Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

Virtual Internship for a Cross-cultural Future

Q&A with Meghan: Virtual Internship in Central America
Share this
Print this
Meghan
Virtual Internship in Central America
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
I knew I'd learn about their culture through our discussions, but I thought it was respectful to take initiative and do my own research in advance.
Her thoughts on Boosting Your Career
As a future educator, I know I'll be working with families from diverse backgrounds, so it’s essential that I have an open mind and am able to integrate their values and culture into my classroom.
Her thoughts on Virtual Work Skills
I manage my schedule with a day planner, by keeping a daily “to-do” list and using phone alerts. I also keep a clean desk area and surround myself with positive messages to help me persevere throughout the day!

When and where did you complete a virtual international internship?

I’m currently volunteering as a Spanish Intern for Outreach360, a virtual impact program that connects teachers with Latin American students through English classes and Spanish discussions. I began volunteering for Outreach360 in the fall of 2020 through their fall virtual internship that lasted eight weeks, starting in October. My latest internship is a twelve-week program that lasted from late January to late April, 2021.

What made you pursue a virtual international internship?

The COVID-19 pandemic limited opportunities to travel and connect with students in-person, so I decided to pursue a virtual international internship to expand my experience working in education, to connect with international students, and to practice my Spanish skills with native speakers. Through virtual lessons and discussions, I now have the unique opportunity to gain a cross cultural perspective and connect with students from different countries. Moreover, I have the opportunity to connect with those students through language and a shared passion for learning.

I also chose to complete a virtual internship because I’m constantly pursuing opportunities to expand my experience in education and to become aware of different cultural practices and values. As a future early childhood educator, I know I’ll be working with families and children from diverse backgrounds and cultures. When building relationships with these students and families, it’s essential that I have an open mind and am able to integrate their values and culture into my classroom. As a virtual intern, I’m constantly interacting with another culture, learning with every interaction.

How did you manage your home workspace and schedule?

To manage my schedule, I plan my week with a day planner. I write down all the assignments and events occurring for the coming week, and note down my personal deadlines. For daily work, I keep a “to-do” list that tracks my daily tasks and assignments. In my online calendar, I place alerts on each event, so I’m able to prepare for each event as needed. For example, I have a weekly reminder for my virtual internship, which is set to go off a day before my internship is scheduled. This alert allows me to review the material in advance of our discussions the following day.

I currently live in an on-campus dorm room, so my home workspace is limited. To manage my space, I create a clean desk area and surround myself with positive messages that help me persevere throughout the day. I try to follow the common message of “a clean workspace equals clear mind.” I find that if my workspace is cluttered, it is more difficult to focus and I become more easily stressed. I conduct my internship sessions in a separate space in my room, which I completely clear of all distractions. When I am working with my students, I want to focus all of my attention on them and the lesson.

What steps did you take to learn about your employer's home culture? Were you able to socialize or engage in any additional activities or advising sessions that expanded the cultural learning component of your experience?

At the beginning of each internship session, I research my students’ home countries to get background information on their culture and values. Although I knew I would learn about their culture through our Spanish-language discussions, I thought it was respectful to take initiative to conduct my own research before meeting students. Before the first training session, program staff provided resources to research about the various countries represented through the student population, including information on the countries’ core values, beliefs, symbols, traditions, and official languages.

Outside of the Spanish discussions, training sessions, and background research, I was not able to socialize or engage in activities or sessions that expanded the cultural learning component of my experience. That being said, cross-cultural learning is an integral part of the virtual internship experience. Spanish conversations are guided by the students in discussions about different elements of culture, such as food, art and music. Students are encouraged to expand on and share personal experiences about the given prompts or questions that teachers provide.

Describe a situation during your virtual international internship that required you to use your cross-cultural awareness and adaptability.

During one of my recent English lessons, I noticed that several students were missing from the Zoom call. It wasn’t until one of the students noted that they were on spring vacation that I realized why so many were absent, and understood that their country was operating on a different schedule. Once it was brought to my attention, I decided to adapt my lesson to the interest of my students: their spring vacations.

Instead of focusing on reviewing basic conversational skills and vocabulary, I created a list of activities the students were planning over their vacation. I noticed an instant increase in the level of participation, excitement and engagement in the lesson. The students were clearly excited to think about their break and we had a rich and engaging discussion as a result of my decision to adapt the lesson to their experience. This lesson not only applied my cross-cultural awareness and adaptability, but it also applied one of the fundamental principles of teaching: follow the students’ lead.

Do you have advice for others hoping to pursue virtual international internships?

I recommend seriously considering it! Virtual international internships provide unique opportunities to build international connections without the expense of travel. Furthermore, these internships inherently strengthen cross-cultural perspectives, awareness and understanding. Not only will you gain experience in a particular field of study, but you will also strengthen your communication skills by interacting and working with people from another country!

