So, you’re passionate about international development work like wildlife and environmental conservation or community empowerment? But figuring out which career path you’d like to pursue in the field of sustainable development can feel complex.
If you’d like to gain experience working at one of our international locations, explore which career path is best for you, and get the relevant qualifications and professional reference to show for it – then a GVI internship is for you.
GVI has over two decades of experience running sustainable development programs in dozens of countries worldwide. We’ve worked with almost 40,000 participants and partnered with hundreds of communities, and major universities.
We prioritise and train all our staff and participants in responsible travel and development best practices – including the robust child protection policies that are applied across our programs. Our ethics support principles of human, economic, intellectual, environmental and cultural empowerment. And all GVI program objectives are aligned with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). We’re dedicated to making an impact, ethically.
That’s why we’ve designed 4–24 week internships that deliver the most relevant, career-boosting training and work experiences – while you make a positive and sustainable impact in the world.
And you can rest assured during your internship abroad with us, your health and safety is our top priority and our comprehensive child protection policies, health guidelines and location risk assessments have earned us international safety awards.
To make sure you’re ready to make an impact when you join us on the ground, you’ll receive pre-departure online training that’s endorsed by the University of Richmond. This includes an online leadership course and either a community development, marine or wildlife conservation specialisation course.
Once you’ve wrapped up your program, you’ll have the opportunity to complete our careers course and two career coaching sessions that’ll help you determine your ideal career path, build your personal brand and kickstart your job search.
As an intern, you’ll have extra responsibilities on base. This means you could organise fundraising events and beach cleanups, or lead workshops and surveys.
For additional career experience or advanced research opportunities in the field, you might be interested in our career and research internship programs. These combine internship work with global networking or research and data collection opportunities.
Experience is how you develop valuable skills and get your foot in the door to your dream job. It also helps you to figure out if careers in scuba-diving, environmental science or community coordination are what you actually want. And, it looks good on your resume.
As an intern, you’ll work at one of our international locations in either Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe or Latin America.
Once you’re in your host country and on a GVI base, you’ll get involved in a variety of activities that might include:
Joining a GVI marine conservation internship means that you’ll be enrolled in the GVI Online Marine Conservation specialisation course. You’ll also complete the Coral Reef Research Diver Distinctive Speciality segment of the PADI Divemaster course.
This speciality is included in all GVI marine programs of 2 weeks or more and was uniquely developed in collaboration with PADI.
Depending on your chosen internship, you might earn additional PADI dive qualifications, such as the PADI Open Water Diver and Advanced Open Water Diver certifications.
As an intern, you could lead sea turtle beach surveys and sicklefin lemon shark monitoring sessions in Seychelles. You might organise habitat mapping activities for coral reefs and mangrove forests in Fiji. Or set up camera trapping workshops on an island in Thailand to assist a local governmental organisation with species research.
The wildlife conservation industry is highly competitive. How can you successfully stand out from the crowd?
Field experts say there are three factors that stand between you and your dream job. This includes experience in different geographical locations, your contributions to wildlife and environmental conservation, and your understanding of the health and safety procedures involved.
Their advice? Join an international internship. You’ll gain the skills, experience and geographical reach you need. An internship is also a great way to figure out which specific career path in wildlife conservation you’d like to pursue.
Our wildlife conservation internships include the GVI Online Wildlife Conservation specialisation course. Depending on your chosen internship focus and duration, you may also gain your Emergency First Response (EFR) qualification.
As an intern, you could lead bird identification surveys while kayaking down the jungle canals of Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica, or use telemetry techniques to track big cats and other predators in a private nature reserve in Limpopo, South Africa.
You’ll complete the GVI Online Community Development specialisation course when you join a core teaching internship.
Depending on your internship location and duration you might receive your Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification. Any internships taking place in Latin America require conversational Spanish abilities, and you’ll need to complete Spanish lessons.
All GVI programs apply our strict Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy. GVI doesn’t support orphanage volunteering or internships. All our staff and participants receive training on our stances and how to apply ethical best practices when engaging with children or young adults. This includes protection from cyber and real-world threats by ensuring ethical representation when it comes to our own marketing materials.
Travel to Cambodia, Ghana, Fiji, Nepal, Thailand or South Africa to help promote global public health. You might set up and lead preventative health awareness workshops, contribute to maternal health initiatives or help to organise fundraising events.
You’ll earn your Emergency First Response (EFR) certificate and complete the GVI Online Community Development specialisation course.
