The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change offers unpaid internship positions for English-speaking students who hold a bachelor’s degree and are working toward a master’s degree. Most positions last for 2 months and include a wide range of work assignments that allow students to get a feel for just how the United Nations is working to fight climate change. At the conclusion of the internship, students must compile a report that summarizes what they gained from the experience. All expenses and medical coverage are the financial responsibility of the student. Most positions are housed at the Haus Carstanjen UN Campus in Germany.
The United Nations Environment Programme offers unpaid full-time internships that last for 3 to 6 months at their offices in Nairobi, Kenya. These opportunities are available for students who are either in the last two years of their undergraduate studies or are currently enrolled in a master’s degree program. Fluency in English is mandatory and students who are also fluent in either French or Spanish will have the best chance of being selected. Positions include technical support (IT) and administrative jobs and provide an in-depth look at the work done by the UNEP.
The United Nations Development Programme offers many internship opportunities in locations around the world. Opportunities are posted on a regular basis on the UNDP’s website with positions varying in length and having different requirements in terms of educational and professional experience. Generally, the positions provide support for the UNDP’s mission of helping to protect the environment from climate change and reduced biodiversity by supporting responsible practices that do not hinder economic growth in developing nations.
UN-Habitat offers internships at various times of the year for undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in urban planning that is done in a responsible method to reduce the risk of climate change. Positions vary and may support the goals of the program in a number of ways. Generally, the UN-Habitat takes up projects that help make settlements within urban areas more environmentally sustainable. Most of their work is done in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa and Asia, so the majority of the internships involve posts in one of these areas of the world.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization regularly accepts students for internships in their Energy and Climate Change Branch of the Programme Development and their Technical Cooperation Division. Positions last from 3 to 6 months and are based in Vienna, Austria, where the organization is headquartered. Applicants must be between 21 and 35 years of age, hold a bachelor’s degree and be in the midst of studying for a graduate-level degree. Fluency in English is mandatory, and bilingual applicants who also speak Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish are preferred. Interns perform research to help further the organization’s goals on how industrial development can progress with less impact on the planet.
The George Melendez Wright Initiative for Young Leaders in Climate Change (YLCC) is one of the few organizations that offers paid internships in the field of environmental protection. Interns spend an entire summer working in United States National Parks helping to monitor climate effects, modify park facilities to protect the environments, develop sustainable policies and procedures and helping with communication and education functions of the National Parks. Applicants must either be entering their third or fourth years of an undergraduate college program or have graduated the fall or spring prior to the start of the internship.
The Climate Action Network offers an internship program for students who wish to gain work experience on an international level with an NGO that is striving to combat climate change. Students can work for the Secretariat in an administrative capacity at their headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, or at one of the many national or regional node offices located around the world. In some cases, students may have the opportunity to request a location, but often, they are randomly assigned. Internships may last from a few months to up to one year and may be full or part-time depending on the needs at the time that applications are received. The positions are open to anyone fluent in English who has a university degree.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has a number of internship programs with positions lasting for roughly 3 months. Positions are available in the communications department, federal affairs, markets and business strategy, policy analysis and science and resilience departments. Each internship has its own specific requirements, but generally a bachelor’s degree is needed to be considered for any of the positions. The base of operations for C2ES is Arlington, Virginia, located near Washington, D.C. Most positions involve working in the headquarters office and are unpaid.
The Climate Institute accepts interns for positions at their offices in Washington, D.C. Both undergraduates and graduate students may apply for the posts, provided that they meet basic skills requirements outlined in the descriptions of the specific opportunities. Innovative Solutions Initiative Interns are responsible for conducting research, creating business plans and producing articles for publications and the blog put out by the institute. Social Media and Web Content Manager Interns keep the institute’s website and social media accounts fresh, while Writer Interns produce articles, blog posts and other pieces that are used for a variety of purposes by the organization.
The Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam in The Netherlands frequently has internship opportunities for students, some of which relate to urban sustainability, making cities more environmentally friendly. Many of the internships are for graduate level students as well as for students who have just received their master’s degrees in fields related to climate change, urban planning or environmental management. Only citizens of European Union nations and international students who study at colleges in the Netherlands can apply for internships with the institute. Some positions are paid or provide a stipend for living expenses.