FAQs for Potential Host Organizations

Frequently asked questions about hosting HNGR interns

My organization is interested in hosting a HNGR intern. What is the process for requesting a HNGR intern?

The HNGR Program welcomes inquiries from organizations that would like to receive and manage a HNGR intern for six months. First, contact HNGR Partnership & Placement Manager, Corrie Johnson. Please provide a brief overview of your organization, including particular projects or programs that could benefit from an intern. In addition, please list the academic, language, or experiential backgrounds that would most fit with your organization’s mission and program. Since internships begin in May or June, it is optimal to receive inquiries between October and December. Finally, please recognize we desire to develop existing host partnerships in addition to building new ones.

How much preparation and training do HNGR students receive prior to their internships?

Through classroom study and orientation, students are prepared for living in another culture and equipped for “learning through experience.” Students generally are 21 years of age when they begin their internship and will have completed three of the four years of their education at Wheaton College. Prior to the internship, students will complete coursework in inter-cultural understanding, global issues, transformational development, and field research methods. In addition, during the year leading up to their internships, students participate in regular small groups and weekly English tutoring with refugees living near campus.

What does the HNGR application process include? What criteria does HNGR use in selecting students for the program?

Participation in the HNGR Program is by application. Applicants are carefully screened to ensure maturity, motivation and intellectual preparation through interviews, references, an essay and a psychological assessment.

What requirements must a host organization meet?

Throughout the internship, students will have an assigned supervisor within the host organization to oversee their daily care, learning, and projects. Students are supervised in three intersecting ways: (1) host organizations provide interns with direction regarding project involvement and cultural integration; (2) through the supervisor, the HNGR Program coordinates administrative, academic, logistical and communication support on a regular basis; and (3) each student is visited by their faculty advisor or a member of the HNGR Program staff during the internship, and the student and supervisor work together to plan this visit.

  • Pre-Internship Correspondence – Once an internship is confirmed, we ask that students and hosts begin regular correspondence to confirm arrangements, such as start date, arrival and pickup, appropriate clothing, expectations, an outline of internship responsibilities, and any other important information.
  • Arrival arrangements - Supervisors arrange for the arrival of the student into the country (such as pick-up from the airport), and the initial placement of students with a host family.
  • Housing arrangement – Students live immersed in a local community for 6 months, preferably living with an average, local family at a modest socio-economic level. Hosts are asked to assist the HNGR office in arranging a suitable host family for the 6 months that the intern will be in-country. The intern will be prepared to pay monthly room and board. 
  • Language – When necessary, we ask that the host organization assist in arranging language classes/tutorials in a local language for the intern to be involved in throughout the internship, especially during the first few months.
  • Research project assistance – Assist the intern and his/her academic advisor from Wheaton College with the design of a specific research/investigative or creative project for which the intern will earn academic credit AND which will serve to benefit the host organization in one way or another.

What is the timing of the six-month internship?

The duration of the internship is six months, generally beginning in early June and ending in early December. Some internships begin as early as late May.

How are costs managed and covered?

The student is responsible for covering all of his/her expenses, including international and local transportation, lodging, meals, etc. It is anticipated that hosts will not bear costs related to the internship.

What are the outcomes that the HNGR Program expects?

The HNGR experience equips students with knowledge, attitudes and skills for domestic or global involvement in transformational Christian service. HNGR graduates are especially well prepared to work in the Majority World with churches, non-governmental organizations and international organizations involved in transformational development, as well as to pursue graduate studies in a variety of fields.

What are some examples of recent internships?

  • An English Literature major interned with a grief counseling center for children, documented their play therapy and support for caregivers, and developed a photographic book to highlight the organization’s work in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.
  • An International Relations major lived in an informal settlement of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, researched land rights, and supported communities threatened by eviction.
  • A Pre-Med student interned with a hospital and rural development center in southwest Uganda and conducted research on a recent increase in a terminal illness among villagers.
  • An Environmental Science major interned with an environmental conservation organization in Lima, Peru to further their work to restore the desert ecosystem and research the responses to climate change.
  • A Sociology and Economics double major served with a rural enterprise and economic development organization in Nicaragua and developed a policy for community reinvestment of profits gained through fair-trade coffee production.