My name is Jessica Olson. I attend the University of Wisconsin-Stout Online and am majoring in Special Education.
I am also a Summer 2021 CEA Virtual Intern in Florence, Italy! I decided to intern with CEA because they seem so helpful and are here to help every step of the way! They also are very knowledgeable and have a great track record with their study abroad programs. With the pandemic, my plans for possibly wanting to travel and intern abroad were not possible. I did some more research through CEA and my school's study abroad programs, and found that CEA was having Virtual Global Internships for this summer – which I thought would be a great opportunity for me to be introduced to what a study abroad program would look like... just in a virtual setting! Since I am also an online student at my college, I thought this would work very well!
When I received my acceptance letter through CEA I was excited, nervous, happy, and anxious to begin my program.
I was really curious about what to expect during a virtual internship and now I can shed some light on things you can expect at the start of your internship and answer some questions that are similar to ones I had prior to the start of my internship. Here are my top 10 tips for beginning a virtual internship with CEA Study Abroad.
Get a Planner!
1. One thing to know is that there will be lots of meetings, so invest in a good planner or use a reminder app on your phone. I personally use both so I can make sure to adjust for time differences on the app and keep it in my planner to see as well!
Keep Communication Clear!
2. Another thing to expect is to be very clear about what you are looking for in your internship. I was very clear and stated I was interested in doing some teaching and curriculum creation, as well as developing lessons for students as well. My advisor was able to find the perfect fit for my company where I could do all three of those things!
3. I also advise you to be flexible! There may be times when you need to change meetings or adjust your schedule to meet the differences in time zones of your company, so make sure you are flexible with how you want to spend your time.
Make time for your coursework and yourself!
4. To add to that, also make sure you set enough time aside for your coursework and other things you need to attend to. Make it clear with your company of any days you may need off, and let them know right away!
5. When interning you also need do prepare to be very organized! Keep that planner in high use as you will need it often.
Work on your homework early!
6. Do the assignments early on! I try to get started on the assignments on Moodle as soon as they open up so I can fully understand the information and have adequate time to put in a strong effort into my assignments. This will also help you have more time for your internship!
Research, Research, Research!
7. Research the company you intern for and the country! Learn a bit about the culture and the company before you even start. That way, when they ask you questions about the company, you are already a bit familiar with it. On top of that, research the country and its culture before you have your meetings so you know what to expect.
8. The 8 weeks will go by so quickly and you want to dive right into working with the company – so work hard and do not put things off until a later date.
Questions are a good thing!
9. Ask questions! Your supervisor understands you will not know everything, so make sure to ask them questions or for clarification if you do not understand something!
10. Even though this is a virtual internship, it doesn't mean you can't have fun! Take chances, meet and get to know new people, ask questions, learn, and grow! You will love the workload even more if you go into this with a positive attitude and a thirst for knowledge/fun!
Overall, just have a great time, work hard, ask questions, and you will have a great start to your internship!
Jessica Olson is a CEA Virtual Global Intern for an organization located in Florence, Italy, during the Summer 2021 term. She is currently a student at University of Wisconsin - Stout.
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