A Wilder Way to Learn


Do you want to make a contribution to world-class research that is leading the critical fight against biodiversity loss?

Are you driven by the need to take meaningful, considered action that can make a proven difference in the world?

Do you want to start your career as a conservationist, wildlife researcher, or animal-care project supervisor in some of the most varied and beautiful habitats in the world?

Then join us in rainforests, tropical islands and oceans across the world and help dedicated, on-the-ground research teams study and protect some of our most valuable and vulnerable species.

Critical science

Critical science

You'll contribute to vital conservation research targeted at protecting the earth's most valuable ecosystems.
Ethical engagement

Ethical engagement

Using the UN's SDGs as a framework, we've made a commitment to positive, constructive and sustainable impact.
Beautiful adventures

Beautiful adventures

You'll spend your days exploring some of the world's most breathtaking, exhilarating and remote wildernesses.

Intern abroad
Types of internships

Internships abroad

GVI offers some of the most highly-rated internship abroad programs in the international sustainable development sector. Each of our award-winning internships allow interns to work on one or more of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). 

Every year, hundreds of international students complete our internships abroad. Our alumni have gone on to work at top global organisations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Unilever and Deloitte.

You can get your hands dirty by doing an in-country, in-person internship in one of our beautiful international locations; or you can log on from the comfort of your own home with our virtual internships.

Depending on the kind of internship you select, you’ll have additional opportunities to collaborate with our sustainable development partners, or lead a research or data collection project of your own. No matter which internship type you select, you’ll be a part of impactful work on the ground. 

If your interests lie in community development we also offer internships in the fields of community development, women’s empowerment, public health, construction and business and micro-enterprise development. Head on over to our People site for more information on our community projects.

Some of our internship opportunities include a three-month work placement either with GVI or one of our many world-class partner organisations in locations across the globe. 

All GVI international internship programs include:

  • field-specific training by experienced professionals 
  • specialised work experience with a focus on international development 
  • weekly one-on-one feedback with a remote supervisor
  • online training on GVI’s work, and your project focus and location
  • three University of Richmond endorsed online courses (in leadership and marine or wildlife conservation, or community development, as well as careers in sustainable development)
  • a professional recommendation or LinkedIn reference and endorsements (depending on your internship type)
  • an opportunity to contribute to the achievement of the UN SDGs
  • a chance to connect with specialists in the international sustainable development sector from all around the world and start building your global network.


Students can join a GVI international internship for a minimum of 4 weeks, and a maximum 24 weeks. Most students choose to complete a summer internship abroad because this is when they have a break in their academic calendar. However, some students arrange a semester internship with their academic institution and take advantage of our 12-week internship options.

Those taking a year off between high school and college, or undergraduate and graduate school, can also take advantage of our 24-week internship opportunities. 

While many students choose to complete an undergraduate or graduate internship with GVI, you don’t have to be signed onto a college or university degree program to join one of our internships abroad. 

Many of our internship programs abroad also include additional qualifications like a PADI Divemaster or a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate. Interns who have successfully completed their internship stand a good chance of working for GVI, or one of our many partner organisations. In fact, many of our current staff members were previously GVI interns. 

And if travelling isn’t an option for you, we offer a range of virtual internships. Working remotely from home, you can still gain practical experience working with a range of governments, NGOs and social enterprises in locations around the world. Throughout your virtual internships you’ll receive daily one-on-ones with an assigned mentor and weekly masterclasses delivered by local experts.

While we don’t offer high school internships, if you’re under the age of 18, you’re welcome to join one of our teen volunteering programs abroad. Specially designed for teens between the ages of 15 and 17, our under 18 programs are offered in locations around the world. 

Hear from our interns

To read more testimonials from our internship programs all around the world, take a look at our internship testimonials page.

Types of internships

All GVI internships offer world-class work experience and training, and you’ll also have additional opportunities to customise your internship to meet your personal, academic and professional goals. 

