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Social workers play important roles in society. They provide disadvantaged communities and individuals with the services and resources they need to lead independent lives. Careers in social work can be enormously rewarding but equally challenging, and they require substantial skills and experience to get into.

That’s why, if you’re interested in launching a career in social work, you need to know how to find the best internships in social work. So, whatever social worker jobs you’re pursuing, you’ll know the best social work internships to prepare you for the role.

What are the Best Social Work Internships?

There are a huge variety of social worker internships. Social work encompasses a vast array of careers, including roles in child protective services, criminal court systems, and public welfare agencies. So, the best internships in social work for you will be the ones that provide the skills and knowledge for the social workers jobs you’re interested in.

One thing to consider, however, is that the best social work internships are often with nonprofits, NGOs, or other purpose-driven initiatives. These can be unique learning opportunities and skill development, but moreover, they let you engage in meaningful, impactful jobs as a social worker and show you the difference you can make in social worker jobs.

To give you an idea of what’s possible, here are some of our best internships in social work:

1. Social Welfare Internship in The Philippines

Travel to the Philippines and help disadvantaged children build brighter futures. One of our best internships in social work for those interested in working with children, this program engages you in a diverse range of social worker jobs revolving around youth development, education, and vocational training.

You’ll join a youth-focused community development organization with an impressive track record of initiatives addressing hunger relief, children’s healthcare, and education provision. As an intern, you’ll be responsible for offering guidance and support to children facing developmental challenges, as well as planning and leading your own educational sessions.

2. Mental And Physical Health Development Internship in Cambodia

This is a fantastic internship for social work students and students of psychology or medicine too. Travel to Siem Reap, Cambodia, and help young children and their families to break the cycle of poverty.

This program places you with an incredible organization that provides educational programs that offer comprehensive mental, medical, and social support for children and their families. You’ll work closely with a team of local social workers to maintain and develop mental or physical development programs for the organization’s beneficiaries.

3. Social Work Internship in Peru

Immerse yourself in the vibrant communities of Arequipa, Peru, as you help vulnerable and disabled children learn, grow, and rise up from difficult circumstances. This is one of the best social work internships for showing a social work intern the profound impact you can make in social worker jobs.

Work with a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing social services, employability training, and overall economic empowerment for the communities of Arequipa. You’ll forge deep connections with local families as you help children develop vital life skills and overcome the formidable barriers they face.

4. Psychology Internship in Peru

If you’re wondering how to get psychology internships, a social services internship can provide all the same skill development and learning opportunities while letting you practically engage in the provision of valuable social services. This program exemplifies that point.

Working with the same organization as above, you’ll work on the development and implementation of psychological assessments for people of all ages. You’ll get the chance to integrate with a local Peruvian community as you develop a solid set of psychology career skills.

5. Psychology Internship in South Africa

This is a versatile social services internship, giving you the chance to join a choice of mental health facilities based on your skills and experience. Working at safe houses, rehab centers, or centers that support victims of abuse, you’ll shadow qualified professionals and help facilitate important mental health programs.

This program grants you access to a variety of opportunities in mental health facilities around Cape Town. Throughout your internship, you’ll receive training and guidance on the mental health field in South Africa from experienced local therapists, equipping you with the skills and knowledge to assist psychologists in preparing and running group sessions.

6. Youth Social Work Internship in South Africa

Join a grassroots community center in a township in the greater Cape Town region of South Africa. This community center serves as a daycare center for up to 100 children each day, providing them with a safe space to learn and grow.

You’ll take on a central role in assisting with the day-to-day tasks and duties of managing the center while arranging educational and enjoyable activities for the children. As part of your internship, you’ll also participate in a program of training sessions and workshops on topics such as child development, trauma-informed care, counseling techniques, and classroom management

7. Remote Mental Health Internship

Here’s one of our best social work internships and one of our best remote internships for 2024. Contribute to vital mental health research projects and surveys on the state of mental health care in Brazil, developing keen industry knowledge and expert research skills, all from the comfort of your own home.

Interns will be working on a project to understand how mental health is perceived across Brazil via a national survey. You’ll research relevant mental health topics and produce literature reviews and reports of your most significant findings.

Also, this isn’t an internship for social work students only. The organization is open to candidates from a range of backgrounds, and no degree is required for this program.

4 Tips for Finding Social Work Internships

The best social work internships can be hard to find. The smart way would be to get in touch with us, and our intern-placing experts can help match you with the best internship in social work for your career goals.

However you approach your search, here are a few tips to bear in mind:

1. Prioritize Your Career Goals

We’ve already hinted towards our first tip: “The best internships in social work for you will be the ones that provide the skills and knowledge for the social workers jobs you’re interested in. This means you need to know which jobs as a social worker you’re interested in.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are my career objectives in social work?
  • What populations or communities do I want to work with?
  • What skills and experiences do I hope to gain from this internship?

2. Research Opportunities Thoroughly

First of all, before you even start your search, it’s a good idea to have a good idea of what to expect from a social work internship.

Once you have a shortlist of potential social worker internships, assess not just the role but also the organization you’ll be working with. Delve into the mission, programs, and reputation of host organizations to see if the opportunity aligns with your personal values as well as your career goals.

3. Consider Alternative Avenues

We’ve also hinted towards this tip: ‘…the best social work internships are often with nonprofits.”

While you’re less likely to find paid social work internships in the nonprofit sector, they can provide unique career development opportunities. Moreover, small, grassroots initiatives can offer a social work intern more chances for vertical movement and to take on responsibilities and duties that you wouldn’t be able to elsewhere.

One more thing: don’t limit your search to domestic opportunities and consider social worker internships abroad too. International experience can help build cross-cultural communication skills, which are especially valuable to a social work intern.

4. Utilize Your Network

Reach out to professors, classmates, alumni, and professionals in the field of social work. You could be surprised by the valuable connections or social services internship opportunities that come up. If nothing else, it is often useful for a social work intern to talk through their goals and desired career development with someone they know and trust.

It’s also a good idea when investigating prospective social worker internships to look for reviews and testimonials from past interns.

How Social Work Internships with Roots can bring you to the next level!

Now that you have an idea of the possibilities available, you’re ready to start searching for the best internships in social work for you. Navigating the landscape of social work internships can be daunting, but with careful consideration of your career goals, you can find remarkable organizations to join as a social work intern.

For those looking for help, Roots stands out with its specialized expertise in nonprofit, purpose-driven internships and dedication to matching interns with meaningful career development opportunities.

Browse All Our Available Social Work Internships

This blog was written by Tom Rusbridge and edited by Eric Monteres Jamarr Black