Do you want to contribute to world-class conservation programs that are leading the critical fight against biodiversity loss?
Are you interested in working on sustainable projects with real environmental organisations that make a proven difference in the world?
Then an internship in conservation could be perfect for you! You can either join an internship abroad in some of the most beautiful habitats in the world or join one of our virtual internships from the comfort of your home.
Every year hundreds of participants from all over the world complete our internships to get international work experience and contribute to real conservation efforts that have a lasting impact on the planet.
GVI offers some of the most highly-rated internship programs in the international sustainable development sector. Each of our award-winning internships allows interns to do real work to contribute to one or more of the UN SDGs. And our alumni have gone on to work at top global organisations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Unilever and Deloitte.
Whether you embark on an adventurous internship abroad, or prefer to join projects online through a virtual internship – here are some of the many benefits linked to completing an internship in conservation:
Our internship programs offer a diverse range of impactful environmental initiatives that will give you a taste of various conservation programs. With our extensive network of local partners, NGOs, organisations and government agencies, you’ll explore a world of opportunities and gain hands-on experience, whether in the field or online. Our internships will help you gain clarity on the direction you want to take in your career.
During your internship abroad, you’ll work on real and impactful projects for one of our partners. The experience will offer you the chance to learn from experts in the field, gain practical training sessions and apply your learnings directly. By adding your international internship experience to your CV, you will increase your chances in the job market and stand out from other applicants.
The project work during your virtual internship or internship abroad will directly support important research projects that influence ongoing local conservation efforts. By gathering data and implementing various research methodologies, you will help our team of scientists to contribute to meaningful work that gets published and implemented to empower environmental projects.
Working with GVI, as well as local organisations, NGOs and government agencies in the field or online, will help you develop sought-after skills. You’ll attend interactive training sessions and participate in fulfilling assignments to develop your professional and personal skills. Your responsibilities may include organising fundraising events, leading surveys or facilitating workshops. At the end of your internship, you will be confident to take on more conservation projects that come your way.
With both GVI’s internships abroad and virtual internships, you’ll get access to the following professional support:
We understand how important it is to showcase your internship experience on your CV and LinkedIn profile. That’s why our supervisors will help you do just that, providing valuable references to boost your career prospects.
If you’re a virtual intern, you’ll be matched with a dedicated GVI virtual internship supervisor who will be your go-to person throughout your entire internship journey. From briefing you on your project work and setting up meetings with our partner organisations to doing weekly check-ins, your supervisor will be there to offer unwavering support.
Participating in GVI’s virtual internships or internships abroad offers a unique opportunity to expand your network both personally and professionally. Whether working remotely or on location, you will have the chance to collaborate with a diverse group of individuals who share the same passion for the environment.
Not only will you make new friends and connect with like-minded people, but you’ll have the opportunity to build professional connections with people in your field of study or interest. These relationships can help you learn about job opportunities, gain knowledge about new research or industry advancements, and potentially lead to future career opportunities. With GVI, you can enhance your personal and professional connections in a meaningful way while promoting a cause you are passionate about.
Our internship abroad programs guarantee to teach you specific and transferable skills that will shape you to become a valuable part of any conservation-focused team. With 12 weeks or more of internship experience, you will be given our career guarantee that promises that you’ll get an impact-driven position within 18 months, or you’ll get 50% of your program fees back.
If you decide to join an internship abroad and travel to a new country, one of the most amazing benefits is living immersed in nature at one of our research stations. Here, you will get a rare chance to access vulnerable habitats and rare species and contribute to their protection. Our internships abroad also offer exciting and adventurous activities such as hiking, games, and exploring nearby towns and attractions. You’ll also get to share stories and ideas with changemakers from around the world, who will soon become your family.
Virtual internships are becoming increasingly popular for people who are looking for international work experience while saving on accommodation and travel expenses. With the latest technology, our virtual internships allow people to work remotely for international conservation organisations all over the world – without leaving your home, office or school.
