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How to get an Internships at the OSCE

by Minoas Vitalis
Reading Time: 6 minutes

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is a unique intergovernmental organization that has 57 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America. It works to build trust and cooperation across borders and cultures. The OSCE offers internships to students and recent graduates who want to gain experience in the field of international relations. If you are interested in applying for an internship at the OSCE, here is a guide on how to do so.

But first, what is the OSCE?

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world’s largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as Arms Control, Conflict Prevention, Democratic Development, and Human Rights.  It was founded in the early 1970s as the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) and renamed in 1995. The OSCE consists of 57 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America. It is based in Vienna, Austria, and has a field presence in over a dozen countries. The OSCE Secretariat provides operational and administrative support to the organization.

Why should I work there?

Working at the OSCE is more than just a job – it’s an opportunity to make a difference in the world. As an intern, you will gain valuable work experience in an international organization, and you will have the chance to learn about a wide range of topics related to peace and security.

An internship at the OSCE is an excellent opportunity to learn about international relations and security issues, as well as the workings of a large intergovernmental organization. Interns are given the opportunity to work on projects related to their field of study and gain first-hand experience in the OSCE’s areas of work. In addition, interns have the chance to meet and interact with people from all over the world, including OSCE staff, diplomats, and other interns.

In addition, while OSCE internships are unpaid, you may be provided with a stipend to help cover living expenses, if you’re not a permanent resident of Vienna.

What can I expect?

Internships last between 2 and 6 months. As an intern at the OSCE, you can expect to be involved in the organization’s work in a variety of ways. You may be asked to research and write reports, help with event planning and logistics, or provide administrative support. Your specific duties will depend on your department and the needs of the organization at the time, but you can be sure that you will be given the opportunity to learn and grow in your chosen field.

In addition to your day-to-day responsibilities, you may also have the chance to attend seminars, workshops, and conferences related to your area of interest. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the work of the OSCE and to network with other young professionals.

What are the requirements?

To be eligible for an internship at the OSCE, you must:

  • Be a student or recent graduate (within two years of graduation) of a university or equivalent institution;
  • Be younger than 30 years old;
  • Be fluent in English; 
  • Be able to work in an international environment;
  • Have a strong interest in the OSCE’s areas of work.

An internship vacancy notice may also specify additional requirements.

How can I apply?

If you meet the eligibility requirements and are interested in applying for an internship at the OSCE, you can do so by visiting the organization’s website. Internship opportunities are listed under the “open internship vacancies” section, and you can search for openings by department or location.

When applying for an internship, you may be asked to submit a CV, cover letter, and writing sample. You may also be asked to complete a short online test.

The selection process for internships is competitive, so make sure to put your best foot forward in your application. If you are selected for an internship, you will be contacted by the Department interested in your candidacy.

The OSCE is committed to diversity and inclusion and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of their background.

We hope this guide has been helpful in your quest to find an internship at the OSCE. Good luck!

Where can you expect to work?

The places you could work as an intern at the OSCE are:

  • The Secretariat in Vienna, Austria;
  • OSCE Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina;
  • OSCE Mission in Kosovo;
  • OSCE Mission to Skopje;
  • OSCE Mission to Moldova (Russian or Romanian working knowledge is required);
  • OSCE Mission to Serbia;
  • Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media, Vienna;
  • High Commissioner on National Minorities, The Hague;
  • OSCE Presence in Albania;
  • OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine;
  • OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek;
  • OSCE Programme Office in Dushanbe.

Missions not mentioned in this list do not offer internships. You should always check the website for the latest list of vacancies and information. 

What skills do I need?

In order to be successful in an internship at the OSCE, there are a few key skills that you will need:

  • Excellent communication: You will need to be able to communicate effectively with a variety of people, both in writing and verbally. This includes being able to explain complex concepts in simple terms, as well as active listening skills.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: The OSCE is a fast-paced environment and things can change quickly. You will need to be able to adapt to new situations and tasks as they arise.
  • Organization and time management: With so many different things going on, it is important to be able to keep track of deadlines and prioritize your tasks.
  • Problem-solving: There will be times when you encounter a problem that doesn’t have a clear solution. In these situations, you will need to be able to use your creativity and critical thinking skills to come up with a viable solution.
  • Research: A large part of your work will involve researching various topics related to the OSCE’s areas of interest. You will need to be able to find relevant information and then evaluate it to determine its usefulness.
  • Intercultural competence: The OSCE is an international organization, so you will need to be able to work effectively with people from a variety of cultural backgrounds. This includes being respectful of different cultures and being able to adapt your communication style as needed.

If you have these skills, then you are well on your way to being successful in an internship at the OSCE!

What do you need to be aware of?

There are a few things you should keep in mind when applying for an internship at the OSCE:

  • The selection process is competitive: Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get selected for an internship right away. The selection process is very competitive, so it may take a few tries before you are successful.
  • You may not get your first choice: Keep in mind that you may not get your first choice of mission or department. Be flexible and be prepared to adjust your expectations.
  • The application process is online: All applications for internships at the OSCE are done through the Online Recruitment System. Make sure you create an account and familiarize yourself with the system before you start filling out your application.

What should I do if I am not selected?

  • If you are not selected for an internship, don’t give up! There are a few things you can do to improve your chances of being selected next time:
  • Make sure you meet the minimum requirements: Be sure to check the website carefully to make sure you meet all of the eligibility requirements. If you don’t, your application will likely be rejected.
  • Pay attention to the details: The application process is very detailed, so make sure you follow all of the instructions carefully. Be sure to proofread your application before you submit it.
  • Tailor your application: Make sure you tailor your application to the specific mission or department you are applying for. Generic applications are less likely to be successful.
  • Be patient: The selection process can take several months, so don’t expect to hear back right away. If you haven’t heard anything after a few months, you can contact the mission or department directly to inquire about the status of your application.


In conclusion, internships at the OSCE are an excellent way to gain international experience and learn new skills. The application process may seem daunting, but if you follow the tips in this guide, you will be sure to put your best foot forward.

We hope that this guide has been helpful and that you will consider applying for an internship at the OSCE. Good luck!

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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