Training and support 

All GVI internships include comprehensive training and support before your program starts to make sure you’re fully equipped to make an impact as soon as you arrive at your destination. This includes:

  • GVI-specific online training that’ll set you up with insights into our project work, both globally and at your project location, and outline how your day-to-day activities feed into efforts to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs)
  • pre-program support, including a group call with fellow participants that’ll get you ready with everything you need to know before you arrive on your program
  • two University of Richmond endorsed GVI Online courses: Leading Teams for Impact, and a specialisation course (in community development)
  • additional location and focus-specific training.


Once you’ve finished contributing to impactful project work on the ground, you’ll receive the following to help you take your experience forward to achieve your personal, academic and career goals. All GVI interns:

  • receive support and guidance from a remote career mentor through two career coaching sessions that’ll help you take the next step in your career
  • gain access to a GVI-exclusive job portal that collates roles in the sustainable development sector, including GVI roles
  • will receive a boost on any applications to available GVI positions
  • are enrolled in the University of Richmond endorsed GVI careers course
  • have access to our alumni program.


Research Fellowship 

A research internship is ideal for participants who are looking for advanced experience in field research, or who are in the process of completing a thesis or research paper. In addition to all internship activities, participants who join a research internship will have opportunities for more in-depth experience in research, data collection and analysis. As a research intern, you’ll also be able to pull on existing GVI data and coordinate with other GVI hubs in your efforts. 

And, to ensure that research interns have first-rate academic support while on the ground, you’ll also have the insights of a remote research internship supervisor who’ll be on hand to help you achieve your research goals and guide your in-field work. 

After you’ve successfully completed your research internship, you’ll receive a LinkedIn reference and skills endorsements. You’ll also receive certificates from the University of Richmond for any successfully completed GVI online courses. 

And, we’re so confident in our internship offering that we guarantee that all interns who take part in a program of 6 months or more will receive a job offer within 18 months of successfully completing the program. If you don’t, you’ll receive a refund of 50% of your program fee.



Perhaps you’re less certain about your career path or aren’t ready to delve into a research project of your own just yet. If you’re looking for a less specialised internship, but still want to gain real-world experience and training, then an internship might be the best choice for you. 

You’ll complete the same pre- and post-program training as you would on any other internship type. However, you won’t complete additional data collection or collaborate on work with GVI partners. Instead, as an intern, you’ll take on additional responsibilities at the GVI base. This might include leading surveys, program activities or workshops, or organising beach cleanups, fundraising, and providing marketing support. 

After you’ve successfully completed your internship, you’ll receive a reference that speaks to the experiences and skills you’ve gained while on your program. You’ll also receive certificates from any of the three University of Richmond endorsed courses that you’ve completed successfully.

Internship abroad programs

GVI offers internships in a number of different focus areas, including marine conservation, wildlife conservation, animal care, community development, teaching, women’s empowerment, public health, construction and business and micro-enterprise

Many students that have completed one of our internships abroad have gone on to work at highly respected conservation organisations like the World Wildlife Fund, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the Wildlife Trusts and South African National Parks (SANParks)

Conservation interns on programs of 8 weeks or longer will learn techniques for surveying habitats and animals, earning their Biological Survey Techniques certificate in the process. This qualification is designed by GVI and trains interns in being able to conduct a scientifically rigorous conservation research study in just about any natural habitat. Interns also learn how to record this data, and might have an opportunity to learn about data analysis if they choose one of our long-term internships. 

Interns study and work on key environmental conservation issues like plastic pollution and climate change. They contribute to environmental restoration efforts like reforestation, soil rehabilitation, and invasive species eradication, and also conduct research on organisms like mangroves that form a key part of the local ecosystem. 

While these international internship opportunities are the perfect choice for students studying ecology or environmental science, students from other disciplines are more than welcome to join. 

While summer internships are often the most popular among students, our internships run throughout the year – which means students can join at a time that suits them best. 

