Local Impact. Global Change.

Internships

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

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

You can either travel and immerse yourself in new communities by joining an internship abroad; or contribute to vital project work from the comfort of your home – or anywhere, really – by joining one of our virtual internships.

Community is at the heart of everything we do. We’re committed to project work that is locally-led and highly ethical – from gender equality and public health to construction, teaching and early childhood development.

Positive<br/>impact

Positive
impact

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

Ethical
work

In line with the UN’s SDGs, we are committed to ethical and sustainable engagement with our local partners and communities.
Beautiful<br/>community

Beautiful
community

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

Discover the best internship opportunity for you

Benefits
Types
Internships abroad
Virtual internships
Locations
FAQs

The benefits of joining a community development internship

If you’re keen to use your skills, passions and expertise to contribute to real challenges that communities are facing all over the world – doing an internship with GVI is a meaningful way to do so.

GVI are the leaders in ethical community development internship programs in the international sustainable development sector. Our award-winning internships are designed to allow interns to contribute to one or more of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and gain valuable work experience in the field of community development. 

There are many benefits to completing an internship in community development with GVI, whether you choose to embark on an immersive internship abroad or join a virtual internship

Collaborate with locally-led projects

One of the most significant benefits of doing an internship is the opportunity to explore various community development initiatives, gaining hands-on experience on-the-ground or online with our extensive network of local partners, NGOs, organisations and government agencies. You’ll work on real and impactful projects that help to co-create solutions to pressing challenges.

Contribute to real community solutions

Come alongside our local partners to implement social impact solutions that are guided by our theory of change, and aligned with the UN SDGs. 

The local communities and our partners determine their own priorities and opportunities, while we strengthen and empower their projects by giving our time, skills and expertise. We’re passionate about creating real, enduring change that future generations will benefit from, and the only way to do this is through collaboration.

Grow personally and professionally

Doing an internship will allow you to learn from experts in social impact by attending practical training sessions, and you’ll get the chance to apply your learning directly. Adding international internship experience to your CV will increase your chances in the job market, setting you apart from other applicants.

Get a boost for your CV

At GVI, we understand the importance of showcasing your internship experience on your CV and LinkedIn profile. Our supervisors will help you do just that, providing valuable references to boost your career prospects. And our virtual interns will be matched with a dedicated GVI virtual internship supervisor who will offer unwavering support throughout your entire internship journey.

Build your network

Participating in GVI’s virtual internships or internships abroad offers a unique opportunity to expand your personal and professional network. Whether working remotely or on location, you will have the chance to collaborate with a diverse group of individuals who share your passion for community development. These relationships can help you learn about job opportunities, gain knowledge about new research or industry advancements, and potentially lead to future career opportunities.

Get a career guarantee

When you join an internship program abroad for 12 weeks or longer, you will get a career guarantee. This means that if you don’t get an impact-driven position within 18 months after completion, we will refund you 50% of your program fees.

Convenient online internships

Virtual internships are becoming increasingly popular for people who are looking for international work experience while saving on accommodation and travel expenses. Our virtual internships allow you to work remotely for international community development organisations all over the world – without leaving your home, office or school.

Whether you choose to participate in an internship abroad or a virtual internship, you’ll have the chance to focus on specific subject areas and contribute to sustainable community development efforts. Join us today and gain valuable work experience while making a lasting impact on the communities we serve.

Launch your community development career

With both GVI’s internships abroad and virtual internships, you’ll get access to the following professional support:

 

  • one-on-one mentoring sessions
  • advanced leadership training
  • job portal access
  • career coaching sessions.

 

Immersive community experience

At GVI we are not just passing through. We have permanent hubs in beautiful locations and our local staff are integrated with the daily life, work and traditions of the local culture.

When you join one of our programs, you will experience authentic traditions, festivities, events, projects and rituals to ensure you’re not a visitor, but a contributing member of the community. You’ll exchange recipes, taste delicious food, share stories and learn from each other – to leave inspired with new perspectives and a deeper understanding of the world.

Get comprehensive training 

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.
  • University of Richmond endorsed GVI Online courses.

 

Want to chat to someone who’s been there? 

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.

We have thousands of interns from across the world joining our programs each year, and for many different reasons. 

Maybe you’re still 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 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 abroad you can 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 working on real-world projects, and at the end of the internship, you’ll receive a certificate endorsed by the University of Richmond and a professional recommendation from your mentor.

