Communities across the globe are more than just groups of people -- they are comprised of vibrant, different, dynamic individuals. When the fabric of these communities is strained, social workers help to mend and heal.

The value of the role of a social work intern cannot be overstated. While many communities and families seem to thrive, some are left behind by changing economic conditions, outdated social supports, and cultural or societal norms unique to a region.

Social work originated as crisis management and intervention for broken families. Today, social workers take on a variety of roles in community settings. These roles include being educators, healthcare workers, and even vocational skill trainers.

Social work takes a certain level of determination, mental grit, cultural adaptability, and a great deal of compassion. As such, social work interns should expect strenuous but gratifying opportunities in whichever role they choose.

Community Social Worker

Many would consider working with children and their families the primary role of a social worker. While this might have been true in defining the traditional role, the work of a social work intern now includes a wider range of settings. That said, working to strengthen and support communities at the family-level continues to play a significant part in the overall skill set developed by social work interns.

Health Care Social Worker

Social work in health care settings can pose unique challenges to those looking to intern in social work. Understanding the complex dynamics of patients and their families in times of ill-health is a position that is not to be taken lightly. Social work interns will need to be in-tune with their surroundings and show resilience as a social connector, negotiator, and emotional supporter.

Correctional Services Social Worker

Working in correctional services can offer social work interns a challenging but very rewarding opportunity to develop their skill set. There's much work to be done in correctional services and with the rehabilitation of troubled youth, offenders, and recently released inmates who are looking to positively reintegrate into their communities.

Community Educator

Social work interns work with community members to create and facilitate a number of useful learning opportunities and workshops for people living in poverty in vulnerable communities. Potential projects include offering legal aid, vocational training, peer support, and other beneficial sessions for communities in need.

If you’re interested in interning as a social worker, there are lots of opportunities around the globe where your skill set can be beneficial to the local communities. While many consider social workers to only be necessary for low or middle-income countries, you’ll find that there is a need for social workers in many developed countries, too.

United Kingdom

While the United Kingdom is a world-leader in many sectors, there are large disparities between communities across the country. With many broken families and impoverished areas in most major centers, social workers are needed more than ever in the United Kingdom. Their role is often to improve the quality of life in smaller communities and to improve the lives of children in particular.

Vietnam

Like many countries located in Southeast Asia, Vietnam faces a number of unique challenges as it grows and adapts to an increasingly globalized world. While many of the urban centers continue to boom, high levels of poverty remain in the rural regions. These economic inequalities simultaneously strain communities and the families that comprise them. Social work interns will find a variety of work available in Vietnam, from health care to skills training in communities.

Spain

Known to be teeming with sunshine, culture, amazing food, and architecture, Spain might come as a surprise as a place to develop skills in social work. Social work interns can work with community advisors to offer services to both community members in urban settings and to new immigrants arriving in Spain from other parts of the world.

Tanzania

Tanzania is considered to be one of the more developed African nations, but it is not without its issues. Many rural communities face a brain-drain of skilled social workers whose job it is to be a connector, educator, and source of strength in the community. Social work interns can work with community stakeholders to strengthen and support communities in a variety of ways.

Working as a social work intern is a rewarding but challenging line of work regardless of the setting you end up middle-income. Skills in social work can open doors to a multitude of other career paths that interns may not have considered.

How to Choose a Social Work Intern Program

There are a few important factors to consider before choosing which social work internship program you want to complete. One of the most important factors is thinking about the population you wish to work with. Working with children exclusively might take you to a different country than if you wanted to pursue social work with elderly populations and their families.

Another important factor to consider is if there is a specific country or community you wish to work in. Having an interest in a specific country, rather than an age group, can allow social work interns to examine the work to be done in the country as a whole, and choose which kind of program resonates with them the most.

Future social work interns should consider programs or organizations that emphasize teamwork, strong role clarification, and that show support for the mental health of for workers.

