Africa is the the world’s second largest continent, both by land area and population size. A region that is as historically and culturally rich as it is infinitely complex and diverse, Africa remains a land enshrouded by mystery to most who have never travelled there. To intern abroad in Africa is to take a leap of faith into one of the world’s most critical developing regions; a leap that will likely pay off big time as you come to discover a new home away from home.
There are 52 countries which are home to 1.1 billion people on the African continent, so it is easy to say that you will have your hands full when deciding where to pursue an internship abroad. However while there are many distinct destinations where you can intern abroad in Africa, a handful of countries stand out as the most popular among international aspirants.
In the northern regions of the continent, Egypt and Morocco are unique destinations where to intern abroad in Africa because of their dynamic regional context and diversity of Islamic and Mediterranean influences. Likewise in the east Kenya, Tanzania, and Ethiopia are all major African nations in proximity to the Arabian sea that are consistently top destinations among international interns.
In the western reaches of Africa, Ghana, Cameroon, and Senegal are all smaller countries bordering the Atlantic seaboard which hold a significant degree of influence on the African continent. Lastly to the south, South Africa, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe can be your gateway to experiencing a diversity of landscapes and cultures while interning abroad in this unique part of the continent.
While it may seem to be covering a lot of ground, this list actually only encompasses a small portion of the potential destinations where you can intern abroad in Africa. Do some research and scroll through the listings on this page to get a better idea of all the internships abroad in Africa that are out there!
Because most nations on the continent qualify as Less Developed Countries (LDCs), many opportunities to intern abroad in Africa will be working for nonprofits or NGOs who partner with local institutions to help aid development efforts. For example internship placements in fields such as medicine, education, human rights, and community development are widely available in Africa to help locals gain access to valuable resources they might otherwise be denied.
Because Africa is also an extremely biodiverse continent that is widely known for its unique flora and fauna, many international interns also choose to pursue work in fields such as environmental preservation or wildlife conservation. Many African species suffer from the continued threat of extinction at the hands of human development and expansion, making such efforts extremely valuable to the preservation of Africa’s natural landscape.
It is generally possible to intern abroad in Africa for anywhere between two to six months, depending on your availability and enrollment status. Current students are often given the opportunity to combine their internship in Africa with the chance to earn academic credit across a variety of subjects; a tremendous way to supplement your continued academic pursuits with valuable professional experience abroad.
As most internships in Africa are inclined towards the form of volunteerism, it is not common that interns will be paid for their services. The good news is that most parts of Africa are quite affordable for interns travelling from industrialized nations; additionally you will often be compensated in other ways by your internship abroad program, such as them covering the costs of food, housing, and transportation.
Available accommodations while you intern abroad in Africa will vary significantly based on factors such as regional context, the duration of your program, and whether you are interning in a city or rural area. Homestays are one popular form of housing for interns in Africa, while many alternatively choose to live in independent or group housing options as well. As a general principle do not expect an excessive degree of luxury while interning abroad; remember that commodities such as AC, hot water, and internet are an exception to the norm in many places.
Visa policies also vary across the continent. Some countries will allow you to enter and remain for up to 90 days before having to obtain a visa, while others will require that you obtain documentation prior to landing. In the latter case you will generally need the endorsement of your host employer or internship abroad program. For more information regarding your specific internship situation, you can consult our Embassy Directory.
Culture Shock. For first time travellers to Africa, there is bound to be good degree of culture shock embedded in the experience. Keep your eyes and ears open, and you will learn a tremendous amount about the world we live in.
History. Africa is the original home of human civilization, a history which is deeply entwined with the continent’s identity. While today Africa struggles with high rates of poverty and political instability, it holds fast to these roots as it continues its emergence within the global stage.
Invaluable Work Experience. An internship abroad in Africa will push you to new heights personally, and will also make you a standout candidate while pursuing a global career in whatever your field of professional interest.