Volunteer vs. Internship Abroad: What’s the Difference?

Volunteer vs. Internship Abroad: What’s the Difference?

1. Orientation. Volunteer abroad is more goal-oriented – the goal being able to help those in need. Regardless of the volunteer’s educational background, as long as they meet the basic requirements like age, they can volunteer for any type of program. Internship abroad, on the other hand, is more career-oriented. Internship is a good training ground for college students taking up particular courses like medicine, journalism dentistry, and many others.

2. Program requirements. Majority of volunteer programs have only age as their basic requirement. Volunteers are required to be at least 18 years old to volunteer regardless of any experience or technical knowledge they may or may not have. However, to be an intern abroad, the basic requirement usually includes a CV or resume and a proof of enrollment in a particular course such as nursing, medicine, or journalism.

3. Work environment. Although both volunteering abroad and internship abroad involve community service, their work environments are quite different. Volunteers normally work in an environment with people of mixed backgrounds. Volunteers for an orphanage program, for example, may be composed of people who are students, office workers, professionals in different fields, and so on, whereas the work environment of intern abroad is more of concentrated in a particular field. Like if you are a dental intern, you will be surrounded by professionals and other students who are also into dentistry. You will be assisting those who are already practicing professionals in your field.

4. Type of work. Most of voluntariado en el extranjero do not require specific training, knowledge, or skills. As long as you have the interest in helping others like caring for animals, teaching children, caring for disabled, you can enlist yourself as a volunteer. For intern abroad, the type of work is industry or career-specific. It involves the actual work in the real working environment of a particular profession. Like if you are a medical intern abroad, you will be working in a medical facility and will be assisting doctors and other medical staff. It is an avenue where you can really sharpen your knowledge and skills in your chosen profession.

5. Benefits. The benefits of participating in Intern Abroad Programs and Volunteer Abroad Programs share some similarities and differences. One similarity is that all participants will be able to give their time in the service of other people, animals, or the community while having an opportunity to explore and be immersed in a different place, culture, and people. A difference though between the two is that if you are an intern abroad, you can use your gained experience in your future work. You can even put it in your resume and get an edge over other applicants.

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