Every year, some of the most talented individuals from around the world set out on internships with Mercy Corps with a desire to change the world. Internships are promising opportunities for aspiring international relief and development practitioners to explore community-led change. They are a chance to apply your education and experience to hands-on projects that contribute to Mercy Corps' efforts to help people turn the crises they confront into the opportunities they deserve, in support of our mission to promote productive, secure, and just communities. Driven by local needs, our programs provide communities in the world's toughest places with the tools and support they need to transform their own lives.
Internships are open to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as recent graduates (within one year) looking to gain experience with Mercy Corps.
We have internship opportunities year-round with the greatest number during the summer.
If there is a potential match, the applicant will be contacted. Final candidates will be interviewed in person, when possible, or via a video call.
Mercy Corps' internships are fully paid and aimed at individuals interested in exploring careers in international relief and 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 navigating nonprofit management.
Due to COVID‑19 restrictions, all our current U.S. internship opportunities are remote. However, once the safety of our interns can be assured, we plan for in-person opportunities to be available again in our offices in Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. All internship opportunities are posted on our website for the Fall, Spring, and Summer cohort. We are especially proud of our Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and Latinx/Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSI) partnerships aimed at giving promising students of color the opportunity to explore careers in the international development and humanitarian sector while creating relationships within the Mercy Corps world.
Although interns work under the direction of a single staff person, they often have the opportunity to work with a wide array of people throughout the agency. Interns are encouraged to attend relevant team member gatherings and the Intern Exploration Series to gain the broadest possible appreciation and understanding of our work.
Due to COVID‑19 restrictions, all our global internships are currently paused. Once the safety of our interns can be assured, however, Mercy Corps will resume our international internship opportunities aimed at graduate students. The 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why consider an internship with Mercy Corps?
Mercy Corps is a leading global relief and development organization with offices in 40+ countries and territories. The agency is known for its creative and innovative programming and high-quality work.
Internships are excellent opportunities for individuals considering a career in international development to gain experience in the sector. 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?
Our country leadership teams and HQ team members generate paid internship scopes of work outlining valuable projects that they would like interns to undertake. These are posted in the Fall, Spring, and Summer. Interested candidates are invited to apply through the Mercy Corps website.
Successful applicants will receive a clear scope of work, online orientation to Mercy Corps, pre-departure briefings by headquarters and international staff, as well as an assigned international and headquarters point of contact. Interns are generally supervised by a senior member of Mercy Corps field staff.
Where do interns go?
Specific placements for internship programs depend on requests from Mercy Corps country offices. Opportunities are traditionally available in Central America, Africa, Asia, Middle East, Central Asia, and Southeast Asia. Interns are not assigned to countries with particularly acute security issues.
Are any financial or other types of assistance provided?
All Mercy Corps internships are paid for equitably and in commitment to our Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion initiative. For international internships, Mercy Corps generally also contributes housing and in-country travel expenses and emergency medical evacuation insurance to interns (see specific postings for details).
How do I apply?
Opportunities for the internship program will be listed on our internships page as they become available.
Please do not email or telephone Mercy Corps offices with inquiries about our internships. Due to the volume of applicants, we are unable to respond personally to inquiries. Opportunities are taken down as they are filled, and short-listed candidates will be contacted for an interview.