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For Community-Driven Global Development

Top 10 Reasons to Intern Abroad with FSD

Itern Abroad

Ever wonder why what makes an internship with Foundation for Sustainable Development unique? Check out our top ten reasons to intern abroad with FSD to find out what makes the FSD internship a once in a lifetime experience!

1. Our Approach

Chronic poverty divides communities and reduces self-worth. Delivering resources and implementing needs-based solutions does not automatically trigger local communities to feel empowered and take collective action. Without an empowered community base, development solutions only serve as temporary aid. Sustainable solutions must understand the process of personal empowerment and social transformation in order for local ownership to take hold. Communities need to actively participate in the planning, execution, and maintenance of any development solutions that affect them.

Sustainable development practiced by FSD involves cultivating relationships, building trust between stakeholders, and integrating local value systems in a community-centered approach. Our development model is a response to traditional development’s treatment of local communities as passive recipients of "top-down" solutions. We partner with over 200 grassroots organizations in Latin America, Africa, and Asia that understand the cultural and practical landscape of their communities. With this critical knowledge, our partner organizations hold the key to empowering and leading their communities out of poverty.

2. Development Training

In order to be effective agents for sustainable change, our volunteers and interns need to be thoroughly prepared and understand the complex work that lies ahead. Our hands-on field training program teaches program participants the essential tools for conducting needs assessments, community mapping, project design and implementation, grantwriting, sustainability, and other essential topics. Our program serves as a gateway for entering the competitive profession of international development.

3. Cultural Immersion

A primary focus of our intern programs is cultural immersion. All participants live individually with host families to gain greater insight into local cultural norms. They also work individually with their host organization to increase relationship building with local community members. Cultural and language training is also provided so that program participants thoroughly understand the local way of life.

4. Partner Organizations

We work with over 200 community-based organizations throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia. These organizations are led by local community leaders who understand how empowerment and collective action is done at the grassroots level. Interns have the opportunity to apply to specific internships from our partner organization database to find the type of work that meets their interests and objectives. Our diverse selection of field opportunities is unrivaled.

5. Project Development Experience

Interns who are in-country for more than eight weeks have the opportunity to collaboratively develop projects with their host organizations and our local site teams. Projects are designed around community need and community involvement to achieve sustainability. Through gaining project design and implementation experience, program participants gain valuable field knowledge that is essential to their vocational pursuits.

6. Professional Connections and Opportunities

Participants in FSD programs gain the opportunity to network in the field with dozens of organizations and development professionals. They also connect with other participants working on-site. An international alumni network is available to all participants as well. These connections often provide program participants with countless professional opportunities.

7. Personal Growth

The physical, cultural, and intellectual challenge of our international programs often results in a fundamental shift in perspective by our participants. By immersing themselves in new cultures, speaking foreign languages, and developing sustainable projects, interns have an experience that lasts a lifetime. 

8. Funded Projects

Interns who are in-country for nine weeks or longer have the opportunity to apply for grant funding from FSD. All funds are used directly to strengthen projects and ensure project sustainability through community ownership.

9. In-Country Site Teams

Interns are trained and supported by our professional site teams. The site teams are led by Program Directors who are from the local community and are firmly entrenched in local best practices.

10. Flexibility and Specificity

Interns are able to work with FSD from 9 to 52 weeks, allowing for a full spectrum of development experience. Participants typically choose the development subject they wish to engage, the region they want to work in, and the project categories that fit them best. FSD provides more than 500 unique opportunities in several program locations throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia. This flexibility in time and specificity of project experience makes FSD a superior choice.