Intern Aboard HQ

Intern Abroad HQ works to provide extraordinary international internships that inspire personal and professional development. Have a question that is not answered here?
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About Our Internships

Internship Application Process

Learn About Internship Fees

Preparing For Your Internship

Your Internship Experience

Benefits of summer internships abroad

How do I know that Intern Abroad HQ is a legitimate internship organization?

Backed by a global team, Intern Abroad HQ is proudly brought to you by the same people behind International Volunteer HQ - trusted by over 80,000 volunteers around the world since 2007. As a registered New Zealand company (incorporation number 1936998) we are additionally verified by a number of reputable independent travel portals, such as Go Overseas and Go Abroad. Our team has over 10 years of experience in supporting students and young professionals from all over the world. You can connect with our online community via our social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. If you wish to speak with a member of our team to learn more about our internship opportunities, please feel free to contact us.

What does it mean to do an internship?

Internships are opportunities that allow you to gain more insight and experience within a chosen career field or vocation. For example, this may mean investing your time to assist with activities alongside a veterinarian to learn more about animal care, or perhaps shadowing a health professional in a clinic or hospital to satisfy requirements for a qualification in nursing or medicine. Interns do not replace regular employees like a normal staff member. Instead, interns can invest their time to shadow, assist, and work under the supervision of professionals within a real-world workplace. The professionals who support you during an internship experience help you by acting as mentors, which enhances your knowledge of a career path. For more insight, check out our blog: How do internships work?

Does Intern Abroad HQ offer paid internship positions or compensation?

Intern Abroad HQ does not offer paid internship positions. Our internship programs are focused on experiential learning, which are designed to benefit your personal and professional development. The learning and skills that you acquire during an internship should be universally transferable to a variety of employment and social settings. These are the type of skills that will build your confidence, adaptability, ability to communicate, and equip you for a resilient career over the course of your professional lifetime. (Learn more: The Truth About “Free” Internships)

Why should I intern with Intern Abroad HQ?

When you join an Intern Abroad HQ internship program, you’ll compliment your career experience by completing our guided reflection course. This keeps your “eyes on the prize” and maintains a focus on building confidence, self-awareness, and a great resume. Interns are sent a reflection task once a week; each introduces a new topic, learning objectives, and questions to inspire the reflective journaling process. The topics of each reflection are created with certain skills in mind, such as cultural intelligence, problem-solving or how to adapt to new challenges. We take this experiential learning approach because employers are usually more interested in hearing about what you learned and how you handle situations - as opposed to knowing everything about what you did. It can be challenging to articulate your learning journey or talk about your strengths, which is why we help! Intern Abroad HQ also works directly with local organizations to pass on the most affordable internship opportunities, while providing internships in destinations where the cost of living is relatively low. You might be surprised to discover just how accessible and affordable international internships are! Learn more about us.

Affordable internships overseas

Why should I intern abroad instead of at home?

Choosing to take on an internship at home means that you may run the risk of trying to juggle it alongside other commitments. If your schedule’s already a little tight, attempting to multi-task various study, work, family, and internship activities makes it hard to perform to the best of your ability in all areas. When you decide to intern abroad, you can avoid spreading yourself too thinly by planning to schedule it flexibly. Rolling admission dates ensure that internships are available year-round, with minimum duration requirements from just 2 weeks. Why not plan to enjoy the experience, see more of the world, expand your horizons, gain international networks, and receive the best outcome from the effort you’ve invested? For more insight, check out our blogs: Why you should intern abroad and 10 Reasons to Intern Abroad in 2018

Where can I intern abroad?

Intern Abroad HQ offers international internship destinations across Africa, Asia, Central America, South America and Europe. Explore our Intern Abroad Destinations, or take a quiz for some fun inspiration: Where should I intern abroad?

What type of internships does Intern Abroad HQ offer?

We’re proud to offer some of the world’s most flexible and diverse internship programs. There’s something for everyone and we strive to ensure the internship opportunities cater to various levels of experience and specialities - as well as to different duration needs. The general range of fields that we currently offer internships in includes:

  • Animal Care
  • Business & Economics
  • Education & Childcare
  • Engineering & Design
  • Environmental & Conservation
  • Healthcare & Special Needs
  • Law & Human Rights
  • Marketing & Communication
  • Management & Organization
  • Sports & Physical Education
  • Tourism & Hospitality

Browse our affordable internship destinations to find the project best suited to you.

