The Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) seeks students from Australia and throughout the world who are interested in completing a voluntary internship. Regular internships are currently offered in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra (National Office). Places may also be available in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra (ACT Branch) and Hobart depending on Branch needs.

All internship places at National Office in Canberra are full until August 2014

The National Executive Director of the AIIA, Melissa Conley Tyler was recently invited to speak about industry links by the Melbourne School of Government at the University of Melbourne. She speaks about the benefits of being an intern at the AIIA. To see this video, click here.

About the AIIA

The AIIA is an independent, non-profit organization established in 1933 to promote public understanding and interest in international affairs in Australia. The Institute provides a forum for discussion and research on subjects of topical and continuing interest through meetings, conferences and seminars addressed by distinguished specialists and public figures. The AIIA operates nationwide with over 1,600 members across seven State and Territory branches and a National Office in Canberra.

The AIIA contributes to international affairs in four ways:

Providing a forum for debate

The AIIA hosts meetings, lectures and discussion on important issues in world affairs. In 2006-2007 there were almost 200 events on current international issues of concern to Australia.

Disseminating ideas

The AIIA publishes the scholarly journal Australian Journal of International Affairs as well as the definitive record of Australian foreign policy, Australia in World Affairs. Both now span over 50 years. The AIIA also publishes occasional papers and conference proceedings.


The AIIA works to interest young people in world issues through career fairs, school seminars and the ACCESS young members program in various states.


The AIIA has cooperative relationships with other institutes in Australia and worldwide, including Chatham House and the Council on Foreign Relations.

Application Process

National Office in Canberra

As an intern you will work at the AIIA’s National Office in Canberra. A customized program will be designed for each intern according to the intern’s learning and career development needs that can include a mix of training and practical experience in research projects, events, communications and office management. Download a Standard contract trainee template (32 kB).

The AIIA can supervise the following programs to suit individual needs:

  • Internships can focus on international affairs research, events development and management and/or communication tasks, including website development, media and publications
  • Internships can be full-time or part-time (minimum one day per week) for a 3-12 month period. Placements less than 3 months are rare.
  • Internships at National Office can be for academic credit through the Australian National University Internship Program
  • Interns will be provided with support including induction, regular supervision, access to events and opportunity to work with other interns

Applications for an internship at the National Office are to be made by email to John Robbins, National Deputy Director, at

The application should include:

  • an expression of interest stating your goals/motivation in undertaking an internship and the period of time you are available to spend at the AIIA
  • curriculum vitae/resume including educational qualifications and work experience plus at least two referees’ email contact details.

Applications to National Office can be made at any time during the year and will be considered according to the following timeline:

Commencement date during February-April May-July August-October November-January
Applications received by 1 October 1 February 1 April 1 August
Decision notified by 15 October 15 February 15 April 15 August

Some handy tips for preparing your application include:

  • be clear about the dates you are available for the internship (there are no set starting dates)
  • include information both on how you hope to benefit from your placement with the AIIA and what you can offer the AIIA. The AIIA internship program aims to help students and graduates build careers in international affairs and other areas so we care how this placement will help you.
  • indicate whether you are male or female. The AIIA aims to achieve broad gender balance over the course of the year.
  • show that you understand what type of organisation the AIIA is in your application. Have a look over the website to gain a sense of the AIIA’s activities.

AIIA NSW in Sydney

Applications to AIIA NSW Branch should be made to NSW Intern Coordinator, on . Information on the internships program in Sydney is available here.

AIIA VIC in Melbourne

Applications to AIIA VIC should be made to Peta McDermott, AIIA VIC Executive Officer, on

WA Branch in Perth

The WA Branch is currently not accepting internship applications.

QLD Branch in Brisbane

Please view our internships page and join our Facebook page for information specific to Qld internships.

Other Branches

Applications to other Branches should be made to the relevant Branch.

Other considerations

Unfortunately, internships are unpaid and interns need to be able to cover their costs and living expenses. Here is an estimate of average living expenses in Canberra (34.44 kB) for applicants to National Office.

You will need to exhibit a high degree of independence and excellent planning skills. Interns are treated as valuable members of the AIIA team and given as much responsibility as they can handle. You need to be self-directed and you would take on a range of projects that you work on autonomously with regular supervision.

Previous Interns

To get an impression of the work as an intern at the AIIA National Office see intern testimonials of

Hayley Channer (186.83 kB) (University of Queensland)

Gaya Raghavan (73 kB) (University of Melbourne policy intern)

Hannah Richardson (26.42 kB) (Australian National Internship Program intern)

Robin Heemskerk (14.85 kB) and Emilie Puylaert (31.54 kB) (both design interns from the Netherlands)

Julia Nadine Wirsbinna (38.44 kB) (a Masters student from Germany).


Intern attending a function at Parliament House, Canberra 2011

Intern attending a function at Parliament House, Canberra 2011

Interns attending the Indonesia Australia Dialogue, Jakarta 2011

Interns attending the Indonesia Australia Dialogue, Jakarta 2011


AIIA National Intern with Sir Gus Nossal for the launch of the Australia’s Role in the World website.

AIIA National Intern with Sir Gus Nossal for the launch of the Australia’s Role in the World website.

Interns attending the National President's Forum at Parliament House, Perth 2011.

Interns attending the National President’s Forum at Parliament House, Perth 2011.