Internship/Volunteer Abroad Opportunities for Psychology Students and Professionals: Are they worth it?

Last Updated: May 25, 2024

Internship/Volunteer Abroad Opportunities for Psychology Students and Professionals: Are they worth it?

Discover the unparalleled opportunity to intern and volunteer abroad in psychology, where you can combine healthcare with global discovery. In many developing countries, mental health is a neglected area that you can help shine a spotlight on. No matter where you are in your psychology education journey, there is an internship program waiting for you. Immerse yourself in clinical initiatives, observe seasoned psychologists in action, and acquire practical skills that will propel your career forward.

I was having a wonderful time at the project, more than I could have hoped for.Marlene Baumann, Mental Health Volunteer from Switzerland

Exploring Volunteer Opportunities Abroad

Embark on a life-changing journey by psychology volunteering abroad, where you can truly make a positive impact while acquiring invaluable knowledge across diverse fields. Within this blog, we will explore five specific domains where volunteer internships can be pursued with great potential.

1. Medicine and Therapy

If you have dreams of working in the field of human medicine or if you just want to make a difference, healthcare projects are happening all over the world. As a volunteer, you have the opportunity to get involved in hospitals, maternity wards, special clinics, rehabilitation centers, and even AIDS prevention initiatives. Don't worry if you don't have any prior experience, what truly matters is your willingness to lend a helping hand.

Therapeutic centers provide a wide range of opportunities. You can choose to work in physiotherapy or occupational therapy. If you're studying psychology, you can also explore specialized internships that focus on behavioral therapy for children with autism. These experiences will not only expand your knowledge but also make a positive impact on global health.

2. Occupational Therapy (OT)

You don't have to limit your volunteering in occupational therapy (OT) to just the field. Rehabilitation aides play important roles in healthcare departments, often found in hospitals or skilled nursing facilities. As a rehab aide, you have the opportunity to:

  1. Arrange Therapy Rooms: Get treatment areas ready for patients.
  2. Help Patients with Exercises: Support individuals during their rehabilitation workouts.
  3. Get Heating Pads and Ice Packs Ready: Make sure patients receive appropriate therapies.
  4. Manage Equipment and Supplies: Keep therapy tools organized and in good working condition.

3. Mental Health Nursing

Mental health is of utmost importance. By becoming a volunteer mental health nurse, you have the opportunity to make a difference in several ways. Join Rethink Mental Illness and become part of an organization that provides support to individuals affected by mental health conditions.

Nursing facilities and medical centers around the globe are in need of volunteers. Providing care for elderly individuals, patients, and individuals with disabilities. Interning in the nursing field can offer aspiring nurses and geriatric nurses priceless experiences. Your kindness and commitment make a real difference in the lives of those who require assistance.

4. Healthcare

Healthcare programs overseas provide excellent chances to gain firsthand experience in the healthcare industry of developing nations. By volunteering, you have the opportunity to support local doctors and nurses in providing treatment to those who are in dire need of it. Regardless of whether you are a pre-med student, attending medical college, or a high school student, there are programs tailored to accommodate individuals at every level of medical training or experience.

You can also advocate for and counsel those who are facing mental health challenges, offering them the assistance they need. Additionally, you can provide peer support, showing empathy and understanding to those on their mental health journeys. Your contribution as a volunteer can have a profound impact on the lives of others, helping them build resilience and find hope amidst their struggles.

5. Pedagogy

There are plenty of opportunities for volunteer internships in pedagogy, social pedagogy, special education, and teaching. When it comes to children and young people, the possibilities are endless. You can choose to work in kindergartens, schools, leisure facilities, youth centers, or even street children's projects. Your passion for education has the power to make a global impact and shape lives.

Keep in mind, that volunteering involves more than just giving back; it's also an opportunity to learn, develop, and build relationships with people from different countries. Whether you're interested in healthcare, social work, or education, take the chance to make a difference while experiencing new cultures.

The Power of Internships

As you embark on your professional journey, internships become a crucial stepping stone. These immersive experiences help bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world application. Let's explore the importance of internships for students and uncover their numerous benefits.

