Guidelines covering the internship programme of the United Nations Office at Vienna and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
The United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) accept unpaid interns on an ad hoc basis. The purpose of the programme is threefold:
- To provide a framework enabling enrolled university students from diverse academic and national backgrounds to be temporarily attached to UNOV or UNODC
- To expose university students to the work of the United Nations and to enrich their educational experience through practical work in an international organization
- To make available to UNOV and UNODC, on a temporary basis, the assistance of qualified and motivated university students
Guidelines for internships at UNOV, UNODC headquarters and UNODC field offices are set out below. Students interested in serving as interns at other United Nations offices should contact those offices directly, as their internship programmes are administered separately.
The application is Web-based and can be found on the Internet at: http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/about-unodc/employment.html.
UNOV/UNODC offices receiving enquiries about internships should refer the interested students to the link above. Applications must be accompanied by documentary evidence (i.e. a letter of confirmation from a university) of continuing matriculation, university transcripts, an up-to-date curriculum vitae and a short essay in English or French (about 150-250 words) outlining the applicant's motivation for doing an internship. Completed applications and accompanying documentation should be submitted, using the above Web address, no earlier than eight months and no later than four months before the intended start of the internship.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Only those applicants who are successful will be contacted.
Eligibility and conditions
Interns may be accepted provided that one of the following conditions is met:
- The applicant holds a first university degree (or the equivalent) and is enrolled in a degree programme in a graduate school (working towards a second university degree or higher) at the time of application and during the internship.
- If the applicant pursues studies in a country where higher education is not divided into undergraduate and graduate stages, he or she must have completed at least three years of full-time studies at a university or an equivalent institution towards the completion of a degree.
Undergraduates who have not completed at least three years of full-time studies and those graduates with a higher degree who have already completed all of their studies are not eligible to participate in the internship programme. Students having completed in-class studies who are required under their degree programme to complete a certain amount of internship time before obtaining their final diploma (e.g. the Referendariat in Germany) may be accepted.
In accordance with staff rule 104.10 (Family relationships), the children or siblings of UNOV/UNODC staff cannot be considered for an internship at UNOV/UNODC.
Applicants must be fluent in at least one of the working languages of the United Nations (English and French). Knowledge of other official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish) is an asset.
Fields of study
Fields of study include social and political sciences, psychology, economics, journalism, finance, information technology, accounting, business administration, international relations and international law.
The normal duration of an internship is two months, which may be extended for an additional two months. The total duration may, exceptionally, be extended to a maximum period of six months.
The internship programme is normally on a full-time basis. Interns are expected to work five full days a week in the Division that has selected them, under the supervision of an experienced staff member.
Requests for shorter or longer periods will not be considered.
Interns are required to provide proof that they have valid health or medical insurance coverage in Austria during their internships. UNOV/UNODC accepts no responsibility for the medical insurance of an intern or compensation in the event of death, injury or illness during an internship.
The United Nations does not remunerate interns in any way. Costs and arrangements for travel, visas, accommodation and living expenses are the responsibility of the interns or their sponsoring institutions. Interns will not be entitled to any compensation for travel arrangements to and from the work location.
Interns do not receive a salary or emoluments from the United Nations.
The receiving office and the supervisor's responsibilities and obligations
It is the responsibility of the receiving office to create a working environment conducive to an intern's learning and professional development. The intern's supervisor shall:
- Seek to ensure that the intern's assignment is related to his or her field of study, is meaningful for both the office and the intern and has the appropriate level of complexity and variety for the proposed length of internship
- Be responsible for the content of the internship assignment, which should, where feasible, be explained fully to the intern prior to the commencement of the internship. Terms of reference describing the tasks and responsibilities of the internship assignment should be prepared
- Ensure that, for the period of the internship, interns are provided with a desk, telephone and computer. Office space allocation for interns must be approved by the General Support Section (GSS) before the approval of the internship is processed. If no office space is available and the substantive office still wishes to recruit an intern, the supervisor will have to share his or her office with the intern.
