Frequently Asked Questions
The Duke Global Policy Program in Geneva is the only program of its kind.
Through summer internships and an intensive, one-week course, our fellows gain unparalleled access to UN agencies and leading Geneva-based institutions. Internships in Geneva are highly competitive. Our fellows benefit from Duke’s well-regarded reputation and wide network to secure the best internships possible. While fellows are ultimately responsible for securing their own internships, they will receive individualized assistance and have access to Duke’s deep organizational contacts.
The one-week intensive course is designed to complement students’ internships. Throughout the course week, students participate in lectures and seminars, visit leading international institutions, case studies, and network with top experts in their field.
In addition to the internship and course-week, fellows are a part of a vibrant community of students and are encouraged to participate in social and networking events held throughout the summer. Ultimately, our participants return from their summer in Geneva with a wide range of networks and contacts to help them jump start their international careers.
Located on beautiful Lake Geneva in the heart of Western Europe, Geneva is the best place in the world to explore public policy and international affairs. It is home to the United Nations headquarters as well as 200 government missions, and over 300 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). For students interested in a career in public policy or international affairs, Geneva is an essential destination.
The Duke Global Policy Program is open to graduate and professional students from around the world. Program fellows do not have to be Duke students to participate in the program. Fellows come from diverse graduate programs -- public policy, international relations, business, medicine, law and others -- and from universities around the world including Harvard, Stanford, Columbia University, Singapore Management University, University of Toronto, and many others.
Please note that while the program is intended for graduate and professional students, we do accept a limited number of outstanding undergraduate students. Undergraduate students must be rising seniors at the time of participation, and should have exceptional experience interning and/or living abroad to be considered.
Our fellows hail from a variety of academic backgrounds. However, they are united by their commitment to their chosen area of global policy and by their demonstration of academic and/or professional excellence. Most of our fellows have previous experience living abroad, either through their studies, work, or personal travel. Fluency in a second language, while not required, will strengthen an application.
That's not a problem. Classes are taught in English, and there are plenty of English-speaking internship opportunities in Geneva. A basic knowledge of French is advantageous but not required.
Fellows are required to arrange their own housing. The program will also provide suggestions and resources for students who wish to look for their own housing. In these cases, students can expect to pay $800-$1200 month for sublets or rooms in foyers. Foyers are a cross between hostels and hotels and typically house interns and students from all over the world.
The Duke Global Policy Program offers students unparalleled access to Geneva-based institutions and outstanding opportunities for career advancement. Although fellows are responsible for securing their own internships, the program uses its reputation and extensive network of contacts to assist students in obtaining internships.
Program staff work with accepted program fellows to define internship goals, review cover letters, resumes and writing samples, facilitate application submission, and advise and prepare fellows 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.
In the history of the Duke Global Policy Program, there have been a couple instances where fellows could not secure internships. The process works best when fellows are open to a variety of placement opportunities and when they follow advice of staff throughout the process. The internship search process is ultimately the responsibility of each admitted student. If a student is unable to secure an internship for the program, they will be refunded half ($250) of the $500 confirmation deposit.
View the list of program pricing here. If you are a Duke Sanford MPP student, please contact us for information about program fellowships. Please note that the program fees do not cover housing, airfare, visa fees and other living expenses. Each fellow is responsible for paying program fees, room and board, airfare, visa fees (if applicable) and other living expenses. Students should inquire with their home institutions, programs, or sponsors for potential support early in the year.
The actual amount a student should expect to pay depends upon length of stay, fluctuations in exchange rates and airfare, and personal preferences. However, below is a best estimate for a student that spends 3 months in Geneva:
- Airfare: $1400 (could be as low as $1100 or as high as $1700)
- Housing: $3200 (this is an estimate, housing typically costs between $900-$1400 per month)
- Food: $1200
- Other expenses (transportation, travel, etc): $2000 - varies greatly depending on individual desire to travel outside of Geneva. This is a high estimate.
Yes, a handful of students every year bring spouses and sometimes children with them. However, we ask that students are aware of the hectic schedule required during the internship and especially during the course week. Additionally, students with families may need to look for their own housing, with the assistance of program staff
Fellows will have the option of choosing when to start and end an internship during the summer, depending on the needs of the host institution and the fellow’s academic calendar. However, we suggest students make a 13 week commitment to the program (12-week long internship + 1 week course) to facilitate their visa process and to take full advantage of everything Geneva has to offer. Full program fellows must participate in the global policy course week in one of its three tracks: the Humanitarian Crises, Refugees, and Human Rights course, and the Global Health course.
Global Health Fellows should commit to a minimum of 9 continuous weeks, including participation in the intensive course (8 weeks for the internship, 1 week for the course). Fellows from Human Rights track should commit to a minimum of 11 continuous weeks including the course week (10 weeks for the internship, 1 week for the course).
Questions? Contact Us
Director, International Academic Programming
Annalisa Kristoffersen directs graduate-level intercultural programming and an array of international academic programs at the Sanford School of Public Policy, including the Duke Global Policy Program in Geneva, Duke in Glasgow, the MPP Hertie Exchange Program in Berlin, and the Magdelena Yesil Visiting Professorship for Armenian scholars. She also directs the Sanford Board Leadership Initiative.