Opportunities Abroad

Northland College is excited to promote travel, volunteering and working abroad. Anyone is invited to explore these options. Questions? Feel free to contact Dr. Michele Geslin Small at msmall@northland.edu.

CELL – Center for Ecological Living and Learning
Click to go to CELL website at Northland College

The Center for Ecological Living and Learning (CELL) is a nonprofit educational organization inspiring students to bring creative, systemic solutions and environmental stewardship to their individual lives and leadership positions. Students live with host families and/or in lodging run by community partners and have classes, lectures, field experiences, and service-learning opportunities in the region where their program is conducted. During the experiential-learning phases, students apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-life problems in the communities where they are studying. Programs are currently offered in Iceland and Central America (Costa Rica and Nicaragua).


Round River Conservation Studies – Ecuador

Students are based in a field camp high in the cloud forests of the Mazar Watershed in Ecuador’s Andes Mountains. In addition to fieldwork, lectures, discussions, students will participate in experiential learning walks with local researchers to learn about the region’s ecological, archaeological, and agricultural history. Spanish language skills are not required but many students have varying levels of Spanish proficiency. All lectures and field activities are taught in English.

The Peace Corps
What is the Peace Corps?

The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when then Senator John F. Kennedy challenged students at the University of Michigan to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. From that inspiration grew an agency of the federal government devoted to world peace and friendship.

Since that time, more than Nearly 200,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in 139 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education to information technology and environmental preservation.

Today’s Peace Corps is more vital than ever, working in emerging and essential areas such as information technology and business development, and committing more than 1,000 new Volunteers as a part of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. Peace Corps Volunteers continue to help countless individuals who want to build a better life for themselves, their children, and their communities.

There’s quite a bit to learn about the Peace Corps—explore the following sections to get to know its mission, history, and current endeavors in depth:

Fast Facts
Notable Returned Volunteers
Peace Corps Today
(The above information is found at http://www.peacecorps.gov/ Check it out for more information)


AmeriSpan: The Bridge Between Cultures

Why Volunteer or Intern Abroad?
  • Gain international work experience to better compete in today’s job market.
  • Broaden your worldview.
  • Give something back to the country that is hosting you.
  • Refine your professional skills.
  • Improve your language skills.
  • Build a network of international friends.
  • Share the benefits of your expertise.
  • Experience a new culture as an insider.
  • Prepare for future employment or residence in another country.

Volunteering vs. Interning

An internship is done for professional development. It is an opportunity to gain experience and learn about a professional field through work. While all of our internships are unpaid, overseas experience will greatly enhance your resume.

Volunteer work is done for personal fulfillment. It is an opportunity to share what your skills and interests with those in need.

There is some overlap between volunteer work and internships. Volunteer work done abroad can also enhance your resume, and the areas in which you are working—health, the environment, and education—may also be areas of professional interest for you.

Who Can Participate?

The program is open to any applicant who meets the listed requirements – professionals, non-professionals, retirees, students, recent graduates …

What are the requirements?

The requirements listed are the minimum requirements necessary to be accepted for the work. It is best to choose a placement for which you exceed the minimum requirements.

The standard age minimum is 18; however some placements may require someone a bit older.  The determining factors include travel experience, foreign language level or those who can demonstrate the maturity necessary to handle the challenges of working professionalism in a foreign country.

How long are the commitments?

Minimum time needed in the country varies depending on the type of program and placement you choose. If you will be participating for longer than 180 days, we recommend that you purchase some supplemental travel insurance. Our policy has a maximum coverage time of 180 days.

Where are the placements?

We offer a wide variety of unpaid work opportunities for adults in 30 countries throughout Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Some placements are conducted entirely in English, but most require some previous knowledge of the local language.

How should I choose a location?

Choosing a country/location in which you feel comfortable is one of the most important elements for a successful overseas work experience. Before choosing a location, do some research. Guide books are a great start. Learn about local customs, beliefs, history, food, climate and geography of the country/region. Seek opportunities to see movies, both documentaries and feature films, about the country/region; read novels from and about where you’re planning to go; guidebooks; local newspapers (available in many bookstores and online); call the tourist board and request information and explore local organizations that support expatriates of that community. Also, try to seek out past volunteers with whom you can talk.


