Part One in Our Virtual Internship Experience Series:
Nancy, Class of 2022, is interning virtually with 3D Group based in Finland this summer. She sat down with us recently to answer some of our questions on what her experience has been like so far.
How has your virtual internship evolved since you first started? At the beginning, I didn’t know what to expect so I kind of took things day-by-day. Now, it’s been about a month, so I have more of a routine, I know what to do, and I’m more comfortable with both my tasks and the people at the company. Plus, I’ve been able to ask for work that aligns with my interests more.
How do you make the most of your internship? I’m being more proactive and doing work that relates more closely to my future career interests – I asked to work more with the marketing/pr team, so now I’m managing the social media and doing outreach to potential partners. I’m exercising a lot of the skills I practiced in class in a real-life setting, which is both really cool and really nerve-wracking.
How do you develop a good working relationship with your supervisor? We have one-on-one check-ins every other week, which has helped us get to know each other a bit better. My supervisor is really kind and really makes an effort to make sure that I feel comfortable asking for tasks that I want to do or things that I want to change. It helps that the Slack server is pretty casual – most people use emojis!
What do you do to stand out (in a good way) from the other interns? I just try to do my best at whatever tasks I have and to be professional, like responding to messages quickly and being on time to meetings. The other intern and I work in different areas and with different people, so I’m not sure how hard it is to stand out, but I just aim to be satisfied with my work and to communicate well with the people I work with.
If you’ve done a previous in-person internship, how does your virtual internship compare to in-person one? I haven’t done an in-person internship, but I’ve had a couple of part-time jobs before. The communication is really different when you have to send a Slack message and wait essentially a day for an answer since we’re in different parts of the world (compared to being able to walk five feet to my supervisor’s office), and it’s made me a lot better at organizing my work and prioritizing tasks. I have to have more self-regulation when I’m working at home and am constantly tempted to take a break and do literally anything other than work, but it’s nice to be able to work on my own schedule and I do get my work done. I always feel more productive in an office/work setting, though, and it’s kind of lonely working by yourself at home compared to with other people in an office. I definitely felt more connected to other people when I was physically working alongside them, but my supervisor does a good job of checking in with us and I’ve gotten over my hesitation to send Slack messages to the full-time employees.
What advice would you give to others who are thinking about virtual internships in the future? It’s definitely something you should try out! There are a lot of companies nowadays that offer remote work or are 100% remote, and it’s a work style that really suits certain people. It’s a great way to explore parts of your own work style and to work on things like self-control and communication, and also to meet different people from around the world. And internships are meant to help you learn about yourself, too, so if you try it out and don’t like it, you can say that you tried it and that you know more about what you prefer when you’re searching for a full-time job.
Anything else you want to share about the experience? Working with an international company is really cool – the employees are from all over the world and I wouldn’t have had this experience if I wasn’t doing this remote internship. It’s also nice to be productive while staying at home during COVID, though I wish the situation was better. Overall, I’m learning a lot and really enjoying it!
Thank you, Nancy! If you have a virtual internship experience that you would like to share, let us know. For for information on what the virtual internship experience is like, check out part two in our series.
Interested in finding a virtual internship of your own? Visit our guide to virtual internships for details.
Already have a virtual internship and looking for more tips? Check out Five Tips for Succeeding at Your Virtual Internship.
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