Where to find affordable student internships abroad
There’s no question that affordable internship opportunities are better for students. Spending a lot of money on an expensive student internship abroad doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to have a better experience and outcome - especially if you’re not sure where your internship fees are going in the first place. With a lot of student internships abroad to consider, it can be a little daunting to select an effective international internship that’s right for you (and doesn’t break the bank).
To make things a little easier, we’ve highlighted the three most affordable places for student internships abroad — and why these quality opportunities are not to be missed — below.
1. Costa Rica
Costa Rica doesn’t have to cost a lot! The Central American destination is a tourism hotspot and it’s easy to understand why - the stunning tropical beaches, gorgeous national parks, diverse flora and fauna, amazing food, and lovely people makes the country a nature and adventure lover's paradise. For students looking to intern abroad, Costa Rica’s growing economy and environmental innovation provides diverse internship opportunities in fields such as health, environmental conservation, wildlife, sustainable development, and more.
Not only is the country safe and attractive, if you’re traveling to intern from South or North America, you’ll find student internships in Costa Rica to be relatively easy-on-the-pocket when it comes time to book your flights. Make sure you look for off season / green season deals (usually May through till the end of November) to avoid paying peak travel rates.
While high-end vacations are definitely available within the land of “Pura Vida”, look for transparent internship fees that are kept in-line with the local cost of living. This means that the fees you pay to cover the necessary expenditure of interning abroad (such as your airport pick-up, meals, and accommodation) should reflect the low cost of living in the area where you’re interning.
And remember - when you intern in Costa Rica, you’ll definitely want to use your weekends to explore. Thankfully, the country has excellent public transportation which is cheap and user-friendly. From surf lessons in Manuel Antonio to hiking in Monteverde, you’ll find that the most rewarding entertainment options - a day on the beach or amongst the trees - are often the most affordable!
Curious about what Guatemala has to offer? You won’t be let down! Guatemala is renown for the Italian Renaissance-inspired colonial architecture of La Antigua city, the ancient Mayan ruins of Tikal, the impressively smouldering Volcán de Fuego, and the incredible turquoise swimming pools of Semuc Champey. The visually stunning country has much to explore, with the richness of it’s natural beauty only being matched by the history, culture, and generosity of the Guatemalan people. Plus…you’ve really got to try the coffee and the chocolate!
Student internships in Guatemala provide unique insight into modern developmental challenges. Whether you’re a student focusing on education, health, or even tourism or hospitality, an internship in Guatemala offers desirable and exciting opportunities for both personal and professional development.
Just like interning in Costa Rica, if you choose to intern in Guatemala, you’ll find that flights (from North or South America) into this destination won’t take a huge chunk out of your budget (especially if you grab those off-season deals that are usually more affordable from April through till the end of November). The relatively low cost of living in Guatemala ensures that weekend adventures (along with transportation) are affordable, as well as fun.
Internship program fees that are transparent and responsible should also ensure that they reflect affordability, so that you’re hosted, accommodated and supported during a meaningful and rewarding internship experience abroad, that doesn’t cost the earth.
Ready to knock some items off your bucket list? When you intern in Peru, choose an internship in Cusco and experience life in an ancient city teeming with history and culture. There are a wide range of student internships available in and around Cusco. From various health and medical internships to NGO Support, tourism, hospitality, education, and more, you can pursue professional development in a major multi-cultural city, without the big costs associated with other urban internship destinations.
The must-see city, once the capital of the Inca empire, is truly like no other. You’ll find glorious modern restaurants, alongside exquisite Spanish colonial architecture, alongside remnants of timeless Inca stonework, alongside llamas. Here, people come from all over the world, and whether you’re sightseeing, salsa dancing, or brushing up on your Quechua, you’ll be sure to meet wonderful new fellow-llama-sweater-wearing friends from all over the globe.
Regardless of where you’re flying into Cusco from, you’ll find the journey is offset by some of the most affordable internship fees available. To save significantly on costs in-country, you’ll benefit from securing a student internship that offers homestay accommodation within walking distance of the city center and main plazas - although you might want to invest in some comfortable walking shoes before your trip! If you’re saving money to intern abroad, cancel your gym membership and put the extra cash toward your dream internship in Cusco! You won’t have to worry about getting your steps up once you hit the high-altitude cobblestone streets of the city and spend weekends exploring the steps of Machu Picchu. This is the perfect destination for student internships abroad that are both affordable and epic!
You’ve narrowed down your destination choices - now what?
Researching the most affordable and enticing student internship destinations is an important first step! But what’s next? Exploring responsible internship providers to support and host you in-country should be next on your “to do” list. As an intern abroad, you’ll want to feel comfortable that your internship provider offers transparent fees, realistic budgeting advice, quality support, and has the experience to foster your personal and professional development.
If you’re unable to commit to a long-term internship, choose an option that has flexible duration requirements and can provide you with a professional portfolio upon completion of the program.
This article was contributed by Intern Abroad HQ, an organization dedicated to building connections between young professionals and international internship opportunities. As the sister organization of International Volunteer HQ, one of the world’s leading volunteer organizations, Intern Abroad HQ offers unparalleled, comprehensive, experiential learning programs.