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20 Paid Internships in International Affairs and International Relations

The world of international affairs and international relations is one that is constantly evolving. Paid internships in these fields can give you the opportunity to learn about the latest developments firsthand, while also providing valuable work experience.

There are a number of different types of paid internships available in international affairs and international relations. Some common examples include:

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)

The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) was founded in 1921 and is an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher. The organization offers paid internships through the Blavatnik Internship Program and Robina Franklin Williams Internship Program. Interns are compensated a decent hourly rate while gaining crucial experience by working with top foreign policy experts. Professional development training is also provided to them as a basis for potential work in the fields of foreign policy and international relations. CFR publishes a list of all available internships on its website – in June for the fall semester, in October for the spring semester, and in February for the summer semester. Interns must be eligible to work in the United States.

The Blavatik Internship Program offers interns to be recruited year-round on a semester basis for positions in CFR’s New York and Washington, DC, offices. Research, editing, writing, event planning, and departmental support are all common roles for interns. Digital Content, the Studies Program, Global Communications, Corporate Program, Washington Program, Meetings Program, and Foreign Affairs are only a part of the sectors in which internships are offered. Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a career in international relations, political science, economics, or a similar field are typically considered for the Blavatnik Internship Program. By the time they begin an internship, all candidates should have completed four semesters of college coursework (excluding AP classes in high school). For certain internships, a regional specialization, language abilities, and other specifications may be needed. Applicants should have outstanding administrative, writing, research, and computer skills, as well as previous office experience.  Interns must also be able to devote fourteen to eighteen hours per week to their work.

The Robina Franklin Williams Internship Program offers interns to be recruited year-round on a semester basis for positions in CFR’s New York and Washington, DC, offices. Research, editing, writing, event planning, and departmental support are all common roles for interns. Undergraduate and graduate students pursuing a career in international relations, political science, economics, or a similar field are typically considered for the Robina Franklin Williams Internship Program. By the time they begin an internship, all candidates should have completed four semesters of college coursework (excluding AP classes in high school). Interns from the Robina Franklin Williams Internship Program are invited to attend CFR’s annual Conference on Diversity in International Affairs and are provided with a fully paid trip to CFR’s offices in New York or Washington, DC.

Absolute Internships

Absolute Internship was founded in 2009 and is a globally recognized internship program. They provide students with the ability to expand their social and professional circles while learning essential skills in their chosen field. With an increasing number of skilled participants joining them every year, they are committed to offering international opportunities which would otherwise be difficult or impossible to find. Since 2009, they have linked over 5,000 students with 800+ corporate collaborators in cities around the world, including Barcelona, Beijing, Hong Kong, Madrid, Paris, Lisbon, London, Shanghai, Singapore, Stockholm, and Tokyo.

The Central Intelligence Agency

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was founded in 1947 and is a civilian foreign intelligence agency of the United States’ federal government, entrusted with collecting, interpreting, and analyzing homeland security data from all around the world, mainly by using human intelligence (HUMINT). Working in this agency is a dream for many International Relations students, however it is not impossible to realize it. The CIA regularly posts updates on paid internship opportunities and there are only a few requirements. Interns must be U.S citizens (dual U.S. citizens also eligible). Other requirements include being ready to move to the Washington, DC area and at least 18 years of age. Additionally, interns must be able to complete security and medical evaluations.

The Heritage Foundation

The purpose of the Heritage Foundation is to develop and support conservative public policies based on the principles of free market, limited government, individual liberty, traditional American ideals, and a strong national defense. The organization offers paid internships through The Young Leaders Program in Washington, DC. Internship opportunities are available annually in spring, summer or fall. Application deadlines are usually in October, January or July. Interns are given the chance to choose to work in one of the following departments: The President’s Office; Communications (Digital, Media Relations, The Daily Signal, Multimedia, Marketing); Development/Fundraising (Donor Relations/Communications, Gift Planning, Membership Programs, Online Membership Programs); Research (Domestic Policy Studies, Education Policy Studies, The DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, Allison Center for Foreign Policy, Center for National Defense, Center for Data Analysis, Center for International Trade and Economics, Roe Institute, Center for Principles and Politics); Operations (Information Technology, Workplace Solutions); Policy Promotion and Outreach (Coalition Relations, Policy Promotion, Truluck Center, Government Relations, Young Leaders Program).

World Endeavors

With a single volunteer program in Nepal, World Endeavors was founded in 2002. World Endeavors now offers customized and comprehensive intern and volunteer programs in more than twenty countries, with new initiatives introduced annually. Interns in the field of International Relations have the opportunity to work for organizations that deal with international challenges including human rights, globalization, humanitarian aid, and international economic growth. Working with foreign policy research, preparing and fact-checking reports, producing grant proposals, or assisting with public awareness campaigns are all possible internship activities. Some administrative support work may be included in the internship assignments. Interns should be self-motivated, well-organized, and enthusiastic in working on global matters. Communication abilities are essential. Interns who succeed should be able to adjust to different living and working situations and fulfill deadlines both individually and as part of a group.

