Volunteering and internship opportunities

Many Canadians participate in volunteering activities and internships, either in Canada or abroad. Volunteering and internships are great ways to gain professional experience, skills and knowledge that will prepare you for future employment.


First, make sure you are well informed as you plan your internship or volunteer placement abroad. Here's what you need know to volunteer abroad.

International Youth Internship Program (IYIP)

Interested in international development? You want to intern or volunteer overseas? IYIP is for Canadians 19 to 30 years old. The program gives post-secondary graduates the opportunity to apply their knowledge, gain international work experience and develop skills in various sectors.

International Aboriginal Youth Internships initiative (IAYI)

You are an Aboriginal youth between the ages of 18 and 35? You are interested in gaining international experience? If you possess a secondary school diploma (or equivalent certification) and/or equivalent work experience related to the internship description, the IAYI may be for you. These internships consist of a four to six-month period spent in a developing country working on issues such as equality between men and women, the environment, health, education, small business development, and agriculture.

Volunteer Cooperation Program

Interested in sharing your expertise, your knowledge and your time with the developing world? The Volunteer Cooperation Program leverages the skills and expertise of thousands of volunteers in support of advancing Canada’s international development priorities.

Canadian missions abroad

Many Canadian embassies have competitive internship programs for graduate students looking to gain valuable professional experience. Find out if the following Canadian missions currently offer internships:

Several Canadian universities have developed internship agreements with Canadian missions that are not part of this list.

Note: Each mission has its own recruitment process.

In Canada

You want to volunteer or intern with an organization working in the field of international development, but do not want to go overseas? Many organizations in Canada welcome volunteers and host interns. Contact a non-governmental organization (NGO) in your area and ask if they need volunteers.

If you are interested in gaining professional experience with the federal government, apply to the Federal Student Work Experience Program which offers full-time students work experience related to their field of study.

The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) offers summer work placements for students at their head office in Ottawa. IDRC also offers competitive research awards to students pursuing master’s or doctoral studies in a field related to international development.


For professionals and volunteers, the Centre for Intercultural Learning offers a broad range of courses and workshops to meet the needs of an international workforce.

For international youth internships, the Centre provides a broad range of training required by Global Affairs Canada (aimed towards youth interns and their Canadian organizations).

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