Interning abroad in sustainable development is the perfect way to gain hands on experience in a field that requires intimate knowledge of grassroots issues and societal problems. There is only so much you can learn about sustainable development in a classroom, the rest comes from visiting the field and putting what you’ve learned into practice. Internships in sustainable development will not only provide you with the professional experience you need, they are bound to inspire you and satisfy your desire to help people.
Why Intern Abroad
Sustainable development is one of the most important disciplines for the future of our world. Developing countries all over the world face issues that impede improvements across society, in areas such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, and access to resources. Meanwhile the industrialized world recognizes the importance of environmental protection and long-term sustainability, and has therefore developed numerous techniques and methods to promote both. Interning abroad in sustainable development will allow you to facilitate cross cultural collaboration and communication, and prepare you for a bright future in the field.
Not surprisingly, most sustainable development internships abroad are located in developing countries, and for good reason. Grassroots initiatives to sustainably develop communities, cities, and nations that lack the ability to rise above poverty and disadvantage are gaining real momentum, and organizations continue to aid economic, social, and infrastructural development in both rural and urban areas.
Within the context of developing countries, your options of where to pursue a sustainable development internship abroad are quite expansive. Africa, Asia, and Central America unfortunately contain the greatest number of the world’s underdeveloped countries, and together these regions also host well over two-thirds of the world’s population. Therefore, the need for sustainable development planning in the latter regions is extremely large.
Some of the most popular countries for internships in sustainable development in these regions include China, Brazil, Thailand, India, Indonesia, and many nations throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. These countries are extremely culturally diverse, both within and between borders, so you can expect a very unique and enriching situation no matter which location you end up interning abroad in sustainable development.
There are also internships in sustainable development in the so-called “first-world,” or developed countries, as many urban communities constantly search for new ways to improve efficiency and minimize environmental impact. Nations within North America and Europe, as well as the nations of Japan and Australia, offer many sustainable development internships that provide a great cultural adventure.
Sustainable Development Internships
Internships in sustainable development tend to last from two to six months, depending on the flexibility of your schedule. However, since sustainable development is an interdisciplinary field which takes into account facets of economics, engineering, environmental science, urban planning, and more, it is usually possible to find a variety of related internships. From community programs in Mexico to grassroots campaigning in a village in Ghana to working on projects that promote potable drinking water in India, there are tons of sustainable development projects going on around the world that provide excellent internship opportunities.
The types of tasks you might engage in on a daily basis can include conducting surveys, gathering data, leading workshops, teaching, and actually helping to build infrastructure. Some sustainable development internships may be combined with the opportunity to enroll in courses for academic credit, or even offer work study programs as well.
Since many organizations that work in the area of sustainable development are not for profit, in most cases you will not be paid for your services as an intern. Do not fret though, many internships in sustainable development will include compensation in other ways, such as providing food and housing.
Impact. International internships in sustainable development are a rare opportunity to gain professional work experience while positively impacting local communities for many years to come. Individuals who choose to intern in a developing country will have their eyes opened to some of the most important issues facing our modern global era and learn about some of the most innovative sustainable development techniques being utilized around the world. In this regard, interns will be able to literally walk away from their internship in sustainable development knowing they have left a lasting impact on the world.
Form Bonds. All individuals who intern abroad in sustainable development will have the chance to get involved in projects that directly benefit community members and also often have the chance to work alongside locals to build a better future. Working with locals will interns understand the culture, have the opportunity to learn the local language, and come to understand the unique situation and circumstances that locals face.
Inspiration. Interning abroad in sustainable development will no doubt make you a more conscious person and help you inspire others to not only give back, but to be more mindful of the environmental impact their choices have on the world. Internship experiences will also serve as great inspiration, whether returning home to academic coursework, a professional career, or any other lifestyle.
A sustainable development internship abroad may just be your first step toward a truly great career!