Depending on the kind of internship you select, internships abroad or virtual internships, you’ll get additional opportunities to focus on specific subject areas and focuses. No matter which internship type you select, you’ll be a part of impactful work that will contribute to sustainable conservation efforts.
First things first – you get to decide whether you want to join an in-person internship, or participate in programs online.
Ask yourself: would you love to travel to a different country to experience conservation projects on the ground? Or are you more interested in getting practical work experience, remotely?
Besides the mutual benefits of joining either an internship abroad or a virtual internship, here are the main differences to help you decide:
After you’ve got that figured out, you can dig a little deeper to choose a specific conservation focus or subject area, such as marine conservation or wildlife, to name a few. Your focus area will differ depending on whether you do an internship abroad or a virtual internship – take a look at the breakdowns on the next tabs to help you make your decision.
Joining one of GVI’s internship abroad programs is a life-changing experience. It combines adventure, local immersive experiences, impact-driven work, and learning opportunities while helping you stand out from the crowd in your career or studies.
Our programs offer unmatched opportunities to develop valuable skills, gain hands-on experience, and make a positive impact on the world. 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).
While summer internships are often the most popular among students, our internships run throughout the year – students can join at a time that suits them best.
When you join an internship program abroad, you’ll get to choose from any of these focus areas:
Are you passionate about marine conservation and want to make a real difference in protecting our oceans? With over 20 years of experience running marine conservation internships around the world, we offer unparalleled opportunities to gain valuable skills and contribute to meaningful projects.
You’ll have the chance to get involved in exciting activities such as leading sea turtle beach surveys in Seychelles or organising mapping activities for coral reefs in Fiji. These opportunities not only allow you to contribute to vital conservation efforts but also provide a chance to gain hands-on experience in marine research and fieldwork.
A big part of our marine programs focus on diving – and through certain programs, you can include getting your PADI certification, including becoming a Divemaster.
But it’s not all work and no play. During your internship, you’ll have the chance to relax, explore and participate in cultural exchanges. Whether it’s lounging on the beach, hiking through lush forests, or immersing yourself in local markets and cooking experiences, you’ll get to experience the best of the countries where we operate. Join us on a marine conservation internship with GVI and make a positive impact on our oceans while gaining valuable skills and unforgettable experiences.
For wildlife conservation enthusiasts, our internship programs provide access to rare habitats and impactful science. It will give you the experience you need to stand out in a highly competitive field.
As a wildlife intern, you’ll 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 research organisms like mangroves that form a key part of the local ecosystem.
You might get the opportunity to gain experience in conducting biodiversity surveys and censuses of specific species or types of species, which are critical aspects of many conservation initiatives.
If you’re studying conservation or have a keen interest in ornithology, entomology, herpetology or even primatology, you 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. You could be monitoring Asian elephants in Thailand, tracking big cats in South Africa or leading bird identification surveys in Costa Rica.
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.
Our endangered species conservation internships offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work on vital projects to protect some of the world’s most remarkable species.
You’ll contribute to 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.
You might also get to master techniques like telemetry and remote camera trapping used to track the presence, numbers, and movements of animal 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.
All our programs maintain an ethical approach to engaging with wildlife and habitats, so you know you’re making a positive impact without causing any harm.
Habitats and ecosystems are critical to the well-being of all thriving wildlife and human societies, providing essential resources like clean water, air, and soil. However, climate change and human activity have a severe impact on these environments, and it’s essential to take action to conserve them.
By joining one of these internships, you’ll work on sustainable conservation projects to protect some of the most vulnerable and beautiful habitats and ecosystems in the world. You’ll contribute to beach cleanups, education campaigns about biodiversity loss, and support the activities of our partner organisations at our hubs all over the world. Depending on our partners’ initiatives, you might contribute towards promoting responsible agricultural practices, reducing pollution and plastic waste, conserving forests and their biodiversity, reducing deforestation, or promoting sustainable urban development.
Through citizen science platforms like eBird and iNaturalist, you will help GVI to collect data on plants, insects, birds, mammals, fish, and reptiles, which helps researchers understand and conserve species, ecosystems, and habitats.
