Pandemic Upends Intern Abroad Experience: But Also Lends Opportunities


Interning abroad is an experience filled with opportunities. Students are given the chance to travel, live, and work abroad, explore a new culture, gain intercultural skills, and so much more.

COVID-19 changed a lot of things, one of which being the world of international education. COVID forced us to adapt and find new ways to gain international experiences, one of which being virtual programs.

After March 2020, our world changed. Instead of shaking hands when meeting new people, we shifted to a wave, or the occasional elbow tap -- and that’s if we were lucky enough to meet in person.

Instead of a small talk at the start of a meeting or class that time was used for people to ask the most important of questions: “Can you hear me?” and “Can you see my screen?”. As Zoom became the most used app on everyone’s computer, virtual internship abroad programs grew in popularity.

“I have always wanted to intern or study abroad, but given the circumstances of COVID-19, I was unable to do it in person. I did not know interning abroad virtually while still learning about the culture was even possible until I came across GE. Not only did GE place me in a company that exactly matched my needs and allowed me to excel, but they also gave me tools and knowledge throughout the journey. I never thought I could have such an enriching experience from a computer. I truly am grateful for the guidance and knowledge GE and my host company has given me. The information I have learned, is something I will take to every new opportunity ahead of me.” - Michelle, Virtual Intern, Milan, Italy

At first, I questioned why anyone would opt for a virtual international internship program, a question I think many wondered when these programs were introduced. However, the opportunities for a virtual program are as plentiful as the ones for a traditional intern abroad program.

“I could not be more happy with my virtual internship experience through Global Experiences. While I was a little worried at first that a remote internship might not be the learning experience I was looking for, these worries quickly melted away. Everyone I interacted with through Global Experiences was incredibly kind, knowledgeable, and helpful every step of the way. It was clear to me that my background and interests were taken into account when I was paired with a company. Through this program, I was able to gain experience in social media marketing with a brand whose mission aligned with my values. I now have lots of work to add to my portfolio and have a better understanding of what working in the digital marketing sector of the fashion industry could be like for me. I am very grateful for this opportunity and would recommend Global Experiences to anyone looking to work with a global company through a virtual internship.” - Miranda, Virtual Intern, London, England

Traditional international internship programs are limited by physical locations and staff, immigration regulations, placement areas, and cost. Virtual programs don’t have those same limitations.

Students can now intern with organizations in any part of the world through a virtual program without worrying about visas or the chance of not finding an internship in their top placement field.

Since students completing a virtual program aren’t limited by location, we are able to complete a much wider search for their top placement area. Students are more likely to be placed in an internship in their top placement area.

Virtual programs are also a more cost-effective option, students don’t have the additional costs of living abroad and because they are completing the internship in their home country, they are able to work and save money.

Often students can’t complete a traditional international program because of their academic schedule or outside commitments. With virtual programs students have much more flexibility in when they complete their internship hours so it’s possible for them to fit it around their schedule without worrying about when a course is offered or if they’ll be missing anything for co-curricular activities.

“My virtual internship was such a great experience. My supervisor was very gracious in offering me opportunities to work, such as research, writing, and social media planning. She was also very gracious in my schedule, adjusting for family medical reasons and any other scheduling issues.” - Taylor, Virtual Intern, Barcelona, Spain

The COVID-19 pandemic upended international education as we knew it, but with it came the opportunity to grow.

With virtual programs students can get an international experience that prior to March 2020 they may not have had the opportunity to participate in.

Students still get cultural events to learn about their host country (we’ve made it possible for students to immerse themselves in a new culture from the comfort of their own homes). Students get the same level of support, guidance, and internship placements that Global Experiences is known for.

Although, this pandemic changed everything it also created endless opportunities for the world of international education.

Let’s start your journey of change. Apply for a non-profit virtual internship today!

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