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International Opportunities

There are several types of abroad experiences.  Some of the opportunities provide varying levels of support before, during and after the experience.  See below for more information on the different types that may be available to you as a Columbia University student.

Columbia-Specific Opportunities | Opportunities Directly with International Organizations | Fee-Based Organizations | Search Engines & Additional Recommendations
 

Columbia-Specific Opportunities

We strongly encourage you to review the Columbia-Specific Resources, as many of them are only available to Columbia students.  These programs provide various internship, research, fellowships and volunteer opportunities abroad.  Opportunities range from completing research in France during the summer to interning at an art gallery in China.  Many of these programs provide support financially, which may include free housing abroad, a stipend or grant funding for research.  To learn more, please directly contact the organizations.  Also, it may be helpful to attend the annual Columbia International Expo as many of these offices will be represented. 

Africa
Center for the AIDS Program of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA)
: South Africa

A fantastic research center with strong collaborative relationships with the Mandela School of Medicine and the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Asia
Weatherhead East Asian Institute: East Asia and South East Asia

The Weatherhead East Asian Institute offers funding for research, language acquisition, unpaid internships, and dissertation write-up during the summer and academic year to selected students. 

Europe
The Alliance Program: France

An innovative program whose aim is to initiate and accompany new initiatives in the fields of education cooperation, research collaboration, and policy outreach.  Every year, the Alliance Program offers a wide range of scholarships, grants, and internships to students.

Latin America
International AIDS Family Program: Dominican Republic

Provides internships, rotations, and other experience opportunities in La Romana, D.R. Command of the Spanish language is required for the experiences in the Dominican Republic. 

Various Regions
Columbia Global Centers: East Asia (Beijing), South Asia (Mumbai), Middle East (Amman and Istanbul), Africa (Nairobi), Europe (Paris) and Latin America (Santiago)
A network of seven interdisciplinary research hubs located on nearly every continent.  Promoting research, service, and teaching, the centers offer opportunities to faculty and students, at both the graduate and undergraduate level of study.

 Columbia Partnership for International Development (CUPID): Various Regions
A student-led effort across Columbia University focused on international development.  CUPID offers a series of summer programs in cooperation with organizations in the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Zambia, among others.

Columbia University's International Community: Various Regions
A webpage that provides a nice big-picture view of Columbia's international presence, as well as helpful links to get you started.

Columbia University Research and Collaborations: Various Regions
Columbia University’s international focus is reflected in the wide array of research and scholarly activity in its schools, departments, centers and institutes.

HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies: Various Regions
A national and international network of research activities and community outreach. 

The Earth Institute: Various Regions
Provides funding for students to undertake fieldwork research related to their degree studies, through the Travel Grant and Global Fellows in Sustainable Development Program. 

The Fu Foundation School for Engineering and Applied Science: Various Regions
S
upports and encourages students and the Columbia engineering community to actively pursue a global perspective in their studies and work. 

The Harriman Institute: Russia, Eurasia, and East Central Europe
Offers a number of fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students conducting research in Russia, Eurasia, and East Central Europe. 

International Alumni Clubs: Various Regions
A terrific opportunity to network with Columbia alumni who have successfully pursued employment opportunities abroad.

International Research Programs: Various Regions
An extensive list of programs where Columbia students can pursue research in international centers across the globe.

Office of Civic Action & Engagement: Various Regions
CAE’s Alternative Break Program (ABP) is a student-driven, proposal-based, experience that is designed to help support and guide teams of students to develop and implement comprehensive domestic and international service trips over winter, spring and summer breaks. 

Office of Fellowships: Various Regions
Committed to helping Columbia students apply for national and international fellowships.  We educate students, faculty, and staff about scholarships and research opportunities and aid students in determining the best scholarships for their intellectual, professional, and personal goals.

