Community Development Internships

Help make a lasting impact in communities.

When you join our community development internship programs, you align yourself to sustainable, inclusive and ethical initiatives that are led by local organisations on the ground.

We use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a roadmap to ensure that we engage with local communities in a way that will lead to long-term social impact, giving you credible experience to help you build your career.


Community development internships

Volunteering and interning with communities abroad is a meaningful way to make a positive impact across the globe. But what exactly does community development mean? And, what work would you get involved in as a community development intern? 

An internship in community development is all about making an impact while gaining real-life work experience that expands on your career development in a meaningful way. These opportunities include initiatives that build on achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).


Community development internships focus on sustainable development activities like:

  • facilitating English language lessons with school children and classes with adult learners that would benefit from doing business with English-speaking tourists
  • developing and implementing women’s empowerment workshops to create a more equal world
  • leading skills development sessions to help set up alternative forms of income and increase people’s access to gainful employment opportunities
  • adding to infrastructure in inland, coastal or island settings
  • contributing to program fundraising activities.


Our internships offer you the opportunity to achieve your personal and professional goals, whether or not you’re planning to work in community development in the future. And, the added excitement of travelling abroad will grow your global and professional perspective in a big way too.

Imagine living in the tropical terrains of Costa Rica for a few weeks (or months), where you can support educational after-care programs at local schools and educational initiatives. Our programs are run in collaboration with non-profits and non-governmental organisations in Cartago.

Or, what about taking on a community development internship in Nepal, by immersing yourself in multi-cultural villages in the Himalayan mountains where you’ll connect with their women’s empowerment groups?

As a community development intern, you can travel to settings like these and so many more. You could choose from programs that you are passionate about on different continents and numerous countries across the globe. 

Depending on your professional and personal goals, you can also choose between two different internship types: virtual or in-person.

Community Development

Community Development Internship in Ghana
Teaching Internship in Costa Rica
Community Development Internship in Costa Rica
Research Fellowship
Teaching Research Fellowship in Madagascar
Gender Equality Internship in Madagascar
Research Fellowship
Women’s Empowerment Research Fellowship in Nepal
Research Fellowship
Global Health Research Fellowship in Thailand
Research Fellowship
Early Childhood Development Research Fellowship in Fiji
Teaching Internship in Ghana
Global Health Internship in South Africa
Teaching Internship in Thailand
Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Internship in Ghana
Gender Equality Internship in Ghana
Gender Equality Internship in Nepal
Women’s Empowerment Internship in Cambodia
Research Fellowship
Education Research Fellowship in Cambodia
Community Development Internship in Cambodia
English Teaching Internship in Madagascar
Women’s Empowerment Internship in Ghana
Global Health Internship in Nepal
Women’s Empowerment Internship in Nepal
Teaching Internship in Cambodia
Women’s Empowerment Internship in South Africa
International Development Internship in Nepal
Professional Apprenticeship
International Development Apprenticeship in Fiji
Professional Apprenticeship
Community Development Professional Apprenticeship in Costa Rica
Professional Apprenticeship
Community Development Professional Apprenticeship in Cambodia
Community Development Internship in Fiji
Professional Apprenticeship
Teaching and Community Development Apprenticeship in Nepal
Global Health Internship in Thailand
Teaching Internship in Fiji
Professional Apprenticeship
TEFL and English Teaching Apprenticeship in Thailand
Global Health Internship in Fiji
Professional Apprenticeship
Teaching and Community Development Apprenticeship in South Africa
Teaching Internship in South Africa
Community Development Internship in South Africa
Included in your program, at no extra cost

Make the most of our unique programs with these exclusively curated local adventure and wellness experiences.

Offered once a month, expand your adventure with GVI Experiences. These are just some of the activities offered on your program!
Learn to cook Malagasy cuisine
Handcraft your own canoes
Forage for local medicinal plants
Visit the island of the lemurs
Snorkel in a marine wonderland
Gaze and wonder at the southern constellations
Watch the sunset at Banyan tree
Sleepover on a remote volcanic archipelago

Why should I join a community development internship?

