Australia in Switzerland
Bern and Geneva
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


The Australian Permanent Missions offer the opportunity for Australians to undertake internships on a self-funded basis.

Applications have closed for the 2024 intake. Applications open mid-year for the following year's intake. Subscribe to our internships mailing list for announcements regarding the 2025 intake. For more information about our internships, refer to the 2024 advertisement below.

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Australian Permanent Missions in Geneva – Internships

The opportunity

The Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN) and the Australian Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva offer the opportunity for Australian citizens to undertake three to five month internships.

Interns will support Australia’s engagement in international organisations and fora based in Geneva including the UN Human Rights Council, multilateral disarmament fora and the WTO. Interns could also work on other issues including health, humanitarian and UN specialised agencies and Australia’s engagement with the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Economic Forum and numerous international non-government organisations.


Intake period & application deadline

There will be two internship intakes in 2024. The first period will be between 19 February – 19 July 2024. The second period will be between 15 July – 6 December 2024. The period of duration for internships will be three to five months during these two periods. We ask applicants to confirm their availability for each intake, including the length of availability in the application form. We also ask that applicants confirm their particular interests on the key issues that the Australian Permanent Missions cover so that this can be taken into consideration when internships are offered.

We are now accepting applications for both intakes. Applications are due by Sunday, 10 September, 23:00 (Geneva time). 

Please note that applications received after the deadline will not be accepted.


What are the roles?


United Nations

The Australian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva is responsible for representing Australia’s interests in the UN system. The work can be rigorous and diverse, requiring flexibility, clear thinking, good communication skills and a sound understanding of diplomacy and the international political landscape. The environment is complex and demanding, but the work is hands-on and can be highly rewarding.

Under the guidance of experienced officers, interns are involved in supporting and advancing Australia’s interests at the international level in a wide range of areas. This includes preparing, attending and reporting on meetings and conferences. You will be note-taking, performing administrative, logistical and research tasks and a range of other tasks as required. Interns will develop a closer understanding of government policy, particularly as it relates to the area of work to which they are assigned. Interns may also have the opportunity to represent the Australian Government in a formal capacity, for example by assisting with negotiations of texts and resolutions and delivering statements.

As much as possible, the Mission will take into consideration the particular interests of interns when allocating tasks.


The Human Rights Council

The significant expansion of Australia’s participation in the UN means that meeting activity is fairly constant throughout the year. However, the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review sessions are the pivotal points of the United Nations human rights calendar in Geneva. Supporting Australia’s engagement in these processes will be a key focus of the internship.

During these periods, interns will attend several formal and informal meetings a day to contribute to Australia’s advocacy on its human rights priorities. The daily meetings generally take place from 9.00am to 6.00pm but working groups and side panels also occur at different times throughout the session. Be prepared for a busy schedule and working days that will often extend beyond these set times.



Geneva is a hub for multilateral disarmament and arms control. The Conference on Disarmament, which is the world’s principal multilateral disarmament negotiating body, meets in Geneva for 24 weeks a year. A number of disarmament and arms control treaties also have their secretariats and principal meetings in Geneva, including the Biological Weapons Convention, the Arms Trade Treaty, Anti-Personnel Landmine Ban Convention and the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Interns will have the opportunity to participate in, and support Australia’s engagement in various of these fora.

As outlined above, you may also have the opportunity to work on other issues, including health, humanitarian and UN specialised agencies, as well as to contribute to corporate activities.


World Trade Organization

The Australian Permanent Mission to the World Trade Organization in Geneva is responsible for representing Australia’s interests at the WTO, the UNCTAD and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The work of the Mission is central to Australia’s national interests, including the promotion of a free and fair rules-based global trading system as a driver of sustainable development.

The work in this position will be varied and dynamic. Under the guidance of experienced officers from the WTO Mission, interns will support and advance Australia’s interests in the WTO, WIPO and UNCTAD. Interns will have the opportunity to attend formal and informal meetings and contribute to reporting on those meetings, undertake research and analysis on various issues, and carry out a range of other tasks. Interns will have the opportunity to represent the Mission in a formal capacity, for example by delivering statements, attending events and participating in negotiations on decisions and declarations. Interns will also develop networks with other interns and diplomats, learn first-hand about Australia’s diplomatic activity and gain a useful understanding of diplomatic protocol.