I appreciate the effort and energy given to me in psychology program to make feel welcome and to give me the opportunity to learn and teach which will benefit my future.Alex Cloumassis, Counseling Volunteer from Australia

1. First-Hand Experience and Exposure

Internships go beyond just learning theories - they give you real-world experience in the professional field. During your internship, you'll be able to put your classroom learning into action. This hands-on experience is extremely valuable as it allows you to utilize the skills you've gained in your studies.

2. Unleashing Your Potential

An internship allows you to uncover hidden aspects of your skills. It's like a blank canvas where you can explore adaptability, resilience, and undiscovered potential. In a work environment, you will refine your current abilities and reveal new ones. Personal growth goes hand in hand with professional advancement.

3. Expanding Your Professional Network

Networking is a fundamental aspect of achieving success in your career. During your internship, you will have the opportunity to interact with experienced professionals. These relationships go beyond casual connections; they evolve into mentors, advisors, and potential partners. A strong network can significantly boost your career advancement.

4. Safeguarding Your CV

An internship is not merely a formality to tick off; it is a strategic decision. Employers understand its value and view it favorably. When they notice internship experience on your resume, it conveys commitment, proactivity, and practical skills. Consequently, your application stands out, reducing the likelihood of being dismissed outright.

5. Unveiling the Work Lifestyle

An internship offers a comprehensive preview of a professional work environment, allowing you to observe the day-to-day operations, team dynamics, and project management. This experience helps align your career aspirations with reality, providing valuable insights into the work culture, communication styles, and expectations of a professional setting. By participating in an internship, you can develop practical skills, build professional relationships, and enhance your understanding of the industry, making you a more competitive candidate in the job market.

Top Destinations for Psychology Internships Abroad

1. Kenya

If you're looking for an internship abroad in psychology, Kenya might not initially be your top choice. However, this African country provides a distinctive viewpoint on mental health issues and their impact on society. In Kenya, larger hospitals manage cases related to anxiety, depression, panic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social phobia.

As an intern, you'll have the opportunity to work alongside psychologists, contributing to patient interviews, gathering research data, and organizing workshops or discussions.

2. Nepal

Nepal can be one of the perfect destinations if you’re searching for volunteering and internship opportunities. Here, you will be able to acquire invaluable experience both in rural as well as urban areas. Mental health-related issues have been significantly increasing in Nepal gaining the worldwide attention of psychologists students and professionals.

You will be able to explore a wide range of research opportunities and workshops. Gain insight into the psychological landscape of Nepal and immerse yourself in firsthand knowledge about psychology.

3. Sydney

Psychology students can find a unique internship experience in Sydney, Australia, which extends beyond marketing departments. You have the chance to engage in a school setting that caters to children with mental and physical disabilities. The primary focus is on customizing individual curricula to optimize each student's learning capabilities. As an intern, you'll gain firsthand experience of the influence of personalized education on young minds.

4. London

Internships in psychology in London are competitive yet fulfilling. Picture yourself employed by a firm that creates specialized computer software to tackle psychological challenges. In this vibrant city, you will connect technology with mental health, playing a role in pioneering solutions. Whether it involves developing digital interventions or examining data, London offers an inspiring setting for those passionate about psychology.

Conclusion: Is Psychology Internship/Volunteering Worth It?

I would recommend this program for any mental health practitioner looking for an adventure and cross cultural working skill development.Hannah Fennel, Psychology Volunteer from UK

Volunteering and interning abroad is truly a worthwhile experience as it offers immersive experiences that broaden your horizons and foster personal growth. Choosing the right country and defining your role are essential steps in shaping your journey. Internships in various sectors, including medicine, social work, and economics, allow you to gain valuable skills and contribute to meaningful projects.

Volunteering focuses on social, ecological, and medical areas, enabling you to make a positive impact. By taking the initiative and committing to at least one to two months abroad, you can prepare for your future career or studies and create lasting memories.

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Our Volunteers' Experiences and Reviews

I met calm, nice and good people.

Thank you for welcoming me into this program.

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- Marina Parejo

Spain, Volunteered in Sri Lanka Monastery

I would recommend this as it is a very full immersive experience in the beautiful Kenyan culture and there is a lot to be learnt.

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Italy, Volunteered in Kenya Medical Project

I was having a wonderful time, more than I could have hoped for.

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- Marlene Baumann

Switzerland, Psychology and Meditation Program

In our journey of more than 9 years, we hosted and enrolled hundreds of volunteers. All the good reviews from our previous participants say it all.

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