Whether you’re currently holding a job, transitioning between jobs, or on the way to finding your first job, volunteer work has the capacity to stabilize you on your career path. Volunteer internships provide you with experiences that can either supplement your professional work--or shunt you out of your comfort zone entirely. Both, of course, can provide valuable lessons. Some students intern in volunteer roles because they want to explore different career options without having to enter an internship or entry-level contract. With volunteering, then, a flexible web of skill-building, networking, and community involvement opportunities arises.
Internships in volunteer work expose you to a wide gamut of organizations. Because volunteer programs are usually a little more informal than internships, virtually any organization has the energy and resources to manage one. Volunteer interns can research nonprofits, clubs, school affiliations, health clinics, art galleries, garden collectives, etc. to find the role that best fits their needs. If none are listed, try approaching the director of operations and asking to carve a role for yourself within the organization. It’ll be well worth it—students who find time to become volunteer interns not only ensconce themselves in the community, but they also learn how to support the social infrastructures that strengthen it.