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Global Internships

From the House of Representatives to the rainforests of Borneo, Sanford students complete internships across the globe.

The school was one of the first in the nation to make an internship a required component of both an undergraduate and graduate public policy degree.

Students find that the real-world lessons policy internships provide play an important part in their education, help them to gain exposure in a variety of fields, and aid in finding a job post-graduation. Take a look:


Geneva, Switzerland

Spending the summer in Geneva was one of the best decisions that I made at Sanford. Seeing the inner workings of the UN and the agencies was an experience that was second to none. You really feel as though the project that you are working on is having an impact on the world and changing people’s lives. Its not everyday that you can say that you had a positive impact on a part of the world that you have never seen or touched, but my summer in Geneva has afforded me that opportunity. - Rhian Carekker-Ford, MPP'21, Duke Global Policy (DGP)


Washington, DC

Benjamin Klein PPS'18 in front of CapitolI spend the majority of my time working to ensure that constituents' concerns are heard. Everyday I get to know what people care most about and help address their concerns by talking to them over the phone, reading their letters and emails, or responding to those letters. Writing these letters has been my favorite aspect of the internship; it's a privilege to help answer their questions or address their concerns. It's also the most difficult work I have, because sometimes we don't have the answer that they want. It's been fascinating to learn how to write within the constraints of a unified message. Overall, my experience has demonstrated to me that government truly is for the people and by the people, that your voice does matter. - Benjamin Klein, Trinity '18, Office of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)


Geoffrey HamlinYou are truly a valued member of the team and, depending on your agency and division, are given real responsibility and significant assignments.  I have had direct influence on policies that will affect tens, if not hundreds of millions of people and have made meaningful connections with some of the most influential and brilliant policymakers in the country. – Geoffrey Hamlyn, MPP'16, White House Office of Management and Budget


Medellín, Colombia

Maura Smyles PPS'18 Colombia is currently the country with the greatest number of internally displaced people in the world, largely a result of the decades-long armed conflict between guerillas, paramilitary groups, and organized criminal actors. In an effort to bring justice to the millions of victims, the government has initiated a land restitution process that seeks to restore and formalize the land rights of displaced individuals and communities. As an intern at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Medellín, Colombia, my work centers around reviewing judicial documents to support the monitoring of this land restitution process. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside this incredibly dedicated team whose commitment to protecting and promoting human rights inspires me every day. - Maura Smyles, Trinity '18, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights



group of women in IndiaWe conducted field research in communities in the foothills of a mining facility. With unregulated mining for nearly 16 years, the local population faces many issues, including environmental degradation, threat to life due to mining blasts, unregulated toxic dumping, and depletion of air and soil quality. - Karina Ibrahim, MPP'16, India Program for International Development Leaders



Henry Kistler PPS'19 doing field work in JordanThis summer I am fortunate enough to be working with Tamkeen Fields for Aid, a Jordanian legal aid and human rights NGO based in Amman, Jordan, through DukeEngage.  My work focuses a lot on researching topics important to the mission of the NGO, and I am currently writing a research report on statelessness in Jordan. In addition, I have assisted my boss in writing a grant proposal and help out whenever I am needed. My favorite part of my internship so far has been the ability to observe the work that the lawyers in the organization undertake on behalf of their clients and the opportunity to see how an NGO functions.  I am appreciating the connection between my Sanford course work, which focused heavily on research and writing but was more academic in nature, and how Tamkeen applies this to the real world. My internship has truly been an eye opening and informative experience. - Henry Kistler, Trinity '19, Tamkeen Fields for Aid



London and Lahore

Adi at the United NationsI had the opportunity to work for a government consulting firm. My work brought me to London and Lahore, where the firm is assisting the Government of Punjab in their reform initiatives. I assisted the Punjab Chief Minister’s Office to develop a solid waste management strategy. As the biggest province in Pakistan, where more than 100 million people live and produce waste everyday, Punjab needs to improve its capacity for waste collection and disposal. – Adi Pradana, MPP’16, Delivery Associates



young man smilingPeople here call Borneo the “Earth’s lungs” and, sadly, they are in poor shape. Indonesia has burned through much of its generous endowment of natural resources; only about a quarter of its primary rainforests remain. Aside from being economically unsustainable, this consumption pattern contributes to climate change. - Matthew Borden, MPP '16, United Nations Office for REDD+ Coordination in Indonesia (UNORCID)


Video Profile

Tara Bansal (PPS '17) spent a summer working in Bangalore, India. She went into slums and interviewed people in Hindi and Kannada with the help of translators, conducting thousands of surveys in an attempt to identify formal and informal community leaders. Her research will be used to better identify the political network that controls how government goods and services are distributed in the slums of Bangalore. Tara was selected as the Grand Prize winner of Sanford's internship photo contest, #PolicyInAction. Watch: