WHO Employment

WHO Internship - Frequently Asked Questions

If I am accepted, what kind of work will I be doing?
This will depend on the needs of the technical unit to which you are assigned, as well as your qualifications and interests. A terms of reference outlining the work is prepared and discussed with intern candidates before any internship begins.

How long is the WHO Internship Programme?
For the internship to be worthwhile and effective, interns will be accepted for a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of 3 months. Exceptionally, an internship may be extended with agreement from the technical unit concerned but cannot be longer than 6 months in duration.

Can I get financial support from WHO?
WHO does not provide financial support for interns. All successful applicants are expected to make their own arrangements for travel, lodging and living expenses during the internship period. There are a number of resources for supporting internships. Start the search at your own university.

Do I need to be at the WHO Office full-time?
Internships at WHO headquarters are full time and interns are expected to work Monday to Friday, 09:00 to 17:00 for the duration of the internship.

Is an intern entitled to annual leave?
Time off may be exceptionally granted by the supervisor as long as the assignment is not adversely affected.

Is an intern entitled to sick leave?
An intern is not expected to work if he/she is unwell but it is important that the supervisor be informed of any absences. Any expense relating to illness is the responsibility of the intern. Especially long periods of absence, through illness or for other reasons, should be recorded in the written performance evaluation prepared by the supervisor at the end of the assignment.

Will travel expenses to and from the duty station by reimbursed by WHO?
No, travel expenses are the responsibility of the intern.

Is the intern entitled to a per diem payment to cover expenses incurred during the internship or while working as a volunteer?
No, interns are not paid.

Will WHO provide assistance in finding suitable accommodations?
The Organization does not cover any costs for living expenses during the assignment nor does it assist intern candidates in identifying accomodations. If selected for an internship, you will be invited to join our online WHO Intern Community (EZcollab); here you will find numerous resources for getting established in Geneva. NOTE: When identifying accommodations in Geneva, abstain from making advance payments or providing guarantee sums in advance of your arrival (do NOT wire funds to Western Union or banks outside of Switzerland). When in doubt, write to interns@who.int. All accepted intern applicants are strongly advised to use the service of recognized "Régies" and established financial institutions.

Can I get financial support from WHO?
WHO does not provide financial support for interns. All successful applicants are expected to make their own arrangements for travel, lodging and living expenses during the internship period. There are a number of resources for supporting internships. Start the search at your own university, government or philanthropic organizations. Some additional information that might be useful can be found at the link at the bottom of the page.

When should I apply?
The World Health Organization receives a large number of intern applications each year. In order to manage this volume we only accept intern applications during our two application seasons: Summer and Winter. Please see the main page of the website for dates that these application periods are open. If you are applying outside of these application periods, write to interns@who.int. for additional information.

What is the application procedure?
An application link is sent to your email address. Complete the questionnaire as completely as possible. Applicants are encouraged to research WHO many areas of work by reviewing the WHO Information Sheet for Interns. All applications remain active for a period of 6 months. Applicants are asked to reapply if they were not offered an internship after this period, yet remain interested in being considered for a WHO internship.

Should I arrange an interview?
No, WHO will contact you if you have been selected for an interview. Nor is it necessary or advised that intern applicants send diplomas, school-related or other documents to WHO. If and when selected, the technical unit may ask for supporting documents.

Is there anything else I should know?
Employment prospects: While a WHO internship is a very positive experience to have on your résumé/curriculum vitae, the WHO Internship programme is not connected with WHO employment activities and there should be no expectation of such. Interns may not apply for posts advertised internally to WHO staff during the period of their internship and for three months following the end of their internship. .

For further inquiries, please email interns@who.int.

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