, Plymouth University, University of Oregon, University of Glasgow, Bournemouth University, and Cardiff University. We’ve also arranged custom group programs for students from many institutions of higher learning including Ohio State University and Duke University and our service learning curriculum is certified by Portland State University. 

Apply for an internship scholarship

These days, many institutions understand the long-term career value of international work experience. This is why many academic institutions, governments and private organisations offer scholarships for students looking to work abroad. GVI is no exception and we often offer limited time scholarship opportunities for students who fulfil specific criteria. To see if we currently have any international internship scholarships available see our scholarships page

Fundraise to intern abroad

Since you’re looking to intern abroad in international sustainable development, you might also be able to fundraise for your program. Not only is this a way for you to access the means to intern abroad but it’s also an opportunity to raise awareness about the global issues you care so deeply about. 

You can make use of GVI’s own fundraising platform to set up your fundraising campaign. Simply select the internship program you’d like to join, submit an application, and one of our Enrolment Managers will assist you with setting one up. Then visit our fundraising ideas page for inspiration on how to collect funds. 

Speak to your parents

Like academic institutions, parents are becoming increasingly aware of the excellent return on investment offered by internships, particularly international internships. If your parents or guardians are helping to fund your education, it might be worth discussing with them what part they can play in helping to fund your internship abroad. If your parents have any questions, direct them to our parent information page, which includes reviews by parents of GVI and a brochure. They can also always contact us for more information.

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4 – 12 weeks

Get broad exposure to a variety of community initiatives.

4 – 24 weeks
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Work remotely on real projects for community partners.

4-24 weeks

Conduct research to contribute to community solutions.

24 weeks

Get a three month placement to work for a community partner.

1-12 weeks

Contribute to ethical community programs grounded in ethics.

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Marine conservation
Help restore damaged marine ecosystems, protect endangered marine species, and ultimately contribute to the overall health of both marine and terrestrial environments.
Wildlife conservation
Help with the preservation of endangered animal and plant species and educate local communities so they can implement long term, impactful approaches to conservation
Animal care
Work with animals such as elephants and turtles and make a direct impact on the conservation of these endangered species by providing options of alternative livelihoods to local communities.

Community development

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Volunteer with children
Help improve children’s education, health and well-being.
Public health
Educate communities on healthy eating, personal hygiene and disea[...]
Women's empowerment
Support women and girls with meaningful access to equal opportuni[...]
Business & micro-enterprise
Run hands-on, educational workshops on business skills and mentor[...]
Community development
Gain practical experiences in educational enrichment, public heal[...]
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