 To decide between the two options, here are the main differences between doing an internship abroad or joining a virtual internship.

Internship abroad

  • Travel to beautiful new countries.
  • Stay on one of GVI’s permanent location hubs.
  • Live and work integrated into communities.
  • Immerse yourself in new cultures and traditions.
  • Work alongside community development experts, teachers and researchers.
  • Share your experience with fellow interns from all over the world.
  • Experience a wide range of community projects.
  • Get exposure to real community challenges on the ground.

 

Virtual internship

  • Gain international community development experience, from wherever you are.
  • Get the benefits and experience of working for a real partner without travelling.
  • Save on travel costs and commute time.
  • Get the flexibility to manage your own schedule, pace and hours.
  • Enjoy the freedom to decide on your level of commitment.
  • Showcase self-discipline, time management and resourcefulness to boost your CV.
  • Practise online communication and remote working skills to benefit your career.
  • Build a network of community development connections.
  • The opportunity to first test your areas of interest before travelling.

 

After you’ve got that figured out, you can take a step further to choose a specific conservation focus or subject area. 

Your focus area will differ depending on whether you do an internship abroad or a virtual internship – take a look at the breakdowns on the next tabs to help you make your decision.

Travelling abroad to join an internship

So you’ve decided you’d like to join an internship abroad in a beautiful new country, to contribute to meaningful community development work?

Great news – GVI offers internship abroad programs in a number of different focus areas. Take a look at some of the different internship opportunities below, or get in touch with our team to chat through your options.

Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion internships abroad

Join GVI and our local partners to work on initiatives that promote fairness, equal rights and opportunities for all, regardless of their race, gender or social status. By joining one of our justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) internship programs, you’ll be contributing to a global movement towards a more just, equitable, diverse and inclusive world.

Our JEDI internship programs offer a unique opportunity to work with local communities and organisations around the world to develop and implement a variety of empowering initiatives. 

You’ll be able to use your skills and knowledge to support on-the-ground efforts. Whether you’re interested in supporting marginalised communities or groups, promoting equal rights and opportunities, or advocating for social change, our JEDI internships provide you with the chance to make a real difference.

Community development internships

If you’re looking to gain experience in international community development with a holistic view, these internships would suit you well.

Within the broader community development programs, you will focus on the projects that the community has identified as priority at that point in time. You might collaborate with local partners on a variety of initiatives including education, health and well-being, or gender equality.

Teaching internships

If you have a passion for education and teaching, you’ll get the opportunity to get involved with 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 and Fiji, 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.

Gender equality internships abroad

At GVI, we believe that gender equality is not only a basic human right, but also a key driver for sustainable development. 

That’s why our gender equality internships are designed to address the challenges faced by women and girls in developing communities, while fostering their leadership skills and promoting their active participation in decision-making processes. 

As an intern, you’ll work alongside local partners to design and implement gender-focused projects that support women’s entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and access to education and healthcare. You will also have the opportunity to engage in cross-cultural exchange and develop your intercultural communication skills, while making a positive impact in the lives of the people you work with.

Global public health internships

Join locally-led initiatives to improve the access to basic health and awareness to improve health and wellness in underserved communities.

Support the work being done to help communities to prevent transferable illnesses by conducting UNICEF’s WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) workshops with children. Or, 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 alongside the district nurse, 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

Learn about the challenges that women in specific local contexts face around the world. What are the differences and what are the similarities? 

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. 

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.

Construction internships abroad

Does your idea of weekend fun include fixing up, refurbishing, building or otherwise innovating practical solutions? Are your social media feeds filled with 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, Thailand 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 might also include some construction work in addition to the focus on teaching and women’s empowerment.

Business internships abroad

Are you looking to use your skills in business management, social media and merchandising for good? Our business and micro-enterprise development internships are perfect for those seeking to gain experience in a range of business sectors, while empowering small community businesses.

At GVI, we place a strong emphasis on sustainable business practices and community development. Our business internships allow you to contribute to sustainable business practices, while making a positive impact on the communities in which we work. 

By participating in a business internship with GVI, you’ll have the opportunity to learn from experienced entrepreneurs, network with like-minded individuals, and develop valuable skills that will be beneficial for your future career.

Joining a community-focused virtual internship remotely

If you ‘re keen to get international community development experience to add to your CV or resume, or would love to make an impact, but can’t travel at the moment, virtual internships are the perfect solution.

