Internship Program Overview

The purpose of the internship is to provide students with an opportunity to gain insights into the day-to-day operations of an organization in the public, NGO, or multilateral sector, thereby gaining practical experience and advancing their understanding of how policies and processes are shaped by context, institutions, and culture. Students take advantage of the internship to acquire policy-related professional experience, including knowledge and skills that will help them progress towards their long-term professional goals.

The internship is designed specifically for those students who have minimal or no work experience in the public or other related sectors. It is expected that the internship will facilitate students’ access to the job market after graduation from the program.

All internships are 8 ECTS (i.e., 180 – 240 working hours).

The GSPP Internship Program features:

  • Mentorship by a senior member of a national or sub-national government, other public agencies, nongovernmental or international organization/agency.
  • Hands-on experience.
  • Networking and professional development.
Internships are expected to integrate professional and academic experiences. Therefore, credit may not be awarded retrospectively. That is, students may not apply for internship credit for work performed at some previous time.


Parties involved

Intern – MPP/MPA student

Internship Coordinator – Zhanar Ismailova, Senior Manager

Internship (Faculty) Advisor – Lisa Lim, Assistant Professor

Workplace Mentor

Eligibility Criteria

In order to qualify for a GSPP internship placement, applicants must

  • be a current (not graduated) GSPP MPA/MPP student;
  • have a CGPA of at least 2.67 out of 4.0;
  • have at least 50% of their program completed prior to the start of the internship placement;
  • have at least B- grade in every course;
  • submit an internship application to the Internship Coordinator within the deadline set by GSPP;
  • have attended the Internship Introduction meeting.

Application and Selection Process

Students interested in pursuing a GSPP internship placement will apply to the program and undergo a comprehensive assessment process.

Application to the internship program consists of:

  • submission of the GSPP Internship application cover page check list;
  • submission of a professional cover letter and In the cover letter, applicants are invited to briefly explain why they are interested in an internship;
  • an academic reference (from GSPP faculty). Please note GSPP will contact faculty for reference details, applicants are just required to submit a faculty name;
  • a one-page autobiography (500 words or less) focused on academic, career and community involvement; and
  • an unofficial transcript describing the student’s academic standing.

Applications are to be sent electronically via email to the GSPP Internship Coordinator at  Applicants will receive an email confirming that their application package has been received. If applicants do not receive confirmation within a week, they should contact the Internship Coordinator. Only complete application packages will be accepted.

GSPP will perform the initial screening of the academic standing of all applicants to ensure that they have completed or are registered to complete fifty per cent of courses. Students who meet the required standards will then be have their applications assessed by the GSPP Internship Committee. The GSPP Internship Committee will consist of GSPP faculty and staff.

Placement of Interns

Students are encouraged to use their initiative in seeking out possible internship opportunities with organizations of their interest and provide a completed Internship Proposal Form for GSPP’s consideration. GSPP reserves the right to refuse an internship in the organization proposed by the student if the services provided by the organization do not correspond to the aims and format of the internship.

If students need assistance in finding an internship, GSPP will provide assistance by contacting and arranging networking events with GSPP alumni.  In addition, GSPP may make suggestions for an internship placement with an appropriate organization. In this case students might not be able to choose the internship site.

Advice for GSPP Interns

  • Be professional.
  • Maintain regular and open communication with your Workplace Mentor.
  • Be specific about what you want to get out of the internship and ask detailed questions on what would be expected before getting started. Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions and seek clarification on tasks to be performed.
  • Know your weaknesses and your strengths and be open to what people have to tell you (listen to experience).
  • Be confident in the skills you have learned and do not be afraid to take initiative to get the most out of your internship.
  • Seek out opportunities to learn and grow. Often Workplace mentors are busy and forget about upcoming events and conferences that might be good for the intern’s professional development. Ask to attend these events and take every opportunity to network with other employees. 
  • Network and build good contacts with the different people you come across throughout your internship, including fellow interns. The chance to build a small and a close network with fellow interns is one of the program’s greatest strengths. 
  • Get to know others in the office, find out what they do and seek their advice as well. 
  • Even though you may not be placed with the Ministry you may have wanted, make the most of it and accept a challenge. You never know what you will learn and what you will take away from the experience.
  • Share your perspectives, thoughts, opinions, ideas and be open to the perspectives and ideas of others.
  • Take the time during your internship to create relationships with the higher level individuals you interact with now, for use later. Interns should also put a lot of effort into creating relationships with people outside the Ministry while they have the opportunity. This is probably the best advantage the intern could possibly afford themselves for their career following the internship. 
  • The key to having a great internship experience is to demonstrate genuine enthusiasm for policy work and to make significant emotional investments into the work you are doing. 
  • Humility is a key virtue for success. Listen to your Workplace Mentors and learn from their expertise. Also, share your ideas with them but never emphasize your own ideas. Ask questions when necessary for clarity and always ask your Workplace Mentor if you can do anything to ease their job because they are very busy people.

Previous Internships

Internship 2022

  • May 23 – June 24, 2022
  • 11 students
  • 8 government, quasi-government and international organizations:
    • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
    • Ministry of Information and Social Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
    • Agency for Civil Service Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
    • Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
    • Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan;
    • Astana International Financial Center, Kazakhstan;
    • UN Women, Kazakhstan;
    • Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), Kazakhstan.


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Contact Internship Coordinator

For more information on the Nazarbayev University GSPP Internship Program, please contact:

Zhanar Ismailova, NU GSPP Internship Coordinator

+ 7 7172 70 64 62