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United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Ecuador (UNHCR) (Summer 2021)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country.

Ecuador is the country that hosts the largest number of recognized refugees in Latin America. As of April 2019, the Ecuadorian Government had granted the refugee status to 66.288 persons (97,91% from Colombia), and approximately 250.000 persons have requested asylum. Most asylum seekers also come from Colombia.

Comparing figures of 2017 with 2018, Colombian asylum requests have increased by 11%. From January 2018, up to date, 17,022 people have sought asylum in Ecuador; 31% are requests of Colombian population and 67% of Venezuelans. The increase of asylum claims from both, Venezuelans and Colombians, is due to, as mentioned, the continuous arrival of Colombians, and the arrival of Venezuelan population.

It is important to note that, the language of the office and direct work and daily contact with refugees is in Spanish, so an excellent working knowledge of Spanish is required.


The UNHCR Ecuador is recruiting four McGill students for a Community-based Protection Intern position, a Livelihoods Intern position, a Protection Intern position, and a Finance Intern position.  

The internships are: 

  • Remote internship positions
  •  12 weeks between May and August 2021
  • Full-time (35 hours per week)
  • Successful candidates will receive an award issued by the McGill Internship Offices Network valued at $6,000CDN



To be eligible for these positions, you must:

  • Be a McGill full-time undergraduate or graduate student (Master level), returning to their current registered faculty in fall 2021.
  • Possess language proficiency in English and Spanish (spoken and written), candidates should be capable of answering interview questions in Spanish.
  • Note on eligibility: An individual whose father, mother, son, daughter, brother or sister is a staff member of UNHCR, including a Temporary Appointment holder or a member of the Affiliate Workforce, is not eligible for an internship.
  • Fulfill the Internship Offices Network requirements post-internship. For more information download the ION Intern handbook on this page.


The host organization is currently recruiting four McGill students for summer 2021. You may only apply to positions below, please indicate the position that interests you in your cover letter, and make sure to review the posting carefully before applying, as requirements might vary. 

Download the internship postings:

PDF icon UNHCR Ecuador Community-based Protection Internship (Summer 2021)

PDF icon UNHCR Ecuador Livelihoods Internship (Summer 2021)

PDF icon UNHCR Ecuador Protection Internship (Summer 2021)

PDF icon UNHCR Ecuador Finance Internship (Summer 2021)

Carefully read application instructions before submitting your documents.

Please note: If you are applying to a second degree at McGill and waiting for a response, you must hold a confirmation of acceptance by the application deadline and include it with your application material.

Application Deadline

February 22, 2021. 12PM (noon) Eastern Time. Late applications will not be accepted.


Please do not email to inquire about the status of your application. Shortlisted candidates will be required to provide a full commitment to the internship selection process by the UNHCR and waive any other internship opportunity at this time.

A formal acceptance of an ION internship is a final decision, and under no circumstances (unless health or family-related) can a student withdraw from the internship after accepting. The consequence of this would be refusal of candidature for future ION internship opportunities. Please remember, revoking a spot in one of the organizations means also revoking it from another student who might have had the opportunity to take it.

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