For globally-minded high schoolers, interning at the United Nations may seem like an impossible dream. But each year, a select group of teens from around the world get the chance to work within the halls of the UN through specialized internship programs.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The UN offers limited but highly competitive high school internships at its New York City headquarters and other offices. These programs allow teens to support UN initiatives while gaining professional experience.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide an in-depth overview of UN high school internships. We’ll outline the different programs, eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and application process.

We’ll also describe the day-to-day intern experience and benefits gained to help students understand this unique opportunity.

UN High School Internship Programs

Are you a high school student who is passionate about global issues and wants to make a difference? The United Nations offers internship programs specifically designed for high school students like you.

These programs provide a unique opportunity to gain valuable experience, learn about international relations, and contribute to the work of the United Nations.

New York Headquarters Opportunities

If you dream of interning at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, you’re in luck! The UN offers a limited number of internship positions for high school students at its headquarters. These internships give you the chance to work alongside professionals in various departments and gain firsthand knowledge of the UN’s work.

During your internship, you may have the opportunity to attend meetings, assist with research projects, and contribute to the development of reports or publications. This hands-on experience will not only enhance your understanding of global issues but also provide you with valuable skills that can be applied in your future academic and professional pursuits.


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Offices and Programs Worldwide

In addition to internships at the New York Headquarters, the United Nations also offers internship opportunities at its offices and programs worldwide. These internships allow you to work in different locations around the globe, experiencing the diverse cultures and environments in which the UN operates.

Whether you’re interested in human rights, sustainable development, peacekeeping, or another area of focus, there are internships available to match your interests. You could find yourself working in Geneva, Vienna, Nairobi, or any other UN location, contributing to meaningful projects and gaining a global perspective.

Typical Timeframes and Schedules

The duration of high school internships at the United Nations can vary, but they typically last for a few weeks to a few months. The exact timeframe will depend on the specific program and location you are applying to.

Internship schedules may also vary, but they are designed to accommodate your school commitments. The UN understands that education is your top priority, so they strive to create a balance between your internship and your studies.

This flexibility allows you to make the most of your internship experience without compromising your academic progress.

It’s important to note that the competition for high school internships at the United Nations is fierce. Therefore, it’s essential to start preparing early, ensuring your application stands out from the rest.

Good grades, extracurricular activities, and a genuine passion for global issues can greatly increase your chances of being selected for this prestigious opportunity.

To learn more about the United Nations High School Internship Programs and how to apply, visit the United Nations website.


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Eligibility Requirements

Age and Enrollment Status

To be eligible for a United Nations High School Internship, students must meet certain age and enrollment requirements. Generally, students must be between the ages of 15 and 18. However, it is important to note that specific age requirements may vary depending on the internship program and country.

Additionally, students must be enrolled in high school or a similar educational institution at the time of the internship. This means that individuals who have already graduated from high school are not eligible to apply.

Academic Standing

When considering applicants for high school internships, the United Nations looks for individuals who have a strong academic standing. This includes having a good academic record and maintaining a satisfactory grade point average (GPA).

While there is no specific GPA requirement stated, it is generally expected that applicants have demonstrated academic excellence in their high school studies. Additionally, having a strong background in subjects such as social sciences, international relations, or foreign languages can be beneficial when applying for a United Nations internship.

Language Skills

Since the United Nations is an international organization, proficiency in one or more languages is highly valued. While English is the working language of the organization, knowledge of other official UN languages such as French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, or Chinese can greatly enhance an applicant’s chances of being selected for a high school internship.

It is important to note that language requirements may vary depending on the specific internship program and the region or country in which it takes place. Having strong language skills can demonstrate an applicant’s ability to communicate effectively and work in a multicultural and multilingual environment, which is essential in the United Nations.

Application Process and Timeline

Applying for a United Nations High School Internship is an exciting opportunity for students to gain valuable experience and contribute to global initiatives. The application process and timeline are important to understand in order to maximize your chances of being selected for this prestigious internship.

Key Documents Required

When applying for a United Nations High School Internship, there are several key documents that you will need to submit. These documents typically include:

  • A completed application form
  • A resume or curriculum vitae
  • A cover letter highlighting your interest in the internship and relevant skills
  • Academic transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation

It is important to carefully review the application requirements and ensure that all documents are submitted before the deadline. Attention to detail is crucial in this competitive process.

Competitive Selection Process

The selection process for United Nations High School Internships is highly competitive. Each application is carefully reviewed by a panel of experts who assess the candidate’s qualifications, skills, and potential for contribution.

The selection committee looks for candidates who demonstrate a strong commitment to the United Nations’ values and goals.

It is important to showcase your unique skills and experiences in your application documents. Highlight any relevant coursework, extracurricular activities, or community service that aligns with the internship’s focus area.

Additionally, emphasize your ability to work effectively in a diverse and multicultural environment, as this is highly valued by the United Nations.

