Article by Robin Van Auken on Volunteer Forever

Do you take great photos? Do you write amazing stories? Are your friends and family constantly complimenting your artwork and articles? Maybe it’s time to turn your hobby into a career. Hit the “digital streets” on a photography and journalism internship abroad.

If you have camera and are willing to travel, you can use this opportunity to create a unique portfolio – one that no one else in the world has! An internship in the field also provides a way for you to evolve from being a hobbyist to being a professional.

You’ll learn to work as part of a team, researching and producing content with an end-goal, whether that’s with a PR agency in Bangkok or a conservation program in Africa. And if you think about it, your skill with the video camera could help save endangered species, such as lemurs and sea turtles in Madagascar.

If you want to get someone’s attention – and keep it – show them a gorgeous, colorful photograph or film. In 1911, newspaper editor Tess Flanders suggested that journalists and publicists “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.” Since then, the phrase has been quoted and misquoted, but it still rings true.

There are reasons why we need professionals in the visual arts field. People are hardwired to respond to photographs and video. Your brain makes sense of the world primarily through vision, and 20 percent of your brain is used for that purpose. Along with vision comes color, which increases recall of information by up to 82 percent!

If you’re a high school student or teen, consider a trip with Global Leadership Adventures. This organization includes a hands-on learning experience with professional photographers on its community service projects. You’ll attend lectures, take part in workshops, and shadow photographers while abroad. Opportunities with this organization take you to Cuba, Peru, or India.

African Impact also offers photography internships, placing you on safaris near amazing animals such as elephants, lions, antelope, and more! This is an excellent opportunity to develop your skills in landscapes and animal portraiture, and increase awareness of conservation.

While we love animals, it’s people where we really connect. As babies, the first things you focus on are the faces of your family. This is because the brain has a circuit for recognizing faces called the fusiform face area. In fact, you have brain cells that react to celebrity faces, lighting up when you see photographs of your favorite movie star! When you join Global Nomadic in Argentina or Thailand, you’re working one-on-one with people in busy cities, where there are ample opportunities to capture candid photographs of people at work and play.

Or, if you’re into sunsets and beach scenes, consider an adventure internship with Frontier. These placements take you to Belize and Madagascar where you can work underwater or stay on dry land. Imagine the videos you’ll take of vividly-colored tropic fish at the world’s second-longest coral reef! This kind of internship combines video with blogging – vlogging – and will have you capturing content and producing videos of volunteers working on conservation projects that help to save threatened sea turtles and other fragile ocean life.

Take a look at the volunteer programs and internship opportunities below and find a destination and subject that suits your interests – then challenge yourself with an adventure abroad!


Volunteer Forever  is a comprehensive online resource that helps volunteers find and fund their volunteer opportunities. It advocates empowerment through information and resources.  With Volunteer Forever, you can quickly create a profile and start fundraising right away. Volunteering abroad can be expensive, but it’s also a noble endeavor that your friends, loved ones, and communities will be happy to support. Learn more about Volunteer Forever here.