During these times where it may seem the world is at a standstill, virtual international opportunities are growing more than ever. While these new opportunities are being developed and offered, you may have questions – like, what exactly is a virtual internship? Even though it is not a substitute for real-life international interning experience, it can still be a way for you to build professional networks, develop internet literacy and international competence. Our below Virtual Internship FAQs can give you a better understanding of this new opportunity.
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FAQ About Virtual Internships
A virtual internship is exactly as it sounds –Virtual internships are internships that are done online or remotely. You are placed with a company and have a supervisor that you report to. You are in regular contact with the supervisor/team via virtual methods such as video call, phone call, email, and instant messenger.
In a virtual internship setting, the virtual interns typically communicate with an employer through various means of communication technology including emails, video chat, phone conversations, instant messaging, text messaging, etc.
Certain fields are more likely to offer virtual internships. These fields include (but aren’t limited to): IT (information technology); sales; social media; journalism, research, and freelance writing; video creation and editing; software development; search engine optimization (SEO) and marketing and graphic design. These are just some of the many fields, which commonly offer virtual internships – but remember, they aren't the only fields that do.
The following are just some of the advantages of virtual internships:
- Intern for any company, regardless of location, without relocating Internships are typically a short period, whether it's for a few weeks or a few months. Typically, it's difficult to relocate one’s life for the short period of an internship – though many do it because they want to intern with one particular company. A virtual internship allows a student to work for their dream company without having the hassle to relocate.
- Hours can be more flexible (which means, if it's unpaid, you have time for a paid job, too) Flexibility and freedom are two of the main attractions, especially for students who obtain unpaid internships –the majority of which are. Since the majority of internships are unpaid, a virtual internship allows students to obtain part-time jobs in addition to their internships, where they can check-in, anytime, anywhere.
- Attend school and earn internship credit at the same time many college students are forced to wait until winter and summer break to obtain internships because they cannot attend regular office hours with classes, too. Virtual internships allow the flexibility to balance both, as long as students speak with their employers and communicate that they are in school. Many students arrange a weekly hour schedule with their employers and clock hours per week, rather than a structured daily schedule, which means they can work as they have free time.
- Virtual internships allow you to develop digital skills that are important in the 21st century. According to the Pew Research Center, internet literacy is an extremely important career skill, not only when it comes to building your resume but also when finding that all-important first job
- Working remotely also teaches plenty of other skills that are just as important as internet literacy. Students completing internships online need to be highly motivated and organized. Without the constant supervision that an office setting provides, students must have the ability to manage their own time and complete assignments without constantly asking for assistance
- Virtual internships are an excellent resume booster in that they develop and demonstrate a diverse set of skills that are of high value to employers
- No travel required, so this saves costs and also reduces your carbon footprint
- You'll make connections in major organizations and network
- You'll build professional references from around the globe
- You'll gain vital experience for your résumé and include experience that you can leverage to land your next opportunity
- You'll learn how to communicate in a professional setting and gain extra skills
- You'll enhance your familiarity with digital tools and tech-based work
- The virtual internship could lead to a full-time job after graduation