CISABROAD BLOG · April 5, 2021 · 5 Min Read
Abroad While at Home: Why a Virtual Internship is Still Impactful

Childhood Dreams Crushed…

Coming into my senior year, I was ecstatic to study abroad. Even with COVID-19 raging across the planet, I was ready to jump into another country and see what it had to offer me. Unfortunately, my school had other plans. Months before I was supposed to hop on a plane to depart on the experience I had been dreaming of having since I was child, my college decided that study abroad was no longer an option for us due to the pandemic. Although I had expected this decision, and it was nothing compared to the pain and grief others have experienced during this pandemic, it still left a pit of disappointment in my stomach.

However, a few weeks later the study abroad office at my school reached out to those of us who had been planning to go abroad this year and offered us the opportunity to complete a 6-week Virtual Global Internship through CIS Abroad, with the cost of the program paid for by my university. This was an opportunity I couldn’t pass by, especially as a senior looking to start a career after graduation. It wouldn’t be the same as going abroad but it could still be an interesting experience. The one downside I could think of was that it probably wouldn’t leave as lasting of an impact on me than if I was actually abroad. Like many of us are prone to be though, I was wrong.

My Virtual Internship Duties

My internship experience not only made a lasting impact on me, but also charted my future career path, defining and focusing it like an arrow being shot from a bow. I worked with a non-profit in Argentina that focuses on serving children and families in poverty. As an exercise physiology major, my role was acting as a Health Coach Assistant, where I learned about the organization, analyzed health data of the children, and created nutrition educational materials focused on oral hygiene for the children. This all led up to my final project of filming videos in Spanish on the oral hygiene nutritional information.

Up until this point, I wasn’t sure what I had wanted to pursue after graduation. I had played around with the idea of working in corporate fitness or public health for a couple years before applying to graduate school but this was just a working theory at the time and I wasn’t even sure what I would go to graduate school for. Once I entered this internship though, that theory transformed into a clearer picture.

A New Rush…& Career Path!

I loved the feeling of helping those in need, the eye-opening experience of working with a company in another country, and the satisfaction I gained knowing I was making a difference. Compared to the other internships and jobs I had throughout the last couple years before this, no other opportunity brought me the same rush and excitement. This was when my plans solidified. I decided to apply for programs with an MPH in Global Health, where I could keep having experiences such as this one on a larger scale.

Looking back on when I was applying to this internship experience, I didn’t know what to expect and I had no idea that it would lead me to this conclusion. However, it’s not as large of a surprise as I initially thought.

Kali with 2 other students during a virtual cultural debrief

One of the best things about this opportunity is how it’s catered to what you want to do. You’re interviewed not only on your qualifications but also on what type of an experience you want to have: the type of company, the work you want to do, the final project you’re looking to complete. So, it’s not a surprise that many people have such positive reviews leaving this opportunity. This is because even if you don’t like what you thought you wanted to do, that’s still valuable information for you moving forward, and you have the option to change what you’re doing early on if you’re not enjoying your experience.

And while the fact that this internship is virtual does make a difference in the dynamic of your experience, it doesn’t mean it won’t leave a lasting impact on you. You could be like me, pushed onto a path you didn’t even know was there

To learn more about Virtual Global Internship Opportunities, view our Virtual Internships By Career Field Page!

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