skip to main content

Enroll with confidence. Learn about our Lifetime Credit if your plans need to change.

Apply now

NGO internships vs traditional internships


What international NGO internships can offer you:

International NGO internships are different than many other professional internships in that they are focused on preparing a young person for a career in the non-profit sector, working both in the office and in the field. Though office work plays an important role in NGOs, there’s always an element of field work that connect interns to the humanitarian aspect of the organization – working for the greater good. Interns are an important piece to an NGO, bringing a fresh perspective and new energy to the organization. Not only will NGO interns play an important role at their organization, interns will also be exposed to the nuances of local politics and culture through their relationships with colleagues. These connections and conversations with established NGO professionals are what make the experience truly unique and unforgettable. The insight from working within the non-profit sector in a new culture will be translatable to any future endeavor, whether in the non-profit sector or not.


Why is internship experience important if you want to work for an NGO?

Though having a specific educational background isn’t always vital to working at an NGO, what is important is having related work experience. Having worked at an NGO abroad will give a young professional the upper hand when they are looking for their first non-profit job back home. Multicultural experience and foreign language skills are also highly desirable for NGO professionals. Working in an international context, especially in a foreign language, is highly beneficial to a young professional looking to enter the field of non-profit work.


international NGO internships


NGO Internships with The Intern Group

The Intern Group offers many different types of NGO internships, both in grassroots organizations and major international NGOs, in countries like Colombia, the United Kingdom, China, Australia, Spain and the United States. Previous interns have been placed in roles at leading NGOs like Techo (Medellín), Ocean Recovery (Hong Kong), Dance United (London), Hombre y Tierra (Madrid) and the Open Food Network (Melbourne). Whether working in animal rights, healthcare, sustainability, or with refugees, an NGO internship will open up a young person’s heart, mind and future.


international NGO internships


Benefits of working in the non-profit sector

– The non-profit sector has a lot to offer a passionate person open to leading a purpose driven life.

– The sector lends itself to meeting and working alongside other interesting, compassionate and passionate people who are also driven to making the world a better place, rather than by making a large salary.

– NGO workplaces tend to be very dynamic. Oftentimes NGO workers take on many different roles, especially at smaller organizations. That makes the sector great for people who enjoy taking on different challenges. Working in various capacities also makes for a more well-rounded employee and person.

– Interning in the non-profit sector is an incredible opportunity to see your work make a real difference in people’s lives, making the world a better place.

– NGOs tend to be less hierarchical than the private sector, so you’ll be more likely to know your boss and feel like part of a team rather than someone’s employee.

– The NGO sector offers so much opportunity for growth!



Sources:, FundsforNGOs

Photo 1. based on one more spin, by Ludovic Hirlimann, CC-by-SA 2.0

Photo 2. based on 2011 Media Tour to Honduras, by US Mission to the United Nations Agencies in Rome, CC-by-ND 2.0

Photo 3. based on Australian volunteer Adrian Brabander teaching an agricultural course at Manzini Industrial Training Centre in Swaziland. Photo: AVI / AusAID, by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, CC-by-2.0

Photos and blog by Elizabeth Trovall

Subscribe to our global newsletters


The International Internships Blog is a collaboration by The Intern Group staff, alumni and current participants to give you career advice & tips, program information, & so much more!