Internship, traineeship or junior programme? What else?

Internships and co. give you the opportunity to gain work experience in international cooperation. How do they differ? Our coach, Beat Geiser, gives some answers.


As a young person interested in international cooperation, what should I look for?

It depends on your situation. In general, internships are intended for students or graduates with very little or no experience. Traineeships and junior programmes often require at least some initial work experience. However, there is no universal definition and not all organisations use these terms the same way.

What to pay attention to when looking for an internship?

Not all internships have the same value! For instance, look out for differences in being actively involved in projects or performing administrative tasks. Try to understand what you will be learning: will it be at the level of tasks, or a topic, or will you be getting to know the functioning of a type of organisation? All of them can be valuable.

Try to understand what you will be learning.

Does a traineeship open the door to a job in the same organisation?

Unlike other sectors, this is often not the case in international cooperation. Traineeships are a practical way to gain further work experience and develop your competencies. The overarching goal is your retention not in the organisation but in the sector.

The overarching goal is your retention not in the organisation but in the sector.

What about junior programmes?

Programmes are the realm of large organisations. They are more structured, including selection criteria (e.g. rigid age limits). In some cases, retention is part of the objectives. Programmes are often highly competitive, with exceptions for specific profiles, like finance or human resources.