  • Cultural Vistas Fellowship: various locations
    The Cultural Vistas Fellowship affords underrepresented U.S. university students the unique opportunity to advance their career goals, develop global competencies, and experience life in another culture.
  • Freeman Indonesia Nonprofit Internship Program: Indonesia
    FINIP provides an opportunity for American and Indonesian students pursuing U.S. undergraduate degrees to intern together at an Indonesian nonprofit organization during the summer.
  • Pasteur Foundation: France
    In addition to raising funds for projects and research programs at the Institut Pasteur, the Pasteur Foundation conducts programs for U.S. scientists who wish to work in Pasteur laboratories.
  • Princeton in Asia (PiA): Asia
    Places 150 young Americans in service fellowships in 18 Asian countries, immersing them in service-oriented projects and contributing to the development of Asian communities.  Minimal placement fee is required. 
  • The Humanity in Action Fellowship: various locations
    Intensive and demanding, the Humanity in Action Fellowship brings together international groups of university students and recent graduates to explore national histories of discrimination and resistance, as well as examples of issues affecting different minority groups today.

Office of Global Programs: Various Regions
Office aims to ensure international opportunities for undergraduate students that combine cultural immersion, intellectual challenge and individual growth through expanding their world view.

The International Center for AIDS Care and Treatment Programs (ICAP): Various Regions
A center which aims to bring together diverse initiatives to address the epidemic.

Sossusvlei, Namibia - Photo submitted by Derek Turner


Opportunities Directly with International Organizations 

The following opportunities are not directly affiliated with Columbia University, but students are still strongly encouraged to apply.  Opportunities are available in a variety of locations and industries.  Example experiences may include completing computer engineering research at a research institute in Taiwan to working in the marketing department of a not-for-profit in Peru.  Review the organization’s websites for more information regarding positions available. 

Governmental & Public Multinationals
Below is a list of governmental and public multinational organizations that provide international opportunities for students.  Opportunities vary, but may include completing business analysis for the US Commercial Service in China or completing aid work in Africa during the summer.  Typically, you do not need to pay a placement fee for these governmental positions. 

Peace CorpsVarious Regions & graduated students only
Independent US government agency which provides technical assistance in the fields of Health, Education, Urban Youth Development, NGO Development, Social Work, Community Development, and Business, in over 75 countries around the world.

US Commercial Service: Various Regions
A trade promotion arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.   Internships are available in several countries around the world.

U.S. Department of State Teaching Overseas: Various Regions
Provides a list of organizations offering volunteer and work positions to teach overseas.

U.S. Department of State Internships: Various Regions
The U.S. Department of State offers worldwide career opportunities providing an experience where you will connect with the global community, conduct diplomacy through communicating U.S. foreign policy, and explore different cultures while living and working overseas.

USAID: Various Regions
There are a variety of programs, including a limited number of paid internships, plus volunteer internship positions and fellowships, which allow students to participate in projects vital to the success of U.S. foreign policy.

United Nations: Various Regions
Provides opportunities for enrolled students to undertake an internship at its Headquarters in New York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut and Santiago.

World Bank: Various Regions
Provides various global internship opportunities for students. 


Non-Governmental Organizations
Non-governmental organizations provide a diverse range of internship and volunteer opportunities for students.  Specifically, international advocacy groups or international think tanks may have opportunities for international experiences.  Many positions focus on humanitarian issues and international relations and are usually unpaid.  See below for just a few example organizations that regularly provide overseas positions, as this is not an inclusive list.

CARE: Various Regions
 Offers a small number of graduate students unpaid summer work with projects and conduct research in various CARE Country Offices.

Institute for International Education: Various Regions
As technology opens borders, educational and professional exchange opens minds. IIE is among the world’s largest and most experienced international education and training organizations.

Amnesty International: Various Regions
A global movement of people fighting injustice and promoting human rights.

Review additional service-oriented opportunities located on CCE’s International Service webpage.


Corporations
It is becoming more common for corporations to hire students for internships abroad.  It is not required, but is always recommended to have language skills and previous work or research experience before applying to positions abroad.  Employers recruit for a variety of majors and may seek interns to complete various experiences which could include: mechanical engineering projects in Germany in the automotive industry, banking in England or computer science research in India.  Depending on the industry, positions may or may not provide financial support or housing.  Typically, you do not need to pay a placement fee for these corporate positions and many of the positions may provide financial support.