If you choose to take language classes, your language immersion program usually includes a homestay component. During your placement you may be assigned to a homestay or more likely to alternative accommodations. Some of the non-homestay arrangements include meals, but most do not include any meals. For those arrangements that include just breakfast or no meals, kitchen facilities are generally available. For most programs, plan to arrive to your lodging on the day before your program begins and depart on the day after the placement is completed. You can usually extend your accommodations a few days before or after classes for an additional fee. Check with AmeriSpan for those costs.

Why pay for an unpaid volunteer placement or internship?

As you conduct your search for the perfect overseas volunteer assignment or internship, you will see that nearly every placement organization charges a fee. Some placement organizations charge fees which are extremely high and which are used primarily for administrative costs. Other placement organizations, such as AmeriSpan, charge you just enough to cover your in-country costs and other costs associated with the placement. In fact, AmeriSpan’s Volunteer/Internship Fees are actually below what is needed for program expenses. AmeriSpan recognizes the important work that our interns and volunteers are trying to do, so we actually subsidize our volunteer program. This allows us to charge a low program fee that is well below what other organizations charge. In 2006, we subsidized our program with approximately $30,000.

The key components to our program fees are as follows:

  • Lodging
  • Food
  • Transportation from airport
  • Travel insurance
  • In-country coordinator & staff
  • In-country placement search
  • Donations to projects
  • Support staff in Philadelphia
  • Program development & related travel
  • Brochure & promotion
  • Administrative expenses

What is my tax benefit?

In contrast to non-profit organizations, your program fees with AmeriSpan are not tax deductible, so you will receive no tax benefit with AmeriSpan. However, the tax savings is often misunderstood. You don’t recover 100% of your program fees when working with a non-profit organization. Rather, you only receive only a small portion back when you file your tax return.

The amount is determined by your tax rate. Your tax rate is based on your yearly income. If you make less than $61,000/year, you fall in the 10% to 15% tax bracket. That means if you pay $1500 to volunteer, you’ll get a $225 deduction. Perhaps you are in the 25% to 35% tax bracket, so then the deduction will be higher. The bottom line is; if our programs are 35% to 50% less than most others, then even with a tax deduction, AmeriSpan programs make the most fiscal sense.

Is academic credit available?

You may be able to obtain academic credit for your placement and/or language classes prior to the program. For more information: Academic Credit for Volunteering.

How supervised are the positions?

The level of supervision varies with each placement. Here are some basic rules of thumb:

  • Placements with non-profit organizations usually do not provide a lot of training or supervision. These types of organizations have scant resources and therefore cannot devote too much time to a volunteer. However, they are also the places that need the most help.
  • Placements which provide group housing or which charge an extra placement fee normally provide more supervision, structure and training.
  • Placements at a language school (Student Service Coordinator or ESL placements) will vary in terms of structure and supervision. One clue to determine the level of structure is in the description of work outlined. If specific work schedule and other details are outlined, it is indicative of a well-organized and supervised position. Placement descriptions with less detail indicate a job where the volunteer/intern will have to show a lot of initiative to organize his/her own projects.

What is the AmeriSpan’s Role in this program?

AmeriSpan’s responsibility is two-fold. On one hand, we are responsible to the organizations that are accepting the volunteers/interns. We have promised them people who fulfill specified minimum requirements and who will provide certain services for an agreed upon amount of time. For this reason, our reputation and the future of our program is dependent on each volunteer/intern we send.

On the other hand, we are also responsible to the people who we are sending abroad to fill these positions. We promise a prearranged quality placement based on an agreement with the organization. Therefore, we are also responsible that obligations be met by the host organization.

Our Volunteer/Internship placements are a coordinated effort between AmeriSpan, our partner schools and the individual organizations in need of assistance (in the case of Student Service Coordinators and most ESL placements, the organization is actually our partner school).

To help ensure that everyone gets what he/she bargained for, AmeriSpan will be actively involved should any problems arise during the course of your placement.

AmeriSpan Volunteer & Internship Locations:

ArgentinaAustraliaAustria | BoliviaBrazilCanadaChileChinaColombiaCosta RicaEcuador EnglandFranceGermanyGhanaGuatemalaHondurasIndiaItalyKenyaMexicoNepalNicaraguaPanamaPeruRussiaSpainTanzaniaThailandUnited KingdomVenezuela