Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

Making the Most of Lockdown with a Virtual Internship

Q&A with María: Virtual Internship in Japan
Share this
Print this
María
Virtual Internship in Japan
Her thoughts on Virtual Work Skills
Defining well-established objectives before I even started the placement really helped me.
Her thoughts on The Right Attitude
Instead of sitting at home in lockdown doing nothing, I wanted to use my summer vacations to build professional experience and connect with people abroad.
Her thoughts on Personal Growth
This virtual internship improved my confidence, communication skills, productivity, independent initiative and self-discipline.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
Ask your managers in advance about the specific apps and platforms you'll be using during your virtual internship. This way you can get familiar with them.

I'm a student at the Tecnológico de Monterrey in Mexico, majoring in biotechnology. Even though the Covid-19 pandemic has made pursuing professional international experiences much more difficult, I decided I wouldn’t let it stop me! Instead of sitting at home in lockdown doing nothing, I wanted to use my summer vacations to build professional experience and connect with people abroad. We couldn’t travel of course, so instead I chose to apply for a virtual international program. After some research, I chose a six-week internship program with a company in Japan, managed via Absolute Internship.

I knew I wanted to work with a Japanese firm because, pre-pandemic, I’d had the objective of traveling to Japan, improving my Japanese and getting to understand their work culture. Because of my prior interest, I already had some knowledge about different parts of the culture, such as music, food and entertainment. Plus, I had just completed a year-long online study abroad course with a school in Osaka via an online program (also during Covid-19), which boosted my commitment to interning with a Japanese company in particular.

I worked with Mani & Co, a sustainable advisory company that works to establish clean energy strategies and promote sustainable economic growth within companies. Like I said, I study biotechnology (with a focus on biomolecular science), which has many applications in different global sectors, such as health, agriculture, food and other industries. My personal passion is for environment, agriculture and sustainability, which is why I wanted to work with a company focusing on sustainable processes.

I watched some videos and documentaries before my application, in particular about the work culture and gender differences in the workplace. This research uncovered a few trends that I thought were alarming initially, but once I started the placement process, I felt a lot better and more motivated.

Once my internship started, I figured out that the best way to manage my work would be to have well-established objectives and then plan how I’d tackle the specifics before even starting the internship. Defining your strengths and weaknesses in advance can help you assess which tasks will take more effort for you, and you can plan accordingly. I found it easiest to plan my work week-by-week, then at the start of each week, conduct a day-by-day breakdown, finally followed by an hourly breakdown for each day. Of course, you have to stay adaptable and prepared for unexpected challenges too, but that’s why it’s important to track and plan your work, and integrate any unexpected changes into your future work plans.

I must say that the main challenge I faced while working remotely was the lack of socialization with interns and colleagues. The time difference made it challenging, and the interest in cross-cultural socializing wasn't always mutual. I learned that the best way to overcome this is by being proactive and making the first move to suggest a social meetup. You could also mention your specific interest in your colleagues’ home culture and let them know how they might help you learn. These steps can help you make a better connection and boost the networking component of your internship.

Language differences were certainly a challenge. It was hard to fully express myself, ask questions in the way I needed to, and answer questions fully. I tried to be fully prepared before every meeting to counteract the language barrier. I recommend asking practical questions about apps, platforms and workflow before starting the internship. In my case, we worked mainly on Zoom and Slack as opposed to e-mail. Slack is useful and popular for managers because it’s easy to track a conversation, give quick feedback and make arrangements or assign tasks.

Completing a virtual internship developed my international work experience, and I really improved my soft skills in particular. I now know how to organize myself and get work done on time or even before a deadline. I improved my confidence, communication skills, productivity and independent initiative during the internship. Finally, I really improved my self-discipline in terms of my Japanese studies and other extra courses I was taking during the internship. Being outside an office and having to manage your own schedule is an important skill set to have these days.

This virtual internship helped me grow in ways that I didn’t imagine an online program could! I felt happy and motivated to give it my all, and I feel better prepared for my professional future. Lastly, this six-week program helped me further define my intended specialization in my field, and gave me the motivation to study or work in Japan someday very soon.

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher, MyWorldAbroad

María’s go-getter attitude and commitment to seeking out professional international experiences during the pandemic should serve as an inspiration to every globally minded student. She clearly went above and beyond, boosting her language skills, researching general culture as well as Japanese business culture, and reaching out to foreign colleagues to maximize her cross-cultural learning. We commend her for taking these steps, especially during this challenging time. Her story demonstrates that virtual international experiences have huge value, and can boost your knowledge and skills, as well as expanding your professional networks. We encourage Maria to travel to Japan for her next placement, and experience full cultural immersion. We also recommend that she pursues a study, volunteer or internship experience in a different region of the world, so that she can compare and contrast cultural experiences. Good luck!

