Information for Prospective Interns

The objectives of the UNHCR Internship Scheme are to:

  • Primarily, provide interns with an opportunity to gain practical work experience related to their academic programme or future work in a field related to UNHCR’s mission.
  • Secondly, enable UNHCR work units and offices to benefit from the work undertaken by Interns;

Typically Interns are undergraduate or graduate students studying in the area of law, political science, economic and social development, international relations, public policy and administration. Interns must be able to work fairly independently and demonstrate initiative and flexibility to effectively benefit from an internship in UNHCR.

Applications may be made either directly or through a sponsoring institution to:

Internship Coordinator
1775 K Street, NW
Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
Fax: (202) 296.5660

Applications must include:

  • A paper explaining why an Internship with UNHCR is being sought, and what is expected from the experience,
  • A covering letter indicating availability and other information felt to be relevant in applying for an Internship.

Administration and Supervision of Interns
You may receive a standard reply confirming receipt of your Internship application. Only if UNHCR wishes to actively pursue your application will you be contacted by a UNHCR work unit or office.
Once selected by a work unit or office, prior to travel you will be asked to complete and send the following to where you will be assigned:

Interns normally maintain the same working hours as regular staff while adequate time to deal with personal accommodation and other matters on arrival is agreed from the outset with the Intern’s supervisor.

At the end of the assignment and after discussions together, the Supervisor should indicate whether the terms of the Internship Agreement were met. If so, Interns may be issued a standard letter of reference covering the period of Internship with UNHCR and area of work. The supervisor has the option of adding additional comments or observations.

Payment, Liability, Insurance, Visas and Clearance
No provision is made for remuneration of Interns. All costs connected with Internships must therefore be borne by the Interns or their sponsoring institutions or governments, including costs relating to travel, living and accommodation. The following stipulations should be noted with regard to insurance coverage:

UNHCR accepts no responsibility or liability for costs arising from damages, travel, accident and/or illness incurred during an Internship. Interns are therefore asked to submit in advance:

  • proof of coverage by a medical insurance plan valid for locations in which the Internship will be carried out, as Interns are not covered by the United Nations Medical Insurance Plan;

Obtaining visas is normally the responsibility of the Intern. UNHCR will only assist where intervention is a government requirement. Internships in certain field locations will require Security Clearances done in liaison with the UNHCR Field Safety Section in Geneva.

Subsequent Employment by UNHCR
There is no expectation of employment at the end of the Internship. Interns are not eligible to apply for a post with UNHCR – including a consultancy – during the period of Internship and for the six months immediately following the Internship’s expiration date. However, UNHCR interns may freely seek employment with other UN agencies.