Study Abroad

Internships and volunteering

Find your global experience

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

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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.

Internship providers

Absolute 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 10 cities around the world.

How does it work?

Absolute Internship assist you with organising an international internship. 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 goes and actively searches a placement to match your needs.

Read about Vimbai, an Essex student who completed an internship in Madrid during summer 2017.

How long do the internships last?

Usually for 4, 8 and 12 weeks between June and August. You can choose a duration which suits you best.

Where could I go?

Absolute Internship currently offer programmes in Barcelona, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Paris, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm and Tokyo.

How much does it cost?

The cost varies depending on your destination and duration. Absolute Internship generously offers a guaranteed discount of €100 to University of Essex students.

Their international internship program includes guaranteed internship, housing, transportation to and from the internship, group dinners, career speaker seminars, cultural excursions and weekend activities, as well as 24-hour on-site support.

When do the internships start and when do I need to apply?

Most programs run between June and August. It can take around three months from applying to when you start your placement.


Visit Absolute Internship for more details and information on how to apply. Keep an eye out for talks we'll be doing with Absolute Internship.

The Intern Group

The Intern Group program delivers tangible, accelerated professional development. They enable young people to gain invaluable experience in their chosen industry, in an exciting city, in a new country. It is this framework of experiencing different cultures and different ways of life that leads to greater tolerance and acceptance.

An internship program with the Intern Group is perfect for those who wish to travel outside of their comfort zone, both literally and metaphorically. It is for those who wish to gain that crucial experience in their chosen industry while simultaneously learning about the way of life and culture of a different country.

How does it work?

The Intern Group provides international internship programs that enable individuals to gain valuable professional experience at leading companies and organizations, while exploring exciting new places and developing extensive global networks. Take your global experience to the next level by completing an international internship.

They have full-time local teams in each of our destinations, who are equipped and ready to set you up with the experience of your dreams. All aspects of the program are designed to enhance your professional and personal development, and to allow you to experience diverse cultures in a new way.

How long do the internships last?

You can specify how long you want your internship to last. The Intern Group offers internships from 4 weeks up to 24 weeks. It's a good idea to check the location you're interested in as program lengths may be more limited.

Where could I go?

Africa - Cape Town

Asia - Bangkok, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo

Australia - Melbourne

Europe - Barcelona, Dublin,  London and Madrid

Latin America - Santiago de Chile, Bogota

USA and Canada - California, Chicago, New York and Toronto

How much does it cost?

Their programs include much more than a professional internship in your desired career field. You are also provided with quality housing, social & cultural events, professional career training, and full-time local support.


  • The Intern Group offer a generous 10% discount on program fees to University of Essex students.
  • If you are a college or university student in the UK receiving a Maintenance Loan of over £8,200 or a Maintenance Grant, you are eligible for a 500 USD discount off any of their programs.
When do the internships start and when do I need to apply?

Programs are available all year on a rolling admission. It can take around three months from applying to when you start your placement, but it is best to apply as soon as possible. 


Visit The Intern Group for more details and information on how to apply. Keep an eye out for talks we'll be doing with The Intern Group.

Generation UK - China 

Through Generation UK, the British Council has opened up opportunities in China, giving you the chance to experience this unique country while gaining valuable skills for the future.

Give yourself the edge when it comes to applying for jobs through a two-month internship in China. You can choose your own work sector, which of six booming cities you want to work in and a start date that suits you.

Whatever your ambitions for the future, your internship will help you stand out from the crowd. New industries and work opportunities in China are rising faster than the skyscrapers that accommodate them, and China may soon overtake the US as the world’s largest economy. Companies across the world will value your experience of China's culture and business practices. No prior Chinese language skills required.

Where can I go?

Placements are available in the following Chinese cities through partners CRCC Asia and InternChina.


There are limited places available in these cities:

  • Beijing
  • Shanghai
  • Shenzhen


There are limited places available for these cities: 

  • Chengdu
  • Qingdao
  • Zhuhai

We recommend that you research each of these cities, and speak to the partners directly to decide which location is best for you.

