International Relations Internships Abroad

Browse Programs

If you find yourself drawn to study international relations, you likely have an interest in world affairs and helping improve the state of our global relations. Interning abroad in international relations offers you the chance to practice the academic skills and theories you've learned in real world situations -- making a positive impact in the lives of people directly affected by your work.

Internships abroad allow you to see how policies work outside the classroom, as well as gain valuable professional skills for your future career path.

Photo credit: Falcon_33.

Government Departments

One of the most easily accessible and popular opportunities to intern abroad in international relations is through the government of your host country. While not all internships may be available to foreign students, working for a government or governing body (such as the United Nations or World Health Organization) gives students a chance to practice international relations on a truly global scale.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

NGOs are typically non-profit groups, usually comprised of volunteers or with minimally paid staff that can operate on anywhere from a local to global/international scale. There are countless NGOs throughout the world, and many of them welcome interns as a way to help advance their mission in a measurable way.

An internship with an NGO may not be the most highly paid opportunity in the world, but if you find one that you are passionate about, it may also be one of the most educational and fulfilling experiences you can have.

Non-Profit Companies

Similar to NGOs, non-profit companies that are not based on volunteer support may operate on the global stage and offer international relations interns a chance to learn valuable skills on a regular basis. These companies may offer more financial stability if paid internships are available, but ultimately allow interns to connect their passion for a cause to their daily work.

Private or Public Corporations

Even if a company doesn't operate as a non-profit, those that do business internationally may employ international relations experts and can offer internships in the same field. Given that international relations requires a seamless blend of so many other fields including economics, sociology, political science, and theology, any company hoping to do business in your host, home, or another country can create opportunities for interns to help advance the business goals and gain experience simultaneously.

Within reason, narrow the scope of your internship choices based more on the organization and their location rather than any political or economic pressures.

That being said, there are a few choice international hubs in the world that you may want to consider for your internship destination.

Europe

Naturally, the European continent is a good field of opportunity for interns looking for an international relations program. From the European Union in Brussels to the financial centers of London and recovering economies of Greece, Spain, and Italy; businesses in Europe behave on an international stage due primarily to their proximity to one another.

By first narrowing what type of company you'd like to intern at, then by the industry and mission, you will likely find many candidates in this region.

North America

Both the US and Canada offer many opportunities for international relations interns to gain experience, especially as North America is (currently) the most powerful continent from an economic and business perspective.

Cities including New York, San Francisco, and Toronto offer interns plenty of companies doing international business to choose from; similarly, Ottawa and Washington D.C. have opportunities for those looking to intern or eventually work in the public sector.

Emerging Markets

Growing economies such as Brazil, Russia, India, and China each have unique nuances that international relations can play a crucial role in. It's possible to intern for both international companies doing business in these countries (such as an American company in China) or corporations run within the countries themselves.

Additionally, globally-minded interns would do well not to forget about Africa, which is seeing massive globalization, economic growth, and technology advances -- all of which are not likely to slow in coming decades, and will require African companies (and companies doing business in Africa) to increasingly navigate the international relations waters.

Applying to Programs

When narrowing the field of international relations internships you'd like to apply for, keep several factors in mind:

  • In what part of the world and industry would you like to work?
  • In what type of company would you like to gain experience for future work?
  • How well does your educational background map to the needs of the company on an international scale?

Even if your degree is not in international relations, this doesn't necessarily preclude you from applying for internships in the field. Since the daily practice of managing international relationships requires knowledge of so many other fields, economics majors, political science majors, foreign language majors, and many other degrees may serve to not only qualify you but help you stand out in the pool of applicants.

In addition to pursuing the available resources here, consider which companies might not list their internships outside of their own site -- for example, government internships are going to be listed primarily on government websites.

Housing

Depending on the type of internship you pursue, you may have accommodation and other benefits included in your internship -- or you may have to find your own housing in your host country. Most programs should be explicit about this; be sure to review available materials before you apply, so you understand exactly what your living situation is like in the event your application is accepted.

Additional Tips

In the field of international relations, expect that you will encounter a high level of professionalism, especially in government or large NGO/non-profit/other corporations. Being a representative of a company or government on a global scale -- even as an intern -- means committing yourself to professional behavior and appearance if it is asked of you. This is a great responsibility, and a great opportunity.

Contributed by Valerie Stimac

Showing 49 Programs

Russia

ProfIntern
ProfIntern provides a unique combination of Russian studies and professional internships in Saint-Petersburg and Moscow. Due...

China

InternChina
This program is for interns who are looking for a placement company and accommodation. We arrange internships in three exciti...

China

MTA Network
MTA Network is a foreign owned agency located in China. We offer unique internship placement opportunities in Chinese and int...

Guatemala

INLEXCA
Do you have a background in finance or business? You can intern in Micro-finance in Guatemala and help small entrepreneurs st...

New Zealand

INTERNeX International Exchange
INTERNeX is a full service Professional Internship placement organisation. We offer tailor made internship placements in any...

Ghana

Thinking Beyond Borders
*New Program for 2017* Thinking Beyond Borders’ Summer Youth Development & Education Fellowships are unique opportunities to...

Mauritius

Go Dodoland
A perfect blend between work and leisure. What else than living on a tropical island which enjoys a warm climate throughout t...

England

The Intern Group
We offer successful applicants the chance to gain invaluable work experience in London, one of the world's most important and...

Kenya

Foundation for Sustainable Development
One message can speak to a whole community--and beyond. Spend a semester abroad supporting local organizations through a Mark...

Spain

Dream Careers
Immerse yourself in the spanish culture while gaining international work experience with the Barcelona Internship Program. Tr...

United States of America

The Intern Group
*Please note: as we offer international programs, our USA internships are not available to US Citizens. We encourage you to l...

China

CareerUp
CareerUp (formerly SK Pacific) is the leading provider of internships abroad in Southeast Asia. We connect talented students...

England

We Find Group
The Global Internship 2017 by We Find Group in London allows university students to intern in London, England, for 8 weeks du...

South Africa

Emzingo
Ready to try something new this summer? Travel across the globe to South Africa or Peru and partake in a social impact intern...

China

Absolute Internship
Our award-winning program offers students the chance to spend a summer abroad gaining valuable work experience interning in S...