What is a human rights internship?
Internships are created by organizations or companies to expose people to their operations up close; more learning through experience than studying. An internship in the field of human rights is an opportunity, usually of a longer term and more intensive nature than a volunteer role, to work for the advancement and protection of human rights by participating in the work of a non-governmental organization or government agency.
These internships can generally be divided into three different kinds: administrative, research based, or direct service. Some interns might spend their time reviewing grant proposals for a human rights organization, others might do research on the laws relating to human trafficking, and still others might provide medical care to people in Africa. There are diverse human rights internships available, so it is possible for those who are qualified to find a specific internship that furthers their scholastic and personal interests.
What qualifications do I need?
To qualify for most human rights internships, students should be at least 18 years old and enrolled in either an undergraduate or graduate college. Some organizations also only accept interns who are studying a specific field, such as medicine or law. Knowledge of certain foreign languages may also be required if one is going abroad for their internship. Feel free to browse this website or visit the UICHR office to look through our list of internships to see if you are qualified for the human rights internship that you are looking for.
How do I apply?
Many organizations and agencies offering human rights internships have online application processes. Others require that a prospective intern request a paper application. There is no consistent deadline for the applications in this field, so it is important to inquire about the application at each organization and agency. Some internships are quite competitive, so it is important that prospective interns are aware of the necessary deadlines and that they are prepared to apply early. Like any professional application process students should have a resume, a copy of their college transcripts, a sample of unedited writing and at least a couple letters of recommendation ready.
Can I get college credit for my human rights internship?
It is possible for students to receive college credit for most human rights internships. University of Iowa students who participate in an internship or, if appropriate, a volunteer program, can earn credit towards their degrees through their department. The UI Career Center  can recognize such work on students’ transcripts as well.
How much will all of this cost? Will I get paid?
It is the responsibility of the student to pay for their own personal expenses. Some internships also have a program fee that students must pay before they are allowed to participate. These program fees often cover housing and food; students should research what program fees cover before applying. Personal fundraising is one way that students can pay for their expenses while interning. Grants and scholarships are also available at most universities, as well as some human rights foundations and organizations.
Can I leave the United States for an internship?
Traveling outside the U.S. to pursue a human rights internship is a great educational opportunity and quite possibly the experience of a lifetime. However, students should realize that going abroad often increases their financial costs. There are also many travel guidelines  to consider if interning abroad. If you are participating in an international internship and you are a U.S. citizen, you must have a current passport, and possibly a work or entry visa from the country where you will reside for your internship.
Where can I find more information about a human rights internship?
First, explore this website or feel free to visit our UICHR offices to look at our Internship Resource Library in person. We can help you find answers to most other questions you might have. Finally, there are a countless number of resources on the Internet for researching internships, domestic or international. Here are some the UICHR suggests:
- UI Study Abroad Office 
- Idealist 
- Intern Abroad 
- Interaction 
- Volunteer International