Wildlife conservation internships

We provide interns with exactly the type of practical work experience employers in this field are after. Gain experience in conservation while supporting the work of global conservation organisations like the Endangered Wildlife Trust, branches of National governments like the Seychelles National Park Authority, SANParks, the Ministry of Environment and Energy, Costa Rica (MINAE) and the Thai Royal Navy, as well as regional conservation organisations like ARCHELON (The Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece) and the Sea Turtle Conservancy

Interns learn to master techniques like telemetry and remote camera trapping used to track the presence, numbers, and movements of animal species. On a coastal conservation internship in Costa Rica, Greece and Seychelles might also get the opportunity to tag sea turtles and, in Seychelles, sicklefin lemon sharks. Tag numbers are used for data collection such as monitoring species growth rates.

In Costa Rica, Seychelles, Spain, Madagascar, South Africa, and Thailand interns can gain experience in conducting biodiversity surveys and censuses of specific species or types of species, which are a key aspect of many conservation initiatives. Students thinking of ornithology, entomology, herpetology or even primatology as a focus, might find these projects particularly interesting, as there are many birds, insects, reptiles, amphibians and even monkeys to take note of during these particular surveys. 

Our interns in South Africa, Costa Rica, Madagascar, and Thailand also learn about the importance of monitoring and maintaining the balance of predator and prey as well as herbivores and vegetation within a specific ecosystem. This becomes especially interesting and important when two species that interact with one another are under threat, like the jaguars who prey on sea turtles at our location in Costa Rica, or the elephants that damage the rare and endangered native plants at our location in South Africa.

Interns in Costa Rica, Greece and Seychelles can gain experience in protecting and researching the breeding grounds, behaviours, and younglings of animal species under threat, an important part of conservation projects aimed at protecting endangered species. 

Another aspect of protecting endangered species involves preventing poaching. One common method conservationists use to protect specific species from poachers is to compile identification kits. GVI interns can gain experience in this preventative method by joining one of our internships in Costa Rica, Greece, Seychelles and South Africa

Those interested in animal care internships, will find value in our endangered green sea turtle and endangered Asian elephant animal internships in Thailand. Interns can either rear sea turtle hatchlings or help to integrate captive elephants into the wild. 

Please note that we don’t offer wildlife veterinary internships, because of the risk of harm to animals. Read our animal handling and captivity policy as well as our prevention of risk of harm policy to learn more. 

GVI interns from around the world can also complete a Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA) qualification, through our sister organisation, Bushwise, located in South Africa. The course certifies interns to work as safari guides throughout Africa, but the knowledge, skills and experience acquired will count towards work as a wilderness guide in any habitat. 

On short-term wildlife conservation internships (lasting between 6 and 12 weeks) interns complete their training by assisting local GVI staff with ongoing wildlife conservation research. Long-term GVI interns can also complete a work placement with one of our many wildlife conservation partners around the world, like the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve in Costa Rica and Nature’s Valley Trust in South Africa. 

Marine conservation internships

GVI marine conservation alumni are employed in marine conservation projects and dive centres all around the world. Many, like Abbie Hine, have gone on to found their own marine conservation organisations, like Abbie’s organisation, WiseOceans

We have over 20 years of experience running marine conservation internships around the world. We’re also the only marine conservation internship organisation to offer the Coral Reef Researcher Distinctive Speciality, a training program designed by us in collaboration with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI), that allows students to learn about the most commonly used scientific methods for surveying the health of a coral reef. 

On all these internships, you’ll work with international non-governmental organisations like Ocean Conservancy, CoralWatch, Project AWARE and Healthy Reefs for Healthy People, departments of the Mexico, Fiji, and Seychelles governments, and local community-based non-governmental organisations. 

Gain experience in coral surveying and restoration, surveys of underwater species, invasive marine species eradication, and working with local fishing communities and tour providers to implement more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. 

A PADI Divemaster is a requirement for employment on most marine conservation projects. For this reason, all our marine conservation internships that run for 24 weeks include a Divemaster certification program. Our long-term diving internships with a marine conservation focus also include a work placement with a marine conservation organisation. 

Marine conservation interns on one of our long-term diving programs can also choose to complete a work placement at a dive centre instead of working on a marine conservation project. This gives interns the opportunity to gain experience in the business of guiding recreational diving tours.

This field of work allows diving professionals to use dive training as a way to inspire an appreciation for local marine environments in people from around the world and teach responsible diving practices that affect marine habitats. We offer work placements at dive centres like XTC Dive Center in Mexico and Dive Seychelles, or resorts that offer diving programs like Koro Sun Resort and Garden Island Resort, both in Fiji.

While we don’t offer a marine conservation training program in Thailand, we do offer a dive centre placement here, located on an island in Southern Thailand. Interns can choose to complete the training portion of their marine conservation internship in Fiji or Seychelles, and then finish off their internship with a work placement in Thailand.

In Mexico, interns can also complete their PADI Instructor and Master Scuba Diver training programs with GVI, allowing them to become some of the most respected professionals in the diving sector. 

Short-term marine conservation internships of 6 to 12 weeks are also available, but it’s important to note that these aren’t PADI Divemaster internships. However, they do allow interns to complete their PADI Advanced Open Water Diver certification, and the PADI Coral Reef Researcher Distinctive Speciality is also included, which is unique to GVI.

We offer students the opportunity to train in the field of marine conservation while experiencing some of the top diving destinations in the world such as: 

  • the waters of the Pacific Ocean surrounding the tiny Fijian island of Dawasamu.
  • a portion of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System situated off the coast of the town of Puerto Morelos on Mexico’s Riviera Maya in the Caribbean sea.
  • the vibrant underwater landscapes of the Indian Ocean surrounding the Seychellois island of Mahe.
  • the blue waters surrounding the Spanish Canary Islands.


Community development internships

Students looking to gain experience in international community development will find many opportunities with us. They can choose an internship with a specific community development focus like education, health and well-being, or gender equality, or they can choose to complete an internship with a holistic view of community development. We offer international community development internship opportunities in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Fiji, Nepal, and South Africa

Teaching internships

GVI offers teaching internships abroad in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Ghana, Fiji, Madagascar, Nepal, South Africa and Thailand. On these programs, interns will have the opportunity to teach a range of education levels, from pre-primary, primary, and secondary school students to young and middle-aged adults. 

The most commonly taught subject is the English language and in Thailand, teaching interns can even complete their TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate.

Interns train by supporting local educators, first learning skills like lesson planning and classroom management, and then, as they gain work experience, are given opportunities to lead portions of classes or even full lessons. 

Public health internships

GVI offers global health internships in Cambodia, Fiji, Nepal, South Africa and Thailand. You can be part of the work being done to help communities to prevent transferable illnesses by conducting UNICEF’s WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) workshops with children.

Work to prevent non-transferrable illnesses like diabetes and cardiac disease by leading physical education lessons and nutrition workshops with local students and other community members. In certain locations, like Fiji, you might also get the opportunity to facilitate maternal and prenatal health, as well as infant and toddler health workshops. In some locations, our global public health interns also conduct emergency first aid workshops.

Please note that GVI doesn’t offer any medical internships abroad. The reason for this is that GVI abides by the principle of primum non nocere or “first do no harm.” We simply aren’t comfortable with the potential risks for patients involved in international medical internships. If you’re considering a medical internship abroad, we suggest that you fully investigate the ethical concerns around medical internships, ask the internship provider you plan to use about their operational practices, and make an informed decision afterwards. 

Women’s empowerment internships

For those students who would like to work specifically on gender equality issues, we offer a range of women’s empowerment internships abroad. 

Perhaps you’re a law student who’s committed to eradicating gender inequality and enforcing women’s rights, or maybe you’re a medical student who is focused on women’s health, including reproductive health, prenatal and infant care. You might want to work as a psychologist or social worker and are looking to help women empower themselves by freeing themselves from limiting beliefs and creating a community of women to support them on their journey. Those studying to be teachers might also be interested in focusing on helping girls specifically with challenges to achieving their goals. 

