a Fair-Trade International Commerce in the Birthplace of Chocolate | IE3 Global
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Fair-Trade International Commerce in the Birthplace of Chocolate | San Isidro de Heredia, Costa Rica

More photos of this internship may be found here. Photo courtesy of Sibu Chocolate.

Work with this chocolate producer in Costa Rica to help them expand their business.  Founded by two master chocolatiers committed to making the highest quality chocolate, this internship provides the opportunity to learn about chocolate production from bean to bar and to apply your business and marketing skills in a real-world setting.

Internship Start Dates:

  • Flexible start dates at the beginning of each academic term.

Duration of Internship:

  • 10-12 weeks

Interns will work under the direct oversight of the cofounders of this small, fair-trade, organic chocolate producer.  Their line of chocolates is created from start-to-finish in Costa Rica and includes flavors drawn from local ingredients and historical records written during the European conquest of the Americas.

Historically, cacao has been harvested cheaply in Central and South America and shipped to wealthier countries for further production and greater profit.  By contrast, this company’s business model is designed to give back to the local community and provide fair wages to the cacao growers in the birthplace of chocolate.

There is also has an environmental slant to their chocolate production.  In addition to using organic cacao, they have developed packaging made from cacao husks to replace plastic wrappers and work to source cacao as sustainably as possible to encourage habitat corridors for local wildlife.

Interns will work at the company’s San Isidro location, which includes a workshop, café, and small retail shop.

This internship is project-based, and the specific projects will vary depending on the current business needs. Once a project is completed to the satisfaction of the business owners, future interns will undertake new projects, as defined by the needs of the host organization.

Potential opportunities for interns can include projects related to manufacturing, supply chain, sustainable business development, and international commerce.  Additionally, in order to understand the full scope of the company’s operation, interns should expect to be trained and participate in various aspects of the business, including a limited amount of work in the café and learning about all stages of the chocolate production.

Illustrative examples of past and potential future projects at this site include:

  • Creating a transparency report to be published on the company’s webpage
  • Designing/developing product packaging
  • Researching and compiling information about international standards and regulations affecting the export and import of their products
  • Developing procedures and materials for international commerce

Academic Background:

Major or minor in business, marketing, and related fields. Sustainable business background is preferred.

Skills / Experience:

Experience with writing and photography are preferred, but not required.

Language Requirements:

Minimum of basic Spanish skills are required, and comfort with conversational Spanish is strongly recommended.

Spanish skills help facilitate daily life and some job duties.  To illustrate, language skills will help interns secure local housing, shop for groceries, commute independently via public transportation, and communicate with roommates, coworkers, and customers.

Other Requirements:

Interns should enjoy working independently

Estimated One-Time Expenses

  • IE3Global Program Fee: $3,450
  • Host Site Fees: $0
  • International Travel: $800-950
  • Visa Fees: $0*
  • Recommended Immunizations: $400**

Estimated Monthly Expenses

  • Housing: Costs vary depending on housing situation.  Approximately $448/month for a hostel.
  • Food: $560 ($140/wk)
  • Local Transportation: $400 ($100/wk)
  • Recreation: $75 ($18.75/wk)
  • Personal Expenses: $45 ($11.25/wk)

Budgeting Note: Estimated costs are based on typical internship-related costs and a modest standard of living. Each intern’s costs will vary based on lifestyle choices (eating out vs. cooking, taking public transportation vs. taxis) and recreational spending (travelling on days off, hobbies, etc).

* No visa required for U.S. citizens

** Fees vary based on medical history and insurance coverage

Some basic guidance related to locating housing will be provided, and interns are responsible for locating their own housing.  Past interns have stayed in hostels.

Check out pictures from this internship.


Fall | Winter | Spring | Summer

Application Deadline

Summer: January 25
Fall: April 15
Winter: September 1
Spring: November 15

Basic Requirements

-See Qualifications and Requirements section