A discussion on “securing an internship at the UN headquarters” was held by Wuhan University International Students Union (WISMUN) at the School of International Education. Hans Seesaghur, a PhD student of Wuhan University, spearheaded the discussion as he shared his experience at the UN office in Geneva and gave thorough information on how to get accepted into the UN internship program. It was attended by all those students who aspire to land a rewarding internship at the UN.
UN internship is an opportunity to interact with other like-minded and highly motivated interns of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds. The interns can gain an in-depth insight into how the UN works and how government and international organizations function and interact. All the internships at the UN are unpaid and the interns have to bear all the travel, visa, accommodation, medical insurance and other personal expenses. Anyone who is enrolled in a graduate school program or is in the final academic year of their first university degree program and has a keen interest in working at the UN, is eligible to apply. The interns are required to be fluent in any of the UN official languages with basic computer skills and the ability to prepare reports.
Mr. Seesaghur also explicitly guided the students through every single step right from the UN career portal and explained how to get past the standard screening questions. He also stressed the importance of providing accurate and complete information at the time of application with detailed recommendation letters. The students have to keep themselves abreast of the latest developments in the political scene and should not appear inept, in anyway, to work in the UN. The UN also recognizes the efforts of its interns in achieving results and has a framework to supervise and evaluate the interns on the basis of their performances. The internship does not guarantee a career at the UN, but a verification of the internship at the UN certainly looks good on the resume.
Internships at the UN are manifold and multi-faceted, but the students can choose a field related to their major and are then assigned to the corresponding office within the Secretariat. The UN advocates for its global mission of sustainable development, human rights and world peace and it accepts candidates who adhere to the ideals of the UN Charter with the highest standards of integrity, competence and professionalism. This gratis internship is a full-time substantive learning experience in a UN setting which enhances their knowledge within the context of their major and prepares them for a professional career in international relations and diplomacy. The discussion led by Mr. Seesaghur was largely fulfilling and the students looked interested in joining the UN as an intern despite financial constraints.
Edited by Li Liu, Edmund Wai Man Lai & Hu Sijia