A friend and I, both German High School Graduates in 2018, did the Law and Human Rights Internship at Projects abroad in Cordoba, Argentina for 2 months.
As one should know, Internships/Projects that cost that much money and are given out at almost no requirements are obviously offered by companies that are not non-profit or somewhat socially oriented at heart. Therefore we did not expect to be given a lot of responsibility. Nevertheless we opted for this organisation because we wanted a safe and well-organised trip, because of our young age and the far distance.
For that matter, the Project did meet our expectation.
Our main activities were voluntary work such as helping homeless people in cooperation with a local NGO and a church community. Depending on your effort, you could really build up relationships with some of the homeless people, get to know them and brighten up their days. You can also show initiative and bring in your own ideas, we for example rehearsed small sketches with some of them.
However, your individual impact to change their "human rights" situation was basically not existent, especially for unprofessionals and people who stay in the project for no more than a few weeks. So it was mostly practical and standard volunteering.
If you had an academic background (currently studying or finished degree), only then you could do research on cases in cooperation with a local human rights NGO. But even there, the other volunteers told us that most of their work on the cases was rather unneccessary, the organisation was intransparent and their impact was limited as well.
This leads to our final conclusion and suggestion that the human rights internship (law in the name is misleading) is suitable for high school graduates like us who seek to dive into a new culture, learn a new language (living in a host family was great in our case and in general) and make friends with volunteers from all over the world. If that in addition to safety in a new far-away country is what you want, then this is definitely more given by the project than by simply traveling.
BUT if you are a qualified students or professional and want to have responsibility concerning the law and human rights situation, want to apply your academic skills in an influental organisation, then you should not "buy" this internship and probably none offered at projects abroad.
In fact, you pay more than 4,000 USD for 8 weeks, of which solely an unreasonably small amount goes to both the host family and the maintainance of the more or less charitable projects. Keep in mind that what they are doing is business for money.
One example: Another project they ran in Cordoba was "teaching English". As English education in public Argentinian high school is pretty poor, you might expect volunteers (in our case: one experienced 60-year old Australian English teacher and two native Americans) to help those students. However, ProjectsAbroad pays a private and very expensive English institute, to take these volunteers as nearly unneccessary asstistants. This is outraging.
Another desaster happened to a friend of us, who after Argentina went to Bolivia to another project with ProjectsAbroad. She had a background of cutting her arms, but has stopped entirely years ago. Therefore she had to do a mental health test in Bolivia, because she was going to work with a vulnerable group of young criminal girls.
She passed the test. For some reason Projects Abroad said that her scars, which she had to cover and always did except of one small accident, would be a bad "role model" for the girls. Without a warning, they simply kicked her out of the project. No discussion.
We think that is unacceptable, especially because they did not show any simpathy with her, although it was obvious that she was hurt by being kicked out.
These two examples show once again that the purpose of projects abroad, despite cooperating with some more or less legit local NGOs ad non-profit organisations, is simply business-oriented. This problem does not especially apply merely to ProjectsAbroad but in general to most voluntourism projects.
We don't want to say we did not enjoy our time in Argentina as part of our gap year, we don't regret it as we learned a lot and had a good and fun time. Still we would not do a voluntourism project again.