Credit: Jessica Gavrilovski
Internships can be a blessing and a curse for college students. While they give students hands-on experience, they can also be difficult to balance along with other responsibilities. With technology growing at a faster rate than ever before, it’s no wonder that the digital-since-birth Gen Z embraces virtual internships. Virtual internships are becoming more popular in today’s society and is a great alternative for those with hectic schedules who value flexibility in scheduling or those that want to intern but cannot relocate.
Digital nomads and the rise of virtual internships
So what is a virtual internship? The reality is that they are not much different from traditional internships. The primary difference is that virtual internships give students more flexibility. Students benefit by not making daily commutes and not always having to commit certain hours per week because many virtual internship opportunities are based on a per project basis.
In order to keep up with the technology of today’s world, it’s much easier to adapt with the changing digital landscape and take advantage of students’ tech-savvy skills instead of going against the grain.
According to CBS News, Gen Z’s tech habits are shaping the way they and future generations will communicate, make payments, gain social influence, and connect with both peers and employers alike. To ignore this shift would be disadvantageous to say the least.
The more experience under a student’s belt, the higher the chances of being employed. Gen Z has access to almost everything else within the palm of their hands, so who’s to say that an internship can’t also be as easily accessible as unlocking a cell phone screen? With such easy access, the chances of students finding and obtaining a virtual internship are just a few clicks away.
According to Braathe Enterprises, a professional training and coaching company, there are five key benefits for students to take on virtual internships
More flexible schedules means more flexible muscles.
All jokes aside, the fact that virtual internships allow students a more flexible schedule means students will not only have more time to devote to other activities and responsibilities (muscle flexing included), but their chances of successfully completing and committing to their internships increase, as both their productivity and their enjoyment with the company increase.
Build a broader network
Sure, students may not meet their supervisors face-to-face, but their names will certainly still stand out amongst the company. In turn, it will provide students with the foot-in-the-door experience when engaging with future employers. Knowing the right people and how to most effectively use those connections to a student’s advantage can have worthwhile success.
Work from anywhere in the world, literally.
No office? No problem. One of the best things about virtual internships is that you have the ability to work from anywhere in the world. Whether it’s working from your dorm, a local coffee shop or on a beach somewhere, you can work from various environments. Working from outside of the cubicle space can also inspire a whole new level of creativity that was previously unknown.
Conquer real-life experience
Virtual internships allow students the chance to experience what working remotely is really like and can provide them an idea on how to overcome the challenges that come with it, such as faulty internet connections or time zone differences. These are few of many obstacles that will challenge a student’s ability to problem solve and get the job done.
Self-discipline and staying motivated
Not having a supervisor directly in front of them gives students the opportunity to learn how to be self-motivators, as well as how to self-discipline and be responsible for their own actions. In many job interviews, hiring managers will ask interviewee’s if they’re capable of working both supervised and unsupervised. Being able to answer yes to both will give students an advantage in the workforce.
Interested in learning more about what kind of virtual internships are available? Start your virtual internship search. Not sure about giving up the in-office experience? Check out these expectations versus realities of internships.