GVI can offer you the opportunity to learn about the challenges women in specific local contexts face around the world. What are the differences and what are the similarities? You’ll learn about the kind of support that is most valued by local girls and women in communities around the world. In the process, you’ll master numerous skills, like teaching adults and leading workshops. You might also be given the opportunity to complete a research project focused on women’s issues in the community. 

We offer international women’s empowerment internships in Cambodia, Ghana, Nepal and South Africa

Construction internships

Does your idea of weekend fun include tinkering, refurbishing, building or otherwise innovating practical solutions? Are your social media feeds filled with beautiful rooms and DIY solutions? Are you looking at going into professions like carpentry or architecture?

A GVI construction internship abroad might be the ideal international internship opportunity for you. In Fiji we partner with local construction professionals in addressing a range of issues surrounding water scarcity. You could take part in a range of activities, from the installation of waste management and rainwater harvesting systems. Learn technical skills, like how to gain accurate measurements and plan appropriately, and transferable skills important in the construction sector, like intercultural communication and teamwork. Our international community development internships in Nepal and South Africa might also include some construction work in addition to the focus on teaching and women’s empowerment.

Best places to intern abroad

What makes a country, city, or location one of the “best” places to intern abroad? It really depends on what you’re looking for. At GVI, we’ve always been more interested in off-the-beaten-track destinations. If you have a taste for the authentic and unusual, and a need to get out of your comfort zone, then our values are aligned. 

We set up our international sustainable development projects where the resources we provide can be of most use. This allows our interns and volunteers to work in some rather exceptional places – from remote research centres in densely jungled rainforests and tiny uninhabited tropical islands to Buddhist temple schools.

With us, interns can truly travel the world, as we offer international internship opportunities on every continent excluding Antarctica. Choose an internship destination that speaks to you from those we’ve listed below. 

Internships in Africa

The mere mention of the African continent conjures up images of iconic endangered and vulnerable species like the lion, giraffe, black rhinoceros, as well as the African bush and forest elephant. For this reason, the conservation work carried out here is of utmost importance to preserve these species. 

Sub-Saharan Africa is also the site of much international development work. The United Nations, and other global sustainable development organisations, support local communities in this region with increasing economic growth, women’s equality and quality education. 

GVI offers many opportunities for work abroad in Africa. Students can complete conservation or international community development internships in Ghana, Madagascar, Seychelles or South Africa. 

Internships in Ghana

Ghana is a West African nation, known for its giant herds of elephants roaming equatorial forests, the warm waters of its palm-lined beaches, and the vibrant music scene of its capital. GVI runs international community development projects in Kokrobite, a traditional seaside town, an hour from the capital of Accra. Here international community development interns can work on education and gender equality initiatives. 

Internships in Madagascar

When you join an internship in Madagascar, you’ll get to learn about and live among some of the rarest animals on earth. Here you can be part of a lemur and wildlife expedition where you’ll help to protect critically endangered lemur species in the only remaining primaeval rainforest on the tropical island of Nosy Be.

If you’re looking to kickstart your career, our wildlife conservation internship is for you. With a guaranteed work placement, you’ll spend the first three months expanding your knowledge and skill set, and the next three months putting what you’ve learnt into practice by working in the field as a GVI staff member.

Ranging in length from 4 to 24 weeks, we also offer a teaching English Internship in Madagascar. On this program you’ll gain experience teaching primary school learners in a formal setting and adult learners in an informal setting. 

Internships in South Africa

A stronghold for species like the cheetah, lion and rhino, South Africa is a popular destination for many international visitors, and the conservation work carried out here is of utmost importance to preserve these species. GVI offers conservation internships in Karongwe, a private nature and wildlife reserve, located just an hour’s drive from Kruger National Park in the South African province of Limpopo. 

When you join our 6-month wildlife conservation internship you’ll learn from industry professionals and gain valuable work experience during your three-month work placement (which is included in the program).

In the greater Cape Town area, another hub of South African tourism, we offer international community development internships. Here interns have an opportunity to learn about the unique context of South Africa and gain experience in education, global health and women’s empowerment projects.

Internships in Seychelles

A true tropical paradise, the Seychelles archipelago is home to many rare, native species like the Aldabra tortoise, the black parrot and the coco de mer palm tree. Curieuse Island and its surrounding waters is a national park, managed by our local partner, the Seychelles Parks and Garden Authority (SPGA). From here we run coastal conservation internships. Gain practical experience and be part of critical research within the park during our short-term environmental conservation internship. Or join our communications and social media internship where you’ll learn about conservation and gain leadership skills.

If scuba-diving, coral reefs and marine conservation is where your passion lies, we offer marine conservation internships off the coast of Mahe, the main island in Seychelles. Here, interns contribute to marine research expeditions while earning their scuba-diving qualifications. Interns who join our marine conservation and PADI Divemaster internship will also receive the PADI Reef Ecosystem Diver (RESD) specialty segment of the PADI Divemaster course. This unique offering by GVI and PADI teaches you about best practices when conducting underwater coral reef surveys.

Internships in Asia

The picture-perfect natural habitats, photogenic animal species and highly diverse cultural experiences of Southeast Asia attract many international visitors each year. For many, countries like Thailand are once-in-a-lifetime tour destinations. 

The region benefits economically from these visitors but it is also necessary to implement measures to protect many of the rare species native to this region that are under threat.

GVI offers international community development internships in three nations across the Southeast Asian subcontinent. Interns work with members of the communities to use the tourism sector in their region to further empower themselves. In two locations in Thailand, we also run conservation programs, with a specific focus on involving the local community in conservation objectives. Students interested in elephant and sea turtle conservation can complete conservation internships focusing specifically on these species by joining our projects in Thailand.

Intern in Cambodia

Home to Angkor Wat, the largest religious building in the world, Cambodia has become an incredibly popular destination for international visitors over the past decade or so. This increase in tourism has created many economic opportunities for its citizens. 

GVI runs education and gender equality initiatives in the town of Siem Reap to assist locals with taking full advantage of these new opportunities. There is also a need for a greater awareness of the impact people have on the local environment. Students interested in sustainable development can complete a community development internship with us in Cambodia. Environmental education forms part of this program. 

Intern in Nepal

The gateway to the Himalayas, Nepal, is a bucket-list destination for most adventure-loving globe-trotters. Join our international community development internship in Pokhara to assist Nepali individuals with learning and increasing their professional development skill sets to take better advantage of the opportunities tourism affords. 

Internships in Thailand

Thailand is one of the most visited countries in the world. Individuals in Thailand benefit greatly from the influx of international travellers by working in the tourism sector, but Thailand’s natural environments require protection from human activities. 

GVI supports conservation and community initiatives in two locations in Thailand – a small coastal town in Thailand’s Phang Nga province and a tiny Karen hill tribe village an hour from the city of Chiang Mai

Living in homestay-style accommodation, on an elephant conservation internship you’ll live and work among the famous Karen elephant-keeping community in the mountainous Chiang Mai province. Here you’ll gain practical research skills while monitoring the reintegration of elephants relieved from the tourist industry back into the forest.

Travelling south to Phang Nga, our coastal conservation internships focus on sea turtle research and conservation and coastal conservation. Here you’ll assist the Thai government with turtle conservation, beach plastic pollution cleanups, island conservation and environmental education.

On our Phang Nga base we also offer community internships that focus on teaching English and global public health

Internships in Europe

Completing your international internship in Europe is a popular choice for students looking to intern abroad. It’s a way to learn about classical European culture and gain experience working with some of the most highly respected organisations in the world. We offer two internship locations in Europe: Canary Islands, Spain and Greece.

