Internships are a fantastic way to build skills and get practical, hands-on training for your intended career path. But when it comes to turning a good resume into a great one, consider taking your internship overseas! All over the world, there are organizations ready to work hard to place you with companies that share your passions and align with your interests.
The following internships are unique because they're not held within the confines of a traditional office. Instead, you'll learn about your field where it happens. From archaeology in Rome to wildlife photography in South Africa, you will be truly immersed in real-world settings.
These internship providers were carefully chosen to reflect the best in support, benefits, safety, and participant satisfaction. As trusted organizations, they are experienced in facilitating great learning opportunities that are sure to foster personal and professional growth.
If you’re looking for unique internships overseas that will allow you to gain new skills and see the world this year, consider the following 10 best off-the-beaten-track opportunities for 2024.
1. Help save the Amazon with Hoja Nueva in Peru
Program length: 1-52 weeks
Price point: $$$
What's included: accommodation, 3 meals a day/7 days a week, airport pickup, in-country transportation
- Gain extensive hands-on research experience across a wide range of specialties like statistical ecology, mammalogy, and herpetology.
- Past interns felt welcomed into the Hoja Nueva program like family, both by the staff and fellow participants.
- Living deep in the jungle isn't for everyone -- be prepared to live a rustic life and get dirty!
- Wildlife rehab interns must stay a minimum of two months.
Whether your passion is animals or conservation, you'll have the chance to experience both through an internship with Hoja Nueva. Interns will work at a remote research center in the Amazon where they will be close to nature and able to make the biggest impact. Tasks include water and wildlife research, community health and development projects, and animal care and rehabilitation.
Staff is trained in CPR and wilderness first aid guaranteeing an experience that's both fun and safe.
"I stayed at Hoja Nueva for two months doing a general internship. I decided to go there because they run a really vast variety of projects ranging from Herpetology and Mammal Ecology to the reintroduction of all kinds of animals. This gave me the absolutely perfect opportunity to figure out which area of biology I later want to specialise in!"
2. Become a divemaster with Caribbean Reef Buddy in Grenada
Program length: 3-8 weeks
Price point: $$$
What's included: hotel accommodation, breakfast and dinner 7 days a week, training, 1 excursion a week
- Get involved with a wide range of activities such as reef regeneration, reef monitoring, and marine photography.
- There are opportunities for total newbies to gain the experience and certifications needed to progress to Divemaster training.
- Interns must budget extra for daily lunches.
- If you're looking for PADI certification, Caribbean Reef Buddy provides advanced training through Scuba Schools International (SSI).
Earn your Scuba Schools International (SSI) professional Divemaster certification in Grenada and further your conservation or tourism career. Caribbean Reef Buddy's Divemaster internship is perfect for those looking for intensive training that will improve their diving skills and knowledge of scuba safety. Over a three-week period, students will earn their certification in addition to getting involved in marine conservation projects.
All equipment is provided but interns are encouraged to bring their own gear in order to get comfortable diving consistently with the same equipment.
"Coming here has been a revelation! These guys really know what they're doing and have a programme which is structured perfectly to prepare you to become a divemaster. They're thorough, diligent and very very professional. I came away knowing that I needed to continue in this direction because diving is the career choice for me."
3. Fight climate change with Richmond Vale Academy
Program length: 6 months
Price point: $
What's included: accommodation, 3 meals a day/7 days a week, books and materials, local transport, pre-departure support
- You'll work closely with your team during the 6 months, forming close and lasting friendships.
- You don't just learn about permaculture and sustainability, you'll be planning and carrying out projects.
- Past participants noted that the location was remote and lacked reliable public transportation.
- If you are looking for a lot of downtime or alone time, this may not be the program for you.
If you’re looking for practical experience on the frontlines of climate activism, roll up your sleeves and jump in with Richmond Vale Academy. During this internship, you'll work side by side with professionals to learn about everything from reducing fossil fuels to sustainable agriculture.
Your internship doesn't stop in the classroom, though. Once you get a solid foundation of the principles of climate change and mitigation, you and your team will get out in the community to work on projects such as helping families and schools build their own organic gardens. As an intern, you'll also raise climate change awareness and provide education to local residents and schoolchildren.
Participants should be ready for an intense and action-packed internship!
"First of all, my experience would not be the same without the people I met here. It was amazing to learn and grow from and with each other. I learned how important it is to take responsibility. I understood what it means to live in a community. And I recognized what is possible if you work together as a team. For me it is making the impossible possible."
