The parameters for securing international relations internships are somewhat more stringent than in other pockets of the workforce. In some instances, employers place the same or similar expectations on students that are asked of employees. Most certainly, students should maintain the highest possible grade point averages to obtain one of these competitive assignments. Foreign language skills may not be a requirement but will most certainly serve interns well in international assignments. Opportunities could arise in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and throughout the international private sector.
Government agencies may provide international relations internships. In the U.S., for instance, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), which is an independent federal agency that uses information to protect the security of the country, offers programs to students. Throughout an assignment with a government agency, an intern can learn firsthand about foreign policy in the country and may very well be compensated financially for the assignment.
Demands are likely to be high in an internship with a top intelligence agency, and students may be required to commit to more than just a summer program. Some of the undergraduate majors that might coincide with CIA international relations internships are human resources, finance, and business administration. Other areas of focus may include foreign language, political science, and foreign affairs, according to the CIA website.
International relations internships may also be found at nonprofit organizations. These institutions may include think-tank organizations that seek to combine ideas from different segments of the economy and other sectors to examine foreign relations as a whole. A student intern may not be compensated financially for this type of assignment except for the possibility of a stipend, but the experience could still be quite valuable. It is also possible that the location of the internship will be in the region in which a student lives. Not all international relations internships take place overseas.
Students who are pursuing opportunities in international relations could be majoring in a number of different subjects, including technology and marketing. Opportunities exist that allow interns to use the latest Internet technology to create marketing material that is disseminated globally. Technology majors or others could become involved in interpreting the effectiveness of an international marketing campaign by web usage, patterns, and trends.
Administration is another area for international relations internships. Interns might be responsible for arranging live and Internet meetings between executives as well as coordinate and participate in events. In the meantime, interns gain industry connections and learn about timely issues facing foreign relations.