Internship and Volunteer Opportunities

In a developing country

So, you've decided that you want to intern or volunteer overseas. You are ready to experience how 'the other half' lives… you are ready to be hot, thirsty, tired, frustrated and enjoy it. You are ready to meet people who will inspire you and others who will annoy you. You are ready to leave behind family and friends and make new connections. You are ready to learn about new cultures, new languages and new ways of doing things.

First stop: International Youth Internship Program (IYIP), for young Canadians aged 19-30, graduating from a post-secondary program. This program gives young Canadians the opportunity to apply their knowledge, gain international work experience and develop skills in various sectors. It is part of the Government of Canada's Youth Employment Strategy aimed at providing youth with tools and experience they need to launch successful careers. Interns are placed with Canadian non-governmental organizations and with host organizations in developing countries for at least five months. On average, there are about 400 international development interns placed in 65 countries with about 45 organizations each year.

If you are an Aboriginal youth between the ages of 18 and 35, interested in international development work, the International Aboriginal Youth Internships initiative may be for you! For more information, visit the International Aboriginal Youth Internship Program.

In Canada

You're ready to volunteer or intern for an organization, but not yet ready to go overseas? Don't worry, there are many organizations in Canada that welcome volunteers and host interns. It's just a matter of finding the right fit.

If you are interested in volunteering for an NGO, contact some in your area and see if they need volunteers. Check out Charity Village, a Canadian website for the non-profit sector with job listings, volunteer listings and other resources or Work in Non-Profits. When browsing through these sites, remember to search using the word 'international'.

If you are looking for an internship, check out the internships section of Campus Access — here you can find both Canadian and international opportunities.

If you are interested in a paid internship with the federal government, be sure to apply to the Federal Student Work Experience Program which offers students work experience related to their field of study. Jobs are filled throughout the year, although recruitment for summer positions peaks between March and June.

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) offers year-long paid internships in specific fields mainly in Canada. Visit IDRC Research Awards for more information.

Other opportunities in Canada and overseas

Apathy is Boring is a youth-run non-profit organization, focused on helping young Canadians get engaged in democracy. Their website uses art and technology to educate young people about democracy. You can join in a discussion with other young people, learn more about development and find opportunities to take action.

My World Abroad is full of useful advice.

Canada World Youth designs and delivers international education programs for young people between the ages of 15 and 29 in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Their goal is to help youth experience the world for themselves, learn about other cultures and diverse Canadian communities while developing leadership and communication skills. The Youth Leaders in Action program provides 6-month internships for young people as part of a team of 18 co-volunteers with three months spent working in Canada and three months in a developing country.

Global Vision is a national non-profit organization that prepares students aged 16-25 to make a meaningful contribution towards a better country, as business or development leaders.

Global Youth Action Network is a non-profit organization run by youth for youth. It facilitates youth participation in global decision-making, supports collaboration among diverse youth organizations and provides tools, resources and recognition for positive youth action.

Idealist is a network for those who want to build a better world. It offers information about jobs, internships, volunteer opportunities, events and programs. It also has a spot where you can search for volunteers for your own project.

Just Youth — Development and Peace is a website where youth can be inspired by and get involved in social justice. It offers internship opportunities as well as tools to start fundraising programs.

Me to We is a social enterprise founded by Craig Kielburger for people who want to help change the world with their daily choices. Participate in a trip, become a 'mob'ilizer or take leadership training.

Oxfam Canada regularly recruits university students to fill in-Canada volunteer positions.

Oxfam Québec (in French) provides information about development issues and opportunities to get involved including internships for Quebec students.

Québec Sans Frontières (in French) is a program for French-speaking Quebeckers aged 18 to 35 and provides opportunities to participate in internships in Francophone Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. It is funded by the Ministère des Relations internationales et de la Francophonie.

SOPAR offers one-month internships in India in community development. You may also be able to receive university credits for this internship. There are at least three application periods per year.

Students for Development Program, managed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, provides internships for senior-level Canadian university students for a minimum of three months in developing countries and emerging economies.

United World Colleges is a network of 13 schools and colleges providing a transformative educational experience to students from around the world, inspiring them to create a more peaceful and sustainable future. Canada's Pearson College is a member.

Uniterra is a voluntary cooperation and international development program, established by CECI and WUSC, to help reduce poverty and inequality in twelve countries. There are many ways for Canadians to participate — within Canada and in developing countries.

Verge Magazine is a North American magazine offering readers opportunities to explore studying, working and volunteering options abroad.

Voices of Youth is a UNICEF program and website offering children and youth a safe space where their voices will be heard — a place online where they can explore, learn, discuss and grow together. The site provides news, videos, discussion forums and information about human rights, poverty and hunger, education, health, environment, HIV and AIDS, and violence, war and conflict.

World Vision 30 Hour Famine is the world's biggest youth fund-raiser. By going hungry for a day you can help save lives around the globe.

World Volunteer Web is a global volunteer information portal providing links to thousands of resources for volunteers. It was created by the United Nations Volunteer Program and several partners. It offers how-to guides for both volunteers and for those managing volunteers.

YMCA is a national federation bringing together 61 YMCAs and YWCAs across Canada. As part of its work, it also supports overseas development projects, facilitates international exchanges and engages Canadians in international development issues.

Youth Challenge International builds communities and leaders through global youth development. It offers Canadian volunteers between the ages of 18 and 30 the opportunity to work on hands-on projects in developing countries that meet local needs as identified by local partners. You can go for as little as four weeks or longer if you wish.

If you are interested in opportunities with United Nations agencies, please visit United Nations Internships.

Related Links

Meet the winners of Développement international Desjardins' Doing my part contest! Every year two lucky youth get to travel to a developing country for a week-long awareness tour. This year's winners are travelling to Benin, but in previous years winners have travelled to Senegal, Vietnam, Burkina Faso, Mexico, Tanzania and Paraguay.

IYIP Video: Entrepreneurship in
Guyana