What will I be doing?

Internships are available across many industry sectors, including IT, legal, marketing, design, engineering and hospitality.

When do the internships take place?

The internships are flexible, with start dates throughout the year. Choose the date that best suits you. Most students choose to do their internship during their summer vacation, but many graduates prefer to start later. You'll need to have completed the internship by the end of 2020.

The placements Generation UK offer are always for a two-month duration. You must be available for the entire duration of the placement.

How much will it cost?

You’ll need to pay for your own flights to China, your visa and any other expenses related to your travel.

You’ll also pay for your own food and other day-to-day expenses. Costs vary depending on your standard of living, and you should also factor in whether you wish to travel and explore China in your free time. Around £50 per week should be sufficient for your daily expenses.

Generation UK funding will cover:

  • all placement fees
  • accommodation
  • comprehensive travel insurance
  • pick-up from the airport
  • dedicated support throughout your placement

You will also have access to:

  • weekly Chinese language classes
  • a programme of business and cultural activities
Am I eligible?

Applications are open to undergraduates, postgraduates and recent graduates.

As Generation UK is commited to social mobility and widening participation in the higher education sector, to be eligible for the internship programme, you must also meet the student finance eligibility criteria.

How to apply

Generation UK works with two partner in China; CRCC Asia and Intern China. To apply, use the partner's programme for Generation UK funding using the application form on their website. Applications are now open. The deadline is 13 January 2020.

This is a funded opportunity and therefore highly competitive.  Priority will be given to students with an excellent academic record and those who can demonstrate a strong interest in China.  You should take their time with the application process and also read any tips online. 

Please note that you can only apply to one of the partners. if you apply to both, your applications will be disqualified.



Volunteering abroad is a great way to get experience and give something back.  We have a range of options on offer with more coming up for summer 2020.

Volunteering providers

International Citizen Service 

International Citizen Service (ICS) is a once-in-a-lifetime, UK government-funded programme that brings together young people from the UK and developing countries to volunteer in some of the poorest communities in Africa and Asia.

How does it work?

UK volunteers work side-by-side with local volunteers in developing countries, staying with host families in the local community, exchanging ideas and collaborating on finding effective solutions to real-life problems. This means that progress is focused and sustainable. ICS isn't a holiday. It's demanding but hugely rewarding. By joining ICS you will be able to make a meaningful contribution towards reducing global poverty. 

How long do the placements last?

Volunteering placements last between 10-12 weeks.

Where could I go?

ICS works in some of the poorest countries in the world. Placements currently run in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Kenya, Nepal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. You should be open-minded about where you volunteer as you may not get your first choice.

How much does the placement cost?

90% of the programme is funded by the UK Government. The remaining 10%, usually around £800, is fund-raised by the volunteer. As well as structured training and support, ICS volunteers receive their visas, flights, travel and medical insurance, medication, vaccines, food and accommodation and a small allowance during their placement.

When do placements start and when do I need to apply?

Because ICS is a rolling programme with numerous departure dates (almost every week!), there isn't a set deadline. ICS recommend applying six months before you wish to go overseas - but if that's not possible, at least three months before. This gives you enough time to fundraise, get all your necessary vaccinations, go to training and generally get ready for your overseas placement.

Am I eligible to apply?

All you need to apply for ICS is the ambition to make a difference.

  • UK resident or EEA citizens residing in UK
  • Aged between 18 and 25 for volunteer role
  • Aged between 23 and 25 for Team Leader role

Visit International Citizen Service for more details and information on how to apply. Keep an eye out for talks we'll be doing with ICS.


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 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.

Whether you're a graduate with a few months to spare before heading into the workforce, a student looking to gain some practical experience to complement your theoretical knowledge, or a working professional with limited free time, there are different placements and programs to fit around your schedule and to match your needs.

How does it work?

Each psychology-focused placements and programs takes place overseas where you can exchange skills and ideas with local professionals and learn more about how mental health treatment works in a different culture. From integrating holistic practices like Ayurveda and yoga into treatment plans to working in psychiatric facilities which are open and green, there is a lot Westerners can gain from spending time working in an Eastern culture.