LionSHARE: Various Regions
Columbia University Center for Career Education database has global opportunities for students of various majors, academic levels and citizenships that are posted throughout the year.  Review the database regularly (and also set up a job agent) to make sure that you are aware of available opportunities.  Examples of positions that have been posted on LionSHARE in the past include:  IBM (Various Regions), Samsung Electronics (South Korea), ITRI (Taiwan) and Infosys (India).    

Companies may not post on LionSHARE, but may have structured internship programs that are available to students.  Examples include: H&M (Sweden) and BMW Group (Germany, China) just to name a few. Review company websites regularly for these opportunities.  

Check out the “How to Find A Position Abroad” webpage for additional tips on locating a corporate position.

 

Research
Paid research opportunities are available in various regions of the world.  Research abroad can strengthen your research skills in your desired field of study.  Students have previously completed research experiences focused on a diverse range of topics from the arts in Indonesia to nanotechnology in Japan.  See below for some example opportunities.

Check out the How to Find A Position Abroad webpage for additional tips on locating a research position.

 

Office of Fellowships: Various Regions
The Office of Fellowships is committed to helping Columbia students apply for national and international fellowships.  Below is a sample of the extensive fellowship opportunities that are available in the Office of Fellowships.  Contact the Office directly for a more extensive list.

  • Cultural Vistas Fellowship: various locations
    The Cultural Vistas Fellowship affords underrepresented U.S. university students the unique opportunity to advance their career goals, develop global competencies, and experience life in another culture.
  • Pasteur Foundation: France
    In addition to raising funds for projects and research programs at the Institut Pasteur, the Pasteur Foundation conducts programs for U.S. scientists who wish to work in Pasteur laboratories.
  • Princeton in Asia (PiA): Asia
    Places 150 young Americans in service fellowships in 18 Asian countries, immersing them in service-oriented projects and contributing to the development of Asian communities.  Minimal placement fee is required. 
  • The Humanity in Action Fellowship: various locations
    Intensive and demanding, the Humanity in Action Fellowship brings together international groups of university students and recent graduates to explore national histories of discrimination and resistance, as well as examples of issues affecting different minority groups today.
  • Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship: various locations
    This scholarship provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students who are receiving Federal Pell Grant funding at a two-year or four-year college or university to participate in study and intern abroad programs worldwide.

 NanoJapan: Japan
Fully funded summer research opportunity for freshman and sophomores focused on nanotechnology. The program is for US Citizens or permanent residents and students should be studying physics, engineering and/or have an interest in nanotechnology.

Research institutes and universities abroad may have interest in recruiting interns for various research projects.  Some research institutes have formalized research internship programs such as: Industrial Technology Research Institute (Taiwan). It is recommended that if you have a specific interest in a university or research institute to also send your resume and cover letter directly to the institution, as they may not publicly be marketing opportunities, but may have interest in hosting interns.

Teach Abroad
The opportunities below are a diverse list of teach aborad opportunities for students.  These positions are primarily available to students beyond graduation and will be a minimum of nine months in length.  Teaching abroad is one of the more common and accessible ways to work overseas for native English speakers.  Overall, check out the “How to Find A Position Abroad” webpage for additional tips on locating a position abroad.

Africa
Teach and Learn in Georgia: Republic of Georgia

Paid teaching assistant positions available throughout Georgia.  The program is supported by the Ministry of Education in Georgia.

Asia
Contact Singapore: Singapore
An alliance of the Singapore Economic Development Board and Ministry of Manpower which aims to attract global talent to work and live in Singapore. 

Japan Exchange and Teaching Program (JET): Japan
Paid positions to teach English in order to promote international exchange between Japan and other countries. 

Teach and Learn in Korea (TaLk): South Korea
Opportunity for native English speakers to receive paid teaching positions in South Korea.

Europe
The Teaching Assistant Program in France: France
Paid work experience in France for 7 months, teaching English to French students of all ages.

