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How to get an Internship at UNICEF

by Minoas Vitalis
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Do you want to make a difference in the world? Then consider an internship with UNICEF. UNICEF is the world’s leading organisation working for children’s rights, and its internships are a great way to gain hands-on experience in the field of international development. But what exactly does it take to land an internship with UNICEF? In this article, you will find a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process. First of all though, what is UNICEF?

UNICEF: What does it do?

UNICEF, also known as the United Nations Children’s Fund, is a United Nations agency that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. UNICEF’s mandate is to protect the rights of all children, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity. The organisation works to ensure that all children have access to education, health care, and clean water, among other basic needs. UNICEF also works to prevent child labor and combat violence against children.

The United Nations Children’s Fund was established in 1946 to provide relief to children in war-torn countries. Today, UNICEF provides assistance to children in more than 190 countries and territories. . UNICEF is funded entirely by voluntary contributions from governments, businesses, foundations, and individuals.

Now that you know a little bit about UNICEF, let’s move on to the next step in our guide:

Step 1: Choose an Area of Interest

The first step in applying for a UNICEF internship is to choose an area of interest. UNICEF offers internships in a variety of fields, including child protection, education, health, nutrition, and more. Once you have chosen an area of interest, you can begin exploring the specific internship opportunities that are available. You can do that by exploring this link which  includes a searchable database of all current internship openings: .

Step 2: Review the Eligibility Criteria

Each internship opportunity has its own eligibility criteria, so it is important to review these carefully before proceeding with your application. In general, interns must:

  • Be currently studying in an undergraduate, graduate or PhD programme or they have graduated within the last two years.
  • Be proficient in at least one of the working languages of UNICEF: Spanish, French or English. You may also need to know the language of the country in which you will be interning.
  • Have received excellent academic results.
  • Have no immediate relatives working for the organisation.
  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have no relatives as your supervisors.

Internships in UNICEF can be paid or unpaid, full-time or part-time. It is important to note that UNICEF’s ability to provide financial assistance to cover travel costs depends on the funding it has available for each specific internship. Every intern is eligible for a contribution towards living expenses paid by UNICEF or a partner institution. Internships usually last between 6 and 26 weeks.

Step 3: Submit Your Application

Once you have found an internship opportunity that you are interested in and meet the eligibility criteria, it is time to submit your application. The first step is to create a user account on the UNICEF website. Once you have created an account, you can log in and begin the online application process. When completing the online application, you may be asked to submit: a cover letter , a CV or resume, academic transcripts, and contact information for two references. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email confirmation.

Step 4: Await a Response from UNICEF

After you have submitted your application, it will be reviewed by the UNICEF staff. If your application is selected for further review, you will be contacted for an interview. The interview process may vary depending on the internship opportunity you have applied for, but it will likely include a phone or video interview. If you are selected for an internship, you will be notified by email and asked to provide additional information, such as your passport details and visa requirements (if applicable).

Step 5: Prepare for Your Internship

Once you have been selected for an internship and have accepted the offer, it is time to start preparing for your experience. If you are interning at a UNICEF office in a developing country, you may need to obtain a visa. You should also begin making arrangements for your accommodation and travel. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to contact your UNICEF internship coordinator.

Useful things to know before applying for an internship with UNICEF

Applying for an internship with UNICEF can be a great way to gain valuable work experience and make a difference in the lives of children around the world. But before you submit your application, there are a few things you should know.

Here are some tips to help you prepare for your UNICEF internship:

  1. Familiarise yourself with UNICEF’s mission and values.

UNICEF is dedicated to improving the lives of children around the world, so it’s important that you are familiar with the mission and values before applying for an internship. This will help you understand the work they do and ensure that you are passionate about the cause.

  1. Do your research.

Before you apply, take some time to research UNICEF and the specific internship you are interested in. This will help you prepare for the application process and give you a better understanding of what the internship entails.

  1. Be prepared for the application process.

The application process for UNICEF internships can be competitive, so it’s important to be prepared. Make sure you have all of the required documents and information ready before you start the application.

  1. Be patient.

The internship application process can take some time, so it’s important to be patient. Once you submit your application, you will likely have to wait a few weeks or even months for a response.

  1. Follow up.

If you haven’t heard anything after a few weeks, don’t be afraid to follow up with UNICEF. This shows that you are still interested in the internship and will help keep your application at the top of their list.

Applying for an internship with UNICEF can be a great way to gain valuable work experience and make a difference in the lives of children around the world. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of being accepted into the program.

What kind of skills do you need to be successful in your UNICEF internship experience?

In order to be successful in your UNICEF internship experience, you will need to have a few key skills under your belt. Some of these are:

  • Excellent communication: This is key in any professional setting, but especially so in an international organisation like UNICEF. You will need to be able to communicate effectively with people from all over the world, with different backgrounds and cultures.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: Things change quickly in the UN, so you need to be able to change with them. Be prepared for last minute changes of plans, and be flexible enough to go with the flow.
  • Organisation and time management: There is a lot going on at UNICEF, so you need to be organised in order to keep track of everything. Time management is also important – you need to be able to juggle multiple tasks and deadlines.
  • Problem solving: There will be times when things don’t go according to plan. When that happens, you need to be able to come up with creative solutions to solve the problem.
  • Commitment: UNICEF is working to improve the lives of children all over the world, so it’s important that you are committed to that mission. You need to be passionate about making a difference, and willing to put in the hard work to make it happen.

To sum up, UNICEF is looking for interns who are:

  • Excellent communicators
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Well organised with good time management skills
  • Problem solvers
  • Committed to making a difference in the lives of children all over the world.

If you have these skills, you could be exactly what UNICEF is looking for in an intern! So don’t wait – apply today.

What happens if you are not successful  in your UNICEF internship application?

If you are not successful in your initial application for a UNICEF internship, don’t despair! There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of being accepted the next time around.

First, take a look at why your application was not successful. Was it because of your qualifications? If so, consider taking some courses or getting some more experience in the field.

It could also be helpful to reach out to someone who has interned at UNICEF before and ask for feedback on your application. They may be able to give you some tips on how to improve your chances of being accepted next time.

Finally, don’t forget to stay positive and keep trying! If you are passionate about working for UNICEF, eventually your hard work will pay off and you will be accepted into the program.


UNICEF offers a variety of different internship programs that can help you gain experience in the nonprofit sector. Whether you’re looking to work with children, health and nutrition, or emergency relief, UNICEF has an opportunity for you. This guide provides detailed information on how to apply for an internship as well as what to expect during your time with UNICEF. We hope it will help you take the next step in your career and make a difference in the lives of children around the world.

Minoas graduated with a Merit upon studying the full-time MPA Public Administration – International Development degree (MPA-ID) at the University of York. He is currently working as a freelance EU affairs consultant in Belgium.
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