The United Nations receives about 3,000 applications for each internship session, and only 250 of them are hired as interns, according to Darragh Murray, who interned for the UN in the spring of 2010.
But that shouldn’t discourage you. There are six sections of the United Nations that take interns, and they are as follows:
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA)
United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
United Nations Environment Programme
Each one offers a different experience and there are locations at several important cities across the world: New York, Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Bangkok, Beirut and Santiago.
“The United Nations is pretty much the jewel in the crown for students of international relations, international development, or international humanitarian law,” Murray said on his blog. “It is a great water-cooler topic of conversation. It is something that will make all your friends jealous.”
There are a few key qualifications an applicant must first fulfill. You must be enrolled in a master’s or Ph.D. level program at a graduate school, and be able to obtain the necessary visas and make your own travel arrangements. An applicant must also cover the cost of travel, accommodation and living expenses, be fluent in English or French, and be medically insured.
The United Nations gives their interns a first-hand impression of the environment inside the organization. As an intern, you will work with career professionals and senior management, and “be exposed to the high-profile conferences, participate in meetings, and contribute to analytical work as well as organizational policy of the United Nations.”
Interning at the UN does not guarantee you a position for permanent employment. In fact, you cannot be hired at the UN for six months after your internship ends, if they want to keep you on staff. There are three internship sessions per year, and most positions require a minimum of five years of experience, thus, interns are not typically adequately experienced.
The process to apply for a UN internship can be found here: https://careers.un.org/lbw/
– Alycia Rock