Interns will contribute to Australia’s representation on a number of priorities including, for example the promotion of the international rules-based system, international law and the settlement of disputes, the role of trade policy in contributing to sustainable development, women’s and youth economic empowerment, the development of rules governing the e-commerce and the digital economy, and the role of trade policy in tackling climate change and other environmental challenges.


Who we look for

The Missions seek people with the skills, education, knowledge and abilities to contribute to advancing Australia's national interests in the UN, in multilateral disarmament fora and at the WTO. Applicants should possess relevant qualifications and background, with preference being given to those who have recently completed, or are completing, tertiary studies in areas such as political science, international relations, international law, human rights, environment or international development, international security, international trade, defence studies or science and technology. Prior exposure to or demonstrated knowledge of the UN or the WTO is highly desirable. 

The candidates we are looking have the following attributes:

  • talented, highly motivated and committed to the goals of the Mission;
  • good communicators with excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • self motivated and innovative;
  • strategic thinkers and practical problem-solvers;
  • team players with good organisational skills;
  • flexible, adaptable and resourceful;
  • respectful, ethical and sensitive to, and appreciative of, diversity;
  • have an ability to work under pressure with limited guidance; and
  • share our values.

A second language is desirable but not essential. We actively encourage applications from people from diverse backgrounds. Many interns come into the Mission while continuing their university studies. Others have recently completed their studies and join us from the workforce. If you graduated some time ago and have substantial work or internship experience, you may prefer to apply for positions advertised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra.



Before lodging an application for a position, please ensure that you meet the minimum criteria for consideration listed below.

You should:

  • be an Australian citizen (this is a mandatory requirement);
  • have an interest in human rights, disarmament, the global trading system and/or the other areas of work covered by the Australian Mission, and be able to demonstrate this
  • be willing to undergo a mandatory police check; and
  • be willing to re-locate to Geneva for a period of up to five months, on a primarily self-funded basis, which includes arrangements and costs for travel, accommodation, and health insurance.

Please note: Australian students holding a Swiss B residence permit are not eligible to apply. Australians already residing in Switzerland with a current B (work/resident permit) or C (permanent residence) permit must provide a copy of their permit when submitting an internship application. Such individuals will not be issued a Swiss legitimation card.

Switzerland is participating in the rollout of the European Travel information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) program in 2024. Interns who do not reside in Switzerland should confirm any visa requirements before booking travel. More information on ETIAS and travelling in the Schengen Area is available at the Australian Government’s Smartraveller website.

For internships longer than three months, a legitimation card (work/residence permit) issued by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs will be requested to the Swiss authorities by the Australian Permanent Missions once the internship has started. This work/residence permit will be valid for the duration of the internship.


Conduct and Ethics

The Mission demands the highest standards of professional conduct from its employees. Ethical conduct by staff and interns contributes significantly to the efficiency and effectiveness of the workplace and to the standing of the Mission and its employees in Australia and internationally.

In agreeing to participate in the Mission’s Internship Program and undertake duties as directed, interns are required to comply with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Locally Engaged Staff Code of Conduct, which takes account of the particular significance of the department's representational role outside Australia.


Funding assistance 

Interns will be provided a monthly stipend of CHF 1,320 to assist with living expenses in Geneva. Please note that the stipend is not a salary and it does not constitute an employee/employer relationship. Be prepared: the cost of living is high in Geneva. Interns are responsible for their own arrangements and costs in relation to travel, accommodation and health insurance.


How to apply

To apply you will need to submit:

If you are a student, we particularly welcome applications that include a reference or letter of support from your university.  Cover letters are not required and any cover letters will not be considered as part of the application.   


  • Submit the internship questionnaire by the due date, 10 September 2023.
  • Your resume / CV and written reference should be emailed to [email protected] also by the due date, 10 September 2023. Please include the subject line "SURNAME, first name: Internship Application". 


Applicants are asked to complete the internship questionnaire. Responses should be no more than 250 words in length per question. The questionnaire is designed to assess your suitability to perform the duties of the position including personal qualities, experience, skills and knowledge relevant to the work of an intern at the Mission.


Short-listed candidates may be interviewed via phone or videoconference.  Successful candidates will be advised in writing (by email) after which they will need to undertake a probity check. Requests for further information should be emailed to [email protected].