Guidelines covering the internship programme of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Southeast Asia and the Pacific

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) accepts unpaid interns on an ad hoc basis. Candidates from developing countries are strongly encouraged to apply for our internship programme. 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 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 UNODC, on a temporary basis, the assistance of qualified and motivated university students

Students interested in serving as interns at UNODC should contact the Regional Office in Bangkok or the Country Offices directly, as our internship programmes are administered by each respective office.

Application procedure

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 (about 150-250 words) outlining the applicant's motivation for doing an internship. Completed applications and accompanying documentation should be submitted to the relevant 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

Applicants must at the time of application meet one of the following requirements:

a) be enrolled in a graduate school programme (second university degree or higher);
b) be enrolled in the final academic year of a first university degree programme (minimum Bachelor's level or equivalent); or
c) have graduated with a university degree and, if selected, must commence the internship within a one-year period of graduation.

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 UNODC staff cannot be considered for an internship at UNODC.


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 UNODC Offices that has selected them, under the supervision of an experienced staff member.

Requests for shorter or longer periods will not be considered.

Medical insurance

Interns are required to provide proof that they have valid health or medical insurance coverage in the country where the internships is conducted. 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 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.

Administration and conditions


Working location and hours

The work performed by the intern during the internship will be in UNODC Offices 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.


Interns are required to conduct themselves at all times in a manner compatible with their responsibilities as temporary 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 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.