Things to Know Before You Apply

The United Nations holds a significant role in international affairs with a mission to maintain international peace and security, protect human rights, deliver humanitarian aids, promote sustainable development, and uphold international law.

As one of the leading and largest international organizations, the United Nations offers international partnership, collaboration, and negotiation. Together with 193 member states, the United Nations work in cooperation with both government and non-government partners to accomplish its #2030Agenda.

Being an intern at the United Nations mean you will have the opportunity to experience this first hand. Interns at the United Nations have the chance to learn about how international affairs take place, both in the halls of United Nations chamber and in the field of humanitarian projects. Interning at the United Nations is an exciting opportunity that can help you advance your career and personal growth.

Before your internship conquest begin, there are few things you should note:

1. Plan Ahead

Whether you are studying abroad or in Indonesia, if you are planning to intern at the United Nations offices outside Jakarta, you should allow at least 1 semester ahead to plan your internship.Take consideration of the following factors:

Will it fit your academic schedule?

Most of UN internships are offered as 3-6 months period. As a student, the most common internship at the UN is usually over the Summer (June - September). Before you start applying, make sure that your internship will not interfere with your academic plans or vice versa.

In general, most of the UN offices can be flexible when it comes to changing the start and end dates of your internship once you have passed all the qualification process. However, allow at least 3 months for your internship plans to meet the minimum the UN intern period requirement.

Do you have enough time to submit before the application dateline?

Every UN agencies have different internship schedule, although most of the UN agencies open internship opportunities on a rolling basis. The internship application is usually opened 1-2 months prior to the starting dates, it can also be less than that, depending on the urgency of the role itself. If you are not living on the same country where the UN agency takes place, allow 3 months to begin your search and start by listing down the UN Agencies that you wish to work for and keep an eye on their internship period. It is never too early to start.

Will it take a long time to get your visa approved?

If you plan to intern at UN Headquarters such as New York and Geneva, you will most likely need a visa. Be mindful that every country has different visa regulation and visa processing schedule that will take time for you to complete.

2. Think Critically

Interning at the United Nations definitely adds valuable experience on your resume. However, before you apply, it is based to determine how your work with the United Nations will help you shape your future career and academic goals.

The United Nations is a large organization that consist of numerous Programme Offices and Specialized Agencies. Making yourself familiar with the UN System and UN Family will help you determine which office and agency that are aligned with your career goal in the future.

3. Prepare Your Budget

In general, the United Nations do not offer financial compensation for their interns. Most of the United Nations internships are unpaid. Plan your budget accordingly, check out our living and accommodation guide, connect with former intern, and look out for external funding opportunities!

In short, interning at the United Nations is not impossible if you plan it properly. Get to know the issues that you are mostly interested with and explore the UN internship opportunities related. Plan accordingly by allowing enough time, thinking, and financial planning before your internship search begins.

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