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Old 01-30-2014, 08:45 PM
 
167 posts, read 351,332 times
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I'm a college undergraduate and will be graduating soon. I'm in the process of applying for jobs. I'm really interested in human rights advocacy and international development.

Does anyone know what this job sector is like and how likely an undergraduate is able to get a job right out of college?

Does anyone have any suggestions where I should search besides the big international organizations (United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, etc)?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:08 PM
 
Location: MN
1,304 posts, read 1,559,546 times
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These are going to be tricky to secure unless you have connections. A lot of the positions are usually overseas, such as with the U.N. Unless you are a legal resident or citizen of another country, it'll be competitive. What's your degree? Do you have work experience which is more technical in nature? There are a lot of positions involved in compliance, regulatory affairs, or operations with international development agencies. I'm just going off what others have reported to me who have worked for the U.N. or interviewed with related agencies working for the U.N.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:27 PM
 
167 posts, read 351,332 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vintage_girl View Post
These are going to be tricky to secure unless you have connections. A lot of the positions are usually overseas, such as with the U.N. Unless you are a legal resident or citizen of another country, it'll be competitive. What's your degree? Do you have work experience which is more technical in nature? There are a lot of positions involved in compliance, regulatory affairs, or operations with international development agencies. I'm just going off what others have reported to me who have worked for the U.N. or interviewed with related agencies working for the U.N.
I am hoping to get a BA in psychology and a BA in philosophy. I do not have much technical experience but I do have a lot of experience with advocacy and counseling. I am a citizen of another nation; I'm not an American citizen.
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:28 PM
 
Location: MN
1,304 posts, read 1,559,546 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FindTheCure View Post
I am hoping to get a BA in psychology and a BA in philosophy. I do not have much technical experience but I do have a lot of experience with advocacy and counseling. I am a citizen of another nation; I'm not an American citizen.
Ah, I see. This might be a far stretch, but have you thought about a position with international adoption? Or doing an internship with an agency that does advocacy work in adoption?
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Old 01-30-2014, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Striving for Avalon
1,431 posts, read 2,289,561 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FindTheCure View Post
I am hoping to get a BA in psychology and a BA in philosophy. I do not have much technical experience but I do have a lot of experience with advocacy and counseling. I am a citizen of another nation; I'm not an American citizen.
Is your citizenship EEA/EU? If so, that would make you life much easier, as London and Geneva are major centres for such work.

I am not sure how appealing your degree will be versus those applicants with majors in political science, international relations, peace & conflict studies, political economy, economics, and development studies. That's not code for "you have no chance". I truly do not know. Your counselling skills do have field applicability.

One path, if your marks good enough to garner some scholarships, is to go for a Master's degree in one of the fields listed above. Many will incorporate internships. The Graduate Institute of Geneva is one of the best connected programs in the world for those wanting to "save the world".

I am telling you this as a student (BA and MA) of International Relations. My interests incline more towards academics & policy, so I'll be pursuing a PhD. A significant minority cadre does pursue the path you are interested in. I'd argue that half go into the private & public sector, a quarter into academia/think tanks, and a quarter into non-profits.

Some general advice:
-If you have connections, exploit them now.
-Failing that, keep a broad spectrum of organisations to work for. Breaking into the UN is difficult.
-Consider alternative paths to enhance your CV, such as your country's foreign ministry or local non-profits
-Don't scoff at grad school connections. Mine were fantastic.
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Old 01-31-2014, 05:18 AM
 
241 posts, read 289,788 times
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A law degree will take you far in that field. I have a couple of friends who are going to in NGO's, the ICC, The big boys (U.N., State and financial institutions focusing on project finance and development. The better the law school you can get into the options you'll have especially if you can get in NYU, Columbia, Chicago, Harvard, Stanford or Yale.
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Old 01-31-2014, 08:34 AM
 
180 posts, read 323,267 times
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unless they're from an ivy or you have connections up the butt.... near zero. I've had friends who had cush U.N. jobs.

The other option is to do free labor as a volunteer and worm your way in via experience. I know one guy who did that.

the more realistic option is pick a STEM major...international development has little use for a liberal arts major(they can get a local philosophy grad to lift boxes around the office and take memos). Experienced translators, engineers, doctors, skilled professionals, etc. are what many of these countries lack.

As a former expat who's worked in developing countries.... you really have to justify paying 10x more for an american in a foreign office. granted, domestic non profit work would be much easier.

Last edited by minos16; 01-31-2014 at 09:39 AM..
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Old 01-31-2014, 01:55 PM
 
283 posts, read 401,432 times
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Originally Posted by minos16 View Post
the more realistic option is pick a STEM major...international development has little use for a liberal arts major(they can get a local philosophy grad to lift boxes around the office and take memos).
I wouldn't say all liberal arts majors. What about International Relations/Studies majors? Pretty ironic if I couldn't get a job in International Development with either or those.
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Old 01-31-2014, 02:45 PM
 
180 posts, read 323,267 times
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Originally Posted by guawazi View Post
I wouldn't say all liberal arts majors. What about International Relations/Studies majors? Pretty ironic if I couldn't get a job in International Development with either or those.
ironic indeed!!!!

the ones who get those gigs tend to have an ivy, well connected or a master/PhD in that subject: those gigs aren't common or volunteer/ low paying. Perfect if your a trust fund kid.
Foreign workers are expats which means they're brought in when locals can't do the job. Hence why so many gigs are volunteer(cheaper than local).... hell, some charge you!

Ask yourself.... what can an liberal arts degree do in a developing countries that a local international relations student can't? If they need an american they can just offer the job as an internship.

My dad and I have been consulted for these jobs for practical STEM related reasons. They need people who can build a bridge, create clinics, diagnose infections, etc.


I have a friend with a masters in international relations and an EU passport....no work in international relations for him.
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Old 01-31-2014, 06:35 PM
 
3,167 posts, read 3,550,158 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FindTheCure View Post
I'm a college undergraduate and will be graduating soon. I'm in the process of applying for jobs. I'm really interested in human rights advocacy and international development.

Does anyone know what this job sector is like and how likely an undergraduate is able to get a job right out of college?

Does anyone have any suggestions where I should search besides the big international organizations (United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty, etc)?

Thanks in advance.
There are a lot of these positions in the DC area. Just start Googling them. They don't pay much, but there are many entry level positions and it's a good place to start. Look for nonprofits and NGO's, and just send a resume if you like them, even if they are not hiring. Unfortunately, many take interns, and if you can afford to do an unpaid internship that is the best way into the DC market. However, this is a strong job market in this area and if you can move here I think you have a good chance of finding something, especially if you can do unpaid for a while. When I was younger, I just found something that looked good and emailed and asked if I could be an intern (they didn't even have an intern program). They agreed and gave me a lot of good training and experience.

I don't agree with the other responses - I think they are confusing international development with foreign service and similar.
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