The shifts in weather patterns and temperatures have a devastating effect on everything – from habitats and ecosystems to wildlife and human life.
As an intern focusing on climate change, you’ll join GVI’s locally-led projects centred around protecting habitats like coral reefs and forest ecosystems, which are sensitive to the adverse conditions that come with climate change. You’ll get to engage in a range of activities, including planning and leading monitoring surveys, data entry and analysis.
Our climate change management approach falls into four categories: mitigation, adaptation, care and conservation, and knowledge-base expansion. During the internship program, you’ll focus on supporting activities that increase the natural resilience of species, long-term monitoring of these ecosystems, adopting and promoting sustainable lifestyles, adopting carbon-neutral policies and supporting conservation management activities.
The reality is that the impact of climate change is severe, and we need to take action now. If we continue to emit carbon at the current rate, there will be a decline in species diversity by up to 25% by the end of the century.
Community conservation is a collaborative approach to protecting biodiversity that involves local communities and a variety of stakeholders, including governments, researchers, scientists – and you. By working together to conserve habitats, ecosystems and species, we can have a much greater impact on the environment than we would individually.
By joining our community-based internship, you’ll be working alongside community members to protect habitats, ecosystems and species. You’ll have the chance to work on a variety of projects, from monitoring endangered species to restoring degraded habitats in partnership with the community. By working with locals, you’ll not only gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing the environment but also learn new perspectives.
But community-based conservation isn’t just about the work itself. It’s also about the connections you’ll make and the cultural exchange you’ll experience. You’ll gain a unique perspective on the challenges they face and the ways in which they are working to overcome them. And, of course, you’ll have the chance to explore the beautiful natural landscapes that surround you.
The best part? You’ll leave with a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of humans and nature and a sense of purpose that will stay with you long after your internship is over.
If you’re an animal lover looking to contribute to the well-being of vulnerable species, and make a long-term positive impact, you’re at the right place. Our animal care internships give you the chance to learn more about conservation, wildlife rehabilitation and animal care practices while supporting local on-the-ground organisations in a highly ethical way.
With permanent GVI hubs in countries like Thailand, Seychelles and Costa Rica, you’ll have the opportunity to work with a variety of species, from majestic Asian elephants to adorable green sea turtles and fierce lemon sharks.
Whether you’re looking for a summer vacation, gap year experience or career development, our animal care internships are the perfect opportunity to get practical experience while creating special bonds with beautiful creatures.
If you’re more interested in community development than in nature conservation programs, GVI also offers award-winning internships. You can choose between programs in community development, women’s empowerment, public health, construction, and business and micro-enterprise development. Head on over to our People site to take a look at the many meaningful internships available.
The best part of it all? You’ll not only gain the skills and experience necessary to pursue your dream career but also the chance to make a genuine difference in the world.
If you need to get international conservation experience to add to your CV or resume or would love to make an impact, but can’t travel at the moment, virtual internships are the perfect solution.
You’ll get the practical work experience you need to land that interview and get your dream job while making a real difference in the world. Your impact will go beyond your online work – you’ll be supporting real conservation projects on the ground and empowering sustainable local efforts in the process.
There’s a lot you can do from home – all you need is a computer and access to the internet. You could analyse photos of dolphin fins, set up fundraising campaigns to support Asian elephant protection, conduct research on ecotourism or help with environmental awareness strategies.
Another great benefit of joining a virtual internship with GVI is that you’ll get the freedom to choose your own subject area, project focus, duration and pace that’ll suit you best.
When you join a virtual internship, your first step will be to identify a conservation subject area that sparks your interest the most. These include:
If you’re passionate about the ocean and its beautiful creatures, our marine conservation virtual internships are the perfect way to dive deep into the world of environmental initiatives, practices and methods. Collaborate with leading marine conservation experts and organisations to help protect coral reefs, create awareness around sustainable tourism and fishing practices, combat poaching and overfishing, and promote the protection of our oceans and their vulnerable species.