Internships abroad for college students

Can I join Intern Abroad HQ if I’m not currently a student?

Yes, you are encouraged to apply! Many non-academic factors are taken into consideration when placing interns and it’s common for Intern Abroad HQ participants to be motivated by the opportunity to gain international experience, enhance global networks, and fulfil personal development goals.

Can people under the age of 18 join an internship with Intern Abroad HQ?

Some internships are available for high school students who are under the age of 18. However, parental consent must be provided. For more details, please contact the Global Internships Manager directly by emailing

Can I intern alongside a friend, partner or with a university group?

Friends, partners and university groups are welcome to join an Intern Abroad HQ internship program together. Depending on the destination/internship that you have in mind, we recommend that you contact our internships team for more advice or to answer any questions.

Do I have to speak the native language if I intern abroad in a foreign country?

Some projects may require that you speak Spanish at an intermediate level, however we have options in diverse destinations that are perfect for sole speakers of English. Each project description outlines the requirements, so we recommend that you review the further details on our destinations page to ascertain what internship program will be the best match for you. Keep in mind that interns may the opportunity to take language lessons during their programs, which we highly recommend. They are fun and will enhance your cultural and educational experience!

Challenge yourself to learn a new language during an international internship

Will an international internship have a positive impact on my career?

Although we cannot guarantee that you will immediately transition into paid employment following an Intern Abroad HQ internship program, we can help you to gain skills that will sharpen and enhance your employability. The acquisition of relevant experience, in addition to emotional and cultural intelligence, can set you apart within a competitive workforce and compliment any degree or generic educational skills. The desirable characteristics of employability, which you will have the opportunity to proactively practice during your internship program abroad, include:

  • Being able to get along with other people from diverse backgrounds
  • To feel comfortable within cultures that are different from your own
  • Adaptability when processes, technologies and methodologies change or differ from your norm
  • Taking a flexible, open-minded and amiable approach to problem solving and teamwork
  • Ability to be a positive, cooperative and encouraging influence to others
  • Information literacy, including oral and written communication skills
  • Take responsibility for self-management, organization, showing initiative and time-planning
  • Further exploration of a career field, gaining confidence, direction and determination
  • Development of healthy work habits, positive attitude, ethics and personal values

What are the requirements to join an Intern Abroad HQ internship program?

All internship program participants must be proficient in English and need to have graduated high school by the start date of the internship program. All interns must present a clean criminal background check and are required to obtain travel insurance for the duration of their internship abroad.

How can I start the internship process with Intern Abroad HQ?

The first step is to submit an application online. Applying to intern with us is a simple process and allows you to indicate what you’d like to do, when, and for how long. Since our internships are very flexible, applications are accepted year-round, on rolling admission dates. It doesn’t cost anything to apply and being accepted for an internship program doesn’t commit you. However, it does help us to learn more about what you’d like to do, so that we can outline the next steps, provide any necessary guidance, and enable you to confirm your internship once you’re ready.

Apply to Intern Abroad!

What happens after I submit an internship application?

After your application has been submitted, the Global Internships Manager at Intern Abroad HQ will review it within 24-48 hours. After your application has been accepted, you’ll receive a personalized response which will outline the next steps and enable you to confirm your internship abroad. Internship placements are confirmed via payment of the US$299 Registration Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your start date - see Terms & Conditions for details).

How far in advance should I apply and register?

The registration deadline is usually no less than 4 weeks before your scheduled start date. However, if you are required to obtain a visa for travel in advance of your arrival to the internship destination, you should aim to register at least 8 weeks before your chosen start date. If you have questions about whether you may need to pre-arrange a visa for your internship abroad, please contact our internships team for guidance. The earlier you register to confirm your participation, the more advance notice this gives us to help you prepare. On a side note - it’s less stressful for you if you allow ample time to plan for the program. It may often work out to be cheaper booking flights in advance as well, rather than purchasing tickets closer to the departure date!

Can I change my application - before registering - if I need to update any details?

Yes, this is no problem. After being accepted, if you’d like to change your internship program, destination, start date or duration - just contact your Internships Manager to let us know. Before you register to confirm your participation, you’re welcome to make as many changes to your plans as you want. We’re happy to work with you in consultation to ensure that you’re confident with the details - once you’re happy with your application details, register to confirm your internship and proceed to the next step of your planning.

Can I change my plans after registering?