Where could I go?

SLV. Global currently offer programs in Bali, Europe and India.

How long do the placements last and what do they involve?

The duration of the placement depends where you go.


The Bali Mental Health Placement lasts 4 weeks.

The Bali Placement is for anyone looking to increase their understanding of global mental health. This placement involves over 40 hours of hands-on experience and training, all whilst residing in a place so dreamy you'll be pinching yourself regularly. 

Each week you'll be running activity sessions at various government initiatives, and schools, for children with specific needs as well as community outreach programs designed to keep elderly residents healthy. You'll also be facilitating therapeutic activity sessions at one of Indonesia's only psychiatric facilities and teaching English within the community. During your placement you have the unique opportunity to live in an authentic Balinese village.


The India Clinical and Ancient Psychology Program lasts 2 weeks.

The first week is an immersive educational experience, which provides a unique and unparalleled insight into global mental health treatment at one of the most prestigious psychiatric hospitals and higher education institutions in all of Asia. Part two is a tour of southern India that begins by exploring the exciting markets of Mysore before heading off on a journey which involves trekking, trains and tea!

Both parts of this program are designed to give participants a greater understanding of mental health treatment abroad and how various cultural and environmental factors can influence understanding of mental health and impact approaches to treatment. 


The Europe Peace and Positive Psychology Program lasts 10 days.

The program begins with a weekend in fun, bustling Budapest, continuing on to historical Zagreb for 4 days, and ending with 3 days in the idyllic Croatian coastal city of Sibenik. In a short time, you will learn from local professionals and psychologists about post-conflict psychology, PTSD, peace and positive psychology, body movement psychotherapy, and meditation.

How much does it cost?

If your application is successful, you'll be asked to pay a non-refundable acceptance fee of £250 which guarantees your place on the program.

The placement fee varies depending on which program you take part in and how long your placement is. As an example, a 4 week placement ranges between £1,300 and £1,400.

The placement fees cover all workshops, training, transport from the airport, homestay accommodation with two meals a day during the working week and 24-hour support. Please remember you'll also need to factor in finances for flights, visas, insurance, spending money and jabs.

When do the placements start and when do I need to apply?

Placements run throughout the year. Summer placements are popular and can get booked up six-eight months in advance, so it's best to get your application in and secure your place as soon as you can.


Visit SLV Global for more details and information on how to apply. Keep an eye out for talks we'll be doing with SLV. Global.


UmPhafa is a Private Nature Reserve in South Africa. In collaboration with Colchester Zoo, they offer 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.

How does it work?

Essex is partnered with Colchester Zoo to provide this incredible opportunity. You will apply directly to Colchester Zoo and go alongisde a group of Essex students. 

What will I be doing?

Over the two weeks you will be involved in every aspect of the reserves management, including: animal studies, game counts, reserve maintenance, field patrols, data collection and night drives. You will also have opportunities to explore the local landscape and get immersed in local culture.

More details are available about the project in the information pack.

How long does the placement last?

Volunteering placements with UmPhafa run for two weeks.

How much does it cost?

The programme fee is £700 and includes accommodation, three meals per day, airport transfers to/from Durban, orientation, internet access and excursions.

Remember that you'll also need to factor in:

  • Return flights to Durban, South Africa (you will be responsible for booking your own flights)
  • Getting to and from the airport in the UK
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal kit (specific clothes and equipment)
  • Vaccinations
  • Visa fee (if applicable)
When does it take place?

14 - 28 April 2020.

How can I apply?

Applications are open now. To apply, download and complete the application form. In your application you should state that you heard about this opportunity through Essex Abroad.

Interviews are planned for 22 January at Colchester Zoo.

Wildlife Sense 

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.

How does it work?

Essex is partnered with Wildlife Sense to provide this incredible opportunity. Wildlife Sense host two programmes which allow Essex students to receive a €50 discount. You can take part in the programme on different dates, but you won't receive the discount, and you may not be in a group with other Essex students.  

What will I be doing?

