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AU Nairobi | Internships

The internship is a core function of AU Nairobi. Students are placed with an organization in Kenya to enhance students' experiences in the traditional classroom setting. This is not a customary internship since each student is both a volunteer as well as an external scholarly observer during your time abroad.

As a philosophy, AU Nairobi does not partner with any of the large international NGOs. In Kenya, we aim to introduce you to small, locally-founded, locally-administrated organizations that positively engage local strategies to solve problems. As such, students have the opportunity to understand the historical and sociopolitical context that necessitated the emergence of these organizations, their relevance to the society, internal and external challenges they face, and other factors that continue to shape them.

AU Nairobi student works on their internship at Carolina for Kibera.

Students in the Contemporary Issues in Kenya & Africa program are required to log at least 170 hours minimum for a three-credit internship in Nairobi. Students in the Public Health program are expected to log a minimum of 200 hours for their three-credit internship in Nairobi. Students in these programs are required to submit a resumé as part of your application provided a list of internship opportunities from the AU Nairobi staff before the semester begins. Once on-site, students will interview with one or a few of the organizations with which you have been matched. Internships hours are generally back-loaded to the last half of the semester.

Students in the Environment & Human Health program have a choice of an independent research project or an internship at the end of your semester. If students on this program want to intern, you are expected to log a minimum of 200 hours for a three-credits at a location that has been agreed upon between you, AU Nairobi staff, and AU faculty before the internship begins.

AU Nairobi student with group of Kenyans wearing shirts that say

Our partner organizations are selected for their utility to our students’ career goals, the students’ ability to contribute to them, and their location. These organizations engage in activities ranging from water and sanitation programs, sustainability and environmental health, public health, HIV/Aids campaigns, youth and women empowerment projects, microfinance institutions, arts for social change initiatives, and human rights and justice among others. Because they are generally small and strapped for resources, their staffs may not have the necessary training to run programs. Sometimes their programs may appear to be less structured than those of the more endowed organizations. It is up to the student intern to approach their internship in these organizations with open mind in order to find their place within the structure. Students' role in this position is to learn from these organizations and the people in them, not to "fix" their problems.

"The internship component was very enriching and helped me compare and contrast NGOs and more grassroots level organizations."

- Student Evaluation

Landscape of houses with tin roofs.
It could be that your internship location looks very different than where you live in Nairobi

"The program is well established, fairly large staff, well connected in the city, with many networking opportunities."

- Student Evaluation