Multiple Locations +17
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Estonia
    • Tallinn
  • Georgia, Republic of
    • Tbilisi
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
    • Bishkek
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
    • Ulaanbaatar
  • Montenegro
  • Serbia
  • Poland
    • Warsaw

Program Details

Host Family
Age Min.


Starting Price
Price Details
The cost of the program includes internship placement with a local organization; tuition and mentoring; housing with a local host family (including two meals per day - breakfast and dinner); pre-departure materials; in-country orientation; airport transportation; cultural activities; health insurance; visa (if necessary); in-country logistical support; 24/7 emergency contact. Scholarships are available. Please visit www.acstudyabroad.org/opit for current pricing.
What's Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airport Transfers Some Meals Visa
What's Not Included
Airfare SIM cards Transportation Wifi
Oct 27, 2023
Sep 29, 2019
26 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Earn invaluable professional experience in an international setting through the American Councils Overseas Professional and Intercultural Training (OPIT) Program. They provide a full-time, non-credit bearing, unpaid internship that runs for eight weeks. Interns will be placed in an emerging economy that offers plenty of learning opportunities. The interns will be working at the American Councils office, and will join the staff in their active engagement with the host country's civil society. English-language internships are available in such fields as business, human rights, ecology and law throughout more than a dozen countries of Eurasia and the Balkans. Knowledge of foreign-language is not required; however, the program does provide foreign language internships to interested and qualified students, and all students have the opportunity to combine their internships with intensive language study.

Program Reviews

4.60 Rating
based on 5 reviews
  • 5 rating 60%
  • 4 rating 40%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.4
  • Support 4.8
  • Fun 4.8
  • Housing 4.4
  • Safety 4.8
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Internship and homestay experience in Moscow - OPIT

I had an incredible eye-opening study and intern abroad experience in Russia this past summer, and I hope to one day return and see more of the country. Before participating in this program, I had completed a few internships and had studied Russian for a year, so I was mostly looking to add to my resume, explore a new business and work culture, learn about history and food, meet locals, and visit the sites. I'd say I accomplished a lot of that and more during my summer in Moscow.

While there, I worked at a contract research organization during the week and also participated in a weekly cultural class and optional two-hour language session with a professor from the host institution. The internship was an interesting experience, and I learned about a subject area that I did not previously know too much about in a foreign environment. The tasks and field of study weren't directly in line with my career goals, but I'd still say it was a worthwhile experience and great for building interpersonal skills and cultural awareness. I formed some connections with the people there, and we were able to share different things about our respective cultures and interests. Most of my tasks involved reviewing presentations, translating documents, and creating a presentation. Regarding the language classes, I enjoyed going each week, but I don't feel as if my skills improved dramatically. I mostly picked up on some new vocabulary and reinforced some of the grammar skills I had learned before I arrived in Russia. The weekly culture class was interesting, and during it, we mainly discussed our experiences at work, with locals, in our host families, at the dorm, etc. (We also had to submit a weekly assignment on different topics).

My favorite aspects of the program were being able to live with a host family and enjoying the culture and historical sites. The family I lived with was absolutely wonderful! We got along very well, and they took an interest in helping me with practicing my language skills through conversation. They also took me around to see the sites, museums, etc. I also went on walks with them around their neighborhood and other parts of the city. I even went on a side trip by train to St. Petersburg with one of my host family members, and he introduced me to his friends and family there! I was provided a private room and two meals per day (though the always offered more food!), I really felt as if I were part of the family. I'm fortunate to have lived with a great group of people. In addition, I was able to explore many museums, tourist sites, food markets, parks, restaurants, and more on my own and with other people in the program. It was truly an amazing experience!

Travel and money-wise, I had to arrange all of my transportation to the orientation and to and from Moscow, as well as any weekend trips I wanted to take. As far as my budget, I spent about $50 USD per week, excluding souvenirs and travel-related expenses (i.e. I had to buy a new suitcase), but it depended on the week and what I was I doing. I found most things to be pretty cheap, especially transportation and food (the metro is amazing -- fares are low and it goes everywhere quickly!). When I had to walk around alone, I made sure to do it during the day, or if at night, it was in brightly-lit areas or near people. Safety wasn't an issue, despite protests going on in the city (which we were told to stay away from). Also, American Councils staff there were on call if we had any issues or emergencies.

Overall, I would recommend this program to those who want a unique experience abroad, particularly in a place that is riddled with stereotypes, and are seeking professional experience (an interest in Russian culture and language helps, too). You will likely get more out of this program, though, if you already speak Russian to a high degree or at least have some command of the language because it'll make communicating and forming connections with locals easier. However, there is no foreign language requirement or proficiency level needed to apply or participate. I recommend living with a host family because those who lived in the dorm had some issues and unexpected inconveniences.

