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.

Industry Insights

Check out relevant Vault guides to related industries.

Sample Employers in LionSHARE

Focus Areas in International Affairs

Here is a sample list of applied areas in this industry:

International Careers

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 Jobs

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

Job and Internship Search Resources

Job Boards

  • Peace & Collaborative Development Network
  • Global Jobs
  • U.S. Department of State


  • Association of Professional Schools of International Affairs
  • National Council of Nonprofit Organizations
  • Young Professionals in International Affairs
  • Washington Global Health Alliance
  • Young Nonprofit Professional Network
  • The Foreign Policy Association