Study Abroad

Internships and volunteering

Find your global experience

Discover the perfect opportunity to spend a summer working, volunteering or researching abroad. We've got a range of programmes to suit your needs and give you the best experience possible. 

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Placements and internships

The aim of a work placement abroad is to develop skills you've learnt in the classroom in a practical real-world experience, combined with the added dimension of strengthening your cross-cultural competencies. An international work experience will enhance your employability and could be a valuable stepping stone as perhaps your first professional role.

We also offer a variety of short-term study programmes abroad.

Absolute internship

About the internship

In a decade, Absolute Internship has formed into a leading international internship program. They enable university students and graduates to develop their career aspirations across the globe. The programs take place in Barcelona, Beijing, Bogota, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Montreal, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm and Tokyo.

Absolute Internship is a pioneering firm working with world-class companies to provide life-changing opportunities to our participants. Their award-winning programs aim to develop both the personal and professional skill sets those who enrol, allowing ambitious individuals to follow their passions alongside other like-minded students from all around the globe.

Absolute Internship is frequently featured as an industry-leader on renowned media outlets such as The New York Times, BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters and Sky News.

They are dedicated to providing international opportunities that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to find, and with a growing number of talented participants joining us each year, Absolute Internship continues to help students and graduates step out of their comfort zones and follow their dreams – wherever they may be.

Absolute Internship can assist you with organising an international placement. Their comprehensive services do a preliminary assessment of the things that you're seeking in an internship, and either matches you with one of their existing business partners, or go and actively searches a placement to match your needs.

Read about Vimbai who did an internship in Madrid during summer 2017.


Absolute Internship generously offers a guaranteed discount of £100 and a priority access to University of Essex students.

  • Duration: one to three months (longer internships are also possible)
  • Location: Barcelona, Beijing, Bogota, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Montreal, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm and Tokyo
  • Departure date: Summer 2019 but other dates are also available
  • Deadline: ongoing application deadline, apply at least 3 months before your internship start date
  • To apply and for more information click here. Keep an eye out for talks we'll be doing on opportunities with absolute Internship.


AIESEC is a global youth-led organisation striving to achieve peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential. Together with partner organisations, AIESEC facilitates cross-cultural exchanges in the form of volunteering experiences & professional internships. Differentiate yourself through an international internship. 

  • Duration: Various
  • Location: Worldwide
  • Departure date: Ongoing
  • Deadline: Ongoing

Applications should be made directly through AIESEC

The Intern Group - variety of locations

About the internship

The Intern Group can assist you with organising an international placement. Their comprehensive services do a preliminary assessment of the things that you're seeking in an internship, and either matches you with one of their existing business partners, or actively searches a placement to match your needs.

The Intern Group offer a generous 10% discount on program fees to University of Essex students.

  • Duration: 6-24 weeks.
  • Location: Chicago, Colombia, Dublin, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Melbourne, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo and Toronto.
  • Departure date: all year round.
  • Deadline: ongoing application deadline.
  • To apply and for more information click here


There are no academic requirements for volunteering placements.

International Citizen Service - variety of countries 

About the opportunity

International Citizen Service (ICS) is a once-in-a-lifetime, UK government-funded programme providing volunteer placements to 18-25 year olds and Team Leader placements to 23-35 year olds. It's a development programme that brings together young people from the UK and developing countries to volunteer in some of the poorest communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

UK volunteers work side-by-side with local volunteers in developing countries, staying with host families in the local community.

ICS isn't a holiday. It's demanding but hugely rewarding. It's a great opportunity for personal development, a stepping stone to future careers and a chance to make your world a better place.

The programme is led by VSO in partnership with a hand-picked group of respected development organisations. They each offer structured support and training to help and guide you before, during and after your overseas placement.

You don’t need cash, skills or qualifications to apply for ICS – just the ambition to make a difference.

  • Duration: 10-12 weeks.
  • Location: Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • Departure date: Summer 2019 as well as throughout the year (once you graduate).
  • Deadline: ongoing but apply as soon as possible.

To apply and for more information click here


All expenses are funded by the UK Government.Volunteers must fundraise £800 to support the project.


  • UK resident or EEA citizens residing in UK.
  • Aged between 18 and 25.
  • Team leaders between 23 and 25.

SLV.Global volunteering - Sri Lanka

About the opportunity

SLV.Global provides psychology students and graduates the opportunity to gain valuable, practical experience in the mental health sector while being immersed in a unique and exciting culture.The placements in Sri Lanka are designed to provide maximum benefit to the communities where SLV.

Global works and at the same time give you the opportunity to gain highly valuable experience in the mental health sector.

  • Duration: 1 - 3 months.
  • Location: Sri Lanka.
  • Departure date: all year round.
  • Deadline: TBC
  • To apply and for more information click here.


The volunteering placement is unpaid. You will need to pay for the following:

  • programme fee
  • return flights and travel insurance
  • entry visa
  • personal expenses

You may be able to apply for several funding opportunities to help you cover the costs of these including our crowdfunding platform Click, International Experience Bursary and University Travel Grants.

UmPhafa volunteering project - South Africa

About the volunteering project

This is an Essex Abroad organised volunteering opportunity.

Duration: 2 weeks

Location: South Africa

Departure date: There are two sessions planned: 3 - 17 April and 11 - 25 September 2019

Deadline: 25 January for the April session and 30 April for the September session

To apply: Visit the Essex Abroad application portal. Please apply as soon as possible as spaces are limited.


The role

You will play a crucial role in the operation of the reserve by helping to collect vital data necessary to make key management decisions. You will also have the satisfaction of developing the necessary skills required to make in-roads into the field of conservation, whilst working closely with large animals and knowing that your contributions is having a direct influence to the wellbeing of the fauna on the UmPhafa Reserve.

