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Psychology & Community Mental Health Internships in Arusha

Psychology & Community Mental Health Internships in Arusha

Develop unique understanding of mental health disorders on these Psychology internships in Tanzania, where demand for quality mental health treatment is high. Psychology interns assist professional therapists in outpatient mental health departments, delivering vital services to patients and their families.

Internship Highlights:
  • Gain a first-hand understanding of assessment and treatment of a range of mental health disorders.
  • Experience how the mental health system works in a new country.
  • Enjoy spare time in Arusha, go on safari in the Serengeti, and explore world famous natural landscapes.
Type of host organizations:
  • Outpatient mental health clinics
Fully hosted experience from $1769
Includes accommodation & meals
Typical schedule: Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm.
Minimum duration 4 weeks, up to 24 weeks maximum
Explore Tanzania’s incredible national parks
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Internships align with UN Sustainable Development Goals
Eligibility requirements and Associated career paths
Eligibility requirement

Suitable for students in their first year of relevant higher education in a related clinical subject, which includes a psychological component/module of study.

Language requirements

This internship is conducted in English. However, you can expect that some patient interactions will be carried out in local languages. Your supervisor will be available to debrief these sessions in English with you afterwards.

Associated career paths

Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Mental Health Nurse, Mental Health Assistant, Counsellor, Occupational Therapist, Drug & Alcohol Counsellor

Internship details

Develop unique understanding of mental health disorders as a Psychology intern in Tanzania, where demand for quality mental health treatment is high. Interns assist professional therapists in outpatient mental health departments, delivering vital services to patients and their families.

This is an in-country internship, with accommodation and meals provided. Click here to view remote Psychology & Social Work internships, that you can undertake virtually from home.

Mental disorders are common all over the world, and are known to hamper socio-economic development and growth. Despite guidelines from WHO for mental health service frameworks, Tanzania still struggles with the successful treatment and rehabilitation of people who suffer from various mental health conditions. Limited access to quality mental health treatment can mean many individuals remain untreated for years. Traditional cultural beliefs in Tanzania can also differ from western approaches to mental health and wellbeing. Tanzanians may prefer to seek help via traditional healers, before turning to general practitioners and westernized psychology/psychiatry treatments.

Interns on a Psychology internship in Tanzania work in an outpatient mental health department, where patients from the community are received, assessed, diagnosed, and referred to various in-patient facilities. Interns assist and observe a mental healthcare professional in clinics with patients, providing guidance and treatment.

Activities can include:

  • Working alongside mental health clinicians and social workers
  • Observing mental health assessments and treatments
  • Assisting with counselling and psycho-educational sessions
  • Helping to care for people who can’t access major hospitals
  • Promoting mental health awareness

As an intern, you’ll gain a unique understanding by observing the effects of long term mental illness on the daily lives of underprivileged people, as well as the widespread impacts of mental illness on the local community. You’ll also deliver a report on your experience and findings at the end of your internship, reinforcing your biggest learnings and achievements.

Interns who are at a pre-med undergraduate level of study will have scope to assist with a community mental health program, aimed at providing mental health support and avocation for all people. As part of the program, interns will attend patient assessments and sessions, undertake home visits, assist with data collection, visit rehab facilities and raise awareness through campaigns and community workshops, all under the guidance of a qualified member of staff.

It’s important for Psychology interns in Tanzania to be prepared to experience a healthcare system that is far different to what you’re used to at home. Health is often under-resourced and under-funded, and this can lead to elements of culture shock. Interns should remain professional and compassionate at all times. As perspectives of mental health can greatly differ within Tanzania, interns must prepare to encounter diverse cultural belief systems. It’s important to practice sensitivity and rely on professional local staff to act as mentors to learn and understand how to sensitively operate with the best interests of the patient in mind.

It is important to note that the internship placements grouped as “Medical” require interns to make a Ministry of Health contribution. This supports the operation of placements and covers supervision for interns on medical-related placements. This contribution is not included in the internship program fee; it must be made directly, in-country, under the direction and guidance of the Program Coordinator in Arusha. Interns will not be permitted to commence their placement until this has been covered. The amount of the Ministry of Health contribution varies, as it is not the same for every clinic/hospital. However, to cover the contribution sufficiently, we ask interns to budget up to US$75 per week.