Would you love the chance to gain real wildlife conservation experience and work alongside environmental organisations on the ground to tackle important environmental challenges? By joining our wildlife conservation virtual internship, you’ll contribute to real project work to help protect biodiversity and endangered species in a wide variety of pristine habitats all over the world. You’ll walk away with first-hand experience, a practical understanding of the fieldwork, and professional connections to kickstart your career.
When it comes to the climate crisis, we all have a critical role. With our virtual internships that focus on taking action in the climate crisis through clean energy, you can discover and contribute to sustainable solutions like solar, wind, and wave power. You’ll hear from experts about how climate change is impacting communities and ecosystems around the world, and investigate the opportunities to contribute to a more sustainable future.
With the climate crisis intensifying, businesses need to step up their efforts to operate more sustainably and responsibly. But often, they don’t have the expertise or time to put effective impact plans in place. With this virtual internship in environmental and corporate sustainability, you can empower companies with the right strategy and tools. You’ll also develop in-demand skills that employers are looking for and build a successful career in this field.
After choosing your virtual internship subject area, you can also decide on the specific project work that you’d like to be part of. These are some of the examples of focus areas that you can choose from:
What makes a 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 you’re at the right place.
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 stations in densely jungled rainforests and tiny uninhabited tropical islands.
With us, interns can truly travel the world as we offer international internship opportunities on almost every continent. Choose an internship destination that speaks to you from those we’ve listed below.
The mere mention of the African continent conjures up images of iconic endangered and vulnerable species like lions, rhinos, elephants and wild dogs. And the conservation work carried out by our partners in the Greater Kruger is of utmost importance to preserve these species.
GVI offers many opportunities to join a conservation internship abroad in Africa – you can choose from Madagascar, Seychelles or South Africa.
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.
South Africa is a popular destination for many international visitors, and the conservation work carried out here is of utmost importance to preserve vulnerable 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.
If scuba-diving, coral reefs and marine conservation are 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.
If you want to go a bit further, you can join our marine conservation and PADI Divemaster professional apprenticeship to receive the PADI Reef Ecosystem Diver speciality segment of the PADI Divemaster course. This unique offering by GVI and PADI teaches you about best practices when conducting underwater coral reef surveys.
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.
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.
While doing an elephant conservation internship, you’ll live in homestay-style accommodation 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.
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.
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.
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 currently offer internships in Costa Rica and Mexico.
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 ongoing local projects.
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.
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. By joining an apprenticeship, you can complete your PADI Divemaster, while gaining experience in marine conservation. After earning the PADI Coral Reef Restoration Diver Distinctive Speciality and PADI Rescue Diver, interns have the opportunity to work at a local dive centre.
Home to many valuable underwater, coastal and island habitats, the Oceania region is of particular interest to marine conservationists. If you’re interested in community development or marine conservation, you 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.
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.
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 vital 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.
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.
Our internships abroad are typically 2-12 weeks, while virtual internships can be anything between 4 and 24 weeks long.
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. These programs have specifically been designed for teens between the ages of 15 and 17 with the highest level of support and guidance in group travel, whilst still making sure if you have an impactful and fun time.
Nope! We welcome folks from all backgrounds and levels of experience. Our programs are designed to provide you with the training and support you need to succeed, no matter what your educational background is.
Yes, at GVI we’re all about ethical and sustainable practices. In fact, over the last two decades we’ve become the leaders in ethical purpose-driven expeditions. We work closely with local communities and organisations to ensure that our programs are beneficial and sustainable, and we always put the welfare of our participants and the communities we work with first.
Many academic institutions now consider international internship programs, from a reputable provider like GVI, to be of 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. Our service learning curriculum is certified by Portland State University.
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 – and GVI is no exception. 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.
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.
Parents are increasingly becoming aware of the excellent return on investment offered by internships to prepare young people for their futures. An internship gives you world perspectives and the opportunity to travel the world in a responsible way. 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.