Areas of employment in the international affairs field can be categorized into public (government), private (business) and non profit/NGO. This multidisciplinary field is for anyone interested in issues such as human rights, international policy, security, global ethics and conflicts, global health, international development, and international trade. Study abroad, foreign language study and international experiences can help you be competitive. Interning, volunteering, and conducting research while you are at Columbia is also important. These experiences will help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, reinforce in-class learning, and can lead to full-time employment.

International Affairs Job Search

Internship experiences often help you confirm your career interests, give you hands-on experience in a professional setting, help build your resume, reinforce in class learning, and can often lead to full-time employment. Agencies from the European Commission to the U.S. Department of State offer internship opportunities for students. Likewise, pursuing research opportunities on campus can also help enrich your resume. The Weatherhead East Asian Institute, for instance, offers research and internship opportunities for current students. 

Other ways to gain international experiece:

  • Study abroad
  • Foreign language study
  • International experiences, including volunteer and/or research

 
Graduate school is one of the many possibilities following graduation. Many graduates go on to pursue degrees in political science, public administration, public policy, business administration, journalism, law, and other social sciences. For students interested in pursuing a career in think tanks, having an advanced degree is an essential step.
 
Obtaining a fellowship is also a highly regarded pathway towards employment, especially at a multinational organization. Fellowships vary in scope and can be conducted locally or internationally, but all involve intensive research or practicums that prepare students for further study and employment. The Office of Fellowships, a subsidiary of Columbia’s Office of Global Programs, is one office on campus that aids students and alumni searching for fellowship opportunities. A short list of relevant fellowships are listed below:

 

Center for Career Education Resources

  • LionSHARE hosts a wealth of opportunities for students and alumni. Under the job search tab, try key word searching ‘international.’ You can also use the Employer Directory tab to search for lists of organizations that have posted in the past. Many have open positions on their web sites. 
  • CCE Internship Programs - The Center for Career Education offers several unique opportunities, including Columbia Experience Overseas, that allow you to explore your career interests all over the world and develop key professional skills that will make you attractive to prospective employers and help you be successful.
  •  CCE’s International Resources page - There are many opportunities for an international experience outside your home country during or after your college career.  To obtain an experience abroad (volunteer, research, fellowship, internship, or full-time), it is helpful to be open-minded to various aspects of the experience including: location, duration, payment, and types of positions.  The Center for Career Education has compiled a selection of resources to help you navigate this process.
  •  CCE’s Fall and Spring Career Fairs, Engineering Consortium Career Fair (Fall), and Startup Career Fair (Spring), are focused on connecting Columbia students and alumni with employers hiring for internship and full time positions. Organizations that have attended include the Council on Foreign Relations, US Peace Corps, IBM Consulting Group, and Central Intelligence Agency.
  • Going Global - One of the best online resources available for learning about transnational opportunities, foreign hiring practices, and domestic, city-specific employment information. Log in with your UNI and password. 
  •  UNI World - Two distinct directories offering both american firms operating in foreign countries as well as foreign firms operating in the United States to assist with your international job search. Log in with your UNI and password.
  • Vault and WetFeet are excellent career resources on industries and organizations and can be accessed for free via CCE. Vault’s list of nonprofit resources and associations and Wetfeet’s Insider Guide to Careers in Nonprofit are very informative. Log in with your UNI and password.

Below are some examples of employers that recruit Columbia students and alumni:

Nonprofit/NGO

 Government Agencies

 Research/Think Tanks

Multinational Companies

Columbia Resources

External Resources

Professional Associations

Additional Resources & Job Boards