Brian is a Marketing/Business Administrative Intern at Alphabet International Camps in Rome, Italy.
When I was sent home from my study abroad program in Rome due to COVID-19, it was first hard for me to accept the fact that I was going to have to finish the rest of the semester from my own home. Considering I felt that I had just become used to living and working abroad, one of the biggest tests for me was figuring out how to continue my internship while not being physically present. There are multiple challenges you face when interning on a virtual platform, but through my experience, I have found ways to overcome them as well.
One challenge I first faced was communicating with my supervisor and coworkers who were still in Rome. Since I no longer saw them face to face three times a week, it was crucial that we stayed on the same page regarding internship work I needed to complete and new projects I needed to start. By setting up a weekly Zoom call, I was able to keep them updated on the work I was doing and make sure that any questions I had were answered.
Another challenge when interning virtually is time management. For me, I no longer had the convenience of a schedule where I was sitting in an office doing strictly internship work at the same time very week. As a result, I had to utilize time management to make sure that I was not only getting my internship work done on time, but that I was staying on top of my classes as well. I got a whiteboard calendar and created my own schedule revolving around class times and other projects that I had. On top of this, I always made sure that I took breaks to do the things I enjoyed, like working out and talking with friends. By staying on top of your time management, you can still get all of your work done while also finding time for yourself.
A final challenge which I still face is staying focused on the tasks you are assigned in your virtual internship. As I said before, not having an office space to sit and strictly focus on internship work does not exist when working virtually, so it is crucial that you fixate your attention on tasks when you are working on them. One way to do this is to find a place in your house where you can work peacefully. Make sure your cellphone is out of sight and start getting work done. Before you know it, you will have completed a good portion of your work in record time, which you did not even think was possible.
Virtually interning does come with unique challenges. While this may be the case, a virtual internship abroad is also rewarding in itself, because it teaches you to adapt to a different type of work style. If you stay focused on your tasks and manage your time well, you will be surprised at just how productive you can really be.
Learn more about internship abroad in Rome.
Brian Mackie is a CEA Spring 2020 virtual internship student in Rome, Italy. He is currently a student at Providence College.
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