Psychology Internships in Zanzibar
Play a hands-on role supporting local professionals in psychiatric, mental health and addiction treatment centers. Experience the balance between traditional and western treatment, and assist with counselling and wellbeing workshops for locals with a range of challenges.
- Gain experience balancing contemporary mental health understanding with cultural beliefs
- Play a hands-on role in helping individuals to overcome their challenges
- 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:
- Sober houses
- Psychiatric hospitals
Psychology interns in Zanzibar can play a hands-on role supporting local professionals in psychiatric, mental health and addiction treatment centers. Experience biopsychosocial treatment models, and assist with counseling and wellbeing workshops for locals with a range of challenges.
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.
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, only turning to westernized psychology/psychiatry as a last resort. 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.
Psychology interns assist local psychologists, social workers or psychiatric nurses that help to treat locals following the biopsychosocial model, which is an interdisciplinary approach that holistically includes the aspects of biology, psychology and the social environment.
Internship placements can be in a range of “sober houses”, which provide inpatient facilities for drug and alcohol rehabilitation, as well as in a public psychiatric hospital.
Tasks in the sober houses can be diverse. Interns work closely with local staff to develop and host workshops in personal and professional development, engaging inpatients on topics such as health and wellbeing. Longer term interns can design workshops in areas of your choosing. Interns can also help with gentle sports classes (such as stretching and yoga), and in counseling sessions.
Internship tasks at the psychiatric hospital typically include helping with group and individual counseling, daily care duties, physical therapy, art therapy, and accompanying local staff on general rounds. Interns can also help with community outreach programs, educating locals about mental health, addiction and social issues.
Psychology interns in Zanzibar are matched to a placement opportunity that suits your level of experience and skills. The specific details of your internship will be confirmed once it’s been fully designed in accordance with what you hope to achieve.
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.
It’s important for medical interns to be prepared for a very different healthcare system than what you may be used to at home. Healthcare in Tanzania can be under-resourced and under-funded, and patients may endure conditions that would be considered rare or unacceptable in your own home country. While you may encounter culture shock, it is important to remain professional and compassionate at all times. You’ll be encouraged to consider your supervisor and in-country coordinator as valuable and knowledgeable resources and mentors. They’re in the best position to provide guidance and local context into the needs and challenges of the local community, and will be happy to support your learning experience throughout this internship abroad.
Zanzibar is a popular tourist destination for tourists in Africa, and has a unique mix of tropical and traditional African features. It has modern areas, with amazing beaches and activities for your spare time, as well as cultural areas with iconic old buildings and shops to explore in your spare time. The island is a three hour ferry from the Tanzanian mainland, where you can tick off your African bucketlist with an amazing safari.
It is important to note that internships in Zanzibar require all participants to obtain a visa. Interns are not required to make any visa arrangements in advance, as these are purchased at the airport, on arrival in Zanzibar. Interns receive details in advance, which outlines instructions for this process, along with anticipated costs. To cover the cost of the visa sufficiently, we ask interns to budget up to US$250. All interns are additionally assisted to obtain a Permit. The Permit is arranged for you, on-site, by our coordinators via the Zanzibar Labour Office. The cost of this Permit is already included within your Internship Program Fee.
Psychology interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
Health and wellbeing workshops
Alcohol and drug rehabilitation
Art and physical therapy
Community outreach programs
Professional development opportunites:
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 counseling skills
Gain practical work experience with a wide range of substance abuse cases and other mental health issues
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
”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.”
Read reviews from our Zanzibar InternsRead more reviews
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$449 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$449 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.
Program Fee (USD)
|2 weeks||$1,738Equivalent to $124/day|
|4 weeks||$2,194Equivalent to $78/day|
|6 weeks||$2,787Equivalent to $66/day|
|8 weeks||$3,243Equivalent to $57/day|
|10 weeks||$3,649Equivalent to $52/day|
|12 weeks||$4,085Equivalent to $48/day|
|14 weeks||$4,631Equivalent to $47/day|
|16 weeks||$5,067Equivalent to $45/day|
|18 weeks||$5,503Equivalent to $43/day|
|20 weeks||$5,939Equivalent to $42/day|
|24 weeks||$6,811Equivalent to $40/day|
- 24/7 in-country support
- Airport pick-up
- 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
- International reference letter
- Certificate of Internship Completion
- Visa (if required), flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check
- Transfer back to the airport at the end of your internship program
- Optional extras, such as language lessons
- Souvenirs and leisure activities during your free time
- Personal spending money to cover basic expenses such as drinks, snacks, laundry, public transportation, and any meals not included in your Program Fee
- A deposit of $449 USD is required to secure your internship
- 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 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.
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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.
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.
Weekends and travel
There are a wide range of tourism excursions to enjoy in and around Zanzibar archipelago. You can join half or full day trips to some of the infamous spice plantations, explore the Jozani Forest National Park and mangroves, sail through the Menai Bay Conservation Area, or even relax within some of the popular beach resorts. While there is a lot to see and do, we recommend chatting with our local team, based in the historical center of Stone Town, for advice. They’re in the best position to advise you regarding responsible tourism operators. Keep in mind that any trip to Africa is not complete with going on safari. We can help interns to arrange budget safari options, within the mainland of Tanzania. Although cost-effective, the trips are high-quality and provide the social opportunity to meet other like-minded travelers and international interns or volunteers. If you’re looking for a challenge and aiming to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, let us know as well - we can assist with arranging affordable accommodation in Moshi, as well as making other recommendations.
Essential country information
|Languages||Swahili, Arabic, English|
|Currency||Tanzanian Shilling (TZS)|
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.