Once you have registered to confirm your participation - and before you’ve begun your trip - you are entitled to make a change to your plans once at no additional cost (i.e. change your destination, internship program, start date or duration). However, any additional changes - after the initial free change has already been utilized - requires payment of an administration fee of US$50 (for each change). Any changes to your plans that are made within fourteen days of your registered start date will incur a late change fee of US$150. If you wish to change your start date, the registration fee that you initially paid is only valid for new start dates within twelve months of the earliest start date that you registered for. Read more in our Terms & Conditions of Service.

Why should I pay to intern abroad?

As an intern, you commit to investing your time, skills and energy to work and assist alongside diverse projects and operations - so many wonder why they should have to pay fees for this opportunity (or why they should not be compensated for doing so)? It’s important to everyone at Intern Abroad HQ that we address this question transparently to explain what the internship fees cover and why they’re necessary.

Paying the internship Registration Fee confirms your place on the Intern Abroad HQ program of your choice. This is the fee that allows us to operate as an organization and facilitate your internship journey, from start to finish. Intern Abroad HQ is backed by a global team (as the sister company of International Volunteer HQ) so we have collectively established a range of value-add services that support you in securing the best possible internship opportunities. Our operation, as buoyed by registration fees, additionally contributes toward our work pertaining to Responsible Practice and Safety & Risk Management.

The Program Fee is a separate payment, which is necessary to cover the expenses associated with your stay. In other words, this covers the lion’s share of your living costs. It is transferred to the local organization that hosts interns during their internship, as it pays for your airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, food and 24/7 staff support. Additionally, the Program Fee covers the learning support and service associated with the Intern Abroad HQ Guided Reflection Course, which is completed during all of our international internship programs.

Unpaid internships are required to benefit the participant - therefore, interns who join Intern Abroad HQ do not replace regular employees. Rather, it’s typical to shadow and assist under the close supervision of professional staff, who can guide, answer questions, provide professional mentorship and insight into a career path. Intern Abroad HQ program participants also receive personal and professional development learning assignments - so that the internship experience is focused on enhancing your employability skills and building your resume.

When you join an Intern Abroad HQ internship program, you’ll compliment your career experience by completing our guided reflection course. This maintains a focus on building universally transferable skills that boost confidence, adaptability, cultural intelligence and self-awareness. So that you’re equipped for a resilient career over the course of your professional lifetime!

Travel to see the world during an internship abroad

How come Intern Abroad HQ is so affordable?

Intern Abroad HQ is proudly brought to you by the same people behind International Volunteer HQ and was founded on the same principles as IVHQ - that is, to provide affordable, high quality, responsible and flexible internship opportunities that don’t cost the earth. The program fees have been designed with quality in mind, while also ensuring that no unnecessary costs are being unfairly passed onto interns. Many other international internship providers charge thousands of dollars in fees - yet much of that money never makes it to where the intern is actually going to spending time. Intern Abroad HQ does not sacrifice the quality of internship opportunities to offer low fees but rather works on a transparent financial system. Ensuring that the costs are as accessible as possible also enables more students and young professionals to take part! We believe that everyone should have the chance to invest in their own personal and professional development - and have awesome travel experiences - without breaking the bank. So, by placing higher volumes of interns abroad each year, we can also keep costs low. Great groups of interns join our programs year-round, providing excellent opportunities for social and professional networking, with like-minded people from all around the world!

What is the cheapest way to intern abroad?

Intern Abroad HQ has endeavoured to make international internship opportunities as affordable and accessible as possible - however, we understand that traveling overseas always comes with a price (i.e. airfare, travel insurance, tourism activities). If you’re looking for a cheap international internship, we suggest that you consider destinations that are geographically close to you - as this might help you to secure cheaper flights. Our commitment to providing affordable internship opportunities means that you can choose short-term durations, which minimizes in-country costs for you (because program fees are always influenced by your duration, since they cover meals and accommodation). If you are comparing our internship fees, you’ll find that Intern Abroad HQ’s internships in Peru, Cusco, have the most affordable rates, starting from just US$545 for 2 weeks.

What are the payment deadlines of the internship fees?

The registration deadline is usually no less than 4 weeks before your scheduled start date, however, we always encourage applicants to register much earlier than this (see the extra notes about this above: “How far in advance should I apply and register?”). Internship program fees must be paid no less than 4 weeks before your internship start date. Note that failure to pay the program fee by the deadline can result in your cancellation from the internship.

