Why It's Important to Get Internship Experience During COVID-19

Brooke Matta

During a time of immense uncertainty, two things are for sure: COVID-19 has flipped the world on its head, and it’s not going to disappear anytime soon.

Thousands of students have cancelled travel plans, lost their internships, and tried to figure out what to do with themselves for the foreseeable future. We know it’s not easy, and our hearts go out to everyone who’s been affected over the past few months.

Although the virus has presented a ton of new challenges, we hope that Global Experiences can help you have a positive and productive internship experience during the upcoming year.

Prioritizing Your Internship Experience

Many students, especially those who lost their summer internships, have been left wondering what to do and how to get work when most employers aren’t even “in office.” This can be discouraging, but just because in-person internships have dried up doesn’t mean you should skip out on getting professional experience.

Even though many companies have switched to remote work for the time being, they still need help from virtual interns.

Global Experiences partners with hundreds of employers in 13 cities around the world, and their work hasn’t stopped during the pandemic. A lot of them jumped at the chance to continue working with international interns - even in a remote capacity.

Fields that are particularly strong for virtual internships are: marketing, business, graphic design, finance, accounting, IT/computing, communications, and more. Not only are these fields easy to conduct virtually, but their work was trending towards virtual even before the pandemic hit.

Building Your Resume for the Future

COVID-19 will likely have severe and lasting effects on the economy. If there are fewer job prospects upon graduation, the work experience that you have will be even more important - especially if you can demonstrate that you work well remotely.

Gone are the days where you can graduate with a degree and find a job easily. Employers have been looking for relevant work experience for years now, and this trend will only continue to increase.

2020 may be a “lost year” on many people’s resumes, but it certainly doesn’t have to be on yours. Why not use this time to your advantage? With a virtual internship, you can practice working remotely and build digital literacy skills that employers will value even more after the pandemic.

Growing Your Professional Network

Maybe you feel unsafe working in an office right now, maybe you live with someone who’s immunocompromised, or maybe you just want to try out remote work before pursuing it full-time after graduation. Regardless of your situation, virtual internships are a great way to build professional connections and network in your industry without leaving the comfort and safety of your home.

For our in-person programs, about 20% of interns receive full-time job offers from their employers after they finish their internships. This statistic doesn’t account for those who make connections outside of their internships that lead to future opportunities and employment.

With virtual internships, citizenship and visa restrictions are no longer barriers to full-time employment offers, so this statistic could go up significantly for remote jobs.

Internship Experience During COVID-19

Testing Your Professional Field

Even though having an internship looks different in the context of COVID-19, it’s important to use your time wisely and test out your professional field before graduation.

Work experience is the best way to learn whether you should continue along a specific track or change course and try something new. If you skip getting an internship just because there aren’t many in-person options, you risk delaying yourself or starting down the wrong career path.

We’ve heard too many times about people who thought a field was right for them until they actually started working in it, and had to make a total career change. Internships allow you to “test the waters” without committing to a more permanent, full-time role.

In a virtual internship, you can still get experience in your field and use that time to figure out whether you want to stay the course or try something different in your next role.

Getting Credit and Satisfying School Requirements

Last but not least, you should consider doing a virtual internship for credit or to satisfy a school requirement. Many schools that require international or internship experience in order to graduate are being flexible and allowing virtual internships to still count for credit in light of COVID-19.

You can get 6 credits through Global Experiences for your internship, and you can add courses for additional credit if need be. You can even do our 12-week virtual internship program and get up to 12 credits for it, thereby replacing a semester at school. If your classes are going to be online anyway, you might as well add on an internship for experience.

There are so many benefits to getting a virtual internship and reasons to prioritize one during COVID-19. To learn more about our program, submit a GE Virtuoso application and one of our Admissions Counselors will walk you through the process!

Apply for a virtual internship today

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