In all cases, interns should expect that the first week of your experience will focus on settling in and gaining some introductory knowledge, as you will not “hit the ground running”. Rather, you should start with learning about the placement to gain an understanding of what you can build upon, develop, learn, and contribute. Ensure that you ask questions and provide feedback during the introductory period, so that your supervisor understands how you’re progressing. This will help them to better understand important details, such as how quickly you learn, what you find challenging, what you find interesting, etc.

Understand and expect that individual internship experiences vary, as the specific placement that you’re assigned will depend on review of your resume and your current level of studies and experience. Therefore, if you’re at a more introductory level, you should reasonably expect a more introductory internship. Likewise, if you’re interning for a shorter duration, you will have a different experience from someone who is interning for a longer duration. Placement preferences are considered but always subject to availability.

Career Benefits

Psychology & Community Mental Health interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Shadowing and assisting professional therapists.

  • Observing mental health treatments and assessments.

  • Promoting mental health awareness to patients and their families.

Professional development opportunities:
  • Understand the influence of cultural factors in providing mental health services.

  • Learn about specific symptoms and treatments for a range of mental health afflictions.

  • Gain understanding of managing patient relationships.

  • Develop communication skills within a professional working environment.

  • Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.

Tanzania photo gallery

What recent interns said about their experience

Chloe Mitchell
July 2023

Intern life in Tanzania was an adventure! I feel so much more empowered to intentionally seek new information and experiences. My internship tasks included observing clinicians, attending regular morning meetings to discuss the clinic's progress, and assisting with patient diagnosis and prescription in the mental health clinic. The language barrier I experienced forced me to focus more on how a patient spoke and their body language. This will greatly benefit my future career as a potential clinical psychologist, as it is a career which requires one to be good at reading people and knowing when to encourage individuals to open up. Getting to witness the different psychological cases in the diagnosis room was one of my most memorable experiences.

Kerri Meenagh
March 2023

I really enjoyed getting involved in African culture and meeting so many people through the clinics I was involved with. My favorite memory of the program was attending the different clinics which included special needs, antenatal and sober houses. It was a brilliant experience being able to talk to people in the clinics, ask questions regarding their condition's and hear about their experiences. I feel more empowered in my field as I now have a lot more motivation to continue doing the work I was doing in Africa, and bring it to where I am living now. I would like to keep progressing in Psychology!

Hayden Alcock
June 2022

My placement was an incredible, insightful, and illuminating experience. In psychology, it is often said that you’ve got to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in-order to fully understand their behavior. My placement was constantly filled with many opportunities for both observing different patterns of thinking, as well as learning new ways of approaching mental health. At my placement, the hospital was separated into two distinct settings - the Methadone Clinic and the Department of Mental Health. Within both clinics, I learnt how to complete admin and practical duties like dispensing methadone to patients. From this, I was able to feel consistently engaged and understand the system (as a whole) better. Additionally, members within the department were more than excited to teach me about key psychiatric principles. The highlight of my experience was formulating, implementing, and running a workshop at the daycare with other volunteers. This workshop sparked a passion within me to continue and be part of a change. The second highlight of my experience was meeting some amazing people from different parts of the world. With this internship being the first time I have ever left Australia (since I was 8), meeting everyone within the hostel felt like an immediate family. I have made so many awesome memories and life-long friendships with the people I met. My one main piece of advice for incoming interns is, do not be afraid to explore and always take the path that will lead you on a lifelong adventure’! Have fun and keep an open mind.


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Our commitment to providing safe internship experiences

Academic credit available for all internships

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing an internship abroad or remote internship program with Intern Abroad HQ.

Learn about course credit

Program fees

It’s free to apply for this internship. Once we have reviewed your suitability and accepted you onto this program, you’ll need to pay a deposit of US$499 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$499 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.

