Biology is one of the most fascinating and widespread fields in the world. If you have dreams of being a professional biologist one day, an internship in biology can be a huge step in helping prepare you for a successful career and give you a leg up on job applications.
As you consider which field of biology you might like to intern in, there are several criteria to keep in mind: your long-term goals, where you'd like to study, and the types of biology internships that are most prevalent in each country. No matter which you choose, you should have plenty of opportunities to find an internship placement that's perfect for you, allows you to practice your knowledge of biology, and gain valuable professional experience in the process.
Photo credit: Jesse Orrico.
If you're unsure about exactly which field of biology you might like to intern abroad in, here are some of the most popular. If you don't see your preferred sub-field on this list, never fear -- there are likely placements available with a little more digging.
By far one of the most popular fields of biology around the world, intern opportunities in marine biology are available in nearly every country that has a coastline, lake, or river. As an intern, you'll likely have the chance to work out in the field by gathering samples or making observations, as well as in the lab.
If your interest in biology tends more toward the complex field of biochemistry, you don't have to hide in a windowless lab in your home country. There are many labs around the world that can help you enhance your biochemistry knowledge and skills, and many of them will have great views outside the lab, even if you don't have a window.
Plant Biology, Zoology & Ecology
Luckily, we live on a planet with a huge variety of plant and animal life, so if your academic or professional interest in biology is focused in this area, you'll have plenty of internship options around the world. When it comes to narrowing your choices in this area, you might consider what kinds of ecosystems you'll find around the world that hold the greatest interest for you.
Where to Go
The field of biology applies all over the world, so you have an entire globe of choices for your internship placement, depending on the field in which you'd like to work. Some of the most popular biology internship placements can be found in the following countries.
Costa Rica has everything a future biologist might look for in a potential internship placements: welcoming culture, amazing ecosystems, and stunning biodiversity. Nearly every field of biology can be studied in Costa Rica, but particular areas of opportunity for interns are in marine biology, ecology, and conservation.
Many biology interns -- especially in ecology, plant biology, and zoology -- flock to Australia due to the unique ecosystems and species you can find there. Whether you want to intern at the Great Barrier Reef or the vast expanse of the Outback, there's nowhere else on earth you can do it than Australia.
One of Europe's most stable economies, Germany has lots of job and internship opportunities in every field. Within biology, internships in biochemistry, molecular biology, and microbiology are both available and competitive. However, taking an internship placement in a country like Germany can give you access to an international network and open doors for future professional opportunities.
With close access to some of the most unique ecosystems in the world, as well as world class universities and global companies, South Africa is a great option for finding a biology internship placement. Whether you want to work in a field that studies the safari or sharks in the Indian Ocean, you can find it in South Africa.
Planning Your Trip
When applying for an internship in biology, it can help to have a specific idea of what education you have in a given field, and how an internship might fit into your professional plans. The application process for biology internships can be competitive, and having a clear understanding of the value you can bring to a lab or field team can help you nail the application and interview.
Where to Look
There are several resources where you can find internship opportunities, and our listings here on Go Overseas are one of the great options. Also consider looking at specific labs and companies to see if they list internships on their website, or with science or biology departments of the government in each country you're considering.
When you finally land an awesome biology internship, make sure to verify exactly what the requirements might be for dress code. Naturally, if you spend a vast majority of your time on a marine biology internship in the water, you probably won't need a suit jacket or heels; other land-based internships may require more formal dress or lab-appropriate clothing.
Don't forget a sturdy pair of closed-toe shoes in any case! Also, it never hurts to have at least one professional outfit in your wardrobe for events like networking and potential job interviews in the course of your internship.