Photo: Dan Sadowsky/Mercy Corps
Every year, some of the most talented individuals 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 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, recent graduates or individuals exploring a career shift and 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 by phone.
Mercy Corps’ unpaid internships are for individuals interested in 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 a full range of nonprofit management issues.
Opportunities are available in our offices in Portland, Oregon; Washington, DC; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Seattle, Washington. 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 Leadership and Organizational effectiveness 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 encouraged to attend relevant team member gatherings and lunchtime seminars to gain the broadest possible appreciation and understanding of our work. Mercy Corps interns gain exposure to international relief and development as well as a full range of nonprofit management issues.
Mercy Corps offers a 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.
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 innovative programming and high quality work.
Internships are excellent opportunities for individuals considering a career in development to gain experience in 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 of unpaid internships globally.
Our country leadership teams and HQ team members generate scopes of work outlining tasks that they would like interns to undertake. These are posted on a rolling basis with a peak in March and April. Interested candidates are invited to apply through the 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 generally supervised by a senior member of Mercy Corps field staff.
Where do interns go?
Specific placements for 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?
Mercy Corps generally contributes housing and in country travel expenses and emergency medical evacuation insurance to interns (see specific postings for details). Generally we are not able to provide paid internships.
How do I apply?
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 inquiries. Opportunities are taken down as they are filled, and short-listed candidates will be contacted for interview.