4. Photograph endangered animals in South Africa with African Impact
Program length: 8-12 weeks
Price point: $$$
What's included: accommodation, 3 meals a day on weekdays, in-country transportation, airport pickup, training and extensive mentoring
- Past interns felt safe and comfortable at the lodge where they stayed.
- This program is suitable for beginners to professional photographers.
- Participants must come with their own SLR camera and laptop.
- You will need to budget extra money for weekend meals.
With African Impact's wildlife photography internship, taking pictures is more than just a way to capture incredible memories -- it's a way to raise awareness. Both aspiring and seasoned photogs will contribute to an important body of work to be used for conservation and education while growing their own portfolio. Interns will stay near Kruger National Park while they receive expert mentoring from professional conservation photographers.
Through their partnership with The African Impact Foundation, African Impact gives its interns the opportunity to attend cultural presentations, discussions on poaching, and even stargazing under the open South African skies.
"I always wanted to come to Africa as a photographer. The experience changed me. I had tears leaving the place."
5. Learn traditional medicine with Linguistic Horizons in Peru
Program length: 2 weeks to 6 months
Price point: $$$
What's included: shared accommodation, breakfast and lunch or dinner on weekdays, airport pickup, excursions, guided hikes and cultural activities, workshops, health & accident insurance
- You'll be acclimatized to the change in altitude with a hike.
- There are no educational or degree requirements to participate -- just a passion for traditional medicine and nutrition!
- Additional trips, like Machu Picchu, aren't included but can be purchased separately.
- Be prepared for lots of walking and hiking -- those with mobility difficulties may find this program challenging.
Linguistic Horizons prides itself on its commitment to meaningful and impactful projects and their Holistic Nutrition and Natural Medicine internship is no different. Set in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru, participants will learn from local professionals and holistic medicine and nutrition practitioners.
Excursions will focus on exploring organic farming, hunting for medicinal plants, and visits to markets to identify superfoods. Interns will also engage in hands-on workshops to gain skills in vegan cooking, herbology, and cleanses. Outside of the learning opportunities, guided hikes and cultural activities will introduce participants to the beauty and heritage of the local areas.
If health and medicine aren't for you, they have a wide range of other fields available that can be personalized to your interests.
"The program and experience was indeed a trip of a lifetime, and it will forever change me as a person. The hardest part was leaving this incredible place, as three weeks was just not enough time!"
6. Get creative with ArtBound Initiative in Berlin
Program length: 2-6 months
Price point: $$$
What's included: professional and career coaching, access to the ABI networking platform, pre-departure and visa support
Compensation: unpaid or paid, depending on specific placement
- ABI partners with over 250 international companies including CBS and Vice.
- You'll be coached before going into the interview process to ensure you do your best to land the position you want.
- Due to visa restrictions, you need to be currently enrolled in a university or have graduated in the last 12 months.
- Housing is not included in the program fee and can get expensive in Berlin.
ArtBound Initiative helps you break into Berlin's iconic arts scene with an internship in a variety of fields. Interview for positions within studio art, art administration, gallery and curation, cultural management, design, film production, and more. ABI's personalized coaching and mock interviews will help you secure a place in a top company doing what you love.
Generally, short-term internships are unpaid, but some companies may offer stipends or payment to interns who commit to longer durations. US citizens can intern visa-free for up to three months. For longer stays, an internship visa is required, but don't worry! ABI is here to guide you through the process.
"Amazing support, having the ABI team walk me through the bureaucracy that comes with living internationally has been so beneficial, in addition to the career coaching. Having an industry professional review your CV and portfolio have been invaluable, and the program as a whole has really allowed me to kickstart my career."
7. Become a safari field guide with GVI in South Africa
Program length: 6 months or 1 year with an optional add-on of 1, 3, or 6 months
Price point: $$$
What's included: shared housing, all meals, all equipment, in-country transportation, airport pickup, certifications, pre-departure support, 24/7 emergency support, career coaching
- This experience is extremely immersive and will directly expose you to the big 5 animals, countless birds, and diverse plant life.
- Past interns made fast friends with other like-minded participants on base and bonded over a passion for wildlife.
- Long-term programs can be expensive -- check out GVI's scholarships.
- Life on base isn't always luxurious. You may take the occasional cold shower and will have to wash laundry by hand.
GVI's career internships give you long-term opportunities to break into the conservation field. Choose from 6 months or 1 year and spend your time with Field Guide Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) certified trainers learning the ropes of field guiding.
