UNHCR internships offer a great international start

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Apply for a UNHCR internship

Apply for a UNHCR internship

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is looking for talented, motivated and passionate individuals from around the world who bring knowledge, innovative thinking and different ideas that enhance their capacity to serve people of concern to the organization. Internship can begin at any time during the year.

Internships will initially be granted for a minimum period of two months, up to a maximum of six months.‚Äč

UNHCR’s Internship Programme offers eligible students and recent graduates, the opportunity to gain experience in the humanitarian sector in an international environment, in line with their academic programme or future work in a field related to UNHCR’s mission. Internships are offered at various locations depending on the needs and capacity of offices to receive and supervise interns and provide them with meaningful assignments.

Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

UNHCR internships available in Geneva, Switzerland

UNHCR offers a range of internships based at ots Geneca headquarters each year.

For internships in other UNHCR locations, the regional and country offices post internship opportunities primarily on their different UNHCR dedicated websites visit these sites for available opportunities.

UNHCR is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect and assist refugees and other persons of concern. It is constantly seeking talented, compassionate candidates with high-integrity to strengthen its capacity to respond urgently to crises with the right skills. Given the nature of UNHCR's work, it is essential that its workforce has the right mix of skills and qualities to fulfill its mandate.

UNHCR's Internship Programme offers eligible students and recent graduates both at Headquarters and Country Offices the unique opportunity to gain hands-on practical work experience in the humanitarian sector in an international environment and to understand UNHCR's core mandate. This learning opportunity aims to attract talented candidates who bring diverse profiles and knowledge, innovative thinking and different ideas to the UNHCR's workplace. Internships are offered depending on the needs and capacity of offices to receive and supervise interns and to provide them with meaningful assignments.

UNHCR internship application

Eligibility requirements for a UNHCR internship

In order to be considered for an internship, candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • recent graduate (i.e. completed their studies within one year of applying for an internship with UNHCR) or current student in a graduate/undergraduate school programme from a university or higher education facility accredited by UNESCO; and
  • have completed at least two years of undergraduate studies in a field relevant or of interest to the work of the Organization.

Please note that candidates who have immediate relatives (father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister) working as staff members of UNHCR are not eligible.

Join UNHCR's Internship Pool

The primary aim of the Internship Pool is to allow you to submit a generic application for an internship. As and when the need arises, managers can consult this database to search for candidates with specific academic profiles. If your application interests one of our departments, the relevant manager will contact you directly. These internship opportunities could be in field or HQ locations. The pool is receiving applications throughout the year. Learn more about the internship profile.

More information about UNHCR internships

Different departments at UNHCR headquarters offer internships throughout the year. Some duty field offices also take on interns. For the internship to be worthwhile and effective, internships normally last between two and six months. Internships are offered depending on the availability of meaningful assignments and the needs and capacity of units/offices to receive and supervise interns. Generally there is no deadline for sending in an application form.

The kind of work interns are offered depends on UNHCR requirements as well as the qualifications and interests of the applicant. Most interns work on a project which will benefit both them and UNHCR, in fields such as refugee protection (legal), international relations, administration and public affairs.

Submitting a UNHCR internship application

Applications must be submitted through the online applications link. Since not all offices have access to the central database, it is recommended that, in addition to the online application, requests for internships be also submitted by separate mail with a covering letter to the field/branch office concerned.

UNHCR's UK internships

UNHCR regularly recruits voluntary interns to support teams within UNHCR UK and UNHCR’s global fundraising team. These internships are usually for six months, full-time, and are a great way to help make a difference to the lives of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and abroad. The internships offered are in four different areas of work: legal protection, external relations, fundraising and admin/ finance. More general opportunities for training and developing knowledge of the sector will be available to all interns.

Legal Protection Internships - UNHCR offers  Legal Protection internship positions, each lasting for a period of six months and with different start dates throughout the year, for talented graduates with a legal background and a commitment to refugee issues.

External Relations Internship - This role is ideally suited to graduates with a strong interest in refugee issues who would like to pursue a career in media, communications (including web-based and social media) or parliamentary affairs.

Administration and Finance Internship - This six-month internship is ideally suited to graduates who have a strong commitment to refugee issues and an interest in developing skills in administration and finance.

Fundraising Internship - There are two fundraising internships with the Private Sector Fundraising Team, each lasting for a period of three-six months. One internship supports Individual Giving and Digital fundraising activity, while the other supports UNHCR's Leadership Giving fundraising.

Goodwill Ambassador Team Internship - Join UNHCR as a Goodwill Ambassador team in London for a six month internship. This intenship provides insight and experience in communication and relationship management functions as well as administration and team support within the context of an international humanitarian organization.


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