Students at the end of the visit. Photo credit: UNITAR

High-school students from Kantonsschule am Burggraben St.Gallen, in Switzerland, visited the UNITAR headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and were hosted by the Green Development and Climate Change Programme and the Communications & IT Support Unit.


The students took part in a two-hour meeting with UNITAR staff where they participated in activities, got career tips, and learned more about life in international civil service.

On 14 February 2024, a group of 21 students from Kantonsschule am Burggraben St.Gallen, in Switzerland, visited the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, for the fifth consecutive year and took part in a 2-hour session with UNITAR staff. The students’ visit was part of their International Relation’s class annual field trip to International Geneva.

The visit aimed to increase the students’ interest in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), give them an idea of the skills and background needed to work for an international organization, and test their problem-solving skills in real-life situations UN staff deal with day-to-day.

Ms. Sophie Mills and Mr. Lucas Terra, from UNITAR, were the hosts and kicked off the visit with a presentation about the different organs within the UN system, the history of UNITAR, how the organization has evolved over the years, and what it currently does.

After the presentation, the students were split into 5 groups and invited to take part in an SDG game. The game consisted of a spin wheel with the different SDGs, and every time a group spun it, they had to answer a question about the specific SDG they got. Every right answer by the students was rewarded with chocolate and, overall, the game was well received by the students who actively participated in it and answered most questions correctly.

Students during the SDG game during the visit to the UNITAR office.

Students during the SDG game. Photo credit: Ueli Albrecht / Kantonsschule am Burggraben St.Gallen

Following the game, Ms. Jelinke Wijnen, Mr. Collins Singoei, Mr Angus Mackay, and Mr. Mazin Khan spoke to the students about their background and their role at UNITAR. The four speakers told their personal stories and shared how they ended up pursuing a career at the United Nations in Geneva, what they studied at university, and what skills they think are important to land a job at an international organization. Each presentation was followed by questions from the students, who were particularly keen to hear the experiences and opinions of the speakers on their jobs at UNITAR.

Lastly, students’ problem-solving skills were put to the test. Ms. Mills and Mr. Terra split the students into two main groups and provided them with two different challenges and the students were given 15 minutes to come up with potential solutions for them. Upon deliberations, each group presented their solutions.

The session concluded with a visit to the UNITAR office.

The students at the end of the visit.

The students at the end of the visit. Photo credit: UNITAR