When I tell others that my internship is online, I usually know what is coming next. It most likely will be laughter followed by comments such as “That must be so easy” or “I wish I could go to work in my pajamas”. Remarks such as these are made by those who may not be aware of the benefits of an online internship and the real world experience one can gain.
Virtual internships have grown in popularity in recent years for a variety of reasons such as family commitments, location and flexibility. This type of arrangement allows a student to gain real work experience in a remote work setting. Students complete assignments from home and communicate on a regular basis with employers by telephone, instant messaging, email, Skype, webinar or social media.
I reside in a rural area without many agencies that offer internships for graduate students. I have to admit that I didn’t know what to expect when this all began in January but as my year comes to an end, I can truthfully say that I would not trade the experience. The numerous opportunities provided to me as an intern with the SISGI Group have challenged me and pushed me completely outside of my comfort zone.
The professional and personal growth I have made during this year has increased my confidence and provided me with real world skills in marketing, development and fundraising, event planning, research, grant writing, conflict resolution, leadership, cultural diversity, social media, networking, consulting and time management. I am thankful for this unique learning experience and I would definitely want to pursue other virtual opportunities in my career.
Perhaps your agency might be willing to offer a distinct experience to students who are open to a virtual internship. By structuring it in such a way there is regular one-on-one supervision, learning opportunities, individual and team assignments, it can be a win-win situation for both the organization and student. Learn more about the Social Change Leadership Program at the SISGI Group and contribute today towards allowing more students, like me, to have this experience at www.sisgigroup.org/give.