Although the previous political and civil unrest from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide has died down, Rwanda continues to face economic and social difficulties even with the recent rapid urbanization that drove thousands out of local villages.
Nevertheless, the people of Rwanda are far from discouraged and continue hold on to their cultures and identity with pride. For those interested in helping villages rebuild their communities or carry out work for various social causes, interning in Rwanda is a great idea. The country has already made tremendous progress in the past ten years, but you can continue to help by taking an internship in Rwanda!
The Rwandan education system is not very well supported by the government, and many children in the more rural areas of the country have little access to schools.
With that said, there is a great need for teachers and tutors to assist the Rwandan youth’s educational development. Interning in Rwanda at an educational institute or community is a great way to get experience in educational development or teaching.
Find an internship in Rwanda and help numerous Rwandan children see that they can have a bright future with the help of a proper education.
There are tons of opportunities for international interns to work with a non-profit organization and assist with the rebuilding of local Rwandan communities. The majority of the Rwandan population is composed of young people, as well as many orphans.
The lack of resources available to Rwandan children can often only be met with the help of volunteers and social workers. As an intern in Rwanda, you can support the efforts of those redeveloping communities and gain valuable work experience.
Planning Your Trip
When and Where to Look for an Internship
Internships in Rwanda are available year-round, but most interns travel to Rwanda during the summer. To find an internship, you can either directly email the organization or business you would like to work with, or apply through a third-party internship program provider. It may be easier to secure an internship through a program provider since they tend to already have established connections with organizations in Rwanda. Be sure to begin your internship research well before you plan to go and heed the application deadlines, as they may vary.
Cost of Living in Rwanda
While the cost of living in Rwanda is relatively high compared to other countries in Africa, it's still a very cheap country to visit.
If you consume more foreign goods, expect to pay a higher price. The living standard in Rwanda is also lower than what most visitors from the U.S. or Europe are accustomed to. If you plan to live in a small Rwandan village, costs will most likely be much lower than living in a major city such as Kigali. Below are some examples of costs in Rwanda. Note that approximately 635 Rwandan Francs is equivalent to 1 USD.
- 1 bedroom apartment in City Center: 190,000 RF
- 1 bottle of water: 500 RF
- 1 way transportation ticket: 156 RF
Work and Labor Laws in Rwanda
Rwandan work and labor laws set basic guidelines and specify the rights of employers and employees in Rwanda. These laws should pertain to international interns as well as Rwandan workers. However, since most internship placements are in non-profit and community organizations, most international interns will not be paid.
Business etiquette in Rwanda is not very strict. Rwandans are often late to events and meetings and do not pay too much attention to people’s dress. With that said, it is always a good idea to dress relatively conservatively and be respectful to everyone in the workplace.
French, English, and Kinyarwanda are the three official languages in Rwanda. English is now becoming the predominant language spoken in everyday life as well as in the workplace. Fortunately for most international interns, this means that there is no need to learn French or even Kinyarwanda!
Networking is a relatively new concept to most Rwandans; however, it never hurts to begin to build an international network with the people you work with. Simply having conversations with your colleagues, fellow interns, or supervisors outside of the work context can help you build deeper relationships with others.
If you are interested in joining an official network in Rwanda, feel free to check out the Business Professionals Network or the Rwanda Expat Community, which specifically targets internationals in Rwanda.