A terrifyingly destructive earthquake in 2010 brought the little island of Haiti to international attention. Huge relief efforts were sent towards the Caribbean, as journalists captured the plight of the Haitian people.
As the country continues to recover from the natural disaster, several volunteer internship programs have sent international interns to Haiti to provide extra support. Don’t hesitate to go to Haiti and intern in a local hospital, organize a community group, or help children in school. Get ready for an eye-opening experience as an intern in Haiti!
Community Development/Education: As a developing country Haiti continues to have a poor education system and very few community development projects running. There are several internship programs in which you can directly help children succeed in school, or organize new community outreach and development initiatives. You can act as a liaison between local Haitian communities and non-profit organizations, directly impacting several lives. Take an internship in Haiti to see the great potential you have to make a difference in the community!
Health/Medical Services: Many local hospitals and health service centers in Haiti are not well equipped with either medical devices and tools or trained staff. This is where you can step in as an intern at a clinic in Haiti and assist medical professionals with day-to-day operations. There are many apprenticeship-like internship opportunities available in Haiti for those interested in becoming doctors or nurses in the future. Go to Haiti for a great hands-on learning experience in a medical facility!
When and Where to Look for an Internship
Internships in Haiti can be found year-round, and typically last from 1-6 months in length. If you are applying to an internship program, be sure to pay attention to the application deadlines. It never hurts to begin your internship research early!
Cost of Living in Haiti
The cost of living in Haiti is relatively low, which goes along with its lower standard of living. Still, keep in mind that living in metropolitan areas such as Port-au-Prince will be much higher than the rest of the country. The currency used in Haiti is the Gourde; approximately 1 Haitian gourde equals 0.02 USD. To help you gage the cost of living in Haiti, below are some examples of costs in Haiti in USD.
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Center: $475
- 1 inexpensive meal: $3
- 1 way transportation ticket: $0.30
Work Culture in Haiti
- Etiquette: Haitian culture has been heavily impacted by the African-Creole culture, which also carries into the workplace. People tend to avoid direct eye contact when possible, and are extremely formal and avoid conflict during professional interactions. Always dress conservatively in an official office environment, but if you are out working on site, follow the typical dress there.
- Language: The official languages spoken in Haiti are French and Creole. French is used in business and government, so it will be most helpful to know some basic French. However, if you are interning with an international organization in Haiti, you should be able to get by with speaking English. Still, knowing some French or Creole will help you connect with the local Haitians more easily.
- Networking: Business networking in Haiti tends to be less common. However, people still build relationships with the people they work with and value friends and family. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the other interns, supervisors, or local Haitians—you never know what kind of network you might build for yourself!
Work and Labor Laws in Haiti
Haitian labor laws have been undergoing changes as a result of the effects of the massive earthquake in 2010 that displaced so many citizens and destroyed industry. Nevertheless, these changes should not be of great concern to interns in Haiti. Internships in Haiti tend to observe fair labor practice laws and are conducted on a volunteer basis.