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Working/Volunteering Abroad


Heather M. in ChileStudents often ask whether or not they are allowed to work while studying abroad. The answer to this question varies by country. Some countries allow students to work part-time while they are studying; others do not allow students to work at all. Sometimes students are allowed to work part-time as long as they have entered the country using the correct visa, as is the case for students entering Great Britain.

Since labor laws vary drastically from one country to another, we recommend that any student considering work opportunities research the laws pertaining to their country of study. Please read below for information describing the various types of experiential learning available through Elmhurst College or its affiliated programs.

Internships are credit-bearing experiences that require a specific number of hours per semester in order to receive .5, 1.0, or 1.5 course credits.  Students participating in an EC-affiliated program that offers an internship option work closely with their program provider to complete all of the requirements necessary for receiving credit. Students who arrange an independent internship must work closely with the Office of Career Education in the Center for Professional Excellence and complete all of the College requirements for receiving credit. In both cases, students must receive prior approval for internship credit from their department chair. Elmhurst students have received valuable work experience during their time abroad in countries such as Morocco, Spain, France, Lithuania, Australia, and New Zealand.

You can search for  internship opportunities currently available through EC affiliated programs by clicking on "Program Search" and answering "yes"  to the "Internship" option in the "Advanced Search."


Service Learning
Service Learning is an experience that includes a service component as an integral part of credit-bearing coursework. Students participate in meaningful activities outside of the classroom in their local area, often in their field of study, and receive credit for the Service Learning component of the coursework. The goal of Service Learning is to obtain significant learning outcomes through participation in meaningful service to the community. Several EC programs are designed to include Service Learning opportunities to the students who participate in them and in the past, students from Elmhurst have worked in hospitals and schools in Spain, clinics in Ecuador, homeless shelters in India and monasteries in Thailand. They have also built homes and performed environmental research.

You can search for  Service Learning opportunities currently available through EC affiliated programs by clicking on "Program Search" and answering "yes" to the "Service Learning" option in the "Advanced Search." 


Volunteering, while meaningful, is not an integral component of a course of study and does not result in transcripted credit. However, many students who study abroad look for a less formal way to integrate with their host community, and volunteering can often serve this purpose quite well.  Almost all of our affiliated programs offer assistance to students wishing to engage in local volunteer opportunities. A few countries consider volunteering to be work, i.e. Great Britain, and students who are considering volunteering while abroad should check with their program or host country regarding the laws pertaining to volunteering.


Returning to Your Host Country
If you're like a large number of students who have studied abroad, you dream of returning to your host country (or indeed, ANY country!) to continue your studies, work, volunteer or just live for awhile. Below we provide a few links to resources that can get you started. Keep in mind that Elmhurst College is not affiliated with these programs and students participating in any experiences they offer will not receive EC credit.

  • BUNAC: work and volunteer adventures worldwide