Participating in an internship will help you build the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in your career, plus it can help you earn credit toward your degree. An international internship can also boost your resume by providing you with real-world professional experience in your field. But have you considered what a virtual international internship can bring to the table? Here’s why a virtual internship is a great investment in your future and your career.
Adopt a Multicultural Perspective
Every internship, whether held in person or on site, provides students with the opportunity to learn from professionals in a different culture. Not only does an international internship increase your knowledge and skillset in your chosen field, but it allows you to see things from a new perspective that you most likely wouldn’t have considered if your internship was in the U.S. Having access to professionals, thought leaders, and innovators will expose you to new ideas, ways of thinking, and ways of approaching challenges in the workplace. This unique perspective will make you an asset in any workplace.
Expand Your Professional Network
A big perk of participating in any internship is the chance to make a good impression to professionals in your field. Of course, learning from the pros is a big piece of the pie, but being able to build a significant connection with people in your desired industry around the world can give you a leg up in job hunting later on. We live in a relationship-driven world, and while the skills you develop on the job should ultimately be what lands you a job, having a professional (or multiple) on your team to give a strong reference or connect you with hiring companies is a big bonus.
Flex Your Ability to Adapt
Working in a virtual space, especially from home, comes with a unique set of challenges. Opting for a virtual international internship shows your willingness and capability to adapt to a new work environment and to be flexible when you encounter hurdles. Adapting to a non-traditional way of working/learning/interning is an impressive skill, especially in fields that have traditionally been performed in person. Being able to pivot and perform your job (almost) anywhere in the world, oftentimes in a different time zone than your employer, among the distractions that come with working from home is an impressive feat. Employers value applicants who are nimble and willing to roll with the punches, so embrace the unconventional virtual internship experience!
Improve Your Communication Skills
No matter how much our technology progresses, communicating in person will always be more effective and efficient. However, it’s important to be able to communicate effectively across a multitude of medias. Email, Zoom, WhatsApp messaging, phone calls… the ways to connect with employers and team members goes on and on. Communication is a skill and increasing technology has caused many people to lose their touch. Knowing how to get your point across — and being able to understand and process other people’s comments — is critical for maintaining a well-oiled workplace. Chances are, your virtual international internship will require you to become familiar with a few different methods of communication, so you’ll be a professional communicator in no time.
Get Experience Working Remotely
Guess what? COVID-19 or not, our world is becoming more and more digital. Now more than ever, companies are adding work from home policies to their employee incentives, universities are offering online classes, and everyday activities like shopping and ordering food can be done at the touch of a button. So, what does this have to do with a virtual internship? Participating in an online format gives you a leg up on technology and the good habits that are required to successfully work remotely. Developing the skills it takes to stay on track, get your work done, and produce a productive work environment on your own will do wonders for your academic and professional career. Plus, many employers will value the fact that they can trust you keep up on your tasks and stay connected no matter where you’re working.
There’s no better time to start investing in your future than the present. If you’re interested in adding a virtual international internship to your college experience, look no further! Learn more about USAC’s Global Perspectives program on our website.