You’ll get all the practical work experience you need to land that interview and get your dream job while making a real difference in the world. Your impact will go beyond your online work – you’ll be supporting real community development projects on the ground and empowering sustainable local efforts in the process.

There’s so much you can do from home – all you need is a computer and access to the internet. You could help set up fundraising campaigns to support small business development, conduct research on education initiatives or help with public health awareness strategies.

Another great benefit of joining a virtual internship with GVI is that you’ll get the freedom to choose your own subject area, project focus, duration and pace that’ll suit you best.

Virtual internship subject areas

When you join a virtual internship, you’ll get the opportunity to identify a community development subject area that excites you the most. We want to enable you to work on projects that really matter to you, and that will support your career path ahead. 

We’ve created a targeted approach, so you can choose a subject area as well as a project focus to ensure that your experience is as valuable as possible.

The subject areas include:

Global public health

Get the opportunity to work with local and international organisations to analyse sustainable approaches to leading health concerns in underserved communities. Contribute to project work that will provide accessible quality healthcare services for all through a variety of initiatives.

Human rights and access to justice

If you’re passionate about human rights and social justice, here’s an ideal opportunity to develop industry skills and understanding of the challenges faced in human rights advocacy work today. Learn about the development of global judicial systems and work alongside accomplished experts and partner organisations to contribute to enduring change.

Social economic development 

Economic empowerment is essential for achieving development goals, making this a valuable choice for those interested in business. Gain expert insights and practical experience in things like setting up microenterprises and microfinancing schemes to impact investing and social enterprises. 

Education for development

GVI’s Education for Development virtual Internship allows you to attend expert-led lectures on topics such as educational disparities between urban and rural areas and genders, while also completing practical work for organisations focused on education as a development goal.

Virtual internship project focuses

After choosing a community development subject area that resonates with you the most, you can decide on the specific project that you want to work on. Here are just a few examples of focus areas that you can choose from:

 

  • Operations and program management
  • Data analysis and research
  • Marketing, media and communications
  • Fundraising
  • Law, advocacy and policy

 

Complete online courses in the process 

Over and above your virtual internship program benefits, you’ll also get the opportunity to complete a series of accredited online courses – included in your program fees.

GVI’s online courses are endorsed by the University of Richmond and once you complete them, you’ll walk away with a certificate that will help to boost your CV and LinkedIn profile.

 

These online courses include:

  • Careers in Sustainable Development
  • Community Development
  • Human Rights and Advocacy
  • Global Public Health

 

Check out our virtual internships page for more information or complete a quick enquiry form to get more information about your options.

Best places to do a community internship abroad

Looking for an authentic community development internship? At GVI we have permanent hubs in off-the-beaten-track locations that will take you out of your comfort zone and into the heart of sustainable development.

Our ethical sustainable development projects are located where resources and support are needed and welcomed. You could find yourself working in a fishing village on an island, supporting nurses at the local clinic or at a Buddhist temple school. Whatever your passion, we have a community project where you could partner to contribute to real solutions.

At GVI, we offer international community development internships in some of the most exceptional places in the world where you’ll gain hands-on experience in making a positive impact. Choose from our list of destinations 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. You can complete international community development internships in countries like 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 an 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 assisting 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.

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 a variety of community development initiatives – including women’s empowerment, teaching and gender equality – in the town of Siem Reap. There’s also a need for a greater awareness of the impact people have on the local environment.

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, which is 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

Travel to Latin America to experience countries endowed with lush forests, pristine beaches, significant archaeological sites, flavourful food and wonderful, welcoming local communities. Put your Spanish to the test, as you join the local community initiatives.

Intern in Costa Rica 

When you join a community volunteer program in Cartago, Costa Rica you’ll be contributing to locally-led sustainable programs that empower the communities we work with. 

Whether that’s volunteering with children at a local school or facilitating women’s empowerment workshops.

Through teaching programs, community members can take greater advantage of the economic opportunities afforded by the many travellers who come to visit Costa Rica every year. Other programs include women’s empowerment and gender equality.

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

Internships in Australasia 

If you’re interested in travelling to the Pacific islands to support locally-led initiatives in fishing and coastal villages, consider joining a program in Australasia, 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. 

GVI has been running community programs in partnership with the local community for more than 10 years! Our internships in Fiji mainly focus on global health, international development, teaching and community development. 

Not sure where in the world you’d like to go?

Get in touch with one of our previous community development interns to ask all your burning questions! Or request a callback, and one of our program experts will make contact with you.

Frequently asked questions about community internships

What distinguishes community development programs from conservation programs?

With GVI People, our community development programs aim to work with local community organisations to enhance access to resources, education, and economic opportunities.

Over at GVI Planet, our conservation programs allow you to contribute to vital conservation research efforts by working in remote research stations with rare and endangered species. 

What are the main differences between internships, research fellowships, and professional apprenticeships?

Internships are designed to provide you with hands-on experience in a particular field, such as teaching, public health, conservation or gender equality. 

Research fellowships let you focus on a specific research topic as part of a thesis or dissertation.

Professional apprenticeships allow you to develop your employability skills through mentorship and work placements with organisations on the ground.

What is the duration of an internship abroad vs a virtual internship?

Our internships abroad are typically 2–12 weeks, while virtual internships can be anything between 4 and 24 weeks long.

Can under-18s apply for internships with GVI?

Unfortunately, high school internships are not available with GVI. However, teens between the ages of 15 and 17 can participate in our teen volunteering programs abroad. 

These programs are specifically designed to provide the highest level of support and guidance for teens travelling in groups while ensuring that they still make a meaningful impact.

Do I need to have a degree or any qualifications to apply for GVI programs?

Not at all. We welcome individuals from all backgrounds and experience levels! Our programs are designed to equip you with the necessary training and support to succeed, regardless of your educational background.

But in saying that, if you do have any specific qualifications, talents or expertise that you’d love to use during your internship, please let us know! We’d love to match you with the most relevant community development project.

Are GVI’s community development programs ethical?

Guaranteed, yes! At GVI, ethical and sustainable practices are at the forefront of everything we do. Over the past two decades, we have become the leaders in ethical, purpose-driven programs. 

We collaborate closely with local communities and organisations to ensure that our programs are beneficial and sustainable, and we always prioritise the well-being of our participants and the communities we work with.

How can I fund my international internship?

Many academic institutions now recognise the value of international internship programs, such as those offered by GVI, and offer credits and financial aid for them. Contact your international education office or academic advisor to inquire about this. 

You may also apply for internships scholarships or fundraise for your program. GVI often offers limited-time scholarship opportunities for participants who meet specific criteria, and you can use our fundraising platform to set up your fundraising campaign. Finally, consider discussing your internship abroad with your parents or guardians, as they may be willing to help fund your experience.

Can I apply for a scholarship?

Many academic institutions, governments, and private organisations understand the long-term career benefits of international work experience and offer scholarships for participants looking to work abroad. At GVI, we also offer limited-time scholarship opportunities for people who meet specific criteria. Check out our scholarship page to see if any internship scholarships are currently available.

May I raise funds to help me join an internship program?

Yes, for sure. In addition to applying for internships scholarships, you may also fundraise for your program. This is not only a way to finance your internship abroad, but also an opportunity to raise awareness about the global issues you are passionate about. Use our fundraising platform to set up your campaign, and check out our fundraising ideas page for inspiration.

How can I speak to my parents about a GVI internship?

Internships can provide young people like you with unmatched global perspectives. It gives you the opportunity to travel the world responsibly and prepares you to face your future with confidence. 

If your parents or guardians are helping to fund your education, consider discussing with them what part they can play in funding your internship abroad. Direct them to our parent information page, which includes reviews by GVI parents and a brochure, or have them contact us directly for more information.

Got more questions?

We’d love to help! Reach out to our team by requesting a callback or completing a quick enquiry form.

There’s no better time than now. Make it happen!

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2 – 12 weeks
Internships

Get broad exposure to a variety of community initiatives.

4 – 24 weeks
Virtual internships

Work remotely on real projects for community partners.

4-24 weeks
Research
fellowships

Conduct research to contribute to community solutions.

24 weeks
Professional
apprenticeships

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

1-12 weeks
Volunteering
programs

Contribute to ethical community programs grounded in ethics.

Choose a program focus

Planet

Conservation

Marine conservation
Help restore marine ecosystems and protect marine species.
Wildlife conservation
Work to protect biodiversity and aid in wildlife conservation.
Endangered species conservation
Help to preserve endangered animal and plant species.
Habitats and ecosystems
Contribute to the monitoring of vulnerable habitats.