Our rapidly changing world has placed increased pressure on the environment. With a number of environmental issues, including pollution, climate changes, and natural resource depletion, we should all be more eco-conscious and proactive in taking steps toward conserving the environment.
If you’re passionate about the environment and are ready to take on challenges abroad, an internship will provide you with unique opportunities to work on sustainability or conservation projects where they are needed most! Interning abroad is a great complement to environmental studies and completing an internship can give you the global knowledge and skills for a future career. Step outside the classroom, gain an international perspective on the environment and prepare for a hands-on experience that has a global impact!
Photo Credit: Akarshan Kumar
Forests are “the lungs of the Earth” and have a large global influence on the environment. However, they are being cut down and disappearing at faster rates each year. Forest conservation internships ensure development, maintenance, and protection of forests. Some projects may include planting seedlings, preventing forest fires, and controlling weeds or insects. A forestry internship will give direct experience with environmental challenges faced by the world’s forests while working outdoors with a team.
Below the surface, the ocean’s marine life is threatened by human activities including overfishing, damaging fishing practices, and water pollution. Many interns are needed here to conduct underwater research, collect data, and monitor coral reefs and marine life. Activities in marine conservation may vary from season to season. Dive in and get those hands wet to learn about our ocean’s ecosystem and how to protect it!
Energy production affects the environment in various ways and countries around the world have adopted ways to increase energy efficiency and supply of renewable energy. Internships in these sectors allow students to gain valuable international experience by implementing clean energy technologies, conducting research, and preserving natural resources. Consider an internship in renewable energy to understand how technologies can make a difference in increasing energy security and limiting climate change.
Marine life in South Africa is exceptionally rich and includes a huge diversity of ecosystems with over 11, 000 species. It is also home to one of the densest populations of Great White Sharks in the world, making it an ideal location for a marine conservation internship. The ocean around the southern tip of Africa offers significant opportunities for research. Here, interns can work with all marine species and learn about the surrounding communities that are reliant on the coast’s livelihood.
Costa Rica has the highest density of biodiversity in the world, boasting vast wetlands, lush forests, and thousands of species of animals and plants. However, population growth and country development are putting pressure on Costa Rica’s natural wealth. The country has now initiated many environmental protection policies. These factors make Costa Rica a top location for interns looking for environmental work.
As the world’s fastest growing economy, China is bursting with opportunity in energy. The large populous country recognizes several environmental and energy issues and is currently committed to renewable energy investment. It has increased its investment nearly every year for the past ten years and accounts for 24% of the world’s renewable power capacity. With China’s green pursuit of business, interns can find opportunities here to learn how to balance rapid economic expansion and environmental sustainability.
Panama continues to lose more than one percent of its forest cover every day and deforestation directly threatens the Panama Canal. Its rich biodiversity requires conservation of its habitats, species, and ecosystem. Panama provides interns with an opportunity to assist in research, participate in reforestation efforts, and monitoring wildlife while understanding the country’s community needs for natural resources.
Planning Your Trip
The duration of environmental internships may vary depending on location and sustainability needs. However, programs are available year round! It’s best to start looking around January since many programs are offered in the summer.
Relevant work and international experience, foreign language skills, and academic coursework will be helpful but are often not required. When participating in internships that include fieldwork, be prepared for unusual hours and getting your hands dirty! Lastly, you may have to quickly adjust to the living conditions and culture of the internship’s location.
Below are a few programs that offer environmental internships: