Surely by now you’ve heard about USAC’s newest virtual internship opportunities where you can complete a 3-credit internship with an international company, right from your home. In case you aren’t sure what we’re talking about, here’s a refresher video.
Virtual internships are brand new to USAC, launched in summer 2020, but we’re already seeing the amazing value and opportunities that this experience brings. In order to get the full rundown, we spoke with our Senior Academic Affairs Coordinator for a little Q&A on the nitty-gritty of virtual internships. Don’t have time to watch? Timestamps and highlights are available below the video.
0:15: What are the benefits of a virtual internship?
• Gain valuable work experience
• Explore potential career path and develop professional competencies
• Develop soft skills employees value such as team work, critical thinking, problem solving, time management, interpersonal communication
• Network with professionals in field
• Build resume to stand out as attractive candidate for employers or grad-school
• Have access to an international experience at a time when international travel is very difficult
• Develop inter-cultural communication skills
• Work on language proficiency in hands-on environment
• Gain remote work skills
• Demonstrate higher levels of responsibility, ability to work independently, and follow through with assigned projects
• Incredibly convenient – access to global sites without leaving home
• Cost effective – internships are priced at an accessible price point
2:15: How much does a virtual internship cost and what’s included in that fee?
The virtual internship program fee is $1,390. If you compare an internship with an online course you’ll save $100. Additionally, any student who completes a virtual internship or online class this fall will be eligible for a $500 semester fee credit towards semester Specialty program or $300 semester fee credit towards a summer Specialty program.
The $1,390 program fee covers the 3-credits earning, placement processes, documentation, transcript, access to Microsoft 365 for entirety of program. We also have cultural and developmental workshops for students.
3:37: What topics will be covered in the cultural and developmental workshops offered to students?
The workshops provide a forum where students can interact with one another and our program staff abroad. Cultural workshops can be anything from an Italian cooking lesson to Latin American dance class and are fun activities that get students engaging with one another and feeling a sense of community. Workshops will be offered on things like professional identity, resume building, and developing your LinkedIn profile, there will be lots of opportunities for students to attend these workshops that provide a chance for students to develop themselves professionally.
6:35: What is the application process like? How will students be placed with a company?
You can apply by going to usac.edu and clicking the “apply now” button at the top left-hand corner of the home page. Students will submit an online application, unofficial transcripts, personal statement, and resume. We’ll verify their eligibility qualifications, then students will fill out a pre-placement questionnaire, and we’ll schedule an interview where we can help determine the best option for them based on their interests and academic background. After that, students are asked to pay a $500 placement confirmation and will move onto a secondary placement process dealing directly with the placement site abroad. The Resident Director overseeing the internship site abroad leads that process. Students interview with the placement site directly and get a good idea of job responsibilities, schedules, etc. Once accepted to a placement site, students sign a contract and pay the remainder of their program fees.
10:15: Are there any language requirements?
Some places do have language requirements, but other fields do not. During the interview process we’ll discuss language proficiency requirements. Even if a student has beginning or early language proficiency, we can find an option that will work for them.
11:50: How can a student prepare for a successful virtual internship?
Students need to think about their motivations and what they’re hoping to achieve. This can vary by student, some may want to work on language skills in professional environment to know they can operation in a professional environment, some may want to develop specific technical skills related to academic background and test themselves and see how they stand up in a professional environment, some students might just be looking for international experience and work on intercultural skills. Being able to articulate motivations during placement process gives a better chance to get a placement in what they’re looking for. Another helpful thing is for students to think about what they’re hoping to achieve and realize this is a rigorous academic and professional experience, and students will be expected to demonstrate high levels of commitment in terms of time, effort, and professionalism.
14:00: How much time is expected of an intern in a given week?
It just depends, students will have 10-11 weeks to fulfill their hours. For a 3-credit internship students will do 120 hours of work including a 15-hour online internship seminar. It’s going to vary by placement site and the projects that students are working on.
Fortunately, we’ve had several students already complete a virtual internship, so we reached out to Dalia Vongpanya a University of Nevada, Reno student to hear about her experience interning for a language acquisition start-up app called Latudio, based out of the Czech Republic.
Additional Online Opportunities for Study Abroad
Virtual internships are not the only way that we’re helping students receive an international education during these times. We’re also offering more than 100 of our top courses online. We know, nothing compares to being in another country and taking classes, but location does not diminish the value and education you’ll receive from our professors.
To learn more about USAC’s online opportunities we spoke with our Director of Academic Affairs. If you don’t have time to listen, you can find timestamps and highlights below the video.
0:21: What kind of courses can I take online?
A variety of language courses are being offered from elementary to advanced levels. Languages include French, Spanish, German, Portugese, Italian, and Chinese. In addition, there are classes in business, art, culture and society, including courses that focus on gender, race, and identity, classes in health and wellness, and standard international affairs classes with topics of history, political science and economics.
1:15: Can you take online courses alongside home university academics?
Students can mix and match a variety of classes. You can take anything from one 3-credit class up to 18 credits. It doesn’t have to be an either/or experience it can be both.
2:00: How do online courses fit into a student’s international studies goals?
It’s a great way to try things out and an opportunity to gain new perspectives on a topic. If you’re taking a class in the U.S. you’re only getting the U.S. perspective on things. By taking classes online with USAC you get that international perspective. Students can also take classes in business from a professor in Italy and another one from a professor in Uruguay and you can see the differences in the approach towards business that the different cultures bring in. There’s an opportunity to compare and contrast that you wouldn’t find if you just took classes in the U.S. or if you’re just taking classes in one location abroad. It also gives you a chance to test out study abroad locations. If you’re undecided about study abroad sites or programs you can see if you like a particular professor because it’s a chance then later to study abroad and continue and take a class with that person again in the future.
3:45: What are the benefits of taking an online course with USAC?
One of the greatest benefits is the small class size and individual attention you can get. This summer our average class size was about 6 students. It’s a chance to get to know students from across the U.S. and really get to know the professor, one on one, that isn’t usually possible with big online classes. It’s not just about the online class either, we talk about the global perspective program, it’s more than just a class. Students have the option to participate in cross-cultural workshops, fun things, where they’re joining students, Resident Directors, and staff from all around the world and learning about things like Italian cuisine, Ghanaian art, Latin American Dance, and even doing career workshops where students can talk about the cross-cultural skills you need in the workplace.
When you do an online class with USAC it goes beyond that classroom to really become a community of global learners.
6:45: How does language learning work with the Global Perspectives program?
For the online program students can take up to two semesters of language in one semester. That means a whole year of language in one semester. There are two teaching blocks for languages. If you think of a full semester, the first half is 7.5 weeks long, the second half is 7.5 weeks long. A student who wants to take Intermediate French 1 and Intermediate French 2, can take Intermediate French 1 in the first part of the semester, and in the second semester they would take Intermediate French 2. It allows a student to progress in the language over the course of the semester. A student doesn’t have to take the full language track, if you just want to do Intermediate 1 or Intermediate 2 you can do that. When students are at that intermediate and advanced level they can also take a 3-credit conversation course. Conversation would run the full 15 weeks of the semester so that they’re building the language and proficiency as they go along. Classes are taught in the foreign language.
8:50: Who is eligible to take online courses with USAC?
Our programs are open to anyone age 18 and older. We are open to college students and students entering their first year of college or gap year. For current college students, we require a minimum 2.0 GPA or higher and an online application, and some courses will have a pre-requisite. For first-year and gap year students if they don’t already have college credit and a college transcript they need to demonstrate that they had at least a 3.0 GPA on their high school transcript and they will be taking classes in language as long as they meet the pre-requisites and any lower-division course, 100 or 200 level classes.
11:00: What is the cost of online courses?
The cost per course is $985. Students can pair an online course with a virtual internship, and students who do this will receive a $100 discount off the virtual internship. Students who participate in our Global Perspectives courses or virtual internship this fall will receive $300 towards a Summer Specialty Program with USAC or Spring Accelerated term or $500 towards a future semester Specialty Program.
12:20: What is included in the program cost for online courses?
The program cost includes support of the USAC team in our central office including program advisors, admissions specialists, the Resident Director on staff, as well as access to cultural and career-development workshops. Associated with the course itself is the Microsoft for Education learning platform, and the fee includes access to the tools they need on Microsoft to participate.
If you’re ready to explore USAC’s online opportunities, don’t miss your chance to apply. Deadlines are approaching! Visit our website for more information.