Protecting and promoting human rights throughout the world can be a life-changing experience as you are personally involved in helping to generate social change. Having an international human rights internship may not only give you the opportunity to learn about other peoples, cultures and current human rights issues while being engaged in the process of social transformation, but it may also help you in more clearly determining where your educational and professional future will lead.
As a graduate student desiring to solidify my Spanish skills as well as learn how grassroots movements in rural areas function, I spent hours upon hours researching the internet and travel books to find where I could go, how to apply, what to bring with me, how much it would cost, etc. After returning from an incredible experience in El Salvador, Barb Frey from the Global Institute and I decided that we needed to make the process of obtaining an international human rights internship more accessible to students. This brochure was the result. It was made in order to assist undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Minnesota in their search for possible internship or volunteer positions. In it you will find information from potential funding to what past interns have done while working abroad to what to pack before you leave. Our hope is that this brochure will help you whether you are at the very beginning of your search or in the more advanced stages. We wish you the best of luck and hope you have a very rewarding experience.
Parts of the following list of resources were compiled by the International Service & Travel Center to help you begin your search for an international internship. These sites generally offer a variety of information ranging from specific volunteer or internship possibilities to how to buy travel insurance to what you should bring with you if you go to a particular country.
Learning Abroad Center
The Learning Abroad Center in the Office of International Programs is the University of Minnesota's comprehensive resource for study, work, intern, volunteer, and travel experiences worldwide.
CLA Career Services
This site offers on-campus advising on internships, gaining academic credit, and directed study opportunities. The Career and Community Learning Center provides career resources and information, access to job, internship and volunteer listings, service learning, opportunities to get involved in the community, and exchanges to other U.S. colleges. This web site is designed to help you learn about CCLC services and find valuable information and resources. If you would like to speak with a staff member personally, you can stop by 411 STSS on the East Bank campus.
CDS (Carl Duisberg Society) International
CDS administers programs ranging in duration from three to twenty-four months. Every program consists of an internship component; some have academic or language training elements as well. The variety of program formats enables you to choose the one that best fits your skills and requirements. Internships are possible in any of the following fields: Management, Business, Commerce, and Finance; the Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, Mathematics, and Industrial Occupations; Information Media and Communications Agriculture Arts and Culture. Specific internships abroad are set up and sometimes funded through CDS international.
Foundation for Sustainable Development
FSD was formed to provide college students, graduates, and professionals the opportunity to gain hands on development experience with grassroots development organizations in Latin America and Africa. They offer internship programs in which interns are completely immersed in the language and culture of Latin America or Africa. Placed with an organization in the intern's area of interest, interns are able to work with the day to day activities of the host organization and/or complete a self designed project that is in line with the goals of the organization. A family homestay, orientation and evaluation sessions, host organization supervisor, and program coordinator are integrated with the internship for a complete experience. Internships are available in Nicaragua, Bolivia, Peru, South Africa, and Tanzania. Participants must be college students or graduates with intermediate Spanish or above for the Latin American Programs. Internships are available all year round and undergraduate and graduate credit is available.
Idealist.org – Action Without Borders
This site provides a listing and description of over 23,000 non-profit and community organizations in 153 countries. You are able to design the perfect volunteer opportunity for yourself by setting up one or more Volunteer Profiles with your interests, skills and schedule. These Profiles can then be searched by organizations in Idealist. There is also an ample catalog of available internships and volunteer programs according to topic or region.
InternAbroad.com is a good source for international internships. Search for paid and volunteer, academic and non-academic internships, as well as college credit practical training programs around the world. It is a comprehensive site with search options for program type and desired country. The site also offers a search engine for possible funding.
International Association for the Exchange of Students of Technical Experience
AIPT can assist American students and professionals in most scholastic majors and career fields who want to grow personally and professionally through international, on-the-job training experiences. The International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) offers placement assistance to college and university students majoring in technical subjects and can also help some non-technical students. The Prearranged Training Program assists professionals and recent graduate in nearly any career field. Knowledge of the language in the country where the training takes place is usually required.
International Association of Students in Economic and Business Management
AIESEC's primary activity is facilitation of work abroad exchange programs between its member countries. These internships or employment opportunities are business-related. AIESEC in the U.S. sends students from the U.S. to work abroad and receives students from around the world to work for companies in the U.S. Paid and unpaid positions are available.
International Feminist Internships
This site offers an online brochure of a consortium of groups at the University of Minnesota that sponsor feminist internships for graduate students. Information on past internships, specific NGOs, how to have successful internship experience, and funding is provided.
On this site, you can choose intern or volunteer programs by country and subject. Travel guides, study essentials and country advice are provided.
Finding the right job in conflict resolution, international development and related fields requires a combination of the right experience and training, an understanding of the field, developing strong connections and a bit of serendipity. In addition to academic and/or professional training, it is essential to have an understanding of how conflict resolution works in practice. Created by Professor Zelizer, Georgetown University, this site guides your through pointing your education and career development in the direction of international development.
U.S. Government Internships
www.state.gov, www.doc.gov, and www.govjobs.com
These sites present information on internships with State Department, Department of Commerce, and other agencies abroad and in Washington, D.C. About half of the internships are in Washington, D.C. From time to time, intern positions may be available at Department offices in other large cities in the United States. The remaining internships are at our embassies and consulates abroad. The majority of internships are unpaid.
To view the answers to common questions regarding international internships, please click on the following link to the Human Rights Resource Center.