- Request office furniture through GSS and computer equipment through the Lotus Notes Portal (ITS Services/New Account Request)
- Bear in mind that an internship is not to be used as a support function. The intern is placed in a unit to develop expertise in a core area (i.e. her or his area of study).
- Monitor interns throughout the internship period to ensure that assignments are rewarding and focused
Claims, privileges and immunities
The United Nations is not responsible for any third-party claims arising from loss of or damage to property, death or personal injury caused by actions or omission by an intern during his or her internship.
The United Nations is also not responsible for compensation for damage to property or for service-related death, injury or illness incurred by interns during their period of internship.
Interns are not staff members and therefore are not entitled to the privileges and immunities extended by the host country to the staff of UNOV/UNODC. They shall not be sought or accepted as substitutes for staff to be recruited against posts authorized for the implementation of mandated programmes and activities. They shall not represent the United Nations in any official capacity.
Selection, administration and conditions
Should a substantive office wish to accept an intern, the substantive office should indicate its agreement by completing the online terms of reference on the electronic application at least four weeks prior to the proposed starting date of the internship, and recommend recruitment.
All applications are pre-evaluated by the Internship Coordinator to determine the suitability of candidates in terms of their qualifications and experience. The substantive office may contact an applicant to determine his or her availability and to conduct an informal interview.
The Internship Coordinator approves interns. He or she is the only official to issue an offer to an internship applicant. Once this is done, agreement will be obtained from the selected internship applicant. The requesting office will be notified of the acceptance and arrangements will be made for the intern's entry into the Vienna International Centre (VIC).
Commencement of the internship
Interns will be requested to report to the Internship Coordinator at the beginning of the first day of their internship to complete the necessary formalities, which include: signing a waiver, providing proof of insurance and making arrangements for the issuance of a grounds pass.
Working location and hours
The work performed by the intern during the internship will be on the premises of the office to which he or she is assigned, unless otherwise authorized. Interns carry out their assignments according to the schedule of working hours agreed upon with the substantive office. Interns must provide written notice in case of illness or other unavoidable circumstances that prevent them from observing those working hours.
Interns are personally responsible for obtaining any required visas and for complying with local regulations and laws concerning police registration.
Use of the United Nations Library
Substantive offices accepting interns are responsible for making the necessary arrangements for the interns to use the United Nations Library. (For more information, contact the United Nations Library by telephone (ext. 3210) or by e-mail (Vienna.Library@unvienna.org).)
Interns are required to conduct themselves at all times in a manner compatible with their responsibilities as temporary UNOV/UNODC "staff members", i.e. in accordance with the standards of conduct of international civil servants.
Interns shall respect the impartiality and independence required of the United Nations and of the receiving office and shall not seek or accept instructions regarding the services performed under the internship agreement from any Government or from any authority external to the Organization.
Unless otherwise authorized by the appropriate official in the receiving office, they may not communicate at any time to the media or to any institution, person, Government or any other external source any information that has become known to them by reason of their association with the United Nations or the receiving office and that they know or ought to have known has not been made public. They may not use any such information without the written authorization of the appropriate official and such information may never be used for personal gain. These obligations also apply after the end of the internship with the United Nations.
Interns are required to keep confidential any and all unpublished information acquired during the course of their internships and may not publish any reports or papers on the basis of information obtained, unless authorized to do so by UNOV/UNODC.
Interns are also expected to provide the receiving office with a copy of all materials prepared by them during the internship. The United Nations shall be entitled to all property rights (including but not limited to patents, copyrights and trademarks) with regard to material that bears a direct relation to, or is made in consequence of, the services provided under the internship. At the request of the United Nations the intern shall assist in securing such property rights and transferring them to the Organization in compliance with the requirements of the applicable law.
Employment of interns
Interns shall not be eligible to apply for, or be appointed to, any post in the Secretariat for a period of six months following the end of their internship.
On completion of the internship, the intern's supervisor is required to complete a written evaluation of the intern's performance and organize a meeting with the intern to provide constructive feedback. In turn, the intern must complete a questionnaire on his or her experience.