Remember, the selection process is not solely based on academic achievements. The United Nations is looking for well-rounded individuals who can bring diverse perspectives and innovative ideas to the table.

Notification Date and Acceptance

After the selection process is complete, the United Nations will notify applicants of their decision. The notification date varies depending on the internship program and the number of applications received.

It is important to be patient during this time and avoid contacting the United Nations for updates.

If you are selected for a United Nations High School Internship, you will receive an acceptance letter outlining the details of your internship placement. Congratulations! This is a great accomplishment and a chance to make a significant impact on global issues.

It is important to note that acceptance into the United Nations High School Internship program is highly competitive. If you are not selected, do not be discouraged. Take this opportunity to gain more experience, enhance your skills, and reapply in the future.

The Intern Experience: Activities and Impact

Interning at the United Nations during high school can be a transformative experience for students. Not only do they gain valuable skills and knowledge, but they also have the opportunity to make a real impact on global issues.

This article will explore the various activities and the lasting influence that a United Nations high school internship can have on students’ careers and perspectives.

Day-to-Day Work and Responsibilities

During the internship, students are assigned a range of tasks and responsibilities that contribute to the work of the United Nations. These may include conducting research, preparing reports, attending meetings, and assisting with various projects.

This hands-on experience allows students to gain a deeper understanding of international relations, diplomacy, and the inner workings of a global organization.

By actively participating in the day-to-day operations, students develop crucial skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and effective communication. They also have the opportunity to work alongside professionals from diverse backgrounds, fostering a sense of teamwork and collaboration.


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Networking and Mentorship Opportunities

One of the most valuable aspects of a United Nations high school internship is the networking and mentorship opportunities it provides. Interns have the chance to connect with professionals from different departments and countries, expanding their professional networks and gaining insights into various career paths.

Mentors play a crucial role in guiding and supporting interns throughout their internship. They provide advice, share their experiences, and help interns navigate the complex world of international affairs.

Building these relationships can be invaluable for future career opportunities and personal growth.

Lasting Influence on Careers and Perspectives

A United Nations high school internship can have a lasting influence on students’ careers and perspectives. The experience of working on global issues and collaborating with individuals from different cultures and backgrounds broadens their horizons and enhances their understanding of the world.

Interns often report that their time at the United Nations solidified their career aspirations in fields such as international relations, diplomacy, human rights, and sustainable development. The skills and knowledge gained during the internship can also open doors to further educational and professional opportunities.

Furthermore, the internship experience fosters a sense of global citizenship and a commitment to making a positive impact on the world. Many interns continue to engage in activism, volunteer work, and advocacy efforts long after their internship ends.

Looking Forward: Advancement and Related Options

Once students complete a United Nations High School Internship, they have a variety of options to consider for their future. This experience can be parlayed into college and future job opportunities, as well as lead to alternate international internships.

Additionally, students can also benefit from recommendation letters and the valuable connections they make through the alumni network.

Parlaying the Experience into College and Future Jobs

Participating in a United Nations High School Internship can greatly enhance a student’s college application and future job prospects. Colleges and employers value the skills and knowledge gained through such an experience.

Students can highlight their internships in their personal statements or resumes, showcasing their dedication to global issues, cross-cultural communication, and problem-solving abilities. This can make them stand out among other applicants and increase their chances of admission or employment.

Students who have participated in internships during high school are more likely to succeed in college and find employment after graduation. .

Alternate International Internships

While the United Nations High School Internship program offers a unique and prestigious opportunity, students should also consider exploring alternate international internships. There are numerous organizations and programs that provide similar experiences, allowing students to work on global issues and gain valuable skills.

One such program is the Projects Abroad High School Specials. This organization offers a wide range of volunteer and internship opportunities in various countries around the world. Students can choose to work in areas such as healthcare, education, conservation, or human rights.

These experiences provide students with a chance to make a difference while gaining practical skills and cultural understanding.


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Recommendation Letters and Alumni Network

Following a United Nations High School Internship, students should reach out to their supervisors or mentors for recommendation letters. These letters can be invaluable when applying for college or future internships and jobs.

The firsthand knowledge and positive feedback from professionals in the field can greatly strengthen a student’s application.

In addition to recommendation letters, students can also leverage the alumni network established through the United Nations High School Internship program. By staying connected with fellow interns and professionals they met during their internship, students can gain access to a supportive community of individuals who share similar interests and goals.

This network can provide guidance, mentorship, and potential job opportunities in the future.


A high school internship at the UN provides an unparalleled experience to engage with global issues while developing professional skills. The competitive program allows promising students to learn from world experts and expand their horizons.

By conveying the value of such an opportunity, this article can encourage qualified teens to aspire toward this selective but rewarding role.

Gaining real-world experience through unique programs like UN internships allows driven young people to convert youthful idealism into impact at the global level. With proper guidance and support, today’s students can become tomorrow’s leaders in international relations, diplomacy and humanitarian affairs.

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