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Career internship program


GVI Career Internships

Develop industry-specific skills and enhance your employability with GVI’s global career internships. Taking part in a career internship with GVI will keep you a step ahead of the rest in the conservation and sustainable development industries. 

GVI is an award-winning organisation, so when you join an international internship program with us, you can be sure that you’ll be involved in a project that’ll make a real impact, and look great on your CV.

You can choose to join our in-field career internship programs for a period of 4 to 24 weeks, with start dates occurring every 2 weeks. You’ll also receive extensive pre-program training including: 

  • an expectation group call that’ll give you the chance to meet your fellow interns, get to know the staff and prepare for your internship
  • our GVI around the world presentation – which outlines our impact across all of our locations and focus areas, worldwide
  • GVI Online leadership and specialisation courses endorsed by the University of Richmond.

But the training doesn’t end there. Any additional location- and program-specific training that’s needed, such as language courses, TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certifications or PADI certifications will also be provided on base once your program has started. You’ll also receive ongoing support from your remote career internship supervisor throughout your international internship program.

The main focus of our career internships is for you to complete practical work at a GVI base as well as a range of virtual project work with our international partners. You’ll also get the opportunity to gain insight into how projects are implemented in a variety of our career internship locations, when you meet and collaborate virtually with other career interns, and partners, across our locations around the world.

Some of the international partners that you could work with, include Save the Children; The Red Cross; The Endangered Wildlife Trust; government ministries for the environment, youth and education in various countries and the South African National Parks Board.

Participants can also choose to pay an additional fee to do an external placement. Placements can range from 4 to 12 weeks, and further develop your industry knowledge and skills, all while you gain valuable international experience in your field of choice. 

And GVI’s support and involvement in your career doesn’t just stop once you’ve completed your career internship. You’ll continue to receive support and guidance from a career mentor through two remote career coaching sessions that’ll help you take the next step in your career. You’ll also receive:

  • a LinkedIn reference from your remote career internship supervisor 
  • certificates from the University of Richmond for any of the GVI Online courses you completed 
  • access to our GVI Online careers course
  • an employment guarantee (if your career internship was longer than 6 months)
  • preference for GVI vacancies 
  • access to our carefully curated job portal that advertises vacancies in the conservation and development sectors.

If you aren’t too sure what you’d like to do in the future, or career internships are just a bit too specialised for you right now, you can also choose to participate in one of our core international internship programs instead. As a core intern you won't work closely with and complete projects with external partners, but you will take on extra responsibilities at the GVI base. You might also lead surveys, program activities or workshops, or organise beach cleanups, fundraisers, and provide marketing support. 

You can also opt for a research internship. This type of internship is best suited for you if you’re looking to get advanced experience in field research, or are a university student and need to conduct field-based research.

GVI offers career internships across many different focus areas including marine conservation, wildlife conservation, community development, women’s empowerment, global public health and business and micro-enterprise development.

Marine conservation 

Are you the type of person who needs to know the name of every underwater species that you spotted while scuba diving during your last island vacation? Do you want to find out how to minimise the effects of global warming on marine life? Or maybe your dream is to become a top marine biologist?

Well, this type of GVI international internship program could be a perfect career move for you.

Join GVI’s marine conservation internships and contribute to protecting the most vulnerable marine species while you gain professional industry experience that’ll help you pursue a career in marine biology, oceanology or conservation. 

You could work with partners to analyse data to determine whether changes in ocean temperatures could affect the behaviours of marine species. Or write a report on the threat that unsustainable fishing practices could pose to biodiversity.

In addition to your virtual partner project-work, you could take part in efforts to minimise marine plastic pollution or learn about the effects of climate change through data collection and surveys. 

You could also be involved in spreading awareness to local people, tourists and tourism companies on the importance of responsible and ethical ocean tourism.

All GVI marine conservation career interns can be confident that they’ll be a part of programs that make a real impact. This is because all of our marine conservation internships are aligned to the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 14: Life Below Water, and related global goals. 

Wildlife conservation

Want to spend your days collecting data on endangered rhinos, spotting giraffes as they stroll across the sun-drenched South African savannah, or tracking jaguars in the lush rainforests of Jalova? Maybe you’re passionate about building up a bigger database of knowledge on the Asian elephant population in Chiang Mai?

Well, you’re in luck because GVI offers international wildlife conservation career internships that’ll provide you with once-in-a-lifetime experiences like these, all while equipping you with skills and experience to catapult your conservation career success.

So whether you’re after a long-term career in wildlife conservation, or just want an opportunity to make an impact in the wildlife industry right now – our career internships will provide you with practical experiences that’ll positively impact your future employability.

You can choose to become a wildlife conservation intern with GVI in: 

In all of these locations you’ll also work on virtual projects with external partners. You might be responsible for collecting data and creating a report that looks at how climate change affects wildlife. Or, you could design a social media plan with the aim of generating funding for wildlife conservation organisations.

Community development

If you’re looking to have a more varied and holistic career internship experience, GVI has many opportunities in community development that you can choose from. 

From teaching children and adults, to collaborating on empowerment initiatives with community members and career interns in other locations, you can choose to join a GVI community development internship in Costa Rica, Laos, Mexico, Nepal and Thailand.

Women’s empowerment 

We may have come a long way in advancing women’s rights across the globe, but even today, women and girls still face a massive uphill climb to access the same resources and opportunities as men.

When you decide to become an intern on one of GVI’s women empowerment projects, you’ll partner with local women to advance gender equality in all corners of the globe. 

GVI programs are community-led, so we can learn directly from women in the communities we work with to find out what their empowerment needs are. As an intern, you could be involved in helping women empower themselves through:

  • educational workshops
  • health care education like first aid, women's health and nutrition workshops
  • social enterprise and income initiatives. 

Not only will you help loosen the grip that gender inequality has on communities, but you’ll also gain hands-on experience and leadership skills, immerse yourself in local languages and cultures, and contribute towards your university qualification or future career. 

GVI offers international women’s empowerment career internships in Laos and Nepal.

Global public health

GVI offers global health internships to help communities empower themselves with the information and hygiene habits they need to avoid preventable illnesses. 

Our career interns conduct water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) workshops with children to improve overall hygiene practices. We also offer workshops to teach adults on nutrition habits to prevent illnesses like malnutrition, obesity and diabetes.

You’ll also work on project work with a number of external partners, either locally or virtually. You might report on the effects of contaminated water using the data collected from a local organisation. Or, you might work with local organisations to identify training gaps for community health workers, and propose ways to upskill these professionals.  

It’s important to note that GVI doesn’t offer any hands-on or diagnostic medical career internships in any of our locations. We abide by the principle of primum non nocere or “first do no harm”, and do not endorse untrained or unlicensed individuals carrying out medical work.

Whether most of your project work is in person, or virtual, you’ll receive real-world experience and gain a contextual understanding of the day-to-day responsibilities of development practitioners who are focused on public health. You’ll work with real organisations, both locally and globally, to analyse and promote sustainable approaches to health care, and work towards providing accessible healthcare services for all.

Business and micro-enterprise development

Calling all business students and graduates! Do you want to use your leadership skills to help local business owners empower themselves and their communities? 

You can, with GVI’s business and micro-enterprise development internships – all while you travel to a new international location and gain important experience and skills that’ll help you enhance your own employability.

During this international internship program, you’ll work on educational workshops on micro-enterprise business skills, business training initiatives and mentoring small business owners.

Whichever internship you choose, you’ll conduct a variety of virtual project work based on the career internship focus area you choose.

Your virtual work could include things like: 

  • setting up workshops and lesson plans with women’s empowerment organisations like SASANE to increase employability and help improve women's access to income
  • working with a local education organisation like Welcome To My Yard to help them set up safety policies and implementation guidelines for their projects
  • designing a social media plan to help generate funds for wildlife conservation organisations like Coastal Jaguar Conservation
  • designing a marketing campaign for a local organisation like Ocean Pledge, that works closely with restaurants to reduce waste and promote sustainable thinking
  • conducting research into effective solutions and proposing suggestions to an organisation, like Welcome To My Yard, working to reduce homelessness
  • working with a local organisation to build budgets and outline the resources they’ll need to achieve inclusive employment opportunity goals for people with disabilities.

Where can I go on a career internship? 

So, you’ve made the decision to head off on a career internship abroad, but aren’t sure exactly where you can go? 

GVI offers a broad range of career internship experiences in several of our international internship destinations. Our programs provide you with a unique opportunity to live abroad and gain valuable hands-on work experience in multiple countries. 

Not only will you be able to learn about and advance projects in your chosen location, you’ll collaborate with other career interns and remote partners all around the globe. 

GVI offers a variety of career internships in the following locations: 

What do people say about our international internship programs? 

“The experience I gained during my time training with GVI has allowed me to go on to work within the conservational research field. This has been a stepping stone into a career in conservation that I would not have had access to without the GVI internship program.”

– Heather Gilbert, Costa Rica Conservation Internship

“GVI afforded me the opportunity of gaining valuable practical experience relevant to the environmental management and impact assessment fields. Further to this, it also provides the individual with a unique experience in a visually stunning and stimulating environment. I would recommend this to any individuals wishing to further themselves with regard to environmental science and would be ideally suited for recent graduates looking to develop their practical ability after the theory of university.”

– Ian Thomson, Costa Rica Wildlife Conservation Internship

With a rating of 9.5 out of 10 stars on, our past interns have a lot to say about GVI’s international internship programs. To read more testimonials from our internship programs all around the world, take a look at our internship testimonials page.

Download our program brochures

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