United States Department of State (DOS)

The United States Department of State was formed in 1789 and is based in Washington, D.C., U.S. The Department of State is the executive branch of the United States government in charge of the country’s foreign policy and international relations. Its principal responsibilities include counseling the US president, supervising diplomatic missions, negotiating international treaties and accords, as well as representing the US in the United Nations. The Department of State offers paid internships through the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program (USFSIP).

The U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program (USFSIP) was established in 2014 and since then it offers interns the opportunity to experience hands-on diplomacy as a Foreign Service Intern. Interns are able to spend two summers in an interactive education program that introduces undergraduate students to US diplomacy, as well as the daily activities of the Department of State. Undergraduate sophomore and junior students with a 3.2 GPA or above who are willing to engage in two consecutive summer internships as rising juniors and seniors are eligible for this offer. Two paid summer internships are included in the program: three weeks of academic and professional training in Washington, D.C., coupled with working seven weeks in a policy office at the US Department of State and a ten-week posting in a US Embassy or Consulate overseas. Interns must be U.S citizens.

The Asia Foundation

The Asia Foundation is a non-profit international development organization dedicated to transforming people’s lives in a rapidly changing Asia. They address the fundamental issues that impact Asia in the twenty-first century by strengthening governance, broadening economic opportunity, increasing environmental adaptability, supporting women, and advocating international cooperation through workplaces in 18 countries and information obtained through profound local expertise and six decades of experience. The Asia Foundation offers paid internship opportunities in many locations, as well as categories. The schedules for the internships are usually full-time, however, there is a possibility to find part-time internship opportunities. Most of the positions are paid internships that offer medical, dental, and vision benefits. For the internships which are located in San Francisco, CA, interns must be eligible to work in the United States.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded in 1949 and is an intergovernmental military alliance consisting of 30 countries from Europe and North America. NATO is a collective defense organization in which NATO’s autonomous member nations commit to defend each other in the event of an external attack. NATO’s mission is to ensure its members’ independence and security via diplomatic and military methods. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization offers paid internship opportunities through The NATO Defense College Internship Programme.

The NATO Defense College Internship Programme intends to give a select group of current students or recent graduates (within the last 12 months) the chance to “intern” at the NDC in Rome. The NATO Defense College Internship Program has three primary purposes: to provide interns with a chance to learn from the NATO community and gain a deeper understanding and realistic approach of the organization; to contribute to the development of a more multicultural workplace; and to increase NATO awareness in Alliance countries. Research Division (RD), Academic Planning and Policy Division (APPD), Public Affairs Office (PAO) are the three areas in which the internship is offered. Applicants studying Political Science, International Relations, Security Studies, Media Studies, Journalism, or a relevant field can be taken into consideration for the program. The Program offers paid internships of around 1.054,71 EUR per month. The internships last 5 months, and a total of 4 candidates can be chosen. Participants have to be at least 21 years old and under 30 years old at the time of the internship. Candidates must be nationals of one of NATO’s member countries. Fluency in English is required, basic understanding of French is desirable. Interns would work the same hours as regular NDC employees and get the same official public holidays. Interns are allowed to 2.5 days of leave (including medical leave) for every month of service finished after three months of service. Interns must complete all relevant requirements with the Italian authorities for their stay in Italy, including obtaining a VISA and acquiring a Residence Permit (Permesso di soggiorno – around € 200.-). Interns get certification from the Hosting Division/Branch at the end of the internship, which includes an assessment of his or her performance.

New America

New America is a think-tank and civic innovation platform based in the United States that was created in 1999. National security studies, technology, asset development, health, gender, energy, education, and the economy are just a few of the public policy issues discussed. New America offers paid internship opportunities to students which will in turn prepare them for their career as a diplomat. In order to apply, interns will need a cover letter, a current CV, and a brief writing sample (no more than 3 pages). Since this program has interns all year, applications are assessed on a rolling basis. Interns usually work for approximately 20-25 hours a week remotely.

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS)

The Center for a New American Security (CNAS) is a bipartisan, independent organization that generates strong, practical, and ethical national security and defense policies. CNAS shapes and elevates the national security discourse by providing creative, fact-based studies, insights, and analysis to policymakers, professionals, and the general public. CNAS offers paid internships through the Joseph S. Nye, Jr. National Security Internship and Mentoring Program.

The Joseph S. Nye, Jr. National Security Internship aspires to continue in Dr. Nye’s footsteps by providing a challenging internship program that includes policy research, reporting, interaction with national policy debates and decisionmakers, and career development. Interns are expected to work 40 hours weekly. Interns are given a great deal of responsibility and work closely with CNAS employees. Participants are chosen based on merit. Interns are paid a stipend of $1,500 per month to cover the transportation expenses and other daily costs incurred during the internship.