Projects depend on the current needs of the local community and are assessed in collaboration with local community leaders. It’s also important to note that child protection policies are applied across all our programs and we don’t do any hands-on diagnostic work. This is in line with our ethics and best practices, which are monitored by GVI ethics officers.
Interested in a career that supports gender equality? What about quality education for children? Or women’s empowerment? You could advance your skills and gain valuable experience working abroad on a community development internship in any of these focus areas.
In Ghana, you might collaborate with local women working to improve their computer skills and business awareness. In South Africa, you could support local teachers with early childhood development classes, or lead public health and gender equality workshops.
You’ll complete the GVI Online Community Development specialised course when you join this internship.
What’s better than a summer spent abroad swimming in the clear blue waters along the Caribbean coast of Mexico, adventuring through the Peruvian Amazon, or going on a safari drive in one of Africa’s largest game reserves?
How about an internship abroad that combines travel adventures just like these with impact-driven work and learning experiences – all rooted in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
Internships in Ghana are set in an impressive natural environment. The nation hosts a sweeping coastline of palm-lined beaches, an array of rivers, seasonal waterfalls and lakes, tree-covered mountains, and one of the largest and most biodiverse rainforests in West Africa.
GVI interns in Ghana will stay in Kokrobite, a small beach town situated less than an hour away from Ghana’s capital, Accra. Here, you can join a teaching internship, get involved in international development internships, or women’s empowerment internships.
As an intern in Ghana, you’ll contribute to Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 5: Gender Equality, or Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Seychelles is home to some of the world’s rarest and most endangered species, including its coco de mer trees and many endemic birds. Comprising over 100 islands, the archipelago boasts summery white-sand beaches, and 30% of its deep blue waters are marine protected areas.
GVI projects take place in two locations: on the small island of Curieuse – a marine national park – and Mahe, the largest island in Seychelles.
Here, you can join marine conservation internships, environmental internships, a PADI Divemaster internship or communications and social media internships. Project work ranges from turtle and Aldabra giant tortoise preservation efforts to conservation of mangrove forests.
You’ll directly support Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 13: Climate Action, Goal 14: Life Below Water and Goal 15: Life on Land.
South Africa is perhaps most well-known for its wildlife, including lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffaloes. However, it’s also a country that holds flourishing nature reserves, eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and a famous national history.
GVI South Africa participants are based in two locations, in Limpopo’s Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region and in the coastal city of Cape Town. Internships in these locations include wildlife conservation internships, wildlife research internships, community development internships and women’s empowerment internships. You’ll also have the opportunity to join a teaching internship, sports internship or public health internship.
Your work will contribute to Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 15: Life on Land and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.
Journey to Southeast Asia, Cambodia – a country with dense forest greenery, wildlife and historical temples. You could adventure to the Cardamom Mountains, a jungle rainforest named as a potential location for the reintroduction of endangered Indochinese tigers. You’ll also find the largest population of Asian elephants in Cambodia residing here.
GVI’s base is located in Siem Reap, where you’ll stay for your program duration. You could take part in international development internships, youth and women’s empowerment internships, teaching internships, or join a public health internship.
As an intern in Cambodia, you’ll contribute to Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities.
Nepal is home to eight of the world’s highest mountain peaks, including Mount Everest. It’s also a country with a significant history of conservation achievements, extending over decades. Nepal established its first national park in the 1970s – Chitwan National Park – where it supports rare and endangered animals like the Bengal tiger and freshwater Ganges river dolphin.
As a GVI participant, you’ll stay in Pokhara, a city situated along the edge of Phewa Lake. Overlooking the lake and reflecting on its surface you’ll see the snowcapped peaks of the surrounding Annapurna mountain range. From here it’s possible to travel to the country’s largest protected area, Annapurna Conservation Area.
Internships in Nepal focus largely on community-based initiatives. As an intern, you’ll contribute to Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth and Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities.
GVI operates in Phang Nga, a southern province along the Andaman Sea of Thailand, and in Chiang Mai, Mae Chaem district – a remote, mountainous location in the north.
Along the southern coast of Thailand, you’ll find sun-drenched beaches, towering limestone islands, and diverse marine life. It’s also where we collaborate with local organisations working to conserve the region’s habitats and species, like the critically endangered hawksbill sea turtle.
In the north, you’ll come across vivid green rice fields, and hiking trails with views of sun-filled valleys and misty mountain ridges. Here, you’ll work alongside traditional Karen hill tribe community members.