Does Intern Abroad HQ offer any internship grants or scholarships?

Intern Abroad HQ does not offer any permanently offer any grants or scholarships, although from time to time we may list special promotions on our social media. To provide interns with access to professional online fundraising services, Intern Abroad HQ has partnered with Fund & Seek. Interns can use this crowdfunding service to launch a fundraising platform. For fundraising advice, please feel free to contact us.

How can I earn internship course credit?

Each academic institution has a unique policy (differing philosophical, educational, and administrative approaches) for granting internship credit, so you will be responsible for discussing academic credit options with your university or college in advance. We recommend that you begin by reaching out to your academic advisor/department heads, since credits cannot usually be arranged retroactively. They will be in the best position to advise specifically regarding what credits can be earned. You would also be responsible for covering any associated tuition costs or fees that may be charged for the transfer of credits by your school.

Focus on personal development and employability during an internship overseas

Do I need a visa to travel to my internship destination?

Whether or not you would need to obtain a visa prior to travel is influenced by your nationality (the country that has issued your passport), the country you are traveling to for your internship, and the number of weeks that you aim to intern abroad for. In many cases, interns are eligible to receive the visa, or a stamp, in their passport upon entry to a foreign country, which grants permission to stay for a specified amount of time. In some cases, you may need to apply for the visa in advance, through the country’s embassy or consulate which is located nearest to you. We recommend that you contact our internships team so that we can provide you with more specific information that pertains to you and your internship travel plans.

Do I really need a criminal background check?

It is a requirement to obtain a criminal background check, as you won’t be allowed to begin your internship program if you cannot produce this document. The guidelines for obtaining a criminal background check can vary depending on the country you live in. Usually there are two approaches - obtain one from an online provider or contact your local police department, so that they can guide you on the process, turnaround time, and any associated costs. If you’re an international student, based outside of your home country, difference logistics could also apply.

Do I have to have travel insurance to intern abroad?

Travel insurance is an important requirement for all interns that join Intern Abroad HQ. Safety is a top priority for us and we do our utmost to ensure that you’ll have an excellent time during your internship journey. Part of this strategy involves making sure that you’re in the best possible position to receive assistance should any unexpected incidents affect your travel plans or time spent abroad (read about our Responsible Practice and Safety & Risk Management). Your travel insurance policy should include comprehensive coverage for medical emergencies, travel disruptions, personal property that is lost or damaged whilst traveling, and last-minute trip cancellation (due to unforeseeable events that are out of your control). Although you may already have private health insurance, a specific travel insurance policy is necessary to add invaluable layers of security and peace of mind to your time spent traveling. Intern Abroad HQ has partnered with World Nomads (recommended by Lonely Planet) and all interns that take out a World Nomads insurance policy can access their Worldwide 24/7 Emergency Assistance Team.

Will I need any vaccinations to intern abroad?

We always recommend that you discuss your specific travel plans with your doctor (or a specific travel doctor). Vaccinations are generally a personal choice but may be legally required depending on where you wish to travel to or through (e.g. the Yellow Fever vaccination can often be legally required). It’s important to consider all of the destinations you plan to visit for tourism purposes, not just the area where you plan on being based for your internship program. It’s wise to see your doctor at least 6 weeks before international travel. In addition to discussing vaccinations, your doctor may also be able to assist with providing first aid kit essentials, such as prescriptions for electrolyte, antiseptic cream, antihistamine, antidiarrheal medicines, etc.

Will I have to speak another language in the country where I’m interning?

All Intern Abroad HQ programs require that interns have intermediate to advance English language skills. Some Intern Abroad HQ internship programs in Latin American destinations may require that you speak Spanish at an intermediate level - however, we have options all around the world that are suitable for people who only speak English. Each internship description on our website outlines any internship eligibility requirements, so we recommend that you review these details when reviewing the destinations, to ascertain what internship opportunities will be the best match for you. Many internship destinations additionally offer language lessons, which we highly recommend. Taking the time to learn some second language skills is a great way to enhance your cultural experience and build your resume.

Cooking in Bali

Can Intern Abroad HQ help me with booking flights?

Intern Abroad HQ has partnered with STA Travel, so that we can help interns take care of affordable flights. STA Travel make it easy to manage and coordinate your travel plans alongside your internship program, offering exclusive airfares that are both economic and flexible. Once you’ve submitted an application for the destination of your choice, and then registered to confirm your spot on the internship program, then it’s an appropriate time to book your flights. To receive a quote from STA Travel, you can complete a flight request form on the services page of our website. Once you have completed the form, you should receive an email quote from STA Travel within 24 hours.

