Independent Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

Deadline: Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at 5:00pm

This is one of three OCS funding categories for which you can submit an application on February 7. Please note, you may only submit one OCS funding application per deadline date.

The Office of Career Services (OCS) administers funding which can be used to support 8-week international internships and volunteer opportunities. Students must secure this internship or volunteer opportunity independently and demonstrate that it will be a significant cultural immersion experience. State department internships outside of the U.S. are guaranteed funding.

To get a sense of what past Independent Internships and Volunteer Opportunities award recipients have done, below is a sample list of host organizations and destinations where students have gone:

  • Asociación Huellas (Bahía Blanca, Argentina)
  • The World Institute for World Security (Vienna, Austria)
  • Fundação Maio Biodeversidade (Maio, Cape Verde)
  • Amcham Finland (Helsinki, Finland)
  • U.S. State Department (Paris, France)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (Paris, France)
  • Global Public Policy Institute (Berlin, Germany)
  • United States Embassy of the Philippines (Manila, Philippines)
  • Best Buddies Philippines (Manila, Philippines)
  • Green Heritage Fund Suriname (Paramaribo, Suriname)
  • The Harvard Renaissance Library at Villa I Tatti (Florence, Italy)
  • National Museum of Jamaica (Kingston, Jamaica)
  • Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Tokyo, Japan)
  • CERN, ATLAS Collaboration (Geneva, Switzerland)
  • Stowe House Preservation Trust (London, United Kingdom)


Students who are in good standing, complete the spring semester, and are returning for the fall semester as full-time students are eligible to apply for this OCS funding category. Students who have previously received Harvard funding for an international experience are eligible to apply. These awards are not intended for students participating in structured internship/volunteer programs which charge students a fee in order to be placed with an internship or volunteer opportunity abroad.

Who Gets Funded

Last year OCS was able to fund about 50% of the students who applied for funding for Independent Internships & Volunteer Opportunities. Summer independent international experiences must be at least 8 weeks in duration and take place in one location in a country. To get a sense of the types of independent internships students may organize, please see the list of Harvard Alumni Association International Clubs Suggested Internships in the OCS jobs and internships database Crimson Careers. Other international internship opportunities listed in Crimson Careers may be eligible for OCS funding as well.

Award Amounts

OCS awards for independent internships and volunteer opportunities are comprised of several funds, including the David Rockefeller International Experience Grant and the Weissman International Internship Program Grant. Students selected for the Weissman International Internship Program will form the 2018 cohort of Weissman Fellows and participate in a number of group programs, including spring and fall luncheon events with the donors.

Awards for selected students will be based on country-level cost-of-living stipends developed by OCS and Harvard’s Global Support Services Office. Awards range from $5,000 to $7,000. Students selected for the Weissman International Internship Program will also receive a summer earnings credit, if they are on financial aid.

How to Apply

Prepare your materials

  • Reach out and apply directly to international host organizations accepting summer interns or volunteers.
  • One letter of recommendation from a member of the Harvard community. Letters written by faculty, TFs, proctors, academic advisers, coaches, mentors, supervisors, etc., will be accepted. We will not accept letters written by current undergraduate students or family members. Make sure to complete this step well in advance of the application deadline so that your recommenders may submit their letters by the deadline.
  • Unofficial Transcript: Available under "View Unofficial Transcript" link in the Grades tab of
  • Fill out the Independent Internships and Volunteer Opportunities Form, save in PDF format.
  • One-page resume, saved in PDF format (see OCS templates for guidance).
  • Evidence of application to or proof of acceptance from host organization (or email correspondence showing you have inquired about internship/volunteer opportunities).
  • Enroll in Direct Deposit: Enroll via your term bill by following these instructions. Take a screen shot of your “Direct Deposit Enrollment Receipt” and save as a PDF. 

Submit your materials
Complete the “OCS Funding Application for Independent Internships & Volunteer Opportunities” using CARAT by Wednesday, February 7, 2019 at 5:00pm. As part of this online application, you will upload your unofficial transcript, Independent Internships and Volunteer Opportunities Form, one-page resume, evidence of application to host organization (or proof of acceptance), and direct deposit confirmation. 

Award Notification

Students will be notified of their funding status via email by late March 2018. Students selected for an award will have one week to accept or decline the awardStudents who accept an OCS award for this category will receive their funds via direct deposit.