The country’s immense biodiversity provides an array of opportunities to get involved in sustainable development internships. You could join conservation internships and environmental internships. Or you could support sea turtle and coastal conservation or elephant internship programs. Additionally, you could get involved in marine conservation internships and wildlife conservation internships.
You’ll directly support Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production, Goal 13: Climate Action, Goal 14: Life Below Water and Goal 15: Life on Land.
Fiji contains over 40% of the world’s coral species. Yet, coral reefs are currently under threat from a number of external factors, such as plastic pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, and the climate crisis.
We’re located in two Pacific regions, including Caqalai, a small island located east of Fiji’s main island, and the Dawasamu district of Viti Levu, where we’re located just five minutes away from the beach.
You could participate in environmental internships, marine conservation internships, public health internships, teaching internships, PADI Divemaster internships and community development internships.
Your efforts will contribute to Goal 3: Good Health and Well-being, Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 5: Gender Equality, Goal 13: Climate Action, Goal 14: Life Below Water and Goal 15: Life on Land.
Get involved in conservation internships in Giannitsochori, a town based along the west coast of Greece. Here, you’ll work alongside a local organisation to preserve loggerhead turtles.
You could visit the Neda waterfalls, just east of Giannitsochori, learn more about the country’s cultural heritage by exploring historical ruins and fortresses, or visit a variety of its Mediterranean beaches and observe panoramic views over the Ionian Sea.
Your internship work will support Goal 14: Life Below Water and Goal 15: Life on Land.
GVI interns live and work in Tenerife – the largest of the Atlantic’s Canary Islands – situated near the coast of Morocco.
There’ve been 26 different whale and dolphin species spotted in the area, including the mighty blue whale. It’s estimated that a third of all whale and dolphin species either reside in or migrate through the island’s waters. You’re most likely to see the resident bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales. This makes it a popular tourist destination with up to five million tourists visiting each year. However, this often leads to unsustainable tourism practices.
By joining an internship program in Tenerife, you’ll work alongside local conservationists and marine biologists to research the long-term effects of this while promoting more ethical and sustainable tourism practices.
Internships include marine conservation internships and social media and communications internships. You’ll contribute directly to Goal 14: Life Below Water and Goal 15: Life on Land.
Travel to the jungles of Tortuguero National Park. Or journey to Cimarrones, a town near Irazú Volcano National Park. GVI operates in both of these locations in Costa Rica.
Did you know that Costa Rica holds almost 6% of the world’s biodiversity? It’s teeming with a variety of species – including the jaguar and endangered sea turtle. Jaguars in Tortuguero are known to prey on adult sea turtles. Internship programs contribute to researching this while supporting sea turtle conservation initiatives.
You’ll directly support Goal 4: Quality Education, Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, Goal 13: Climate Action, Goal 14: Life Below Water and Goal 15: Life on Land.
The warm coastal waters of Puerto Morelos are not only home to the second largest coral reef system in the world – the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System – they’re also the base of GVI’s operations in Mexico. Here you’ll also find Mayan ruins, mangrove forests and the endangered loggerhead sea turtle.
Join other international interns on the shores of the Yucatán Peninsula and learn about the challenges faced by coastal communities and environmentalists in the region. Internships focus on coral reef research and restoration, and other conservation initiatives such as mangrove conservation and sustainable agriculture.
You’ll support Goal 13: Climate Action and Goal 14: Life Below Water.
Located 500 kilometres northeast of Lima, you will find the small town of Oxapampa. With the backdrop of lush cloud forests, take in the sweeping views of the Peruvian Amazon while you support rainforest and wildlife conservation and collaborate with local communities to promote community development and environmental education.
You’ll get involved in projects such as data collection, camera trapping, and environmental education workshops at local schools. Additionally, you’ll partner with learners who are looking to upskill in the English language to take advantage of the tourist trade.
You’ll contribute to Goal 4: Quality Education and Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Join on-the-ground projects to protect species, conserve habits and benefit communities.
Help to protect rhinos and other endangered species in the greater Kruger region.
Help to reintegrate elephants into their natural habitat from the tourism industry.
Partner with an international NGO to help conserve the Mesoamerican reef system in Mexico.
Join on-the-ground projects to protect species, conserve habits and benefit communities.
Help to protect rhinos and other endangered species in the greater Kruger region.
When you complete an internship of 12+ weeks, we guarantee you’ll secure an impact-driven position within 18 months (or we’ll return 50% of your program fee). View our career guarantee.