Teaching Assistant Program in Austria: Austria
9 month paid teaching experience in Austria, teaching English to Austrian students.

North American Language and Culture Assistants: Spain
Paid teaching assistant positions available throughout Spain.  The program is supported by the Ministry of Education in Spain.

Latin America
English Open Doors Program: Chile
Teaching assistant positions available throughout Chile.  The program is supported by the Ministry of Education in Chile and the United Nations Development Program.

Various Regions
Office of Fellowships: Various Regions
The Office of Fellowships is committed to helping Columbia students apply for national and international fellowships. 

InterExchange: Various Regions
Aims to promote cultural understanding through a diverse suite of work and volunteer exchange programs.

Transitions Abroad: Various Regions
Resources for teaching internationally and short-term work.  

Peace CorpsVarious Regions & graduated students only
Provides technical assistance in the fields of Health, Education, Urban Youth Development, NGO Development, Social Work, Community Development, and Business, in over 75 countries around the world.

International School  Services: Various Regions
Private, non-profit organization serving America international schools overseas.

 Search Associates -- Teaching Abroad: Various Regions
A placement firm for teachers, administrators, and interns looking for international schools.

 teflSearchVarious Regions
A job site aimed at aiding in the search for international TEFL/ELS teaching positions.


 

Paris, France - Photo submitted by Elisa Quiroz

 

Fee-Based Opportunities

These organizations are able to provide assistance in finding an internship or volunteer experience abroad.  Many of the positions will be unpaid or minimally paid and you may also be required to pay a placement and application fee in order to participate.  Due to the customization of many of the programs (flexibility of duration and location), students of all major and academic levels are typically eligible to apply.  Opportunities are extremely diverse and may range from not-for-profit work in Africa to engineering experiences in Germany.  The programs will likely provide additional in-country support and assistance.  Please note, the programs listed here are administered by organizations with no affiliation to Columbia University.  Take time to thoroughly review the programs and also read through the recommended considerations before you decide to participate.

Internships or Volunteer Exchange Programs
The following exchange programs provide internship or volunteer programs for students around the globe.  Due to the extensive relationships that these organizations have established globally, internship and volunteer opportunities range from Argentina to Zambia for technical or non-technical internships.

Amnesty International: Various Regions
Recruits volunteers to assist across the globe with the pursuit of human rights for all.

Foundation for Sustainable Development: Various Regions
Intense, immersive program for students and young professionals looking to gain international development experience and training, involving home-stays, an on-site orientation, development training, grantwriting, and ultimately project implementation

IAESTE Internships: Various Regions
IAESTE offer to students a provision of paid, technical work experience abroad for skill.  You will be required to pay a nominal placement fee to participate in these opportunities. 

 

Work Permit Programs and Intern Abroad Programs
These two programs market and provide international experiences and also assist with work permit or visa documentation.  Experiences are numerous and may include interning at an art gallery in Argentina or working for a consulting firm in Spain.

British Universities North America Club (BUNAC): Australia, Cambodia, Canada, France, Ireland, Singapore, Peru, United Kingdom and more
A non-profit, non-political organization operating work/travel programs and work permit services.  You must have secured your own internship before applying to BUNAC, as the organization is unable to place students abroad in internships.

Cultural Vistas: Argentina, Germany, Spain, Russia
Offers current students and recent graduated students a chance to work abroad and provides work permit services. 


Internships Abroad
Internships abroad typically provide a student with a practical short-term work experience which is relevant to his or her studies.   Due to customizable options, positions range from theatrical internships in Scotland to sports management internships in Spain for the summer.

CISabroad: Various Regions
Offers a diverse range of fully-supported intern programs on 6 continents, in 14 countries.

Educational Programmes Abroad: Various Regions
Summer internships in London, Edinburgh, Brussels, Madrid, Berlin, Bonn & Cologne.

InteRDom: Various Regions
Internship program sponsored by the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development dedicated to fostering exchange between the Caribbean, the US, and Latin America.