Intern in Canary Islands, Spain

Our base on the island of Tenerife is home to some of the most interesting marine life in the oceans, including whales, dolphins and sea turtles. Live and work in one of the world’s most spectacular island habitats, while gaining practical marine conservation skills.

If you’re looking to gain experience in marine science research and conservation or need to complete a marine biology internship as part of your degree program, then our marine biology internship is for you. You’ll contribute to studying the effects of tourism on whales, dolphins and other marine species, as well as other threats to marine life such as unsustainable fishing, tourism, climate change and marine pollution.

Intern in Greece

Parts of the Greek coastline are essential breeding grounds for loggerhead sea turtles. Interns looking to complete a coastal conservation internship can join our sea turtle conservation internship. Living and working from our base in the beautiful Kyparissia Bay, interns assist with collecting data, conduct surveys to protect turtles and turtle nests from predation and educate the local people about conservation issues. 

Internships in Latin America

Home to incredible biodiversity, Latin America is an excellent choice for a student interested in pursuing a career in conservation. Those who would like to focus on community development can also intern here to put their Spanish language skills into practice. Learning Spanish will enable students to participate in many international development projects as it is the second most spoken language in the world. We offer internships in Costa Rica and Mexico.

Internships in Costa Rica

Hosting almost 6% of the world’s biodiversity, Costa Rica attracts many visitors every year due to its truly one-of-a-kind natural habitats and species. With this precious biodiversity requiring protection, interns can complete wildlife and environmental conservation internships in Costa Rica. 

On a conservation internship in Costa Rica’s coastal rainforest you’ll learn from an international team of researchers while contributing to projects focusing on species like jaguars and sea turtles. After your initial training, you’ll be offered a work placement where you’ll help run our conservation research program in the Kekoldi Indigenous Reserve, or with one of our partner organisations, like the Cloudbridge Nature Reserve, to assist with local conservation efforts and research.

If you’d like to focus specifically on sea turtles, joining our sea turtle and conservation internship will see you involved with conservation efforts of green turtles, hawksbills and leatherbacks. Interns on this program will also be able to participate in rainforest, wildlife and bird surveys within the national park. 

We also run community development projects in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, in the town of Cimarrones. This helps members of the local communities take greater advantage of the economic opportunities afforded by the many travellers who visit Costa Rica every year. 

Internships in Mexico

Mexico is known as a resort destination and is one of the most visited countries in the world. A large part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest coral reef in the world, is found off Mexico’s coastline, and this influx of global visitors has an effect on its ecosystem, while also benefiting the local Mexican economy.

GVI runs marine conservation projects in the town of Puerto Morelos on Mexico’s Riviera Maya coastline. 

Here interns can complete their PADI Divesmaster, while gaining experience in marine conservation. After earning the PADI Coral Reef Restoration Diver (CRRD) Distinctive Speciality and PADI Rescue Diver, interns have the opportunity to work at a local dive centre. 

Experienced divers looking to take the next career step can join our PADI Instructor internship. This comprehensive 30-week course includes a specific coral research and marine conservation focus, exclusive to GVI. 

Internships in Australasia

Home to many valuable underwater, coastal and island habitats, the Oceania region is of particular interest to marine conservationists. There are also many community development initiatives running in this region, focusing on issues such as education, health and well-being, as well as economic growth. Students interested in international community development or marine conservation can gain experience learning about these types of initiatives in the context of the Pacific islands with GVI. Our only internship destination in the Australasian region, is the Fiji archipelago. 

Internships in Fiji

Fiji is one of the most popular diving destinations in the world and is known for its luxury resorts. Sustainable fishing and tourism practices are required to preserve the island and underwater habitats and locals need support in order to make the most of the employment opportunities offered by the tourism sector. From our base in the district of Dawasamu – on the main Fijian island of Viti Levu – we run marine conservation and community internships.

Home to almost half of the world’s species of coral, interns can complete their PADI Divemaster while gaining experience in marine conservation and coral reef ecology.

