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Study Abroad Blog

How to Stand Out as a Virtual Intern

Internships are a critical piece of many college programs, which is why I was thrilled to have the extraordinary opportunity to study and intern in Prague. However, when I learned that the recent global pandemic would be cutting my time in the the Czech Republic short, I was very relieved that my internship would continue remotely.  
Virtual internships provide a unique experience, strengthening digital communication, technology and time management skills. Nevertheless, this being my first time navigating an entirely online work environment, I was understandably apprehensive and anxious about completing my internship without being physically present.  
Although I can’t play ping-pong with my coworkers anymore, my virtual internship abroad has given me valuable work experience that has allowed me to grow as a professional. If you’re considering a virtual internship, I’ve gathered through personal experience, four surefire ways to stand out to your employer and ace your remote internship.  
With the help of passion and stable WiFi, you’re well on your way to rocking your first virtual internship abroad. 

1. Stay Connected to Your Team 

Communication is the key to success in any internship, but especially for those that are virtual. One of the most valuable opportunities for professional growth is networking with colleagues and truly integrating into company culture.  
If you’re looking to stand out as an intern, the first step is staying connected with your team. Whether it’s through communication channels such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, it’s important to make an effort to get to know coworkers and be accessible to them.  
Another great tip is to always show up to virtual meeting with professional attire (from the waist up, at least) and the camera on so that others can put a face to a name. A great way to make a positive impact is to speak up during meetings. If you have a good idea, be sure to share it. 


2. Take Initiative

During hectic times, interns tend to fall onto the backburner as others are occupied with a heavy workload. Despite how it may seem, this is a fantastic opportunity to be proactive and take initiative.  

If colleagues are overwhelmed, offer to take on a few extra projects to ease their stress. Of course, only bite off as much as you can chew, but demonstrating a strong work ethic can leave a lasting impression.  
The goal of an internship is to learn, so make sure to take advantage of all the unique opportunities available in a virtual internship.  

3. Ask for Feedback

As an intern, it’s always a good idea to ask about your work performance. Both managers and colleagues can assist your professional growth by evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, and thus giving advice on what can be done better. 
Asking for constructive feedback is another way of showing your interest in the job and underlines your eagerness to succeed. In a virtual internship, requesting feedback can be done via email, Zoom or in a meeting if appropriate.  
Keep in mind that even the most experienced interns can learn from critiques. What truly makes an intern stand out is their ability to learn and willingness to make changes. 


4. Always do your best

Being an intern is hard work! Whether it’s balancing time management or adjusting to remote-style working, being a virtual intern requires a high level of self-motivation. With that being said, in order to get the most out of an online internship you must be willing to give it your all.  
The key to setting yourself apart from the crowd is to let your work speak for itself. Consistently turning in high-quality work on time lets your manager know that you truly care about your spot in the company and are an asset to the team.  
It’s also crucial to stay on your manager’s radar by scheduling weekly one-on-ones or routinely updating them on the status of your workload. Taking these extra steps to keep your team informed is not only a great opportunity to highlight your work ethic, but keep you on in the forefront of your manager’s mind when the time comes to ask for a recommendation.  
While virtual internships do come with their fair share of drawbacks, they’re an exceptional way to gain valuable résumé experience, increase your global awareness, and set yourself up for success in a world where working remotely is becoming the new norm.

Taylor Christie is a CEA Spring 2020 student studying and interning abroad in Prague, Czech Republic. She is currently a student at Baylor University.

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