I’m pleased to have this guest post by a colleague, Kelly Holland, Director of Institutional Relations, Global Experiences, https://globalexperiences.com
At a time when the entire education abroad community, on and off campus, has been forced to halt its overseas programs, those sponsoring international internships (and domestic ones as well) have responded quickly to offer an alternative virtual model. I’ve known about the excellent work at Global Experiences for a long time; the program recognizes the importance of linking experiential learning with student career development. Perhaps more students will realize what research has shown- that the applied skills developed from a well-structured internship are valued as much, if not more, than study abroad.
Staff across our industry worked tirelessly to bring home Spring semester students as Covid-19 swept through Western Europe and into the U.S., managing everything from flights to academic continuation to housing to refunds. For the team at Global Experiences (GE) – we focused on workplace and academic continuity for our international interns.
The GE employer network is composed of more than 3,000 contacts across a wide range of industries, from small and medium companies, to large multinationals . As employers shut their physical doors, they opened their virtual doors to our interns. With grace, flexibility, and compassion more than half of our host employers agreed to continue providing projects for active Spring interns and allowed us early insight into the virtual internship concept.
A GE international internship (both on-location and virtual) includes up to four major stakeholders: the student, the employer, the GE staff, and the university. With all groups working toward the same goals this Spring, GE quickly identified the need for a sustainable virtual internship program now launching this summer.
As multiple options appear across the international education industry, here are six things look for in a virtual internship:
For the foreseeable future, it’s likely that demand will grow for a wider range of virtual cross-cultural learning experiences. We all must continue to work tirelessly, creatively, and with intention. If executed well, virtual internships can be an accessible, affordable option that may empower students looking for ways to impact their career path in this uncertain time.
Learn more about GE’s virtual internships: