Internship FAQs

Who can apply for an internship at Pacific Forum?

We accept applications from current undergraduate students, recent graduates, and active graduate students. In rare cases, we may accept applications from post-graduate students, however if you are already in possession of a Master’s or PhD, we encourage you to apply for our fellowship program instead. We do not accept applications from high school students.

Interns do not need to be US citizens or permanent residents to intern at Pacific Forum, but all non-US citizens must have must have a valid F1 or J1 visa. Pacific Forum does not sponsor visas for internships.

What types of internships are available?

Pacific Forum offers internships in the following categories:

  • Young Leaders Program – Assist the director of the Young Leaders Program with publications, conference planning, logistical arrangements, and other administrative duties.
  • Development – Assist the development team with Pacific Forum’s local community outreach, social media efforts, and development.

Other internship opportunities doing research for senior staff may exist depending on the particular strengths and skills of the applicant.

What kinds of duties do interns perform?

Internship assignments vary widely and depend on which type of internship you apply for. All interns have the opportunity to participate in Pacific Forum’s Honolulu-based programming, which includes events that are typically restricted to high-level donors or seasoned experts.

What can I expect to learn?

While each internship varies, all interns receive practical, hands-on experience in how a foreign policy think tank operates. Interns are able to observe, and to a limited extent, participate in, most all of Pacific Forum’s work, including program administration and development, conference coordination and logistics, publication process, and other areas that are included in the organization’s day-to-day operations.

How many days and hours per week do interns work?

Pacific Forum’s office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Interns coordinate their schedules with their supervisors based on the intern’s availability and the supervisor’s requirements. Most interns work approximately 10-20 hours per week, with some interns opting for full-time status at 35 hours per week. Interns who have availability fewer than 10 hours per week are considered only after interns with greater availability.

Are internships paid?

No, internships at Pacific Forum are not paid and we do not provide financial assistance for housing, transportation, or parking costs. Interns must be able to financially support themselves throughout the duration of their internship.

Can I receive college or university credit for my internship?

Yes, Pacific Forum can work with you and your college or university to ensure you receive credit for your internship.

Where is the internship located?

The internship is located at Pacific Forum’ office in downtown Honolulu.

I am planning to apply for an internship and would be temporarily relocating to Honolulu from another state. What do I need to know about Hawaii?

Prior to applying for an internship at Pacific Forum, non-Hawaii-based applicants are strongly encouraged to review the costs associated with living in Honolulu, including the rent for a shared house, studio or apartment; the cost of transportation; food, and other essentials. All internships are unpaid and the cost of living in Hawaii is high compared to many other major US cities. Interns must be prepared to financially support themselves throughout the duration of the internships.

I am currently pursuing (or have received) a degree in political science, Asian studies, international relations, or a related field, however I have no relevant work experience. Does this hurt my application?

No. While many of our interns have experience in the foreign policy field in organizations both in Washington, DC and abroad, many others do not have industry experience. An internship at Pacific Forum is often a first professional step that many take before moving on to graduate school or paid employment at many different organizations, both in the foreign policy field and other related industries.

Is the internship selection process competitive?

Yes. In the past year, we have experienced a record number of applicants. This should not discourage you from applying for an internship; we welcome all applications.

On what criteria are applicants selected?

Generally, we accept interns based on the following criteria:

  • Current Pacific Forum needs, for example, if we anticipate undertaking a large project that will require intern assistance.
  • Match of interests. We are looking for interns who have interests relevant to Pacific Forum and our research and projects.
  • Benefit to the intern. After reviewing the intern’s cover letter, application form, and resume or CV, we accept interns whose academic or professional careers we believe will most strongly benefit from the opportunity to intern at Pacific Forum.
  • Good fit for the organization. We are looking for motivated self-starters who have the ability to work both independently and in teams.

Can interns apply later for fellowships at Pacific Forum?

Yes, provided they meet the requirements for the particular fellowship for which they are applying.

I’ve submitted my application, when can I expect a response?

Applicants can expect to receive a decision within four weeks of their application.