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The Ideal Profile of a United Nations Health Intern

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The Ideal Profile of a United Nations Health Intern

September 10, 2021

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The Ideal Profile of a UN Health Intern

Every organization establishes its own set of prerequisites for accepting a candidate as part of its staff. The UN System’s organizations are no different. Therefore, a Health Intern should expect to possess the ideal academic and/or professional qualifications and interpersonal competencies to be eligible.

In this article, we will show you what are these ideal competencies for you to work at the United Nations as a Health Professional.


The United Nations system has a complex structure composed of many agencies, funds, and programs, each with departments and offices in every corner of the world. In these organizations, there are many opportunities for individuals with an academic background in health. We use the term “health” to encompass all “health-related” academic backgrounds and professional roles.

In pursuit of its mission, the OpenIGO network has prepared a comprehensive eBook and support and guidance services, with the aim of highly increasing your chances of success in these competitive processes.

These services include revising your UN application documents (curriculum vitae/resume and cover letter) and a mock interview, as per the United Nations model.

As you go through the chapters of the eBook, “UN Careers for Health Professionals”, you will discover what the competencies, requirements, and most common tasks performed by health professionals at the UN are.

Moreover, we will bring you updated information about the agencies offering the greatest number of internships and job opportunities, as well the most common countries and positions by grade level.

This article is just a small sample of all the information covered by our comprehensive eBook – UN Careers for Health Professionals. If you want to know more about our preparation products, access the following link:


UN Health Professionals: Products & Services

What is the Ideal Profile of a Health Intern?

in this section we will present a compilation of the requirements and competencies demanded of health interns. The information below was elaborated with the assistance of a content analysis software program, presenting the requirements that appeared most frequently in internship postings between 2018 and 2021.



Fluency in oral and written English is required.

Working knowledge of other UN official languages would be an asset (French, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese Arabic or Mandarin)

Some agencies require knowledge of local languages.

Source: Elaborated by OpenIGO based on UN internship openings.



Enrolled in an undergraduate or advanced degree (Masters or PHD equivalent) in:

  • Medicine;
  • Health sciences;
  • Nutrition;
  • International health;
  • Nutritional epidemiology;
  • Pharmacy;
  • Public health; •Health economics;
  • Forensic studies;

Final year bachelor’s student

Source: Elaborated by OpenIGO based on UN internship openings.



Training or Experience in immunization, health and budgeting

Excellent communication

Time management and prioritization

Proactive teamwork
Drive for results

Planning and organizing

Applying technical expertise

Learning and researching

Formulating strategies and concepts


Problem solving

Source: Elaborated by OpenIGO based on UN internship openings.


Core Values


Diversity and inclusion

Integrity and fairness by modeling

Treats all individuals with respect

Source: Elaborated by OpenIGO based on UN internship openings.

Note that Most opportunities are full time (40 hours weekly/8 hours daily) and the internship should start within a one-year period of graduation.

In general, it can be seen that the internships present a more generalist profile, because they constitute the first professional engagement of individuals who are still unsure of their career path or do not have relevant experience. 

It is worth remembering that professionals who have already completed an internship at the UN are more likely to be able to re-enter the organization later, since many consultant or other positions (entry level) are posted internally or endorsed through networking with the department heads of different agencies.

For more information regarding the UN Competencies, read the “Chapter 6 – Competency-Based Selection Processes and The United Nations’ Competencies and Values.”


By having access to this information and much more from our eBook, you will certainly have a head start over other candidates!

Land your dream job at United Nations Organizations with health-related opportunities. The eBook will introduce you to the complex world of the United Nations and it will guide you through all the stages of the selection process. Access:


eBook – UN Careers for Health Professionals

The Ideal Profile of a Health Intern at the United Nations

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