The European Parliament Office in Washington DC

The European Parliament Liaison Office in Washington, DC, aims to promote collaboration between the United States and the European Union while also providing information to the general public in the United States. Recent graduates having work permits in the United States are considered eligible for a full-time, paid internship at the European Parliament Liaison Office in Washington, DC. Applicants should have done at least undergraduate studies and be able to present an undergraduate or postgraduate diploma/official certificate at least one month prior to the internship start date. Interns will be working full-time in the office and from home in equal amounts, with the ratio determined by the prevailing medical situation in the Washington region. Those with two months or more of prior job experience (including internships) at any European Union institution are ineligible. For the length of the internship in Washington, DC a monthly stipend of roughly €1336 will be provided. There is a possibility to extend the internship for two more months. Interns must be eligible to work in the United States.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy

The Washington Institute was founded in 1985 and in both Democratic and Republican administrations, it has functioned as a practice field for aspiring policymakers. Current undergraduates — preferably juniors and seniors – as well as recent bachelor’s degree graduates are eligible for full-time and part-time paid research internships at The Washington Institute. Interns at the DC office assist Institute personnel with research and administrative tasks. In DC, internships are offered in the fall, spring, and summer.

Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute is a think tank based in Vancouver, Canada, with regional offices in Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. The Fraser Institute conducts research on government policies that have a significant impact on the quality of existence of Canadians, such as taxes, medical care, aboriginal affairs, education, economic freedom, energy, natural resources, and the environment. The Fraser Institute offers current and recent graduates the chance to participate in the internship program in one of the four offices in Canada. A monthly stipend of $2,500 is offered for students, and $3,000 for those who have completed a graduate degree.

German Institute for International and Security Affairs

The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) provides international security recommendations to the German government and parliament. They are one of Europe’s biggest foreign policy think tanks, specializing in independent, practice-based research. It also serves as a counsel to decision-makers in international organizations such as the European Union, NATO, and the UN. SWP has a select number of full-time three-month internships available for exceptionally ambitious students. Interns are stationed in the Berlin-Wilmersdorf headquarters. This post is open to current Master’s students, bachelor’s degree holders who aspire to pursue a Master’s degree, and bachelor’s/degree master’s holders. SWP interns are paid €300 per month.

Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG)

The Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) is the world’s leading strategic consulting and commercial diplomacy firm. They assist their clients in overcoming obstacles and seizing opportunities in markets across the world, with dedication, ethics, and secrecy. Albright Stonebridge Group offers internship opportunities through The ASG Internship Program. Candidates can be undergraduates, graduate students, or recent graduates. The semester-long programs happen during the spring (January-May), summer (June-August), and fall (September-November) (September-December). Interns at ASG receive significant experience by collaborating directly with employees of the ASG team on important industry challenges and client projects.

Asia Society

The Asia Society is the world’s leading educational organization committed to building mutual understanding and deepening connections between Asian and American citizens, leaders, and institutions in a global context. Interns at The Asia Society will have the chance to learn more about the connection of Asian and Western cultures. The paid internship program at Asia Society is meant to give interns hands-on experience, training, and opportunity to develop and participate in events and programs.

Congressional Research Service (CRS)

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a joint staff that works alongside congressional committees and members of Congress. CRS professionals assist at every level of the legislative process, from pre-bill assessments to committee hearings and floor discussion, to monitoring of enacted legislation and other actions. Internships with the Congressional Research Service (CRS) allow students and professionals to monitor and understand the legislative process on a national scale. Internships might span from three months to a year, depending on the needs of both CRS and the candidate. Although the majority of voluntary interns are graduate or law students, undergraduate students with high academic achievement are encouraged to apply. Interns must be citizens of the United States.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States

The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) was founded in 1972 is a nonpartisan policy organization dedicated to the notion that the US and Europe are stronger when they work together. GMF promotes the ideals of democracy, human rights, and international collaboration. Numerous paid internships are offered at the GMF and students and recent graduates are encouraged to apply.

Indian Council on Global Relations

The Indian Council on Global Relations was founded in 2009 to engage India’s premier individuals and corporations in discourse and scholarship about India’s foreign policy and involvement in international relations. Internships are available at Gateway House for graduate students or graduates who are fluent in English and are interested in pursuing a career in International Relations or a similar discipline. Interns will be allocated to one of three departments: Editorial & Content, Operations, or Research, and will participate on a variety of initiatives to help the institution. Candidates must be pursuing a Master’s degree or have completed the fourth year of a five-year (12+4) degree in a relevant discipline. The internship should be for a minimum of 90 days, with the potential of extension. Participants must be willing to work in Mumbai for the duration of the program.

United Nations Development Programme

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was founded in 1965 to be the UN’s international development agency. It encourages countries to cooperate on technical and investment issues, promotes change, and connects countries to information, experience, and funds to help people improve their lives. Working at the UNDP is a dream of many International Relations students and having the opportunity to intern would increase their chances at acquiring a job in the United Nations.

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About the author

Antonela Jaki

Antonela Jaki is a Political Science graduate and the former President of the Student Assembly at the University American College Skopje. Having graduated with a Magna Cum Laude degree in International Relations and Diplomacy, Antonela specializes in Balkan and Middle Eastern politics, Sustainable Development and International Organizations.