Program Fee (USD)
4 weeks $1,769 Equivalent to $63 /day
5 weeks $1,874 Equivalent to $53 /day
6 weeks $1,979 Equivalent to $47 /day
8 weeks $2,244 Equivalent to $40 /day
10 weeks $2,454 Equivalent to $35 /day
12 weeks $2,664 Equivalent to $31 /day
16 weeks $3,264 Equivalent to $29 /day
20 weeks $3,824 Equivalent to $27 /day
24 weeks $4,384 Equivalent to $26 /day
  • Airport pick-up
  • Daily breakfast and dinner
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Program orientation
  • Dedicated support before, during, and after your internship
  • In-country guidance for social and tourist activities
  • Sourcing and securing your internship placement
  • Personalization of your internship plan
  • Coaching from your supervisor
  • Documented portfolio of your experiential learnings
  • Academic credit facilitation
  • International reference letter
  • Certificate of Internship Completion
  • Lunches and weekend meals
  • All in-country transportation
  • Visa (if required), flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check
  • Transfer back to the airport at the end of your internship program
  • Personal spending money for snacks, drinks, public transport, laundry, and leisure activities during your free time.
  • A deposit of $499 (approximately 499) is required to secure your internship
  • It is important to note that the internship placements grouped as "Medical" require interns to make a Ministry of Health contribution. This supports the operation of placements and covers supervision for interns on medical-related placements. This contribution is not included in the internship program fee; it must be made directly, in-country, under the direction and guidance of the Program Coordinator in Arusha. Interns will not be permitted to commence their placement until this has been covered. The amount of the Ministry of Health contribution varies, as it is not the same for every clinic/hospital. However, to cover the contribution sufficiently, we ask interns to budget up to US$75 per week.
  • Balance of your Program Fee is due 60 days before your internship start date.
  • All payments attract a 5% transaction fee to cover international banking fees and currency charges.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.

Arrival and Orientation

Internships in Tanzania begin every Monday. Exceptions may be made to this when start dates are shifted to avoid public holiday disruptions or closed when the program has already reached capacity. The minimum duration requirement is 2 weeks up to a maximum duration of 24 weeks.

Airport pick up and accommodation are included in the Program Fee. The accommodation is covered from the Sunday night before the Monday start date - interns are required to arrive no later than the Sunday before their Monday start date, as all orientations are held on Mondays.

Typical ports of entry include the local Arusha Airport (ARK) or the Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO). If you are planning to spend time independently in Tanzania prior to your internship and will not require an airport pick up, we can discuss alternative arrival logistics with you.

Upon arrival, interns will be met, greeted, and transferred to the accommodation.

The last night of the accommodation is the Friday night of the final week, leaving interns free to depart on Saturday. Return transport to the airport will be provided to interns at no cost, provided they’re making their way back to the airport on either the Saturday or Sunday of their final week.

Extra nights of accommodation can be arranged in advance, if requested, and are subject to availability.

Orientation covers important details for your internship, including introductions, information about culture, customs, rules, expectations, safety, language lessons, cultural excursions, and more. Your specific internship placement orientation will follow the general orientation, as you’ll be shown how to travel to and from your internship and be introduced to the team you’ll be joining.

Please note that all participants are advised not to book flights until they have first registered to confirm their internship placement.

Check what’s required to visit Tanzania

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Accommodation and WiFi

Interns in Arusha are accommodated together on one of the city’s most top-rated guest houses, located in a quiet and friendly neighbourhood (just 15 minutes from town center). Living is safe, clean, modern and comfortable, including 24/7 gated security, housekeeping, and a live-in local coordinator. (Laundry services are not included but can be arranged directly for a small fee). Amenities include hot showers, WiFi, and satellite television (in common areas). Interns can expect to share a bedroom with 1- 5 other guests, of the same gender. Bathroom facilities are shared. Private/en-suite room upgrades are subject to availability and must be arranged directly with the local team, once registered.

Please note that the accommodation pictured in the photo gallery of this webpage is provided as an example. Since we may work with more than one apartment (depending on capacity), the exact accommodation that you’re assigned may differ slightly from the photos. Rooms sizes, along with storage space, may also vary.


Internships in Arusha include breakfast and dinner, prepared and served Monday to Friday at the guest house accommodation. Typical dishes in Tanzania are influenced by seasonal produce and the dinner menu is usually set according to a weekly rotating schedule. For example, dinner meals may cover Wali Rosti (rice and meat stew), spaghetti bolognese, Wali Umboga (rice and vegetables), pilau, and chapati maharage (a thin wholemeal pancake cooked on a griddle, with beans). Dinner dishes are accompanied with salad. Breakfasts consist of fresh seasonal fruit, fried eggs, and bread with spreads (plus tea and coffee). A filtered cold water dispenser is available in the common area for use to reduce the amount of plastic bottle use. Bottled water​ ​is​​ ​readily available in Tanzania and volunteers should budget approximately US$5 per week for this (2 liters per day). Please be sure to let us know of any specific dietary requirements that you have in advance (i.e. allergies and intolerances), so that we may ensure your hosts are aware and make recommendations to you accordingly. However, it is important to note that the provided meals will not reflect what you are used to eating at home and flexibility is required. Interns are encouraged to budget extra spending money for any special snacks/treats.

Activities and tourism

There is an array of activities to enjoy during your stay in Arusha, as well as touristic excursions to attractions within Tanzania. Located on the “safari circuit”, the internship program is based near to some of Africa’s most beautiful environments, including Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and Arusha National Park on Mount Meru. Whether you’re content with local entertainment, such as Maasai markets, cafes, music, nightlife, and cinema, or you’re planning to book in big ticket items such as overnight safari camps and mountain trekking adventures, our local team will assist you with itinerary advice and planning.

Day trips

Day trips are popular among interns and perfect for taking advantage of the weekends during your internship. Depending on the excursion, the rates can range from US$60 up to US$450, including round trip transportation and lunch. (The more expensive day trip rates cover transportation to destinations that are further afield, such as Serengeti and Ngorongoro. Note that the day trip cost will typically exclude additional gate entry fees, which may be subject to change). While you’re planning your internship in Tanzania, don’t miss:

  • Arusha National Park: Near Mt Meru, the park offers easy game drives and scenic walking tours, where you can discover beautiful streams, waterfalls and rivers.
  • Tarangire: This destination offers the chance to spot the Big Five. Keep an eye out for herds of elephants, lion prides, giraffes and many more animals within their natural habitat.
  • Lake Manyara: This lush oasis was once described by Ernest Hemingway as “the loveliest in Africa”. Relax on a peaceful game drive and enjoy the vista of buffalo, flamingo, lions, impala and more.
  • Serengeti: One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the famous Serengeti ecosystem extends right up to Kenya.
  • Ngorongoro Conservation Area: Located in northern Tanzania, the region is home to the Big Five and boasts the vast, volcanic Ngorongoro Crater - a breathtaking natural wonder.
  • Metaruni Waterfalls Hike: Go trekking to the waterfalls through the foothills overshadowed by Mt Kilimanjaro. Enjoy lunch in the town of Moshi.
  • Hot Springs: It’s a longer drive to visit the natural hot springs in Moshi, but worth the trip! Soak in the warm waters against the backdrop of Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • Maasai Culture Tour: Visit a Maasai homestead for a friendly guided experience and meet members from the impressive nomadic tribe, who retain their unique cultural identity.
  • Snake Park: Check out a variety of snake breeds, from small grass snakes to cobras. The park is also home to other species of birds and amphibians and features a Maasai market.

Overnight safari tours and trekking

If you want to plan a Tanzanian adventure before or after your internship, we can assist you to arrange overnight camping safaris of the Northern Circuit (Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro), as well as a Mount Kilimanjaro trekking package (all inclusive six day climb). Extended safari tours are popular and two all-inclusive options offer either camping or lodge accommodation. Pricing details can be provided to interns once they have registered.

Essential country information

Capital Dodoma
Population 47.78 million
Languages Swahili and English
Currency Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
Time zone UTC+03:00
Weather and climate:

In Arusha, where the Tanzania internship programs are based, the warm season typically lasts from January till late March. During this period, the average daily high is around 81°F / 27°C. The cooler season is from mid May till late August and the coldest month of the year is usually in July, when the low reaches around 56°F / 13°C. The dry season is considered to run from late May through till mid November. Rainfall can occur during the rest of the year, December through April.