Q: How many interns are accepted annually?
A: Between one and six interns are usually accepted by each of the six language services for a given session (generally two sessions of two to six months every year).
Q: What are the deadlines for applying?
A: Deadlines vary, but can be quite soon after the internship opening is published, which is usually several months before the internship begins.
Q: Can I still send my application when the deadline is over?
A: No applications will be accepted after the deadline.
Q: Will I be informed of the receipt of my application?
A: Yes. Online applications will be automatically acknowledged if an email address is provided in the application. Please note that you may receive up to three confirmation emails: one for opening an account, one for creating a “Personal History Profile” (PHP) and one for applying for a vacancy (i.e. when submitting your PHP to the internship “Job Opening”). If you do not receive an e-mail acknowledgement mentioning the job opening number within 24 hours of submission, your application may have not been received. In such cases, please go to “My UN” page and check the status of your application by clicking on “View Application History”, and resubmit the application, if necessary.
Q: Is a CV enough for an application? What do I need for the application?
A: Internship applications need to be submitted in the same way as applications for employment. You should not supply a separate CV/résumé but should complete an online PHP. See How to apply.
Q: Do I need to attach recommendations to my application?
Q: Should I contact the United Nations to check the status of my application?
A: Please do not contact the United Nations regarding the status of your application. You will be informed about the outcome of the selection process as soon as it is finalized. The decision-making process may vary on a case by case basis.
Q: How soon will I be informed about the outcome of my application?
A: Although it varies from post to post, selected applicants are generally notified approximately two months prior to the commencement of the internship.
Q: Can I apply for more than one language internship?
A: Yes. Provided that you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for internships at different duty stations (e.g. Geneva, Nairobi, New York, Vienna) and with different services (e.g. verbatim reporting, translation, editing). You must submit a separate application for each one.
Q: If my application is unsuccessful, can I reapply?
A: Yes. You can reapply for internships on subsequent occasions. However, please verify that you meet all the requirements, since applicants who do not meet the minimal requirements for an internship will be ineligible. You must submit a new application each time you apply for an internship (although you may use a previous application as a template). Avoid submitting the exact same PHP to several openings, including internships. Think critically and ask yourself what needs to be improved in your PHP to improve your chances of being considered.
Q: I have a Bachelor's Degree. Am I eligible to apply for the internship programme? I am enrolled in a Master's Programme. Can I apply? I am enrolled in a PhD Programme. Can I apply?
A: Applicants to the United Nations Internship Programme must at the time of application meet one of the following requirements:
- a) 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);
- b) be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor’s level or equivalent); or
- c) have graduated with a university degree (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Ph.D. or equivalent) and, if selected, must commence the internship within one year period of graduation.
Depending on the educational system of the country in which the Bachelor’s programme is located, the duration of the Bachelor’s degree could vary and may be three, four or five years in length. Accordingly, the candidate must be in the final year of the programme, regardless of the length of the Bachelor’s degree.
Q: I have already finished my studies. Can I apply?
A: Yes, provided that your graduation date is no more than one year prior to the start of the internship.
Q: Does an internship give credit for my studies?
A: Check with your university/educational institution.
Q: What kind of skills are you looking for?
A: Obviously good language skills in the area of the internship (i.e. translation, editing, interpreting), but also strong interpersonal skills, a positive attitude, an interest in world affairs, good general knowledge and strong IT skills.
Q: What do we mean by “main language”?
A: In the UN context, “main language” generally refers to the language in which one has earned her/his higher education degree(s). However linguists outside the UN generally refer to the “main language” as the “target language”, i.e. the language in which the language professional carries out his/her assignment(s).
Q: Do I receive a certificate?
A: Yes, everyone who completes an internship will receive a certificate stating the period of the internship and the name of the department or office to which she/he was assigned.
Q: I am a citizen of a non-UN member state. Can I apply for an internship?
A: Yes, you may apply, even if you are a citizen of a non-UN member state.
Q: Is there a nationality quota on how many candidates may be selected from each country?
A: No. However, in view of the existing mandates given by the General Assembly, due consideration is given to candidates from developing, underrepresented or unrepresented countries in the United Nations.
- Visa Requirements
Q: What type of visa do I need for an internship at United Nations Headquarters?
A: United Nations interns must have a valid visa to enter and stay as an intern (rather than a tourist) in the United States. The most common type of visa is the B-1. Depending on your nationality and student status (for instance whether you are studying in your home country or abroad), this may vary. Nationals of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (ESTA) also need to apply for a visa. Please check with the United States of America Embassy/Consulate in your country of current residence.
Q: Does the United Nations provide any support for visa applications?
A: No. The United Nations only provides an offer letter for the internship.
- The internship itself
Q: What kind of work will I be asked to do?
A: This will depend on the service to which you are assigned and the period of your internship.