What would you improve about this program?
It would have been nice to know who I was living with more in advance of the trip because we weren't told about our host families until a couple of weeks before. Also, including built-in trips and excursions for our specific program would have been cool because we were mostly left to exploring on our own time. We were usually invited to go on excursions with the other programs in Moscow, but the program itself doesn't include any. In addition, I wish some of the important program materials, such as a packing list and program handbook, had been sent prior to orientation because I would have appreciated something to refer to while preparing to leave.
101 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Summer of a Lifetime in Yerevan, Armenia

As a Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies major, much of my academic background and cultural familiarity pertaining to states that used to be members of the Soviet Union was very Russia-centric. I figured that interning in Yerevan, Armenia through American Councils would be an ideal opportunity to grow professionally, deepen my understanding of the Eurasian region beyond Russia, and have a chance to experience a different culture. I interned at the Startup Armenia Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides Armenian startuppers with resources and networking opportunities to help them grow their businesses. During my internship, I worked to aid Startup Armenia in expanding their reach internationally, conducting research on venture capital, angel investors, universities, non-profits, and international networking events that could potentially become future partners for Startup Armenia abroad. In addition to learning about international involvement in the economic development of Armenia's startup ecosystem through my tasks on the job, I had the fortune to be working alongside incredibly down-to-earth, motivated individuals, with whom I still keep in touch to this day. In addition to the internship experience, my time on the OPIT program was memorable and special because of the chance to live with an Armenian host family. One thing that I noticed very quickly in Armenia is the importance of family. While my host family on paper included my host dad, host mom, and their adorable four-year-old son, in reality, my host family included them, as well as my two host grandmothers, my host uncle, and all of their relatives, whom I saw frequently on our weekly trips to the family farm in the countryside. Being welcomed into their family, and memories including dinners with my host parents, spending time after work in my host grandmother's kitchen, and playing with my host brother, made my summer internship experience meaningful not just professionally but personally as well. The American Councils office staff was always extremely helpful and readily available, giving myself and the other American interns on the program with me a judgment-free zone to ask questions and address any issues during our weekly meetings. I would definitely recommend the OPIT program to anyone looking for a professionally and personally meaningful experience abroad.

100 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Interning in Moscow was an Amazing Experience - OPIT

My experience interning on the Overseas Professional and Intercultural Training Program in Moscow, Russia, was an exciting and eventful one. This program was enjoyable in that you get to negotiate your hours with the company you intern for, get to go on excursions with students who are studying abroad on other programs through American Councils, and are guided through any feelings (both good and bad) that you may feel during your time abroad. I got to see much more of Moscow than I ever even expected.

I worked at a start-up company called CINEMOOD, and our office was located very close to the heart of the city. I was also in Russia during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which was also exciting to see the city buzzing with energy.

As a double major studying both Linguistics and Russian Studies, I was able to work with translating texts and files for our company. Overall though, I was more excited about being able to work in an environment where I could speak Russian every day. I've been studying the language for over 5 years, so getting the immersion and the practice allowed my language skills to skyrocket while still getting professional experience!

What would you improve about this program?
I would have preferred getting my host-family assignment a little sooner. I ideally wanted to be able to reach out and get into contact with them before I met them, and unfortunately was not able to do that.
99 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Internship Experience in Armenia

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to intern in Armenia through OPIT. I worked with Article 3, a local human rights organization. For my internship I researched, wrote, planned, and did video work for a project about the circumstances, effects, and continuations of Armenia's recent political revolution. I am a rising sophomore in college and I had really wanted to get some experience and insight into the non-profit field to inform my major and career decisions, so the opportunity to work here was very important and influential to me. I was able to meet a lot of people, not only in my organizations but also others in the field, which was very informative in helping me to learn about it.

In addition to the work component, I was able to live with a lovely host family in Yerevan for six weeks. They were really nice and did everything to take care of me and help me make my way around the city. I had told the program staff that I spoke a little Armenian, and they gave me an opportunity to practice with a host family that didn't speak much English (the others in my group got English speaking hosts, however). It was challenging, but a very helpful experience in the long run.

In addition to the work experience in this program, we took a class with a small number of assignments for university credit. The staff in Yerevan was very helpful and checked in with us a lot to make sure we were doing alright and see if there was anything they could help us with to improve our experiences. They also organized some free excursions for us with alumni of their Armenia-US exchange program, which was really fun and let us meet new people and see more of the country. In addition, they helped us to organize our own travel outside of program activities.

One of the best part of my experience was the internship group that I went to Armenia with. There were seven of us, all from different backgrounds, different parts of the US, and working in different fields, but we got along really well, and it was much easier to navigate the challenges of living abroad since I had American friends to talk with. In addition, our group went on two weekend trips together, which was really fun as well as making travel and seeing different parts of the country far easier since we had more people.

Finally, in terms of costs to this program, they offer scholarships for interns in certain areas. My internship did not qualify, but I was able to get a grant independently through my university because it was in the field of public policy and service. Overall, a really amazing experience that made the adventure of living and working in another country accessible, informative, and fun to do.

What would you improve about this program?
One thing that would be helpful is if we were able to get our host family information sooner, since we got it the day before we left. Also, I think it would be nice if the class assignments were optional because my university does not accept the credit anyway, so having to pay for the class was not helpful to me.
97 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


American Councils did an excellent job in compiling all of the logistics of the program. I was very well taken care of while in Azerbaijan. But, at the same time, they continually challenged me to leave my comfort zone in order to experience more of what the culture and city had to offer.

American Councils found internship placements that matched my current and future interests, providing me with the opportunity to increase my own skill set, as well as create an international network of contacts.

In addition to the internship placements that American Councils set up for me through OPIT, I was also able to take Azerbaijani language classes, which not many people have the opportunity to do.

I would highly recommend this program.

What would you improve about this program?
I am a planner and appreciate having information as soon as possible so that I can prepare. Some of the information was not sent as early as it perhaps could have been. But, I did always have access to information before I absolutely needed it.
103 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers