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Psychology Internships in Zanzibar

Psychology Internships in Zanzibar

Traditional cultural beliefs in Zanzibar can challenge western approaches to mental health and wellbeing. It is common for locals with mental health concerns to approach traditional healers or general practitioners first, turning to westernized psychology/psychiatry secondarily. Interns are given the opportunity to see how traditional beliefs are affecting the mental health treatment of local Tanzanian people and the ways in which psychologists are navigating these challenges.

Internship Highlights:
  • Gain experience balancing contemporary mental health understanding with cultural beliefs.
  • Learn about how traditional beliefs affect treatment approaches.
  • Assist in a wide range of mental health and psychology areas.
  • Experience life on Zanzibar, a unique and beautiful African island.
Type of host organizations:
  • Psychiatric hospital
Fully hosted experience from $1673
Includes accommodation & meals
Start dates every Monday
Minimum duration 2 weeks, up to 24 weeks maximum
Discover Zanzibar’s world-class beaches
Get job-ready with our Experiential Learning Curriculum
Internships align with UN Sustainable Development Goals
Eligibility requirements and Associated career paths
Eligibility requirement

Minimum of second to final year of higher education in a related field, such as bachelor of psychology, medicine, social work, occupational therapy, nutrition, nursing, health sciences. If you do not meet these eligibility requirements, click here to explore alternative internship options within this field.

Language requirements

This internship is conducted in English.

Associated career paths

Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Mental Health Nurse, Mental Health Assistant, Counselor, Occupational Therapist, Drug & Alcohol Counselor, Social Worker (i.e. Medical/Public Health Social Worker, Mental Health Social Worker, Substance Abuse Social Workers), Community Health Worker

Internship details

Psychology internships in Zanzibar provide opportunities for students and young professionals to immerse in a new culture and language, embrace varied healthcare practices, and learn how to deliver therapeutic interventions under resource constraints. Come prepared to use and hone a wide array of skills, including adept communication, precise patient evaluation, and deepened compassion for those grappling with mental health concerns.

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

Psychology interns in Zanzibar can support local professionals in a psychiatric hospital. The hospital’s diverse wards cater to men, women, children, and individuals struggling with addiction, all requiring tailored care plans for effective recovery. Many of the local nurses attend to odd jobs around the hospital, such as bathing patients, changing sheets, cleaning wounds, etc. (Please note that in 2024, certain medical departments will undergo renovation work. In the event of the closure of a specific ward, interns will be redirected, keeping you - as much as possible - in line with the same medical specialty).

Internship tasks at the hospital may be related to patient assessment, assisting staff with medication requirements, maintaining organized records, contributing to personalized treatment strategies, and researching information about community mental health needs or resources used in conjunction with therapy. Interns may have scope to assist individuals with stress management and self-esteem building, and expression.

Hospital supervision varies, as interns may spend time with different staff/professionals. If assistance is required with any internship paperwork, this may be processed at the hospital administration. Interns are required to discuss such needs with Intern Abroad HQ Program Managers in advance, as well as during their in-country orientation.

It’s important for psychology interns to be prepared for a very different healthcare system than what you may be used to at home, as healthcare can be under-resourced and under-funded. While you may encounter culture shock, it is important to remain professional and compassionate at all times. Come prepared to expect an occasional lack of transparency regarding the details of patient cases - this may be due to patient confidentiality or other cultural/administrative reasons.

Interns must expect to encounter language barriers with patients. It’s possible to arrange Swahili language lessons, in conjunction with your internship. Local teachers can adjust the level of teaching from absolute beginners to advanced. Swahili lessons are also possible online as a preparation for your time in Zanzibar. Just let us know if you’d like to arrange this. Hospital notes are handwritten in English, so even if psychology sessions with patients are conducted in Swahili, Psychology interns may have access to client files, where learning can be obtained from the supervisor and their previous patient sessions. An open mind, ability to take initiative, and willingness to develop understanding over time are required.

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.

For tips and more insight about this program, check out:

Typical Schedule

  • Approx. Monday to Friday, 6-8 hours

Career Benefits

Psychology interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Review of client medical history and treatment plans to enhance understanding of symptoms and characteristics.

  • Observe interactions between patients and professionals and review diagnosis and future treatment plans.

  • Collaborate with mental health professionals and other staff members to help perform clinical assessments or develop treatment plans.

  • Gain an understanding of music and dance therapies and how it can provide insight into patient cognitions and communal progress.

Professional development opportunities:
  • Learn how mental health support services are provided in an East African country.

  • Understand the influence of cultural factors in providing mental health services.

  • Improve your communication skills and cultural/emotional intelligence.

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

Zanzibar photo gallery

What recent interns said about their experience

Esmée Lambi
January 2024

I enjoyed seeing the cultural dofferences in the mental health field. It was nice to be with a host family and explore the culture there as well.

Ryann Yuan
June 2023

During my internship, I was exposed to groups of mental health patients who were very new to me. I talked to them and did art and music therapy with them. In the process, I learned more about mental health patients and found that many of them are willing to share and communicate, especially with someone from a different country like me. Therefore, to some extent, this experience dispelled my fear of mental health patients, and I even began to try to find a way to communicate with them. Meanwhile, in this internship, I’ve gained a lot of help from professional psychologists. With their help, I learned how common mental illnesses manifest in practice and how a mental program works.

Tessa Holsinger
March 2023

My internship not only expanded my clinical skill set but also broadened my cultural horizons and deepened my compassion for those grappling with mental health concerns. The experience equipped me with a wide array of skills, including adept communication, precise patient evaluation, formulation of effective treatment protocols, and a deepened understanding of the intricacies of mental health issues. It instilled in me a heightened sensitivity towards the challenges faced by individuals with mental illnesses and honed my ability to contribute effectively to their well-being.

Rebekah Parrish
August 2021

During my internship I was tasked with assisting clients in reaching their optimal level of psychological health by assessing and resolving negative patterns, prevention, rehabilitation, and improving quality of life. I also created lesson plans on mental health and ways to improve it. My lesson plans included recognizing depressive symptoms and ways to cope with them, communication skills, conflict management skills, techniques that could prevent impulsive actions, cultivating unconditional self-worth, recognizing self-deception, and techniques to cope with anxiety. Additionally, I integrated morning mindfulness meditation sessions to help clients with mind and body balance. My expectations were met through this internship and more. I did not expect so many opportunities to have such hands-on experience, however my role exceeded that. Additionally, I did not expect my words to be taken seriously by the clients I worked with. I was wrong. The clients in the sober home constantly expressed gratitude to my teachings and advice. I not only heard it in their words, but I saw the changes in their actions. I now feel empowered within my field as a therapist.


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)
2 weeks $1,673 Equivalent to $119 /day
3 weeks $1,901 Equivalent to $90 /day
4 weeks $2,129 Equivalent to $76 /day
5 weeks $2,494 Equivalent to $71 /day
6 weeks $2,722 Equivalent to $64 /day
8 weeks $3,178 Equivalent to $56 /day
10 weeks $3,584 Equivalent to $51 /day
12 weeks $4,020 Equivalent to $47 /day
16 weeks $5,002 Equivalent to $44 /day
20 weeks $5,874 Equivalent to $41 /day
24 weeks $6,746 Equivalent to $40 /day
  • Airport pick-up
  • Daily breakfast, lunch 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
  • 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 internships in Zanzibar require all participants to obtain a visa. We advise Zanzibar interns to purchase and obtain this in-country (at the airport, on arrival in Zanzibar). Interns receive details in advance, which outline instructions for this process (depending on your specific internship details), along with anticipated costs. Some interns are additionally required to purchase a Work Permit (US$400) or a Trainee Permit (US$100) in-country. This is a government requirement and it currently applies Cultural Arts, Social Work & Education, and Tourism & Hospitality internships. If this is required then it will be arranged with you during the orientation, as coordinators will assist you at the Zanzibar Labour Office. Please note that the requirements and costs for such visas and/or permits are outside the control of Intern Abroad HQ and are subject to change without notice.
  • 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.

Free-time experiences & tours in Zanzibar

Take your internship to the next level with Intern Abroad HQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Zanzibar! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto an internship program.

Weekend Adventure
Weekend Adventure

Spend a weekend adventuring in the Jozani forest, kayaking through mangroves and visiting a cultural village.

PADI Open Water Certification
PADI Open Water Certification

Complete your first scuba diving certification while interning, which opens the door to a lifetime of underwater adventures!


Swahili Language Lessons

Swahili, also known as Kiswahili, is spoken throughout Zanzibar and it is the national language of Tanzania. (English is only the official language of the High Court). While fluency in Swahili is not a requirement to intern in Zanzibar, learning some of the local language can help enhance your cultural experience and immersion. Starting with a few lessons can help you learn some basics to demonstrate common courtesy. A maximum of ten hours per week are recommended. Lessons are typically conducted individually, but may be shared between 2-3 other participants of the same level (although, the number of participants per lesson does not affect the cost). For more information about language lessons, interns may speak directly to the local team in-country.

Arrival and Orientation

Internships in Zanzibar begin every Monday and interns may choose to spend a minimum of 2 weeks, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. Exceptions to start date availability may occur when start dates are closed due to public holiday / festival disruptions or if the program has already reached capacity.

Airport pick up and accommodation are included in the Program Fee, as well as return transportation to the airport in Zanzibar at the completion of the internship. Interns are required to arrive on the Sunday before their Monday start date. In order to receive this airport pick up, interns fly into the Abeid Amani Karume International Airport in Zanzibar (airport code: ZNZ). Note that all participants are advised not to book flights until they have first registered to confirm their internship placement.

Upon arrival, interns will be met, greeted, and transferred to the accommodation, to settle in and rest. Accommodation is covered from the Sunday night of the internship start date. The last night of the accommodation is the Saturday night of the final week, leaving interns free to depart on the Sunday.

Orientation typically takes place on the Monday start date and covers important details for your internship, including introductions, information about culture, customs, rules, expectations, safety, language lessons, cultural excursions, and more. For participants who will be interning within Zanzibar Town / Stone Town, a walking tour is also covered. Tourism & Hospitality interns, who may be based within popular beach areas, such as Nungwi, Kendwa, Kiwengwa, Paje, Jambiani and Michamvi, will receive a local orientation that’s relevant to their area.

If you are planning to spend time independently in Zanzibar prior to the commencement date of your internship, and will not require an airport pick up, then you’ll be required to come directly to the local team’s office in Zanzibar Town / Stone Town for meet and greet on your start date. From there, you will be guided to your home-stay accommodation.

Visa Requirements

It is important to note that internships in Zanzibar require all participants to obtain a visa. We advise Zanzibar interns to purchase and obtain this in-country (at the airport, on arrival in Zanzibar). Interns receive details in advance, which outline instructions for this process (depending on your specific internship details), along with anticipated costs. To cover the cost of the visa sufficiently, most interns need to budget US$50-100. However, Tourism & Hospitality interns will need to budget US$250, for the correct visa.

Some interns are additionally required to purchase a Work Permit or Trainee Permit in-country. This is a government requirement. It applies to:

  • Cultural Arts interns - you will need to cover the cost of a Work Permit in Zanzibar. Please budget US$400 for this.
  • Social Work & Education interns - you will need to cover the cost of a Work Permit in Zanzibar. Please budget US$400 for this.
  • Tourism & Hospitality interns - you will need to cover the cost of a Work Permit in Zanzibar. Please budget US$400 for this.

If this is required then it will be arranged with you during the orientation, as coordinators will assist you at the Zanzibar Labour Office. Please note that the requirements and costs for such visas and/or permits are outside the control of Intern Abroad HQ and are subject to change without notice.

Accommodation and WiFi

Most interns in Zanzibar are hosted in various homestay accommodations, within Zanzibar Town / Stone Town. The exception to this is that Tourism & Hospitality interns can expect to be located in closer proximity to their internship. For example, locations usually include the popular beach destinations of Zanzibar, such as Nungwi, Kendwa, Kiwengwa, Paje, Jambiani and Michamvi. In this case, accommodation may be located on the grounds of the internship placement (e.g. on the grounds of the hotel), at external guest houses/lodges, or with a host family at the respective village.

For the comfort of our interns, the host families that we work with (within Zanzibar Town / Stone Town) provide a higher standard of living, compared to other typical family homes on the island. They often have access to domestic staff, such as a cook, drivers, nannies, gardeners, housekeepers, and security guards. Employees of the host family usually have their own separate accommodation, provided for them on the same property as the main family home. Typically, these host families have older children who are being educated abroad. Therefore, they are able to comfortably accommodate international interns in Zanzibar while their own children are studying internationally. The household may have younger children who have not yet reached a higher level of education. Interns can expect to have their own bedroom. The meals which are included are typically generous, having been prepared and served by a cook.

Note that accommodation is unlikely to provide WiFi. Unlimited internet plans are typically unavailable in Zanzibar and connection must be paid for by the gigabyte. However, all interns receive a local SIM card for use at their orientation, which initially includes 3 GB of data traffic. Top-up vouchers can be purchased as need be and they are relatively inexpensive.


Internships in Zanzibar include three meals per day, seven days per week, served at the accommodation. The culinary traditions of Zanzibar have been influenced by many nationalities, including Indian, British, Portuguese, Arab, Bantu, and even Chinese. Therefore, typical dishes may reflect a fusion of styles. Rice is a staple, which can be cooked with an array of spices (Zanzibar is the island of spice, after all!) Cinnamon, ginger, cumin, chilli, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves may be used to flavor rice, meat, fish and curry dishes. The famous spice rice of Zanzibar is called “Pilau”. In addition to cooked meals, fresh vegetables and fruits are available and you can also find a wide variety in the local markets. Host families are accustomed to accommodating interns who are vegetarians and can ensure meals are prepared appropriately. Some restaurants will also offer vegetarian dishes. 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.

Essential country information

Capital Zanzibar City
Population 1.304 million
Languages Swahili, Arabic, English
Currency Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)
Time zone UTC+03:00
Weather and climate:

Being near the equator, the islands of the Zanzibar Archipelago are warm year-round, and the temperature doesn’t vary too much throughout the year. The usual highs are between 85°F / 91°F (30°C / 33°C) and the usual lows range between 70°F and 76°F (21°C / 24°C). The hotter times of the year are typically from December through March. From July through October, the temperatures are more comfortable. The wetter season usually begins in late November, leading up to the wettest month of the year, which is April. After April, the dry season begins again around mid to late May.