María's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
10 Core Global Competencies
Take control of your career with this ESSENTIAL model!
Virtual Internships in 2021!
Remote work is the way of the future! Start planning YOUR virtual international internship now.
The 1-Year & 4-Year Global Mindset Maps!
Don't miss your blueprint for success! Set goals & take action to build the Global You.
The Global You
What skills, knowledge and experiences can change your life? Find out with this NEW model!
Quizzes & Scorecard
Take these simple quizzes to assess your international skills, experiences & job search readiness!
The Culture Tree
EXPLORE the three levels of culture!
16382
- # of # Filtered -
  • 102
102
16382
Making the Most of Lockdown with a Virtual Internship
1
16392
Building International Career Skills Online
2
16387
An Epic Internship in Malaysia
3
16312
Virtual Internship for a Cross-cultural Future
4
16320
Independent, International, Virtual! A UN Internship Online
5
16316
Exploring the Sights, Sounds & Tastes of Mexico City
6
16157
Zoom Zoom! A Virtual Internship with Central America
7
9756
Springtime In Spain
8
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
9
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
10
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
11
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
12
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
13
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
14
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
15
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
16
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
17
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
18
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
19
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
20
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
21
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
22
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
23
9754
Building Memories In India
24
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
25
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
26
9748
Adventure In The Alps
27
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
28
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
29
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
30
9762
American Freshman In London
31
9771
Learning To Love London
32
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
33
9773
Independent In India
34
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
35
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
36
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
37
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
38
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
39
9741
Adapting to Work In Peru
40
9784
Skill-building in Bonn
41
9753
A Season in Sweden
42
9765
Simpatico in Florence
43
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
44
9737
Passionate About Panama
45
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
46
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
47
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
48
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
49
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
50
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
51
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
52
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
53
16174
An Empowering Virtual Internship in Nicaragua
54
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
55
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
56
16161
A Bright & Friendly Cross-cultural Workspace
57
15401
From Korea to Oman: Teaching English Around the World!
58
16017
A Globally-minded Visit to Qatar
59
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
60
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
61
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
62
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
63
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
64
15333
A Literary Education in the UK
65
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
66
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
67
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
68
14088
An Eye-opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
69
15347
12 Months, 12 Countries!
70
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
71
15405
From Daydream to Reality: Teaching Abroad
72
15383
Hustle and Bustle in Vietnam
73
15327
An Open Mind & Open Arms in Spain
74
15387
Bliss on a Budget in Brazil
75
15631
An International Career in the Making: Asia, Africa and Beyond
76
15644
Discovering the World on Campus: International Skills at Home
77
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
78
9752
Giving In Guatemala
79
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
80
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
81
9807
Fast Friendship in Korea
82
9787
A Spring Semester in London
83
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern in Rome
84
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
85
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
86
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
87
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
88
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
89
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
90
10851
Tips From Tasmania
91
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
92
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
93
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
94
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
95
10157
Changing Course In China
96
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
97
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
98
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
99
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
100
10192
Out And About In Paris
101
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
102
16382
All Job Boards
462
All NGOs
1428
Au Pair Resources
39
Awards And Grants Resources
53
Business Directories
18
Canadian Federal, Provincial And Territorial Government Profiles
60
Canadian Government Resources
27
Children And Families Abroad
16
Consulting, Economic And Finance Job Boards
63
Country Guides
70
Cross-cultural Skills
80
Engineering Job Boards
59
Engineering Resources
81
Expatriate Networking Sites
32
Foreign Students Working in the US
9
Freelancing Abroad
27
General Job Search Books
15
Global Education And Social Action
45
Health And Medicine Job Boards
49
Health Career Resources
67
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
43
International Development Career Resources
75
International Internship Organizations
309
International Internships And Student Programs With Canadian Governments
35
International Internships With The US Government
37
International Job Hunting Resources
14
International Law Careers Resources
113
International Law Job Boards
26
International Studies In The US And Canada
11
International Trade Resources
25
International Volunteer Organizations
492
Internship Directories And Advice
37
Internships With The UN And Other IGOs
157
Language Careers
30
Learn A Language
108
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
28
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
31
Loans for Studying Abroad
18
Low-cost Travel
63
NGO Directories
33
NGO Job Boards
47
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
102
Relocating Abroad
26
Resources For International Students Studying In Canada
17
Resources For International Students Studying In The US
46
Stories From Abroad
102
Study Abroad Resources
185
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
99
Teach English Abroad Resources
64
Tools for Travelers
72
Top International Blogs & Podcasts
85
Travel Health And Safety
39
UN and Other IGOs
269
UN And Other IGOs Job Boards
26
UN And Other IGOs Resources
73
US Government Profiles
76
US Government Resources
36
Virtual International Internship Organizations
88
Visas and Passports
26
Volunteer Directories And Advice
50
Women Living And Working Overseas
18
Working Holiday Resources
73