Doctors without Borders offers students paid internship, volunteer opportunities
by Miriam Choi
Doctors Without Borders
, otherwise known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), offers undergraduate students internship and volunteer opportunities.
MSF is an international humanitarian organization that provides medical aid to countries threatened by epidemics, conflict, violence, and malnutrition. This organization strives to bring high-quality aid to over 60 countries around the world.
“We’re quite busy. For example, in 2008 we did almost 9 million outpatient consultations, more than 300,000 hospitalizations, more than 47,000 surgical operations, and treated 212,000 children for severe acute malnutrition,” said Dr. Christophe Fournier, MSF’s International Council President.As of recently, MSF provides both a paid Internship Program and a Volunteer program for undergraduate students who may be interested in working in this non-profitable organization.
Interns gain experience at the New York office, working with the Communications, Human Resources, Development, and Program departments of the non-clinical offices for MSF. Interns will also gain exposure to the field of international, non governmental organizations that are structured to provide philanthropic medical aid, while advocating for human rights issues.
The internship program schedule consists of a spring, summer, and fall internship. Applicants are required to submit an application for the program, and responsible for their own accommodation in New York City.
This highly competitive program recruits interns on a rolling basis and applicants can only apply for one season of the internship schedule.
Interns can be expected to be paid for the time commitment of approximately 20 hours a week.
While some internship positions are reserved for applicants who have obtained a Masters degree, the majority of the intern descriptions require candidates to be computer literate, interested in medical humanitarian aid, experienced in speaking Spanish or French, and knowledgeable with Internet research and writing.
“Paid internships are usually associated with a specific educational program or goal – whether formally endorsed by an educational institution or undertaken independently by a student; as such, internships demand a greater time commitment and more regular schedule but tend to have a more substantial component to their work than clerical duties,” as stated on the volunteer section of MSF’s official website.
The volunteer program works a significantly less competitive and demanding scale. Undergraduate students interested in some exposure to the office setting behind a humanitarian organization can volunteer at the New York office, working primarily with clerical work.
“The volunteers in the office usually help out with making copies, filing papers, and organizing file,” said press officer Emily Linendoll.
“I think the interns work with research and more hands-on projects in the office.”
Volunteer applicants are required to submit a resume and complete a short questionnaire. Volunteers work anywhere from a few to many hours a week but can be included in more interesting projects if they have volunteered for an extended period of time.