Why should you consider doing an NGO internship?
Internships can be very valuable and important; they help you build CVs, offer opportunities to explore, and can get you the necessary study credits. There are plenty of companies that offer internship positions in the corporate world, but perhaps a better option would be to explore internships with nonprofit organizations, which offer even more unique benefits. Here’s why a NGO internship is important to consider and what makes internships with grassroots organizations particularly beneficial:
1. MAKING AN IMPACT
An obvious benefit of doing a NGO internship is that you’ll be contributing to a social or environmental cause. Your time and efforts will help achieve something worthwhile, which can be hugely rewarding. Depending on the type of organization and the nature of your work, you might see your work pay off; projects reaching their funding goals, structures being built, trees being planted, and lives being changed, these all add to a priceless experience. Although you’re working towards a cause instead of profit, this doesn’t mean your NGO internship experience will be less in-depth or challenging – or less valuable for your future career. In fact, it should be the opposite!
2. HAVING YOUR SKILLS USED & APPRECIATED
Nonprofit organizations understand, like no other, how valuable time and skills are. Both financial and human resources are often limited, so any type of support gets well used and hugely appreciated, including interns’. This means you will use your skills to the fullest, and possibly also explore other areas within the same organization. At a large company, your role might be inflexible or feel insignificant, but at an NGO you will be an important member of a team where your input is heard and valued. Some people may consider this the sole reason to do an internship with an NGO.
3. HAVING LOTS OF RESPONSIBILITY
You are likely to have more responsibility during an NGO internship, than if you do an internship with a larger organization. Supervisors can spot the potential in interns when working among a smaller team, and therefore give them freedom and space to take on larger tasks. Though this can be challenging, it is also hugely empowering and can make your NGO internship experience that much more important and worth it. You might surprise yourself with your own capabilities!
4. WORKING IN A CLOSE-KNIT TEAM
This does not apply to all nonprofit organizations, but many NGO offices have a very informal work culture and a family-feel. Many small nonprofits are driven by passion and staffed by people with a getting-things-done mentality. This doesn’t mean you’ll work any less hard, but it does mean you’re more likely to be a part of a close-knit team. This can be a big benefit of doing an NGO internship on multiple levels, including improving your teamwork skills, learning about other project areas,
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Is it worth pursuing an NGO internship?
Yes! NGO internships are worth pursuing since they offer many benefits and contribute to important work. Nonprofit organizations allow you to make a positive impact on the world, both socially or environmentally. They’ll make you feel valuable by utilizing your skills, giving you a lot of responsibility, and by becoming part of an interconnected team. While typically unpaid, NGO internships can be stepping stones toward future career opportunities and personal growth.