Work in international aﬀairs can be in public (government), private (business), and nonproﬁt/NGO areas. Study abroad, foreign language study, and international experiences can help you be competitive in this field.
Check out the latest Firsthand guides on this industry here.
Sample Employers in LionSHARE
- Human Rights Watch
- World Bank Group
- Council on Foreign Relations
- American Enterprise Institute
- Amnesty International
Focus Areas in International Affairs
Here is a sample list of applied areas in this industry:
In almost every country you’ll find an interesting mix of foreigners who, for a variety of reasons, are now working and residing abroad. These sojourners include expats working for multinational companies, import-export business workers, diplomatic workers, development workers, English teachers, missionaries, entrepreneurs, freelance consultants, and students studying the local language.
Foreign Trade Jobs
Foreign trade, the exchange of goods and services between nations, has played an important role in national economies for centuries, helping domestic industries grow to serve foreign customers and allowing people to enjoy goods produced outside their own country. Trade has always been a major force behind the relations among nations, often helping to create alliances among friendly trade partners, but also leading to wars for control over raw materials or trade routes throughout world history.
Government is a system established by a community, city, state, or country to develop laws, policies, and programs that work for the good of its citizens. The failings and strengths of the U.S. government as well as the desire to change things for the better, and the ability of government to enable this change is what attracts people to careers in city, state, and federal offices. The Foreign Service, the U.S. Congress, state legislatures, the political science departments of colleges and universities, and the media all attract thousands of professionals every year who are anxious to be involved in, or to comment upon, the decisions that affect the people of the country.
Politics, Public Policy, and Activism Jobs
Government deals with matters of defense, crime prevention, the administration of justice, the conservation of the environment, education, fair labor practices, family law, the registry of property transfers, the purity of food and drugs, agricultural prices, the soundness of the currency, flood control, responsible banking practices, immigration, zoning, taxation, foreign trade policies, and many more concerns of daily life.
Columbia University Resources
- Check out fellowship opportunities through The Oﬃce of Fellowships, like the United Nations University Junior Fellows Programme.
- Read some highlights from Insider Info on companies like the American Enterprise Institute or the Institute for Defense Analyses.
- See a sample of post-grad paths and transferable skills with our major tipsheets on Human Rights, Political Science, Social Sciences, and Humanities.
- Connect to the International Affairs community in at Columbia through Columbia UNICEF, Columbia International Relations Association (CIRCA), or Columbia University Global Brigades
- Read about Samuel Lehn’s (CC ‘19) summer internship working at the office of Senator Dick Durbin to learn more about working in foreign policy.
- Columbia’s School of International and Public Aﬀairs (SIPA) oﬀers resources regarding career opportunities in international aﬀairs.
- Weatherhead East Asian Institute oﬀers research and internship opportunities to current students.
Job and Internship Search Resources