Are there other ways to upskill before or during the internship?

Intern Abroad HQ is passionate about personal and professional development, so we offer interns the special opportunity to continue upskilling through the Global Travel Academy and the CCELT Online TEFL Certification Course. If you will be interning in Latin America and would like to build your Spanish language skills prior to your start date, ask your Internships Manager about online Spanish classes. See the services page of our website for more details.

When will I know more about my internship placement?

Some of the internship programs that we offer have a broad number of placements available within the field. For example, if you choose a Health & Medical internship, then the specific clinic or hospital where you’d complete your internship would need to be assigned by the local host organization. Once you have applied and registered for your chosen internship, then your specific placement will be determined by our local team. A number of factors are taken into consideration when making this arrangement, such as:

  • The available options within the community at the time of your internship.
  • Your unique skills, interests, qualifications and preferences.
  • The duration of time that you will be interning for.

Depending on the options available, our local team may request a Skype with you, in order to introduce you to a potential placement match. This process helps to ensure satisfaction with your placement, while providing the best support to you in advance of your internship start date.

Gain career insight and explore your passions during an international internship

Does the internship include meals and accommodation?

Intern Abroad HQ program fees are designed to ensure that the majority of your essential living costs abroad - such as meals and accommodation - are affordably taken care of. The type of accommodation and meals that are covered on your internship vary, depending on the internship destination that you choose. Any interns with special dietary needs must ensure that they let us know in advance (this information can be noted when you apply to intern abroad). For more information, please visit the specific destination page that you are interested in via our Intern Abroad Destinations webpage.

What happens when I arrive to my internship destination?

When you arrive to your internship destination, you will be met at the airport by a representative of our local host organization. (If you will not require an airport pick-up, then alternative arrangements will be made to meet you at another pre-arranged location in-country). You will then be transported to your accommodation and introductions will be made accordingly. Before beginning your internship placement, you’ll receive an orientation which covers important details (such as information about support, getting around, communication, safety, rules and expectations, things to see and do, and more). Our local team are available to provide interns with 24/7 support.

Will I be working alongside other interns?

Where possible, we try to place interns alongside each other. However, interns are also matched to placements depending on the internship field they have chosen and other important considerations - i.e. language ability, any stated preferences, duration of stay, and level of experience and qualifications. Therefore, we do not guarantee that interns will always work alongside other interns at their specific placement. However, general professional and social networking opportunities are usually available through shared contact with the local team and internship accommodation.

Engineering internship in Bali

What does the internship’s guided reflection course involve?

When you join an Intern Abroad HQ internship program, you’ll compliment your career experience by completing our guided reflection course. This helps to maintains a focus on building confidence, self-awareness, and a great resume. In order to successfully complete your internship, you must submit a journal entry for every week of your program duration. We will email you your reflection topic at the beginning of every week and each will introduce learning objectives and questions - so you will have inspiration for the journaling process. Upon completion, you’d receive a portfolio as documentation of your experience. This includes a certificate of internship completion, alongside a summary of your internship goals, skill development, highlights, and a compilation of your reflection work.

Why is the critical reflection and journaling important during the internship?

Intern Abroad HQ takes an experiential learning approach to internships, because employers are usually more interested in hearing about what you learned and how you handle situations - as opposed to knowing everything about what you did. It can be challenging to articulate your learning journey or talk about your strengths. That’s why we help - the topics of each guided reflection are designed to link your experiences with certain skills - such as cultural intelligence, problem-solving or how to adapt to new challenges - this framework enables you to understand how your personal experiences translate into your capabilities. For more insight, check out our blogs: Why you should intern abroad and How do internships work?.

Will I have time to do any tourism activities while I’m interning?

Absolutely! The programs allow free time over weekends and we hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity to explore the attractions within and around the area. The hosts in-country are always happy to provide guidance on fun things to see and do.

Enjoying weekends in Costa Rica

Will Intern Abroad HQ provide a reference once I’ve completed my program?

Yes, of course - during the program itself, you will complete a “Wrap-Up Report”, which can help serve for your reference material. You will also receive an Intern Abroad HQ certificate and professional compilation of your reflections, once you have successfully completed your internship program. We also encourage you to obtain a reference from your host organization prior to departure, should you like additional documentation.

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