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Everything to know about how to join an NGO internship

Are you in the market for an internship and considering your options? If you’ve thought about doing your internship with a charity, or even if you hadn’t thought of that option yet, you’re likely to have some questions about it. We’ve got you covered! Continue reading and out how to join an NGO internship abroad.

What is a non-profit internship?

Nonprofit internships are short-term work experiences with a ‘not-for-profit’ organization, meaning that they’re not created for the purpose of making money. Instead, the purpose of NGOs is to further social causes and create positive change.

How to apply for an non-profit internship

1. Research your internship

Find out your area of interest, and research the organization, the country, what you’ll be doing with us, and how this can help with you with your future endeavors. Also take a look at our requirements list on the internship listing; some have more specific requirements and some do not.

2. Talk to your parents/ university

Assuming you’re a student, make sure your parents and university or college give permission. Some universities will even give you academic credit for the internship.

3. Get in touch with us!

Get in touch with us on our website, and we’ll do the rest! Our fee covers finding you the right internship, processing your booking, helping you prepare for your experience, and assisting you on the ground.

4. Get ready for the experience of a lifetime!

Pack your bags! Oh, and tag us in your amazing pictures and brag about us to your friends and colleagues. We’re online on Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin, as @rootsinterns.

Why should I consider doing a non-profit internship?

So, now that you know what a nonprofit internship is, why should you join one with Roots? A common misconception is that the only people who apply for NGO internships are people who want to be in the nonprofit sector for the rest of their lives. While plenty of people do fall in love with the nonprofit sector after their internships, there are plenty of people who go on to do other great things! In reality, all people should consider doing an NGO internship. Some reasons to join might be:

  • To get a change from the norm
  • To propel social change or get the opportunity to work in an area that you are passionate about
  • To boost your resume and cover letters with practical work experience
  • To travel internationally and gain international work experience

Specifically, high school graduates, gap year students, and college students are all people who could gain a lot from working with a charity organization. The job market these days expects all incoming graduates to have work experience on their resumes which can be quite intimidating and overwhelming. However, NGOs are often more intimate organizations with larger roles to fill for interns. This means that instead of photocopying you will be able to handle a variety of tasks that are easily transferable to any job you want. You will learn interpersonal social skills by working in a team dynamic, you will learn the inner workings of an organization, you will expand your skills that are essential to any job candidate.

However, internships at charities are not just popular for recent students or graduates. Internships have been on the rise for people who are looking for a career change or professionals who are on sabbatical. Due to the popularity of internships these days, you can find an internship in basically any passion, interest, or field of study. (We even recently posted a gaming internship on our website if you can believe it.) These are excellent opportunities to try your hand at something with no repercussions. You can learn what works for you, and if it is not for you, you will still get work experience and an amazing experience to boot!

What are past nonprofit interns saying?

Although our team at Roots knows that you will have an amazing time during your internship, you don’t have to take our word for it! We have made it a priority to receive feedback from our past interns, in order to benefit our future interns and improve our program. We are so fortunate to have such hard working individuals, and their triumphs are reflected in our testimonials.

Jordan, writing intern for Penda

“I think the most memorable part of this internship was all the incredible people I got to connect with! The past couple of months of the COVID-19 pandemic have been a bit isolating. Getting to have weekly calls with my other interns and supervisor made me feel as if I was part of a little community. Even though we weren’t in the same physical space, we all connected on a personal and work level. Those connections were amazing and quickly became my favorite part of my internship!”

Bailey, former Scalabrini Centre intern

“Exactly that: The feeling of knowing that my work here has an actual impact. Giving gives one so much more than taking. The biggest fulfillment is to know that someone found a job and can stay in the country, because I found a placement for them and guided them along the way. Moreover, the team at work and the vibe in the center made my internship so enjoyable: Everyone is nice and treats everybody with respect.”

Abdul, former Greenpop intern

“Through the Creative Writing Internship, I got to understand the importance of storytelling in marketing. I’m unable to describe my supervisor, Zoe, with anything less than amazing. She was extremely helpful and understanding of any difficulties I faced throughout my internship. I also learned a lot about SEO, which I feel is crucial for attracting traffic to any organization’s website. The employees at Greenpop were fantastic. They were these young, driven, and intelligent people who were always available to help me with anything. I became very good friends with some of the employees at Greenpop.”

How to choose which internship is right for you

What are you passionate about? If you’re a student, you have or will pick a college major that aligns with your future career interests. But maybe you don’t want an internship inside your major, maybe you’re passionate about photography or creative writing or environmentalism! Or maybe you’re not concerned with one area of interest, because you haven’t figured it out yet.

All of these options are okay. After all, internships are for learning and growing before committing to a full-time job in that area of study. Do you think you might want to become a lawyer, but not sure if you want to go to law school? You can check out our Advocacy and Human Rights Internship that gives legal advice to refugees. Are you thinking about joining the business major at your university? You can check out our Business Development Internships to see if you’re up for it. Whatever you’re interested in, we have an internship for it. And if we don’t, you can always chat with one of our advisors directly for more support. We might be able to come up with a solution!

Interested in NGO internships? Click here to check out all of our internship listings!

This blog post was written by Moira Callahan