Students and Young Professionals

Most professional posts in the UN and other international organizations require several years of experience and advanced degrees; however, there are a few programs in place to help highly qualified students and young professionals get their foot in the door.

If your background does not fit the ideal description for these programs, consider gaining field experience by working for a relevant non-governmental organization, non-profit, or applying to volunteer with the Peace Corps. You will gain technical and language skills, along with international experience, that will make your application for a position with an international organization more competitive.

Internships

There are many different internship programs across the UN System and in other international organizations. Review the links below to get detailed information about these programs and their respective application processes, as the requirements vary.

Keep in mind the following tips when applying for internships:

  • The application process is very competitive, You should review the requirements carefully and devote enough time to completing your application.
  • Not all international organizations advertise internship opportunities. If there is an organization you’re interested in but you can’t find a publicly available list of internships, reach out to the organization directly to ask.
  • Regional offices tend to be less competitive than headquarters positions. You should apply for a variety of positions both at the headquarters and in the field to improve your chances.
  • Some organization, such as the UN Secretariat, impose a "cooling off period" between the end of the internship and an offer of full full-time employment. If you’re looking to transition from an internship into a permanent position, you should research the policies of the organization you’re applying to.

UN Secretariat Internship Program

Internships in the UN Secretariat are usually full-time, between three to six months in duration, and may take place during certain periods of the year. Be vigilant about application procedures and deadlines as they vary depending on the vacant position. Please visit the UN Secretariat’s website for more information.

UN and other international organization internship programs

Organization Headquarters
African Development Bank (AfDB) Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
Asia Pacific Economic Commission (APEC) Singapore
Asian Development Bank (ADB) Manila, Philippines
Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) Vienna, Austria
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Bangkok, Thailand
Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) Beirut, Lebanon
Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) Geneva, Switzerland
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Santiago, Chile
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Vienna, Austria
International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) Rome, Italy
International Court of Justice (ICJ) The Hague, Netherlands
International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) The Hague, Netherlands
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Rome, Italy
International Labor Organization (ILO) Geneva,Switzerland
International Maritime Organization (IMO) London, UK
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Washington, DC
International Organization for Migration (IOM) Geneva, Switzerland
International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Geneva, Switzerland
International Trade Center (ITC) Geneva, Switzerland
International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) Geneva, Switzerland
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Brussels, Belgium
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Paris, France
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Vienna, Austria
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) The Hague, Netherlands
Organization of American States (OAS) Washington, DC
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Washington, DC
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Rome, Italy
The Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCOPIL) The Hague, Netherlands
UN Center for Human Settlements (UN-HABITAT) Nairobi, Kenya
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) New York, NY
UN Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Vienna, Austria
UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Geneva, Switzerland
UN Development Program (UNDP) New York, NY
UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Paris, France
UN Environment Program (UNEP) Nairobi, Kenya
UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Bonn, Germany
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Geneva, Switzerland
UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) Geneva, Switzerland
UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Geneva, Switzerland
UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research institute (UNICRI) Turin, Italy
UN International Computing Centre (UNICC) Geneva, Switzerland
UN Office in Geneva (UNOG) Geneva, Switzerland
UN Office in Nairobi (UNON) Nairobi, Kenya
UN Office in Vienna (UNOV) Vienna, Austria
UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Vienna, Austria
UN Population Fund (UNFPA) New York, NY
UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Gaza City
UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) Geneva, Switzerland
UN Systems Staff College (UNSSC) Turin, Italy
UN University (UNU) Tokyo, Japan
UN Volunteers (UNV) Bonn, Germany
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) New York, NY
World Bank Group Washington, DC
World Conservation Union (IUCN) Bonn, Germany
World Food Program (WFP) Rome, Italy
World Health Organization (WHO) Geneva, Switzerland
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Geneva, Switzerland
World Trade Organization (WTO) Geneva, Switzerland

Young Professionals Program

The Young Professionals Program serves as a pipeline for early career professionals to become employees of international organizations. Young professionals programs typically consist of two-year contracts in which the respective international organizations incorporate a variety of training opportunities for a career in multilateral affairs.

2024 Young Professionals Programme (United Nations Secretariat)

The 2024 YPP Entry Examination is now avalible online. The United States is a participating country and eligible nationals are strongly encouraged to apply! The UN Young Professionals Programme (YPP) is an entry exam for young professionals to start a career as an international civil servant in the United Nations Secretariat. Applications will be accepted starting in July 2024 through the UN’s online recruitment platforms: careers.un.org / inspira.un.org. For more information see the 2024 YPP Brochure.

Criteria for participation:

The online exams will be held for nationals of a participating country with a Bachelor’s degree or at least a 3-year equivalent degree relevant to the subject area of the exam. Applicants must also be 32 years of age or younger and be fluent in English and/or French.

Exam areas covered in 2024:

  1. Human Resources & Administration
  2. Political Affairs & Human Rights
  3. Finance & Budget

How to apply:

All applications must be submitted through the UN’s recruitment platforms: careers.un.org / inspira.un.org.

Questions:

Applicants are strongly encouraged to make use of the following resources:

International Organization Specific Young Professional Programs

The organizations below have their own unique programs and eligibility requirements. Please visit the individual international organization websites for more information and application procedures.