Doing an internship with an international court or tribunal, an international or regional organization, or a diplomatic delegation of a State during, or after, your studies, can be a great experience. It can broaden your horizon, expand your knowledge on how the law is put into practice, strengthen your curriculum, help you determine the career you choose to pursue, and, at times, to find a job.
At the same time, choosing and applying for an internship requires careful consideration. The duration (several weeks-six months) and application requirements (language requirements, degree requirements,…) may vary considerably. Some internships are also fairly competitive. Furthermore, most are entirely self-funded. For Belgian students, some limited funding opportunities are available through, for instance, the Belgian Foreign Ministry, and especially through the ‘Flanders Trainee Programme’ of the Flemish Government. The Flemish government also posts news on internships with international organizations on its Facebook page.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of internships that may be of interest to students. The GRILI cannot guarantee that all information provided is accurate and up-to-date. The information provided below is merely intended to serve as initial guidance for students to find their way in the maze of internships. We invite users of this page to notify the GRILI contact persons if certain links are not functioning or if certain information is found missing. In addition, Ghent students or alumni that do an internship are invited to signal this to the GRILI so that we can exchange information with future candidates.
For master students at Ghent law school, it may be observed that certain internships may also qualify as an optional course as part of the masters programme, equivalent to 4 study points. A number of requirements must be taken into consideration, however. As explained in the ‘stagereglement’, the internship should be of a minimum duration of 150 hours. Students are required to write a legal (!) paper on their activities and experiences during the internship, or a specific aspect thereof. The choice for a certain internship must moreover be notified prior to the start of the second semester of the first master year. If students opt for an internship that is not on the list circulated by the law school, they should obtain the approval of the faculty’s internship commission. For more information, see: http://www.ugent.be/re/nl/voor-studenten/stage/stages_rechten/studenten/voor_studenten.htm.
As mentioned above, the list below is not exhaustive. Many other internship possibilities exist. In addition, it may be possible to reach out to contact persons with an institution for purposes of doing an internship on one’s own initiative, even if the institution has no formalized procedure for such purposes. Finally, the present page does not cover internships in the human rights field. Information on relevant international human rights traineeships can be found on the separate International Human Rights Courses Blog by GRILI members Yves Haeck and Clara Burbano Herrero (the blog also contains information on human rights courses and vacancies in Europe).
Another useful overview of internship programmes can be found on the website of ILSA (Job&internship home).
a. Internships with international and regional courts/tribunals
- Competitive - Limited number of places per year for students or young professionals in the early stages of their careers
- Duration: 1-3 months
- Competitive – Limited number of places per year for persons with an academic degree or persons that are in the final stages of their studies at a recognized university. Very good record of academic performance required.
- 3-6 months
- Applicants must have completed at least three years of university studies
- Unfunded (except for applicants from developing countries)
- 3 months (Jan-March; April-June; July-Sep; Oct-Dec )
- Applications should have Ba. Degree and have completed at least four years of studies. Specialization in international law/dispute resolution/international environmental law is an asset.
- 3 months (Jan-March; April-June; July-Sept; Oct-Dec)
b. United Nations, specialized organizations, UN-related organizations
Preliminary note: for some internships it may be useful to seek the assistance/support of your country’s permanent representation with the United Nations
Internships at UN Headquarters in New York:
- Applicants must be enrolled in a Master’s or PhD programme, or in the final year of a Ba. Programme; or must be within one year after graduation from a Ba., Ma. or PhD programme.
- 2-6 months
- 2-year contract with the UN
- Applicants must be nationals of countries participating in the annual recruitment exercise (
- Applicants should hold at least a first-level university degree relevant for the exam area applying for. Selection on the basis of a written and oral examination.
Internships at other major UN locations:
- Internships at UN Headquarters in Geneva
- Internships at the United Nations Office at Vienna and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
- Internships at the United Nations Office at Nairobi
Internships with other UN funds and programmes etc.:
- United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR)
- United Nations Development Programme
- United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- United Nations Environment Programme
- Internship Programme United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
- Internships with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA)
Internships with specialized organizations:
International Labour Organization
- Applicants should be enrolled in the last year of a graduate degree or in a higher degree programme relevant to the ILO’s work (or have completed such a programme one year before)
- Stipend to cover basic subsistence costs
- 3-6 months
- Internship Opportunities International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
- Internship Programme International Maritime Organization (IMO)
- World Bank Programs & Internships
- You must have already completed a Bachelor’s degree and be completing at least a Master’s degree at the time of application.
- 1-4 months
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
- Completed first-level degree or higher required. Graduates will be eligible to apply for an internship no more than two years after completion of their most recent degree or postgraduate studies.
- 3-6 months
- International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- World Health Organization (WHO) Internship Programme
- Internship Programme of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- IMF – Fund Internship Program (FIP)
- Internships Universal Postal Union (UPU)
- Internship Programme UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
- Internships World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
- Internships at the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
- Internships International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
- Internships International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
Internships with the World Trade Organization
- Interns (21-30 years old) are recruited from among nationals of WTO Members and countries and customs territories engaged in accession negotiations. Interns will have completed their undergraduate studies in a relevant discipline and shall have completed at least one year of their postgraduate studies.
- Paid interns may receive a daily allowance of CHF 60
- Up to 24 weeks
- Internships with the International Seabed Authority (ISA)
- Internship Programme International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- Internships with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)
- Internship and Traineeship Programme of the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR)
- UN Volunteers
c. Regional organizations:
European Union Traineeships for Graduates
- Webpage providing an accessible overview of internship possibilities with the different EU institutions (Committee of the Regions, Council, Court of Justice, European Central Bank, European Commission, European External Action Service, European Parliament,…), including required qualifications and duration.
- Council of Europe Traineeships
- OECD Internship Programme
- OSCE Internships
- EFTA Traineeship
- European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) – ad hoc intern opportunities
d. Permanent representations/embassies
Internships (related to UN activities) with the EU representation to the United Nations in New York
- Applicants should hold a valid passport from an EU Member State or a pre-accession State; applicants should have completed a minimum of three university-level courses.
- Four months (Sept-Dec; Jan-April; May-July). Deadlines for applications: 15 February, 8 September, 30 November
Internship with the Belgian Permanent Representation in New York
- Applicants should be recent graduate or in final year of master’s program
- 3 months
Internship with the main seat of the Belgian Foreign Ministry:
Internships with Belgian embassies and other Belgian representations abroad:
- Applicants should: Be a national of a member country and be enrolled in, or have graduated from, an accredited academic institution within the past six months on the date of submission of the application.
- Funding: Depends on duty station; € 550 per month in Lyon HQ
- 6-11 months
Traineeships with the Legal Division and other departments of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC):
- Follow updates and deadlines on the ‘Working for the ICRC’ webpage
- Human Rights Watch Internships
- Legal Internships Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
- Internships at the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA)
- Stages Rode Kruis Vlaanderen
Academic and related:
- Volunteer collaborators of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War (Brussels) – see the website of the ISMLLW and periodic calls
- Research traineeships and internships with the United Nations University – Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU CRIS) (Bruges)
- Internships International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL, San Remo)
- Internship programme of the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Law and International Law (Heidelberg)
- Internship programme of the International Law Intitute (Georgetown University)
- American Society of International Law internships
- British Institute of International and Comparative Law Internships
International Bar Association (IBA) Legal Internship Programme
- Advanced studies in international criminal, humanitarian and/or human rights law
- Unfunded (except for applicants from developing countries)
- Min. 12 weeks