Born out of necessity during the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, USAC’s Global Perspectives Program was designed to offer students an enriching and impactful international experience from home. Now, USAC students are still turning to our Global Perspectives virtual internships as a convenient way to supplement their education and prepare themselves for the post-grad job market by working virtually with companies in USAC Specialty Program locations.
Whether virtual or in-person, USAC internships are designed to challenge our students through a professional experience that will help then stand out to future employers. Fortunately, our students are recognizing the long-term benefits of an international internship. In a letter to our virtual internship coordinator and USAC England Resident Director, Jeremy, here’s what one student had to say about her experience.
Using Professional Connections to Open New Doors
I will tell you that this internship taught me the only real-world knowledge that I have in my tool belt, still, after 2 semesters of business classes. The internship should be mandatory even, for international business majors. It is not just a temporary internship, I have made connections with people in other countries that I would have never had access to without this internship. I made trusted contacts in Uruguay, the country of my remote internship, that I could call on for assistance in transferring or traveling to their country. In my USAC internship, I was connected to the Entrepreneurship center of the college of business at the largest private university in Uruguay. After my internship ended, I reached out to one of the companies I was working with, in collaboration with the university, and asked them for a position in their company beyond the internship. This was a successful request. After my internship with USAC ended, I joined this company as a community manager (a paid position). I was told by the Uruguay resident director at USAC that it was the first time he had seen this happen, an extended internship privately offered past the expiration of a USAC program. I helped manage this company as they launched from zero to a successful Kickstarter campaign that funded their product-launch over $30,000 in 30 days. I am very proud to say that the sales pitch that I presented to the company was actually the one that sold the most in the Kickstarter campaign!
After my experience in this role, I was offered an even higher-paying position at my home university in Houston as the Editor of The Bayou Review literary magazine, which I had previously worked for only as an intern. I was also offered a newly designed management role, that was made just for me and four of my colleagues, as Senior Peer Mentors who would get paid more to manage over 20 newly entering mentors at the mentorship program at my university, the University of Houston-Downtown. I have taken both the positions of Editor and Senior Peer Mentor in my University and that is currently what I am working on for the past two semesters! I am currently a Junior, and I have been told by my University that I could serve as Editor until I graduate (as long as I wanted to). My role as Editor has brought me even more opportunities that I am looking at for my post-graduation plans since my boss in this position is invested in connecting me to people in the Fulbright program.
In short, yes, this internship was a catalyst that started a domino effect of other greater opportunities I have received that have matured me, shown me what I like, what I don’t, and have shown me my worth. But still, nothing gave me more of an international education than the USAC internship of last summer!
Karen is an international business major at the University of Houston-Downtown. She participated in the Global Perspectives Virtual Internship in Montevideo, Uruguay during Summer 2020.