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"My internship was amazing—I worked on internationally significant projects with organizations like the UN, and I feel like I made a direct impact on my host organization and my field."—Ilana Cohen, Duke University

Invaluable Internship Experience

The Duke Global Policy Program in Geneva offers students outstanding opportunities for career advancement and unparalleled access to the UN and other Geneva-based institutions.

Check out the bios and placements of our 2018 participants.

Female Student outside United Nations headquarters with UN flagsInternships in Geneva are highly competitive. The program uses its reputation and extensive network of contacts to assist students in obtaining internships. Although fellows are responsible for securing their own internships, the program helps fellows throughout the process. Sarah Burrichter, International Programs Manager, works with accepted program fellows to define internship goals, review cover letters, resumes and writing samples, facilitate application submission, and advise and prepare participants for their internships. The program also supports internship applications by meeting with potential host organizations to advocate on students' behalf and find the best internships possible. 

"UNEP was a good platform for me to reinforce my existing knowledge in economics and communications while broadening my experience with international governance."—​Lin Wang, Duke University

Length of Internship

Students are encouraged to make the most of their time in Geneva and maximize the contributions they can make to their organization by participating in as long of an internship as their summer will permit. Internship supervisors are generally attracted to applicants who are available for longer periods (3 month internship), but shorter internships are acceptable in certain instances (see below).

Dates: Students may determine the dates of their internship according to their schedule and their internship site's preferences.  Students typically set their internship dates between early May and early September, depending on their academic calendar.

Internship Commitments by Program Track:

Global Health Track Fellows: Some of the Global Health internship sites (i.e. the World Health Organization) will accept interns who have limited schedules given the restrictive schedules of many MD students.

GH Track minimum program commitment:

  • MD students - 9 week commitment (8 weeks for the internship + 1 week for the Intensive Course)
  • MPH, MScGH, and all other Global Health applicants are required to make a minimum commitment of 11 weeks to the program (10 week internship + 1 week Intensive Course)

Humanitarian Action Track Fellows and Environment, Energy, and the Economy Track Fellows: Organizations where our HA and EEE track fellows intern require students to have longer availabilities for their summer internship.

HA and EEE Track minimum program commitment:

  • Minimum Commitment: 11 weeks (10 week internship + 1 week course)
  • 13 week commitments are preferred by internship organizations whenever possible (12 week internship + 1 week course)

Past Examples of Internship Projects

Every internship is different, and intern projects will differ depending on host organizations and supervisors. Fellows participate in a diverse range of projects throughout their internship experience. Here are a few examples of past internship projects. 

  • International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development: Researching and writing articles for the ICTSD "Bridges Weekly: Global Trade News from a Sustainable Development Perspective" publication
  • International Organization on Migration, Health and Migration department: Creating an internal document to advise health care providers on how to implement health assessments when offering HIV testing
  • UN Environment: Baseline research for a Global Environment Facility (GEF) project and drafting of a gender and chemical safety report for the next SAICM convention
  • World Health Organization - Tobacco Free Initiative: Report drafting, event planning and liaising with conference stakeholders for the launch of the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2017
  • World Health Organization - Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases: Survey development for institutions that use research networking tools, interviewing academic institutions and implementers of research networking tools
  • World Trade Organization: Contributing to a variety of projects, including an analysis of regional trade agreements and updating the WTO SPS e-learning training materials

"Learning about the UN by actually working inside of it was an invaluable experience."—Chelsea Baldino, Duke University

UN headquartersPrevious Internship Sites