When your goal is to save the world, there is nowhere you won’t go to learn. Interning at the United Nations (either their office in Geneva or in New York city) comes with a huge amount of responsibility — and that’s not even including what you will be doing at the UN.
Travelling abroad to intern is not easy. For many it’s unfeasible, but to have a better shot at one of the most coveted interning spots in the world, follow these tips:
1. Live Minimally
Living minimally refers to two aspects of your life. The first is to live minimally in regards to your physical possessions. Having few belongings can make frequent moving much easier and, when you go abroad for an internship, it means you can easily store everything in a Morespace Storage self-storage unit. By storing your items safely away, it means you don’t have to start from scratch every time you return home; instead, you can return, unpack, and know there’s a place to keep your items if you ever have to uproot again.
The second aspect to living minimally is to be frugal. Making food at home, not buying new clothes, and generally trying to save money on a day-to-day basis will all add up. You will need these savings if you want to be able to further your career.
2. Have Savings
The biggest issue with the lack of payment to interns at these high-ranking organizations is, of course, that they perpetuate inequality. Interns should not be made up only of those whose parents (in many cases) can afford to help them out. But until the necessary policy changes come into effect, you will have to take your future into your own hands. Many people save for a down payment on a house, you can instead take the time to save for your next internship. To further your career, consider taking a job (no matter how low-level) at an NGO, charity, or other pro-action agency. Even being a secretary for a short while will help you get to know the right people.
3. Finding Affordable Accommodation Wherever You Go
When you have enough saved up, it’s time to start applying. It’s best to hold off until you have enough to pay for your internship before you apply — worst case scenario, you save for longer. When you do get your internship, it’s time to find affordable accommodation. A good way to do this is to sub-let a room or stay with a host family. Other options include dorms, of course, but you do not want to add a stressful living situation with a stressful job. Work out the cost-analysis of living distance and rent, and you’ll be able to find the most suitable accommodation during your stay.
The United Nations and many other world organizations should be paying their interns, but until that day comes don’t allow yourself to be put out of contention simply because you cannot afford to live nearby. Live minimally and save as much as you can, and you will soon have a CV that will have any NGO begging to hire you.