Q: When is the starting date of my internship?
A: Selected candidates will be provided with an internship offer. All details (dates of the internship, department assigned to, name of supervisor, etc.) will be in the letter.
Q: Will my performance be assessed?
A: Yes, interns are given feedback by United Nations staff on the work or tasks they are asked to perform during the internship.
Q: Will I receive training?
A: Interns receive training to familiarize themselves with the tools and resources used by the services to which they are assigned. Training in translation and interpreting per se is not provided. Training in editing, verbatim reporting and précis-writing is provided, since these are lesser-known professions. Training is entirely hands-on and practical.
- Possibility of adjusting internship periods
Q: What is the minimum and maximum duration of an internship?
A: The normal duration of an internship is two months, but it may be extended to a maximum of six months.
Q: Can I do a one-month internship?
A: No. The minimum duration of an internship is two months.
Q: Can I do a part-time internship?
A: Internships are full-time only. Under exceptional circumstances part-time arrangements may be agreed to by the receiving office, if the minimum duration of two months is already met.
Q: Can I postpone my internship until later?
A: No. An internship offer is valid only for the initial internship period. If the applicant declines the offer, she/he must reapply and the subsequent application will be considered along with all the applications received, without preference.
Q: What is the procedure for extending my internship period?
A: Once the intern has completed part of the internship, she/he may request an extension from her/his supervisor. The supervisor will then submit the request to the Executive Office of the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management, where the request will be reviewed. The Executive Office will then inform the intern and the supervisor of the outcome. The intern must have a visa covering the additional period and must still be enrolled in graduate studies throughout the extended period. Alternatively, the intern may agree on a longer period of duration (maximum: six months) with the supervisor prior to the start of the internship.
Q: Is there any financial or logistical support for housing issues?
A: There is no financial or logistical support for housing.
Q: Does the United Nations provide advice and information on available accommodation?
A: It is the responsibility of the intern to arrange for his/her accommodation.
Q: Where can I stay in New York? What does it cost?
A: It depends on the type of accommodation you prefer. An average studio apartment ranges from $800 to $2000 per month. Low-range accommodations such as the YMCA/YWCA cost approximately $1400 per month.
Q: Does the United Nations subsidize the rent for interns?
A: No. Unfortunately, the United Nations does not subsidize rent for interns.
- Cancellation/Refusal of offer
Q: What is the procedure for cancelling or refusing the internship offer?
A: Selected applicants must notify the supervisor whether they will accept the internship or not no later than one week following receipt of the written offer.
- Financial Aid
Q: I am interested in an internship at the UN headquarters in New York, but how much does it cost to live in New York City?
A: It costs approximately $2,500 per month to cover accommodation, meals and other living expenses in New York City.
Q: Can I get any financial support from United Nations?
A: Unfortunately, the United Nations cannot provide financial support to interns. All expenses connected with the internship will have to be borne by the intern or sponsoring institution.
Q: Can interns take on part-time jobs to cover living expenses in New York?
Q: Are United Nations interns eligible for any discounts?
A: In New York, interns benefit from a number of discounts and special benefits, such as a free tour of the United Nations Secretariat and free entry to the Museum of Modern Art, as well as discounts at certain eateries. Details are provided upon arrival.
Q: What kind of documents do I need to provide to the assigned department?
A: You need to send:
- the signed offer letter and the internship agreement (no later than one week after receiving them);
- the medical certificate of good health;
- the proof of a health insurance plan valid for the duty station of the internship for the entire duration of the internship;
- proof of enrolment or graduation.
Q: What is the medical certificate of good health?
A: A certificate of good health is a medical document stating that you are in good health. There is neither a specific nor a required format. It does not have to be in English.
Q: Do I need to have a health insurance plan?
A: Yes. You must have a valid health insurance plan which will cover your medical expenses for the duration of your internship in the country of the duty station.
Q: What are my chances of employment at the United Nations after the internship?
A: The Internship Programme is not related to employment in the United Nations. There should be no expectation of employment within the United Nations following an internship. However many former language interns subsequently take, and pass, the recruitment tests set by the language services and end up working for the Organization.
Q: Are there any restrictions on interns being employed by the United Nations?
A: Please note that current regulations stipulate that interns are not eligible to apply for, or be appointed to, positions at the professional level for a period of six months following the end of their internship.
Q: How can I obtain a professional post with the language services after the internship?
A: Entry-level professional posts reserved for external recruitment are filled through language competitive examinations (LCEs), which are organized by each language service as required (usually every 1-3 years). For further information, please check the recruitment pages of this portal or the UN Careers Language Competitive Examinations webpage. Language services also organize recruitment tests for freelance, temporary posts on an ad hoc basis. Interns who perform well during their internships may be invited to sit the freelance tests.