Working closely with the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network and other NGOs, our coral reef ecology and conservation internship gives you the opportunity to work on protecting the coral reef ecosystem in the area and participate in local conservation initiatives. Interns staying for two weeks or longer will receive the Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality segment of the PADI Divemaster course – a unique offering by GVI & PADI that teaches you about best practices when conducting underwater coral reef surveys. 

We also offer a range of community development internships with a focus on improving education, health education, gender equality, or even rainwater conservation and plastic pollution prevention.

How to fund your international internship, apply for credit, and use financial aid

Many academic institutions now consider international internship programs, from a reputable provider like GVI, to be programs with a similar value to study abroad programs. For this reason, they’re often keen to allocate credits for these programs. This means you can make use of your financial aid to fund your internship abroad, while also earning credits that count towards your qualification.

Although GVI international internship programs aren’t automatically accredited internship programs, many of our interns have applied and received credits for their GVI internships through their educational institutions. The first step is to contact your international education office or your academic advisor. 

After more than two decades in operation, GVI has become well-known to academic institutions around the world including Stanford University, Duke University, University of Oxford, New York University, Northeastern University, University of Brighton, University of Bath, University of East Anglia, Plymouth University, University of Oregon, University of Glasgow, Bournemouth University, and Cardiff University. We’ve also arranged custom group programs for students from many institutions of higher learning including Ohio State University and Duke University and our service learning curriculum is certified by Portland State University. 

Apply for an internship scholarship

These days, many institutions understand the long-term career value of international work experience. This is why many academic institutions, governments, and private organisations, offer scholarships for students looking to work abroad. GVI is no exception and we often offer limited time scholarship opportunities for students who fulfil specific criteria. To see if we currently have any international internship scholarships available see our scholarships page

Fundraise to intern abroad

Since you’re looking to intern abroad in international sustainable development, you might also be able to fundraise for your program. Not only is this a way for you to access the means to intern abroad but it’s also an opportunity to raise awareness about the global issues you care so deeply about. 

You can make use of GVI’s own fundraising platform to set up your fundraising campaign. Simply select the internship program you’d like to join, submit an application and one of our enrolment managers will assist you with setting one up. Then visit our fundraising ideas page for inspiration on how to collect funds. 

Speak to your parents

Like academic institutions, parents are increasingly becoming aware of the excellent return on investment offered by internships, particularly international internships. If your parents or guardians are helping to fund your education, it might be worth discussing with them what part they can play in helping to fund your internship abroad. If your parents have any questions, direct them to our parent information page, which includes reviews by parents of GVI and a brochure. They can also always contact us for more information.

Save up to 15%. Book before 31 March.

Get your special offer
4 – 12 weeks

Get broad exposure to a variety of conservation initiatives.

4 – 24 weeks
Virtual internships

Work remotely on real projects for conservation partners.

4 - 24 weeks

Complete your thesis or dissertation, become a co-author and get published.

24 weeks

Get a three month placement to work for a conservation partner.

1 - 12 weeks

Contribute to ethical conservation programs grounded in science.

Choose a program focus



Marine conservation
Help restore damaged marine ecosystems, protect endangered marine species, and ultimately contribute to the overall health of both marine and terrestrial environments.
Wildlife conservation
Help with the preservation of endangered animal and plant species and educate local communities so they can implement long term, impactful approaches to conservation
Animal care
Work with animals such as elephants and turtles and make a direct impact on the conservation of these endangered species by providing options of alternative livelihoods to local communities.

Community development

Teach English to help improve academic and employability opportun[...]
Volunteer with children
Help improve children’s education, health and well-being.
Public health
Educate communities on healthy eating, personal hygiene and disea[...]
Women's empowerment
Support women and girls with meaningful access to equal opportuni[...]
Business & micro-enterprise
Run hands-on, educational workshops on business skills and mentor[...]
Community development
Gain practical experiences in educational enrichment, public heal[...]