If you’ll be spending your summer participating in a virtual internship, you’re not alone. Many students and businesses have turned to virtual internships as a way to get or provide hands-on experience right from home.
Navigating a virtual internship will definitely look a little different than if you were completing one on-site. You’ll need to make some adjustments to be successful. The good news is that with the right attitude and approach, your virtual internship will provide you with the career-enhancing and life skills you’re looking for.
7 Tips for Being Successful in a Virtual Internship
Get to know the company
Just because you won’t be heading to an office for your internship, doesn’t mean you can’t get a feel for the company culture. Spend some time researching the company background and making yourself familiar with their work, mission, and the people that work there.
This shows that you’re proactive in your internship and can give you a jumpstart on getting to know some of your teammates before you’re put on projects together.
Set a work schedule
You’ll most likely have the ability to be flexible with the timeframe of when you complete your tasks and projects for your internship. However, setting a schedule is important for staying on track. In addition, having a set schedule lets your supervisor know when you’ll be turning in your work and also know when you’ll be available should they need to contact you about a project.
If you have other obligations like work or courses, having a set schedule will help you balance your internship with your other priorities while still allowing for personal time.
Connect with your supervisor regularly
If you were going into the office, you would have the ability to interact with your supervisor multiple times a day. When you’re participating in an internship from home, it’s important to make a point to continually check-in with your supervisor.
Provide status updates on your projects, ask questions, and make sure you’re fulfilling the expectations of the internship. Don’t forget that an internship is the opportunity to grow your skills, network, and learn from the professionals at the company, so keeping a good line of communication can help achieve those goals.
Control your workload
Without a hard “stop time” to the day, it’s easy to get lost in projects and working hours. It’s up to you to set the boundaries of your workload so that you aren’t taking on more than you can handle.
For each project you get, build a timetable of how long you think the project will take and provide updates of your progress. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your workload, don’t be afraid to discuss your schedule with your supervisor so that you’re able to provide your best work.
An internship is an opportunity to show what kind of worker you are. If you were required to be in the office by 9am every day, you would be, so treat your virtual schedule the same. Be timely and reliable in your hours and your work.
Showing your supervisor that you can be relied upon to show up on time and step in when needed proves that you’re a committed worker and can lead to a good referral down the road.
Be creative and valuable
Sometimes an intern is no more than a coffee runner. Fortunately, with virtual internships, the only coffee you have to grab is your own. This means you’ll be tasked with real projects that will impact the company you’re working for.
In addition to being a good worker, don’t be afraid to be creative and bring innovative ideas to the table. Internships are a time for growth and if you have an idea, bring it to your supervisor to see if it can benefit the company. Be willing to take on a variety of assignments and approach your internship as a “go-getter.”
Virtual internships are new to a lot of companies and students. For USAC, our Virtual Internships are a brand-new offering and we’re all learning as we go. Keep in mind that the companies and supervisors you’re working for have other tasks and jobs to do.
When communicating via email it may take longer to respond or get things done. It’s also important to keep in mind the time difference of your international internship.
Virtual Internships Available through USAC
USAC’s goal is to provide internship opportunities that allow students to gain professional work experience, learn more about a future career field, and develop an appreciation for the workplace culture of their placement country.
Three-credit virtual internships are arranged by USAC Specialty Program directors with local companies, NGOs, and governmental organizations. Virtual internships include an online course component where students learn how culture is reflected in the workplace and develop skills necessary for success in the global workforce.
During this 3-credit internship, you can conduct work in a number of popular career fields including:
- Digital marketing and social media management
- Event planning
- Social welfare/Social services
- English language instruction
How USAC Virtual Internships Work
Although the placement site will be a world away, you will be in regular contact with the Resident Director and your placement supervisor who will introduce you to your internship organization, its mission, and most importantly, the work they do.
- Interns will complete a minimum of 120 work hours remotely during U.S. working hours. This format allows students to gain professional work experience, learn more about a future career field, and develop an appreciation for the workplace culture of their placement country.
- Internships include a 15-hour seminar that will help students make sense of their internship experience and navigate the cross-cultural landscape of the workplace.
We welcome students who
- Are at least 18 years old at the time of application and who are enrolled in a university degree-seeking program
- Have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale
- Will have sophomore standing or higher at the time of the internship
- A personal interview is required.
USAC is waiving the application fee for 2020-21 to allow students to apply to the Global Perspectives Program at no financial risk.