Intrax Global Internships: Various Regions
Intrax is a provider of internship placements in London, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore  and Santiago.  Every Intrax intern receives a customized placement determined by his or her academic background and professional goals.  Areas of focus include finance, marketing, public relations, human resources, and entrepreneurship.

Steuben-Schurz-Gesellschaft: Germany
Students are partnered with participating companies to learn from on-the-job experience and the building of international leadership skills


Volunteer Abroad
Volunteering abroad enables you to give back to the global community in a variety of different ways.  Whether your interests include poverty alleviation work in Africa or environmental work in China, you will likely find what you are looking for in these volunteer programs.  Opportunities are diverse and many times you can be selective regarding the type of volunteer experience you wish to complete while abroad.  

A Broader View: Various Regions
Volunteer work in humanitarian missions

Institute for Field Research Expeditions: Various Regions
Volunteer and field research experiences in over 18 international locations

International Studies Abroad (ISA): Various Regions
Volunteer programs focused on community development

United Planet: Various Regions
Volunteer-abroad opportunities in over 40 countries focusing on cultural communication, female empowerment, and poverty alleviation

Youth Challenge International (YCI): Various Regions
Youth development organization promoting youth innovation to drive positive change

 

Internships/Volunteer Abroad

The organizations listed below provide both internships and volunteer abroad opportunities.  Internships abroad typically provide a student with a practical short-term work experience related to his or her studies.  Volunteering abroad enables a student to give back to the global community in a variety of different ways, which may relate to his or her studies.  Opportunities are diverse and many times, a student can be selective regarding the type of volunteer experience he or she wishes to complete while abroad.  

Abroad China: China
Internship and volunteer programs to study language and culture.

Cross-Cultural Solutions: Various Regions
Volunteer or intern experiences related to help in addressing critical global issues.

Cultural Embrace: Various Regions
Volunteer, work, teach, and intern in programs across Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Oceania.

International Education Programs: Various Regions
Study, internship, and volunteer programs for a variety of interests.

Mundo Español: Various Regions
Internships, volunteer, exchange, and Spanish language programs

Princeton in Asia (PiA): Asia
Places 150 young Americans in service fellowships in 18 Asian countries, immersing them in service-oriented projects and contributing to the development of Asian communities.  Minimal placement fee is required. 

Projects Abroad: Various Regions
Diverse range of international service projects in areas like medicine, journalism, human rights, teaching, business, environmental conservation, archaeology.

ProWorld: Various Regions
|Volunteer or intern abroad with focus in areas such as medicine, public health, women’s empowerment, education, and environmental outreach.  Opportunities in Belize, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Thailand, Nepal, Ghana, and South Africa.

 

Riomaggiore, Italy - Photo submitted by Katherine Liang

Search Engines & Additional Research Recommendations

The following is a list of search engines that advertise various international experiences for current and graduated students.  Explore each search engine thoroughly, as positions range from volunteering in an orphanage in Southeast Asia to working as an engineer in Germany.

International Jobs Center and International Career Employment Weekly
A comprehensive source of international careers for professionals, including international development jobs.

International Volunteer Programs Association
An association of non-governmental organizations involved in international volunteer work and internship exchanges.

Idealist.org
Search engine for working and volunteering worldwide.

Abroad View
Work and internship opportunities from a variety of resources online. 

LifeAfterStudyAbroad
Webpage on positions abroad as well as stories written by those overseas regarding their international experience.

The International Educator
Popular service used for finding international teaching and international education administration positions.

Volunteer Abroad
Website offering opportunities to explore abroad volunteer experiences.

Students Abroad
An array of information focused on tools and cultural information for international experience.

Going Global
A provider of wide-ranging career and employment resources for evaluating, selecting, and transitional into a successful career in a foreign country.

Uniworld
Two distinct directories offering both American Firms operating in foreign countries as well as foreign firms operating in the United States to assist with your international job search.

 

Comments or Questions?

If you have interest in making an appointment with a counselor to discuss your questions related to international experiences, please do not hesitate to contact the Center for Career Education front desk at: 212-854-5609.