Finally, understanding the compensation structure, if any, should be an important factor when choosing a program or internship. Be sure to know before getting started whether your work is compensated or not, and if so, in what way you will receive compensation.

Health & Safety

While there are many physical factors to consider to stay healthy and safe while completing a social work internship, it is critical for potential interns to their mental and emotional health as well.

Often times, social work takes place in difficult community settings that are a result of a breakdown in social connections. While it is the intern's role to improve these conditions and mitigate their negative effects, this line of work can be demanding mentally and emotionally for frontline workers.

Other Need to Knows

Those who are considering completing a social work internship overseas should remember that they are there to supplement the work of the community that is already taking place. Future social work interns should also strive to identify and eliminate personal biases from their work. Strengthening communication skills through workshops or training sessions could be a consideration for interns wishing to brush up on their skills before embarking on their internship.

Social Work Internships Abroad

Displaying 1 - 15 of 229 programs
The Intern Group
International Internships in Colombia with The Intern Group
Colombia
9.14 •49 reviews

We offer successful applicants the chance to gain invaluable work...

VACorps
VACorps Internships in Cape Town
South Africa
9.59 •83 reviews

VACorps is an award-winning internship program based in Cape Town...

The Intern Group
Internships in London with The Intern Group
England
8.94 •67 reviews

We offer successful applicants the chance to gain invaluable work...

Connect-123
Connect-123 Cape Town Internships
South Africa
9.2 •20 reviews

Our Cape Town internship program offers an astonishing variety of...

CRCC Asia
China Internship Program with CRCC Asia
China
9.2 •40 reviews

CRCC Asia offers award-winning internship programs in Beijing...

Australian Internships
Professional Internship Programs in Australia
Australia
8.63 •24 reviews

Australian Internships (AI) is an organization that offers a committed...

The Intern Group
Internships in Australia with The Intern Group
Australia
9.4 •35 reviews

We offer successful applicants the chance to gain invaluable work...

Projects Abroad
Projects Abroad Internships in Ghana
Ghana
9.83 •6 reviews

Projects Abroad has been placing interns and volunteers abroad since...

Project Everest Ventures
Social Impact Entrepreneur Experience in Fiji
Fiji
9.45 •11 reviews

Enabling sustainable social impact in Fiji is a real-world industry...

Adelante Abroad
Internships in Barcelona - Adelante Abroad
Spain
8.57 •28 reviews

For over 10 years, Adelante Abroad has provided affordable...

The Intern Group
Internships in New York with The Intern Group
United States of America
9.95 •22 reviews

We offer successful applicants the chance to gain invaluable work...

Project Everest Ventures
Social Impact Entrepreneur Experience in Timor-Leste
Timor-Leste
8.64 •11 reviews

When it comes to experiencing raw, grassroots development alongside a...

CEA Study Abroad
CEA Internships in Florence, Italy
Italy
10 •3 reviews

From fashion houses to design companies to major wine labels, Florence...

CEA Study Abroad
CEA Internships in Aix-en-Provence, France
France
10 •1 review

Located just 19 miles north of Marseille, the country’s second-largest...

CEA Study Abroad
CEA Internships in London, England
England
7.67 •3 reviews

The CEA London Center focuses on business and communication, ideal for...

What People Are Saying

My internship through ABROADER was truly a worthwhile experience. Not only did I genuinely enjoy the work I did for my host organization, but having ABROADER's support and community really enhanced my...

sharing a good laugh with some of the local buddies and fellow interns during our buddy chat on dating

My internship experience in Vietnam was fantastic. The Authentica team was extremely helpful and helped us to navigate through our journey in Hanoi. It was indeed a life-changing and eye-opening...

Group picture in Hanoi

I had an awesome experience during my internship in Pune, India and learned a great deal. This opportunity also allowed me to position myself for the next opportunity I took on, and remains as one of...

Pre trip cultural appropriation

Related Internships Abroad Articles