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 what to do on the the island of Kefalonia and what you might need to pack and prepare for trip.

How long does the placement last?

Volunteering placements with Wildlife Sense are for two weeks.

Are there any requirements?
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Comfortable riding a bicycle on hilly terrain (3-10km)
  • Attend all training sessions (first 3 days of volunteering period)
  • Communicate effectively in English

Previous experience is not necessary as training will be provided

How much does it cost?

The programme fee is €450 if you take part in the Essex Abroad and Wildlife Sense programme dates. If you choose to go at a different time, the programme fee is €500.

The programme fee includes airport transfers to and from Kefalonia airport on the programme start/end dates, accommodation in shared apartments, researcher t-shirt, use of bicycles, ongoing training and field leader support.

Remember that you'll also need to factor in:

  • Return flights to Kefalonia, Greece
  • Food costs (you can opt in for a shared vegetarian food kitty at €20 per week which is paid on arrival, you cook your own meals with the other volunteers)
  • Personal expenses

When you apply, you'll be asked to pay the full fee within 7 days. You can ask to pay in instalments - to arrange this, contact Wildlife Sense.

When does it take place?

Essex Abroad has organised two programmes with Wildlife Sense. You can apply to volunteer outside of these dates, but you won't receive the discounted programme free. 

  • 7 - 21 June 2020
  • 13 - 27 September 2020
How can I apply?

Applications should be made directly to Wildlife Sense. For Essex Abroad programmes, select Argostoli as the destination and 2 weeks as the duration when you apply. To receive the discount input the discount code below in the 'how did you hear about us?' box on the second page of the application.

 Discount codes

  • 7 - 21 June 2020 - 7JUNEESSEX
  • 13 - 27 September 2020 - 14SEPESSEX
Preparing to go

For each of the Essex Abroad programmes, there will be a chance to meet other Essex students who are taking part in the volunteering programme.  We work closely with Wildlife Sense to make sure that you are included in important communications with information such as travel insurance and fundraising support. 

My placement helped me start my career straight out of university. I gained  valuable psychological clinical experience and two weeks after I graduated I started working in the clinical field!
Tanya Ahmed SLV. Global 2019 sri lanka

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.

DAAD - Rise Germany research internships

Deutscher Akademischer Austauschndienst (DAAD) is the German Academic Exchange Service. Through the RISE Germany program, they are offering summer research internships for undergraduates studying in the fields of science and engineering.

This is a funded opportunity and therefore highly competitive.  In 2019, nearly 2000 students applied with a total of 216 scholarship places being awarded. You should take time with the application process and also read any tips online.

About the programe

RISE Germany is a 3 month funded internship in Germany for second year science and engineering students which will take place in summer 2020.  In their internships, students are carefully matched with doctoral students and researchers whom they assist and who serve as their mentors.

How much will it cost?

Most costs are met by the scholarship, you will receive a monthly scholarship of 750 EUROS (per full month), the scholarship also covers international travel costs with an international travel subsidy. 

How to apply

Applications can be made online between 1 November and 15 December 2019.


Other resources and opportunities


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.

BUNAC Summer Camp USA

Summer Camp USA is your chance to spend the summer living, working as a camp counsellor and travelling in America. Boost your CV with the most fun job you'll ever have, while making friends for life, learning new skills and getting a unique slice of American culture.


Drop’pin@EURES is the place where companies and organisations can promote and showcase their youth opportunities designed to help young Europeans take their first steps into the labour market.


ErasmusIntern provides an integrated market place that aims at bringing together internship providers and students seeking an internship opportunity abroad.

Eurodesk UK

Eurodesk raises awareness on learning mobility opportunities and encourages young people to become active citizens. Opportunities for learning, internships, volunteering and grants are available.

European Youth Portal

Information and advice on how to start volunteering. Plus search for opportunities and organisations which are actively looking for volunteers.

European Solidarity Corps

The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe.

Essex abroad
Find out more

We run lots of different sessions throughout the year to provide you with essential information about going abroad. From first year and second year briefings to funding chats and country low-downs, we've got it covered.