How to get an internship at UNDP

How to get an internship at UNDP

Imagine a workplace where people from all over the world work together to promote equality, peace, and sustainable growth. A place where people use their skills to develop projects that combat development challenges like poverty, gender inequality, and climate change. If your eyes gleamed at the prospect of working there, then United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) could be the place for you! Read on to find out how you can set out on a mission for world development by scoring an internship at UNDP

What are the types of internships at UNDP and who can apply?
UNDP internships are offered in a variety of fields like public relations, sustainable development, inclusive growth, climate and disaster resilience, systems and governance enhancement, and civic engagement promotion. Applications for UNDP India are accepted from students pursuing a master’s degree in economics, environmental sciences, law, political science, sociology, social work, human resources, public administration, or communication.

Internships at UNDP International, on the other hand, are offered to students who are in the final year of their under graduation. One is also eligible to apply within one year after graduation. The minimum duration of a UNDP internship is 3 months which could extend to 6 months. These are mostly unpaid internships and can take place at UNDP country offices, regional hubs, or their headquarters in New York. Those selected for an internship in UNDP have to make their own arrangements for travel, accommodation, and the like.

If you are not eligible to apply for this internship, fret not! You can read about applying to other UN internships.

How to apply to an internship at UNDP?
1. Via email UNDP careers

Your internship application must mention your area of interest and include an updated CV, a cover letter expressing why you want to intern at UNDP and your goals, duration of internship, and a supporting letter from your institution. For UNDP India, they can be sent to UNDP International vacancies, on the other hand, are posted on their jobsite.
2. Via post –  Applications for UNDP India containing the aforementioned documents can also be sent to their country office in New Delhi.

What after applying to a UNDP internship?
The shortlisted candidates are contacted for a face-to-face or Skype interview which places an emphasis on behavioral questions such as – 
1. What are some challenges that you have faced while working in a team and how did you overcome them?
2. What are your strengths and weaknesses? 
3. What is the greatest challenge that you’ve faced and how did you overcome it? 
4. Tell me about a time when you came up with an innovative solution to a challenge at work.

Some other questions that are asked in UNDP interviews –
1. Why did you apply for this position? 
2. What are your expectations from this UNDP internship? 
3. What are the projects that you would like to work on? 
4. Why do you want to work at UNDP?
5. Do your professional goals align with the area that you’ve chosen? 
6. How would you contribute to UNDP?

This round aims to gauge your understanding of the field that you’ve applied for and to ascertain that your interests match with the needs of the organisation. So, a good understanding of UNDP’s work could prove useful. 

What to expect after your internship in UNDP starts?
Besides gaining direct exposure to UNDP’s work, you would acquire practical experience to complement your studies. You would get hands-on experience in different aspects of project management and may even get to lead a project. The work generally comprises researching, strategizing, and handling administration work. Since UNDP also assists the government in accomplishing their development goals, you could also be engaged in formulating policies. The nature of your internship will vary according to the area of interest that you choose and the current needs of the organisation.
Valuable networking opportunities are also an integral part of the internship experience. As a UNDP intern, you’ll get access to various UN events, discussions, and meetings where you can interact with professionals from different fields. 

Tips from ex-interns at UNDP: 
1. Read about the projects undertaken by UNDP and have a thorough understanding of their work.
2. Highlight your accomplishments and work experience with respect to the area you want to specialize in.
3. Don’t be afraid to reach out to UNDP employees on LinkedIn. It is very likely that they started out as interns and are therefore approachable and willing to help you make an application.
4. Be self-motivated and take initiative to get the most out of your internship experience.

Now that you know about the application process, harness your energy to change the world and apply for an internship at UNDP! You could also check out other volunteering and social work internships on Internshala.

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