March 1, 2009

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Becky Holladay for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Photo: Becky Holladay for Mercy Corps

Every year, some of the most talented students from around the world set out on internships with Mercy Corps with particularly demanding terms of reference — to change the world. Internships are challenging opportunities for aspiring international relief and development practitioners. They are a chance to apply your education to hands-on projects that contribute to Mercy Corps' efforts to end world poverty.

Click here to search available internships.

Domestic internships

Mercy Corps' unpaid internships are for degree-seeking students interested in careers in international development. They give students a chance to do real-world research, learn the ins and outs of global relief and development work and gain exposure to a full range of nonprofit management issues.

Opportunities are available on an occasional basis in our offices in Portland, Oregon; Manhattan, New York; Washington, DC; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Edinburgh, Scotland. They are posted on our website when available. Previous interns have completed a variety of projects with our Executive, Programs, Social Innovations, Resource Development, Legal, and Finance teams.

Although interns work under the direction of a single staff person, they often have the opportunity to work with people throughout the agency. Interns are also encouraged to attend relevant staff meetings and the occasional lunchtime seminars to gain the broadest possible appreciation and understanding for our work. Mercy Corps interns gain exposure to international relief and development as well as a full range of nonprofit management issues.

To qualify for an internship, students must be receiving academic credit or formal academic sponsorship throughout the duration of the internship. (Applicants not currently in school should refer to the Mercy Corps volunteer program.)

Click here to see all internship opportunities. If there is a potential match, the applicant will be contacted. Final candidates will be interviewed in person, when possible, or by phone.

Field internships

Mercy Corps offers a limited number of field-office internships for graduate students. Scopes of work are diverse, but past interns have designed innovative environmental programs in Colombia, helped create micro-business plans in Kyrgyzstan, assisted educational interventions in China, and conducted needs-assessments in Kazakhstan. We regret that we are unable to place undergraduate students internationally.

What is the field internship program?
Mercy Corps is looking for graduate students who are interested in a career in humanitarian aid and development, and committed to international issues. International internships are open to graduate level students from anywhere in the world. We have no specific requirements for course content, aside from those in the specific opportunity postings.

Why consider an internship with Mercy Corps?
Mercy Corps is a leading international relief and development organization with offices nearly 40 countries and territories. The agency is known for its innovative programming and high quality work.

Internships are excellent opportunities for students considering a career in development to gain experience of field work. We provide challenging assignments, and applicants are expected to possess maturity, initiative, and self reliance as well as outstanding academic credentials and problem solving skills.

How does the program work?
Every year Mercy Corps has a limited number (40 in the summer of 2008) of unpaid international internships for graduate students.

Our country leadership teams generate scopes of work outlining tasks that they would like interns to undertake. These are posted between December and January. Interested candidates are invited to apply through Mercy Corps website.

Successful applicants will receive a clear scope of work, pre-departure briefings by headquarters and field staff, online orientation to Mercy Corps, and will be assigned a field and headquarters point of contact. Interns are supervised by a senior member of Mercy Corps field staff.

Where do interns go?
Specific placements for summer internship program depend on requests from Mercy Corps field offices. In the past, opportunities have been available in Central America, Africa, Asia, Middle East, Central Asia, South East Asia, and the Balkans. Interns are not assigned to countries with particularly acute security issues.

Are any financial or other types of assistance provided?
Unfortunately Mercy Corps is not able to provide stipends, allowances or airfares. Health insurance is not provided by Mercy Corps and placed interns must provide evidence of their own health insurance. Mercy Corps extends its emergency medical evacuation insurance to interns and usually offers in-country accommodation and in-country business travel (see specific postings for details).

How do I apply?
Opportunities for the summer internship program will be listed on our internships page as they become available.

Please do not email or telephone Mercy Corps offices with enquiries about field internships. Due to the volume of applicants, we are unable to respond personally to enquiries. Opportunities are taken down as they are filled, and short-listed candidates will be contacted for interview.