Year after year, the need for passionate environmentalists grows as expanding human development interacts with, and sometimes strains, natural habitats. For pursuers of this field, an overseas environmental internship is one of the best ways to begin your career, showcasing both your professional prowess and cross-border approach to global issues.
Around the world, environmental interns can apply their skills in a myriad of relevant areas, from natural resource management to urban planning. Interning in a foreign country, you’ll establish an understanding of the interconnectedness of environmental issues and gain cross-cultural communication skills for articulating them in a global market.
There’s never been a more urgent time to take up environmental studies, and students of this field will find an overseas internship to be the key to making an early impact.
With an aim to improve the well-being of Earth and its people, nonprofits are a popular choice for environmental interns. Often taking a community-based approach, these organizations are all about causes such as preserving ecologically significant sites and examining social and political issues that can arise from the mismanagement of natural terrain. Interns can get a firsthand look at how such initiatives are researched and implemented, interact with a local community, and learn how to promote a cause.
Development is a broad area, and environmentalists play a key role throughout. You’ll find architecture firms in need of interns with urban planning skills to assist in development projects that fuse natural landscapes with new edifices. Natural resource management is another area of development where students of environmental studies can take up an internship, observing how natural resources can be harnessed into renewable energy and sustainably managed.
Business & Law
With more and more companies taking measures to be active in environmental issues, there are increased opportunities for interns. Thanks to the multidisciplinary nature of the field, interns can shadow professionals in industries such as economics, politics, and law, championing for best environmental practices all around. The diverse nature of environmentalism means that, as you’ll see in the next section, such internships can take you pretty much anywhere.
Where to Go
Students of environmental studies will find internship opportunities around the world, with the below countries a selection of the top destinations.
Popular for both its urban and rural landscapes, Chile yields an array of program types and placements for potential interns to choose from. ISA is one such provider, connecting environmental studies majors with urban planning projects in Santiago or ecologically-focused placements in Patagonia. All interns in Chile will enjoy exploring this South American nation, whether it be the historic streets of the capital, the ice fields of Patagonia, or the dramatic peaks of the Andes.
Vietnam is known for sites such as Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and Hanoi, the historic capital. Providers such as CET Academic Programs run internships in Ho Chi Minh City, where interns can get involved in nonprofits focused on areas like social environmental issues. While your internship will keep you plenty occupied, you’ll find time to sample food stalls, learn how to cross the street like an expert, and immerse yourself in the country’s culture.
Most internships in the United Kingdom are in London, where programs like CAPA provide professional placements in one of the capital’s many industries. The things to do in your spare time are seemingly endless in a place like London, but everyone will love a stroll through Portobello Market, visiting Hyde Park, and indulging in fish and chips. Tear yourself away from the city for a day to visit Stonehenge, Bath, and the many sites that make the United Kingdom such a popular place to intern.
Planning Your Trip
No matter the internship type or destination, there are a few considerations all environmental interns will need to take into account when selecting an overseas program.
How to Choose an Environmental Intern Program
Because environmental studies is a wide-ranging discipline, an overseas internship is all about narrowing your focus and choosing a specialty. Explore internships that are consistent with your career goals, whether that’s managing natural resources, exploring urban planning options, or the myriad other professional environmental pursuits available today. Unsurprisingly, the destination is a key factor in this decision, so select a place that’s interesting both personally and professionally.
Health & Safety
While few overseas interns encounter serious threats to their health or safety, you have to be prepared for anything. Do get health insurance, which will likely be required anyway if you need a visa. Travel insurance is a good investment as well. After all, illness and injury aren’t the only risks you face when on the road, and this type of coverage will be handy if your luggage is lost, your trip is cancelled, or some other travel-related calamity strikes.
Other Need to Know
Most countries don’t require a visa if you’re visiting for less than ninety days, but it’s likely you’ll need one if you’re staying longer or if you’ve snagged a paid internship. While circumstances and requirements regarding visas vary by place, it’s safe to say that most applications necessitate proof you’ve been hired by a company, the start and end dates of your internship period, and, of course, a passport. As nerve-wracking as this housekeeping stuff can be, it’s all worth it in the end to intern overseas.