At the conclusion of your internship, you'll be able to show off a range of qualifications including The FGASA Apprentice Field Guide (NQF2), CATHSSETA National Qualification (NQF2) in Nature Guiding, Cybertracker track & sign, a wilderness first aid certificate, and more. This will make you extremely marketable for a position in the field. What's better, GVI has a career guarantee -- interns who train for three months or more have a job waiting for them at the end of their internship!
"GVI has given me the confidence to push myself in ways I didn't think I ever could, I have found the courage to leave my job of 8 years in Central London to chase my dreams of working in wildlife conservation full time."
8. Break into tech with iXperience in Lisbon
Program length: 6 weeks
Price point: $$$
What's included: hostel accommodation, excursions, hybrid internship, access to coworking space, daily mentoring
- Past course instructors have included staff from Google, Meta, and Microsoft.
- Alumni loved the support and guidance from the program staff and instructors.
- Meals are not included so you will need to budget extra money for meals out or cooking at your apartment.
- This is a bootcamp program so it may not be right for you if you're looking for a long-term internship.
iXperience in Lisbon offers a hybrid internship program that pairs technical skills training with a local internship. For the first two weeks, you'll focus on studying your chosen specialization online. The following four weeks, you'll be interning at a local company full-time 3 days and week, and part-time the remaining 2.
Supercharge your future career in data science by studying things like data analytics, machine learning, and data visualization. Or, specialize in software engineering and gain skills in HTML, CSS, building databases, and implementing APIs. Whatever you choose, you are guaranteed to be highly marketable and sought after by employers within the tech field.
"Through the strong relationships formed with your professor, internship manager, program coordinators, and peers, iX Lisbon was a great investment for both my professional future, my knowledge of the world, and for developing strong friendships with people from all over."
9. Investigate ancient ruins with IES in Rome
Program length: semester (3 months)
Price point: $$$
What's included: shared housing, 3 academic credits, excursions, virtual orientation, support from local staff
- Part-time internships allow you to explore Rome in your free time.
- Past interns felt they could totally immerse themselves in Italian daily life, including learning about the culture and taking language lessons.
- Budget more for food -- it's not included.
- Rooms are shared between 2-3 same-sex interns -- if you're someone who needs alone time this could be a concern.
Aspiring archaeologists have the unique opportunity to work on real-life digs in Rome with IES Abroad. Participate in excavations, document artifacts, and help preserve Italian cultural heritage during your semester abroad.
Outside of your part-time internship, you will have the option to take survival Italian language classes as well as go on excursions with fellow interns. You will also have the opportunity to bond with your IES roommates by making dinners together at your apartment or taking trips around Rome, Italy, or the rest of Western Europe.
If you're looking for a short-term internship, they also do a summer session!
"Not only did I learn to adapt to a new work environment and culture but I also learned a lot about myself and improved my cultural intelligence. I gained worldwide skills that you can't learn back at home, and I was also able to attend networking events and met professionals who come from all over the world and found themselves working in Rome."
10. Join the fashion scene in London with Beyond Academy
Program length: 6-24 weeks
Price point: $$$
What's included: career development and networking, local activities and day trips, airport pickup, visa support
Compensation: unpaid or paid depending on specific internship placement
- Beyond Academy puts a major focus on professional development like career coaching, workshops, and networking.
- Alumni of the program rave about the support they receive while in London.
- Accommodation is not included and must be arranged on your own or through the program at an extra cost -- London is expensive!
- Participants must budget extra for meals while interning in London.
Beyond Academy offers prospective interns a way to step into the bustling world of fashion in London. Known as one of the "Big Four" in the fashion world, London stands with New York, Paris, and Milan as a top destination for those seeking the glitz of the catwalk.
Your internship with Beyond Academy is tailored to you and your interests. You can be matched with fashion-focused positions within areas like design, photography, journalism, public relations, marketing, and more. There really is something for every intern.
Past interns benefited from extensive professional networking and support. You can expect to come out of your program with a polished CV, new industry contacts, and new friends.
"I feel like I was able to grow professionally and personally during this program. The support team encouraged me to step outside of my comfort zone, which gave me the opportunity to make new friends and great memories."
Take the road less traveled in 2024
Let this list encourage you to take a chance on an interesting internship abroad. You might be surprised by what you can learn if you’re willing to take on something a little more unconventional than a typical 9-to-5. Fuel your passion and gain a unique perspective in 2024!
Read next: How to Budget for Your Internship Abroad