For those interested in a virtual international internship, I suggest searching for opportunities that align with your career and industry interests. Specifically, search for opportunities for which you already have experience. This will increase the likelihood that you will get accepted into the position. For example, I decided to pursue an internship with Outreach360 because the position fulfilled two of my passions: language and teaching.

What are your future plans for international learning, travel and/or your career? 

I have several future plans for international learning and travel. During my undergraduate program, I plan on completing a summer study abroad program in Salamanca, Spain to improve my Spanish language skills and immerse in a new culture. While student teaching in my senior year, I also plan to complete some of the requirements abroad in Ireland. Through these study and work abroad experiences, I hope to continue to strengthen my cross-cultural perspective and build new international connections.

Although I do not have any formal plans for international travel in the near future, I am beginning to formulate plans to backpack across Europe with a group of friends in the summer of 2023 — the summer after graduation. Throughout the past year, I have looked into Fulbright programs for teaching abroad after completing my undergraduate degree, and I hope to spend a part of my teaching career abroad in a Spanish-speaking country.

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher, MyWorldAbroad

Meghan’s understanding of the importance of cross-cultural skills to her future career is impressive. We commend her! It’s true that no matter where she works, her career is likely to have global elements and she’ll be interacting with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Her commitment to cross-cultural experience, understanding and adaptability will boost Meghan’s future career potential. We also commend her for her forward-thinking planning about how she will be incorporating international travel and immersion into her future studies. We also suggest that she includes travel to a contrasting destination, for example teaching English in Asia or Eastern Europe. No doubt this experience would expand her global understanding even more. Good luck!

Meghan'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 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!
16312
- # of # Filtered -
  • 99
99
16320
Independent, International, Virtual! A UN Internship Online
1
16316
Exploring the Sights, Sounds & Tastes of Mexico City
2
16157
Zoom Zoom! A Virtual Internship with Central America
3
16312
Virtual Internship for a Cross-cultural Future
4
9756
Springtime In Spain
5
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
6
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
7
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
8
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
9
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
10
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
11
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
12
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
13
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
14
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
15
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
16
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
17
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
18
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
19
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
20
9754
Building Memories In India
21
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
22
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
23
9748
Adventure In The Alps
24
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
25
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
26
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
27
9762
American Freshman In London
28
9771
Learning To Love London
29
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
30
9773
Independent In India
31
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
32
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
33
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
34
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
35
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
36
9741
Adapting to Work In Peru
37
9784
Skill-building in Bonn
38
9753
A Season in Sweden
39
9765
Simpatico in Florence
40
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
41
9737
Passionate About Panama
42
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
43
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
44
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
45
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
46
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
47
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
48
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
49
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
50
16174
An Empowering Virtual Internship in Nicaragua
51
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
52
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
53
16161
A Bright & Friendly Cross-cultural Workspace
54
15401
From Korea to Oman: Teaching English Around the World!
55
16017
A Globally-minded Visit to Qatar
56
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
57
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
58
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
59
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
60
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
61
15333
A Literary Education in the UK
62
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
63
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
64
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
65
14088
An Eye-opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
66
15347
12 Months, 12 Countries!
67
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
68
15383
Hustle and Bustle in Vietnam
69
15405
From Daydream to Reality: Teaching Abroad
70
15327
An Open Mind & Open Arms in Spain
71
15631
An International Career in the Making: Asia, Africa and Beyond
72
15387
Bliss on a Budget in Brazil
73
15644
Discovering the World on Campus: International Skills at Home
74
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
75
9752
Giving In Guatemala
76
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
77
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
78
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern in Rome
79
9807
Fast Friendship in Korea
80
9787
A Spring Semester in London
81
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
82
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
83
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
84
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
85
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
86
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
87
10851
Tips From Tasmania
88
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
89
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
90
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
91
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
92
10157
Changing Course In China
93
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
94
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
95
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
96
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
97
10192
Out And About In Paris
98
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
99
16312
All Job Boards
463
All NGOs
1427
Au Pair Resources
39
Awards And Grants Resources
54
Business Directories
18
Canadian Federal, Provincial And Territorial Government Profiles
60
Canadian Government Resources
28
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
305
International Internships And Student Programs With Canadian Governments
31
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
489
Internship Directories And Advice
37
Internships With The UN And Other IGOs
157
Language Careers
30
Learn A Language
106
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
29
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
27
Resources For International Students Studying In Canada
17
Resources For International Students Studying In The US
46
Stories From Abroad
99
Study Abroad Resources
188
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
99
Teach English Abroad Resources
64
Tools for Travelers
73
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
78
Visas and Passports
26
Volunteer Directories And Advice
50
Women Living And Working Overseas
18
Working Holiday Resources
73