Participating in a community development internship has many benefits that’ll stay with you into your future. 

Many of our alumni say that doing an internship or volunteering was some of the best experiences of their lives – a time that has shaped them forever. Read through real stories and reviews from participants to get a feel for what it’s like to work as an intern on our people-focused programs.

Benefits of joining a GVI community development internship:

  • Get first-hand practical experience by participating in actual international social impact projects.
  • Contribute to locally-led initiatives that have a meaningful impact on communities.
  • Learn directly from experts, practitioners and academics in sustainable development.
  • Gain a more well-rounded perspective on sustainable development.
  • Get the opportunity to build on your intercultural communication skills.
  • Show employers that you’re serious about the sustainability sector, and will travel the world to get the best experience.
  • Contribute to UN SDG Goal 1: No Poverty, Goal 2: Zero Hunger and Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities.
  • Build a network of industry professionals and like-minded global change-makers who can help you along your career journey.
  • Immerse yourself in vibrant new cultures and customs, and experience beautiful nature scenery, historical sites, interesting architecture and cuisines.

Together, all these factors make for a world-class internship wherever you may travel to.

Safeguarding children on community development internships

To ensure that the work we do abroad is ethical and safeguards the children we interact with, GVI has a Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy that is implemented on every one of our community development internships. As part of this policy, participants will be required to complete a DPS check, police clearance or a National Background Check where necessary.

We also don’t offer any internship opportunities with orphans – take a look at our position on orphanage volunteering to learn more about the risks and reasons.

Internship types

What types of community development internships are there?

If you’re keen to intentionally build your career in sustainability and social impact, our internship programs are a great fit for you. Although all our volunteer programs also offer great training and development opportunities, GVI internships are more focused on helping you learn new skills that will directly support your professional goals.

With GVI community development internships, you can choose between two internship types:

International internship abroad

With an international internship abroad, travel to communities all over the world and contribute to sustainable community development projects, and gain much-needed work experience. This type of internship provides:

  • Travel to beautiful new countries.
  • Stay on one of GVI’s permanent location hubs.
  • Live and work integrated into communities.
  • Immerse yourself in new cultures and traditions.
  • Work alongside community development experts, teachers and researchers.
  • Share your experience with fellow interns from all over the world.
  • Experience a wide range of community projects.
  • Get exposure to real community challenges on the ground.


Virtual internship

If travelling isn’t an option for you, we also offer a range of virtual internships. Working remotely, you can still gain practical work experience working on real-world projects. At the end of the internship, you’ll receive a certificate endorsed by the University of Richmond and a professional recommendation from your mentor. This type of internship allows you to:

  • Gain international community development experience, from wherever you are.
  • Get the benefits and experience of working for a real partner without travelling.
  • Save on travel costs and commute time.
  • Get the flexibility to manage your own schedule, pace and hours.
  • Enjoy the freedom to decide on your level of commitment.
  • Showcase self-discipline, time management and resourcefulness to boost your CV.
  • Practise online communication and remote working skills to benefit your career.
  • Build a network of community development connections.
  • The opportunity to first explore your areas of interest before travelling.

After you’ve got that figured out, you can take a step further to choose a specific conservation focus or subject area. 

Your focus area will differ depending on whether you do an internship abroad or a virtual internship – take a look at the breakdowns on the next tabs to help you make your decision.

What’s included

What’s included in community development internships?

When you join our internship programs, you will get access to a number of resources, experiences, tools and benefits to boost your career.

Whether you join our core, career or research internships, this is what you’ll get access to:

  • Comprehensive mentorship and feedback from a remote supervisor.
  • A reference from your supervisor, as well as a LinkedIn reference and relevant endorsements (for career and research interns).
  • Online, pre-program training in leadership and community development that’s recognised by the University of Richmond, as well as access to our post-program careers course.
  • Hands-on field training in sustainable development and community development best practices.
  • Real-world experience working with local organisations as well as local community members.
  • Access to our job portal which collates vacancies in the sector.
  • A job guarantee – for career and research interns who complete a six-month program.
  • Two career coaching sessions.
  • A personalised reference posted on LinkedIn.