Are you a current college or high school student attending classes on Zoom or back on campus, wondering what to do when you finally have some free time?
Perhaps you have had experiences with internships before, or maybe you are still awaiting opportunities to present themselves to you. Now is the best to start a new internship, as almost everything has switched to remote—virtual student internships are placing fewer restrictions on students. You will likely have a better chance at finding exciting internship programs all around the world, and extra concerns such as transportation will no longer drag you down.
The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed changed many aspects of our lives, especially how we work. Remote internships can be a new challenge to most of you, but along with that challenge comes new opportunities.
Things to Consider about Remote Internships
Before you apply for or start your internships, there are many things to prepare for. Here is a list of possible concerns that you might have regarding remote internships.
The first obstacle that you might encounter will be the competitiveness required by many excellent internship opportunities.
Every company and organization has limited openings for intern positions, and it can be challenging to stand out among the rest. Other candidates might have similar backgrounds and experiences, so how exactly can you rise above the crowd?
Besides that, there is also competition during the internship. Pressure from your peers can be intimidating, but remember that you are all here to learn. Competition and collaboration are healthy and often the best way to grow.
Actually, the urge to be competitive is just one of the perks that come with interning. It can be a meaningful experience that drives you to consciously examine and improve yourself.
The second consideration is whether there will be compensation for your work.
There are usually two types of compensation: academic credits or hourly pay/salary. Whether you are paid or not often depends on the type of company or organization you want to work for and what programs they participate in. For example, a “for-profit” private company might be required by law to pay interns, and paid interns will have the same legal protections as employees.
In some situations, compensation can be a decisive factor. Many students are already overwhelmed by tuition and living expenses. They might be working part-time while attending school—spending several months doing an unpaid internship just wouldn’t seem viable.
Above all, the experience is the main reason students invest time and effort into an internship.
Practical experiences are essential to your professional profile and for your career growth. There is never a better time to gain exposure from internships than while you’re in school. Don’t forget—it’s not all about work. An internship can also be a priceless memory for your personal growth.
Nonetheless, the concern here is that you might have to face a lot of new challenges at work, and sometimes it can be a little overwhelming.
To be sure, remote work is not without its challenges.
The virtual working environment can be very different from the traditional setting. There might be more technology involved in all aspects of the work, and communication is a little more difficult. There’s more for you to overcome in a new remote internship; the process of getting familiar with your coworkers and the job itself can be a hurdle.
How to Address Concerns about Remote Internships
Now the important part: how do we tackle some of these concerns?
Here are some tips on how to cope with the challenges of remote internships:
- Choose the right program: Finding the right program is the first essential step. Don’t just look for the “fancy” jobs—look at what might be a perfect fit for you. Every job has different responsibilities, benefits, and requirements. See how you can fit into the program best, and look into matching programs for major global companies and future interns just like you.
- Take the time to plan and think: Start early and plan ahead. Keep polishing your skills and work hard in school to build up your profile. It can be helpful to continuously evaluate your own situation, both when actually landing the internship and in your individual development. In the face of competition, ask yourself what makes your experiences special. How do you stand out? Self-reflecting can help you stay prepared.
- Gather information: You should always do your own due diligence on a program you're interested in. It’s wise to gather as much information as possible, and don’t hesitate to ask for help. Communicate with your school and potential employers with questions about compensation for your work, either in pay or college credits. Start building your professional network and reach out to Global Internships to request information on different internship programs.
- Prepare to enjoy yourself: A positive attitude can turn challenges into valuable experiences. Try not to judge the obstacle on its face and see the lesson behind it. Remember that you’re not just working for the company you’re interning with—you’re also working for yourself and your own passion. Have fun with the work that you pursue and enjoy the growing process.
Get Yourselves Ready for Challenges and Fun
Again, remote internships can be challenging and take up a lot of work. Nevertheless, with the right approach and a positive attitude, you can gain valuable experience from these unique opportunities.
Keep in mind that internships are not just about improving your professional skills and adding colors to your resume—they are also about choosing your own path and having fun with your own work.