Internships, junior programmes and junior positions in international cooperation

"Making the world a better and fairer place" – is this a goal you want to pursue professionally? Are you planning the next step after your studies? Or would you like to gain your first experiences during your studies? Various Swiss and international organisations offer you the opportunity to familiarise yourself with working in international cooperation and/or to develop your talent.

Internships, traineeships and programmes for young professionals: What's the difference?

Beat Geiser, consultant and trainer at cinfo, answers the most frequently asked questions:

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 the same terms the same way.

What to pay attention to when looking for an internship? 

Not all internships have the same value! Compare the differences between them: Are you expected to be actively involved in a project or are you mainly involved in administrative tasks? Try to understand what you will learn: Will you develop methodological skills, thematic knowledge or a better understanding of how the organisation works? Each of these aspects can be useful. 

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. 


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. 

Discover the possibilities

List of opportunities with NGOs, multilateral organisations, foundations and the private sector:

Further Information