The 2nd most populated country on the African continent, Ethiopia is also one of the earliest documented locations of human existence.
With such a long history, the country boasts several “must-see” historical sites and artifacts, including Lucy, the 3.5 million year old hominid skeleton. Aside from Ethiopia’s various associations with exciting historical and archaeological events, the modern country is a beautiful and dynamic place to visit. In addition to boasting delicious and authentic Ethiopian food, Ethiopia is home to an extremely diverse population comprised of over 80 ethnic groups. Getting an internship in Ethiopia is a great way to learn more about the Ethiopian people, immerse yourself in the culture, and gain professional experience at the same time.
Healthcare/Medicine: Interning in Ethiopia at a local hospital or health care center is a great way to gain more medical fieldwork experience. As a developing country, Ethiopia has a constant shortage of qualified medical experts and resources. Medical interns are always welcome to assist doctors with a variety of tasks in clinics from administrative work, to performing basic medical tests or even helping out in a surgery room. Nevertheless, immersing yourself in an Ethiopian hospital is a great way to learn more about health services in developing countries and interact with patients as well as medical professionals.
Community Development:Several smaller rural villages in Ethiopia need extra help to rebuild their communities and foster a sense of ambition to drive them forward. As a social work intern in an Ethiopian orphanage, you may be able to directly impact the lives of numerous Ethiopian children. The 3rd world country has already shown rapid economic growth, but many educational and social programs are far behind. Interning in Ethiopia at a local education center or non-profit organization will give you the chance to use your skills to make a difference in the community.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look for an Internship
Internships in Ethiopia are available year-round, but most opportunities open up in the summer season. For those looking to work with international non-profit organizations, it is easiest to contact the organization directly via email. Otherwise, you can apply for an internship program through a program provider that has already established connections with local hospitals and organizations. These internship program providers usually make the planning process much easier, as they also provide housing and transportation for interns in the program. Either way, think about what type of internship you want to pursue first, and then reach out to potential internship opportunities right after.
Cost of Living in Ethiopia
The cost of living in Ethiopia is low compared to the rest of the world. However, many local Ethiopians complain about high living costs relative to their salaries. As inflation continues to increase, the prices of many goods are prone to be unstable. Hopefully, the economic trends will stabilize in the near future. Below are some examples of living costs in Ethiopia. Although the Ethiopian birr is the official currency, the prices are listed in USD to help you get a better gage of the costs.
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Center: $400
- 1 inexpensive meal: $3.70
- 1 way transportation ticket: $0.30
Work Culture in Ethiopia
- Etiquette: Ethiopian culture is heavily based off of the strong ties within the extended family. In fact, the Ethiopian family’s needs are often put before business responsibilities. As a result, it is common to inquire about others’ families and health during a prolonged greeting. Overall, the work culture in Ethiopia is based on respect, trust, and courtesy. Ethiopians tend to be more soft-spoken in business, and avoid confrontation at all costs.
- Language: While over 80 different ethnic languages are spoken in Ethiopia, English is most commonly used in both daily life and in the workplace. Some locals may speak Amharic or Oromifa, but there isn’t much of a need to learn these for an internship.
- Networking:Networking can be extremely important in Ethiopia. Since the society is based off of the extended family, people build their trust for others over time. If you are participating in an internship program, it is very likely that you will have the opportunity to network with other international interns. Otherwise, feel free to look into official professional networking groups in Ethiopia such as Ethiopian Professionals Network. Don’t expect too much though, since these groups tend to be geared towards more seasoned professionals.
Work and Labor Laws in Ethiopia
Ethiopian labor laws set basic guidelines for employee’s rights and labor contracts. International interns are also protected by these statutes, but they must work on a volunteer basis.