UmPhafa Private Nature Reserve offers internships to people who have a passion and an interest to learn about African Wildlife Conservation and Reserve Management. The internships are run by the Reserve Management Team which ensures that interns are mentored by our most senior and experienced staff members. It is a fantastic and rare opportunity to work alongside a team with many years of experience and gain creditable work experience whilst knowing that the contribution is having a direct influence on the wellbeing of the flora and fauna on the reserve. Data that volunteers collect will be vital in making key management decisions.

More details are available about the project, the actual placement and what you can expect, as well as the UmPhafa private nature reserve.



  • Animal behavioural Studies (large game such as Rhino and Giraffe)
  • Feeding studies & Game Counts
  • Species Identification (an important element of the general learning experience)
  • Camera Trap Surveys
  • Large Mammal Tracking and Monitoring & Small Mammal and Pit Fall Trapping (seasonal)
  • Vegetation Surveys (an essential element with regards to animal carrying capacities)
  • Animal sighting data collection, entry and analysis
  • Bush Walks & Bush Skills & Night drives
  • Fence Patrols &Erosion Control


  • Able to walk during a hot day
  • Interested in conservation, wildlife and environment


Programme fee

The programme fee is £700 and includes accommodation, three meals per day, airport transfers, orientation, internet access, excursions and travel insurance.


Other costs

  • Flights to South Africa (you will be responsible for booking your own flights)
  • Airport transfer in the UK
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal kit (specific clothes and equipment)
  • Vaccinations
  • Visa fee (if applicable)


Did you know that you can use the University of Essex award winning crowdfunding platform CLICK to fundraise for this experience? The best thing is you may be able to qualify for match-funding where you get an extra £1 for every £1 you fundraise for free. T&Cs apply. For more info go to our funding page.

Wildlife Sense volunteering project - Greece

About the volunteering project

Wildlife Sense is a sea turtle research and conservation organisation based on the beautiful island of Kefalonia, Greece. Its mission is to protect endangered sea turtles and their natural habitats, offer a unique learning experience to the volunteers who join its efforts, and promote public awareness.

  • Duration: 2 weeks in June and September
  • Location: Kefalonia, Greece
  • Departure date: June project dates - 16 - 30 Jun 2019; September project dates - 22 September - 6 October 2019
  • Deadline: 28 February for June project and 30 April for September project

The role

As part of a team, you will survey the beaches of Kefalonia to find and protect sea turtle nests. You will cycle to the beaches in the early morning, walk along the sand looking for fresh turtle nests, then mark, measure, and protect all nests that were laid during the previous night. The primary goal is to protect sea turtle nests against accidental damage and monitor their progress throughout incubation to the hatching stage. Learn about day to day tasks in the Wildlife Sense Guide.

More details are available about the project, what to do on the the island of Kefalonia and what you might need to pack and prepare for trip.


  • 18 years of age or older
  • Minimum stay of two weeks
  • Comfortable riding a bicycle on hilly terrain
  • Able to walk/bike during a hot day
  • Willingness to work as a team
  • Willingness to work hands-on with wildlife
  • Keen to learn more about sea turtles and the environment
  • Willing to engage with the public when asked questions
  • Likes Greek food (optional)


The programme fee including the two week long programme, full training, social programme and accommodation is £420

What is included:

  • An amazing volunteering hands on experience with sea turtles
  • Airport pickup and drop off in Kefalonia, Greece
  • Accommodation in apartments shared with the rest of the team
  • Researcher t-shirt
  • Ongoing training and project operation cost
  • Travel insurance (provided by the University)

You still have to pay for the following:

  • Flights – estimated to be between £100 - £300 for direct return flight from Stansted to Kefalonia
  • Food costs – ( you can opt in for a shared vegetarian food kitty at €30 per week which is paid on arrival, you cook your own meals)
  • Personal expenses- approximately £100 – £150
  • Visa fee – most nationalities including UK the countries do not need a visa to Greece.


Did you know that you can use the University of Essex award winning crowdfunding platform CLICK to fundraise for this experience? The best thing is you may be able to qualify for match-funding where you get an extra £1 for every £1 you fundraise for free. T&Cs apply. For more info go to our funding page.


Research opportunities

Research opportunities abroad offer excellent ways to become immersed in, and contribute to, a variety of research projects. They almost always offer generous scholarships and grants.

Euraxess - research portal

Euraxess is a hub for all things related to international research. It works in three key areas: jobs, services and rights, and is completely free to researchers who are interested in working abroad. You get funding for your travels, can apply for fellowships and placements overseas, find a new job on the other side of the world, or just get useful pointers for life in a different country.

By providing support, advice and funding for researchers, Euraxess UK can help you collaborate with other international researchers in your field and share your knowledge across the world. They also have a wealth of experience helping people relocate to other countries, so whether it's medical care or childcare, accommodation or taxation, Euraxess is the place to find the answers.


Available grants vary from country to country and specific fields of work. You can find current opportunities depending on your own personal skills, level of experience, and where you’re looking to go. New opportunities are constantly posted and each one will have its own individual deadline.

Further details and how to apply

Please visit the Euraxess website to learn more and to search through numerous international research opportunities.


Other resources and opportunities

The following external resources may help you source a placement:

Essex abroad
Want to find out more?

First year? Come along to one of our ‘Goodbye Essex, Hello….’ sessions to find out more about different countries. Second year? Come to your department’s study abroad briefing where we’ll provide you with essential information about the study abroad process. Start your journey and check out our upcoming events on Facebook now!