Volunteer Internships – an Alternative to a Semester Abroad

Posted by: Daniella A.

Volunteering abroad is an amazing experience; participants have the opportunity to learn about a new culture and have a positive, lasting impact by helping the local community. Volunteer opportunities can be short or long term, and can often double as internship opportunities. These projects provide students with real-world experience in a hands-on, interactive, learning environment.



Help Students Gain Academic Credit

Many volunteer opportunities (particularly those involving research or hands-on tasks) are another way to gain academic credits outside of the classroom. Programs are available from one week to one year, giving students who seek additional credits a more affordable alternative to a semester studying abroad. The GoEco Operations Team is able to assist students seeking academic credit by checking that programs can meet the requirements set by the academic department.





Volunteering abroad in a specific field of study can be a more practical approach to gaining academic credit and offer valuable experience in the field. For example, many of our veterinary and pre-veterinary programs are flexible and can be adapted to fit any internship requirements from the academic institution. In addition, our medical programs often offer participants the option to choose which specialties and in which departments they would like to work.



Help Students Gain Experience

Volunteering and interning abroad allows participants to gain valuable experience in your field of study. Opportunities range from teaching English to assisting with veterinary procedures, scuba diving and analyzing data on marine ecosystems.





No matter the major, there are a variety of volunteering opportunities abroad that are in line with your students’ future career goals. Why not get a head-start and help to boost your students’ resumes with relevant, hands-on experience?



Help Students Gain More

In addition to gaining academic credit and hands-on experience, volunteers will gain real world experience and have the chance to partake in positive cultural exchange. Volunteer abroad internships also help participants develop vital teamwork and leadership skills.





Working with a group of volunteers to create a lasting impact, requires teamwork and leadership, both of which are valuable assets in future work environments. Upon request, a certificate of completion will be provided at the end of participants’ placement.



Help Students Save

It’s no secret that students are keen to have an experience abroad, but studying abroad for a semester can really put a dent in their savings, and increase their overall student loans. With a volunteer internship abroad, students have the opportunity to learn, practice in their field of study, discover a new culture and save.​





On average, a semester studying abroad can cost around $31,000 according to Forbes Magazine. A 12-week volunteer internship opportunity can cost less than $3,000! This means that your students can save 90%, gain academic credit (if approved by their professor) and will gain actual hands-on experience in their field of study!



Below are our program recommendations for university students sorted by major.


1. Students of Biology

Maldives – Marine and Turtle Conservation




Students can experience biology outside of the classroom by assisting professional marine biologists in the rehabilitation of injured olive ridley and green sea turtles in the Maldives! Volunteers will take injured turtles on swims to improve their dive skills as well as distribute medication when necessary. Before beginning the program, the local team provides volunteers with a full presentation and explanation of required tasks.


2. Students of Medicine

Peru – Cuzco Health and Medical Care




Students of health care, public health, nursing, pre-med, medicine, dentistry and physical therapy are all welcome to take part in this unique program in Peru. Volunteer work placements and tasks vary, depending on level of education and previous experience. Participants on this program will gain professional experience, improve their Spanish language skills and experience a new culture.


3. Students of Humanities

Cambodia – Sustainable Community Development




This program in the northern region of Cambodia remains in need of further development during its recovery from a civil war. Participants can choose to volunteer at a sustainable school or to work in the construction of community buildings. The school was built with the help of former volunteers and offers free education to families that cannot otherwise afford it. Volunteers at both the teaching and construction placements will be able to help restore and inspire a community in need.


4. Students of Geography

Kenya – Maasai Mara Lion and Wildlife Conservation




Geography students will benefit from this exciting conservation project in the heart of the Maasai Mara. During the Great Migration in the summer months, volunteers will assist in game drive routing, road identification, species recording, and wildlife monitoring. The monitoring and data collection of elephant and lion populations is offered year-round. Volunteers will also assist at a local guide school and encourage Maasai Mara guides to promote sustainable tourism.


5. Students of Veterinary Science

South Africa – Pre-Vet Wildlife Internship




Students can make a genuine contribution to African animals while advancing your veterinary knowledge with this unique pre-veterinary internship! Tasks include artificial insemination, iron supplement injections, pregnancy testing, vitamin supplement injections, treating weaker animals for parasites and more.


View all of our Student Volunteer Opportunities here!