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Many of the language services offer internships to university students and recent graduates with the desired language combinations and academic background. Interns gain first-hand experience of the work of the United Nations in general and language professionals in particular. An internship in a United Nations language service also offers an opportunity to acquire hands-on knowledge in a particular area of expertise. Language internships usually last two months and, like all internships at the United Nations, are unpaid. The number of internship openings is extremely limited and the selection process is highly competitive.

How to apply?

Internships are listed on the United Nations Careers portal (available in English and French). If you are interested in applying for an internship with one of the language services, check the portal regularly for internship openings. If you meet the eligibility requirements, complete and submit the online application form by the deadline.

Who can apply?

Applicants to the United Nations internship programme must meet one of the following requirements at the time of application:
  • be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or equivalent, or higher, i.e. Master’s or equivalent, Ph.D. or post-graduate degree);
  • be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent); or
  • have graduated with a university degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D. or equivalent) and, if selected, must commence the internship within a one year period of graduation.

You must also usually have an excellent command of at least two languages other than your main language.

When to apply?

Internships are usually organized in January-February and July-August each year and usually last two months. The openings are advertised at least three months in advance on the United Nations Careers portal.

Step-by-step guide to completing the online application for language internships

Internships are listed alongside employment announcements on the United Nations Careers portal. Please note that internship openings are posted in English and French only and that applications must be completed in English or French unless specific tasks are set, such as a short piece of writing in another language.

In the “Search Job Openings” section of the homepage, make sure the filter settings say “all”, and click the “Search” button. Click on the "Internship" tab.

Language internships are listed under separate job openings by United Nations official language (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian or Spanish). If you meet the eligibility requirements stated in the opening, complete and submit the online application form by the deadline. You may submit an application for one or more internships.

Applying for an internship is very similar to applying for a job. First, you need to register and create a profile in the United Nations Secretariat staff selection system, Inspira. A completed online application (Cover Note/Letter and Personal History Profile (PHP)) is required. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

The Cover Note/Letter must indicate:
  • The title of the degree you are currently pursuing or have just completed
  • Your graduation date (when you graduated or expect to graduate)
  • Your IT skills and the computer programmes in which you are proficient
  • Reasons for your interest in the United Nations Internship Programme

In your PHP, be sure to include all past work experience, your IT skills and three references.

Due to the high volume of applications received, only successful candidates will be contacted.