01 05 Supply Assignment Abroad

Going abroad for a work assignment is a big step, not only for your social and family life, but also for your career. Those who take the leap abroad soon find out whether and how this experience can give their career a well-deserved boost.

In previous articles we have addressed the many issues you might come across while abroad. However, you will also come across many new professional opportunities. If you are bold enough to take that huge step and hop on a plane, you may get a lot of good things out of your time abroad as an expat.

The longer you stay, the more time you have for a fully-fledged expat experience. However, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how long your assignment takes: Even being an expat for only half a year will enhance your chances in the company hierarchy or on the job market significantly.

The Effects of an Assignment Abroad

Moreover, your experience abroad can give you additional confidence. If you are adventurous enough to embark on a new assignment in another country or even become a “self-made” expatriate, you have already proven adaptability and determination. Paired with your newfound confidence and self-reliance, your experience abroad will greatly increase your chances on the job market.

Sue (24) used to be the shy type in college. “I wasn’t exactly a mousy wallflower,” she says and laughs, “but, yeah, it was pretty close sometimes.” When she decided to go to Ghana for a year and teach English and Arts in a rural community development project, she was almost as amazed at her own courage as most of her friends.

Gaining Confidence

Upon her return to Texas, Sue quickly realized how her assignment abroad had given her new confidence. Soon after she came back, she landed her dream job with a non-profit art project in Houston, Texas. “You just know that you have accomplished something. And after a whole year in Ghana, a couple of job interviews weren’t all that scary anymore.”

Just like Sue, you will thrive in the new working environment if you are equipped with patience, calmness, tenacity, and a well-developed sense of humor. An assignment abroad can be the perfect opportunity to further your personal development. Your manners, appearance, and behavior will change as your assignment gives you an air of new-found competence and confidence.

Rapid deployment of UN Volunteers (March 2017)

When large-scale emergencies like the Ebola outbreak, Syrian Refugee Crisis and Philippines cyclone (Haiyan) occur, a coordinated rapid response is critical in ensuring that the UN system can cope with the demands, support the host government and reorient its programmes.

As an important resource of specialized human capacity with unique characteristics, UNV is a key partner in delivering humanitarian and early recovery assistance, through the establishment of stand-by capacities for humanitarian response through its UN Volunteers. UNV can assist UN agency partners during the initial phase of the emergency as well as during the recovery phase.

UNV is re-building its rapid response capacity in the following 5 areas: Protection, Information Management, Logistics, Water and Sanitation and Monitoring and Evaluation.

Would you like to become a UN Volunteer for the rapid deployment assignments and support the UN efforts during humanitarian crisis? If you fulfill the minimum requirements in one of the following areas, please register your profile. Please note that UN Volunteers are entitled to receive a Volunteer Living Allowance to cover their basic needs in the respective duty station as well as other entitlements. For more information, please consult the Conditions of Service.

  • PROTECTION (Refugee Protection, Child Protection, Human Rights Protection)

Minimum requirements: University Degree in Law, International Law, Human Rights, International Relations, Social Sciences or related fields.  Two to three 3 years of experience with refugees, and/or other people of concern in a protection capacity required (e.g. Children affected by armed conflict).    

Minimum requirements: University Degree in Information Systems, GIS, Social Sciences, Statistics, Economics or related field.  Two to three years of experience in Information Management (preferably with governmental organizations, NGOs, international organizations) in development or humanitarian assistance.    Good reporting skills, preferably with experience in website and /or database maintenance, production of information products (infographics, maps, etc.), knowledge of mapping applications (e.g. ArcGIS, etc.).

Minimum requirements: University Degree in Business Administration, Engineering, Logistics, Mathematics or related field.   Two to three years of relevant professional experience in the field of logistics. (e.g. supply chain, surface transport, warehousing, port operations, air transport, etc.).

  • WASH (Water and Sanitation and Hygiene)

Minimum requirements: University Degree in Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Sanitation Engineering, Geology, Hydrology, Environmental Public Health or related field. Two to three years of relevant professional experience in water supply, water purification systems, pump installations and associated works. Preferably with knowledge of cross sectoral programming, community based interventions, health systems.


Minimum requirements: University Degree in Economics, Statistics, Project Planning and Management, Development Studies, Social Science, or related field.  Three years of relevant professional experience and proven track record in Project Monitoring and Evaluation in a development or humanitarian context.  Knowledge of Results Based Management, monitoring and evaluation methods and tools and statistical software.


Areas permanently in high demand

Beyond the priority areas for rapid deployment outlined above, international UN Volunteers hail from many different professions and levels of experience. The areas of expertise that are permanently in highest demand are found in the table below.

It is worth noting that in most cases fluency in English is required for international UN Volunteers. Additionally, depending on the country of assignment, international UN Volunteers may be required to speak other languages, such as Arabic, French, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and other languages.



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