My journey to a virtual internship working in Argentina from home in starts with my decision to move away from home to go to college. I’ve always known I wanted to see different parts of the world, so I started with making the move to Alabama from New York.
This move took me out of my comfort zone in the best way possible. I was exposed to different lifestyles and people that made me try new things and travel to different states.
I started the spring semester of my junior year planning a study abroad trip in the summer with my best friend. We were accepted for a session in Florence and couldn’t have been more excited. Unfortunately, COVID-19 canceled our plans and I thought my opportunity to learn about new cultures and gaining life experience in international business was over.
Weeks after the cancellation of my study abroad trip, I received an email about CIS Abroad’s virtual internship opportunities and I thought it could be a great way to spend quarantine.
As a college student about to be a senior, I needed to gain experience to figure out what I want to do after I graduated. I immediately asked for more information and started the application process for a Virtual Global Internship in Argentina. I never imagined that after two interviews they would be able to match me with the best internship placement, curated just for me! And working in Argentina from home ended up being the absolute best!
Going into a virtual internship, I initially didn’t know what to expect because I didn’t know anyone that had done one before. I wanted to get the most out of this experience, so I set goals for myself.
My goals included having personal growth in confidence, communication skills, and independence. Professionally, I wanted to improve on my networking abilities as well as knowing if international business is the right field for me.
The only worry I had was that I wouldn’t get an understanding of the culture in Argentina, but I was wrong.
I was placed to intern at Camping, which is an outdoor pop-up restaurant with locations in Buenos Aires and Barcelona that has live music and a breezy campsite vibe.
I was given the position as a project manager to re-certify Camping as a B Corp. B Corps have become a global movement of people using their business as a force of good. I was given the amazing opportunity to complete a B Corp recertification process and to come up with projects to improve Camping for the future.
Here’s my work space!
I was introduced to the supervisor Belén at B Lab, who helped me with any questions I had about what being certified as a B Corp meant. Gabi was my supervisor at Camping, who assisted me through the entire process and helped me with everything I worked on when I needed it.
I was given the opportunity to work independently and creatively on projects to improve Camping’s social and environmental impact. Some of my projects included a plan to switch to renewable energy and staff volunteer programs.
Finding out from this virtual internship in Argentina that I could successfully re-certify a company as a B Corp and come up with potential projects independently boosted my confidence in my work and communication skills!
Culture Debriefs and Class Sessions
Part of my virtual internship in Argentina was to have two weekly meetings with CIS abroad staff to improve my professional skills and get an understanding of Argentinean culture.
Internship Seminar Series
The weekly class sessions with Dr. Jennifer Engel (CIS Abroad VP of Academic Affairs) gave me an understanding of my self-brand and how I can present myself in the workplace and online. They also helped me to understand intercultural leadership and be able to reflect on my experience to get the most out of my internship.
These class sessions helped me dig deep into my strengths and weaknesses, as well as improving my creating a presence online. I was able to meet and talk to other students in virtual internships who were going through the same experience as me. I was comforted to know that we had a lot of the same challenges to face, like differences in time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences. And that we could tackle them together.
Weekly Cultural Debriefs
Marina, CIS Abroad’s Site Director in Argentina, was my cultural debrief teacher who helped me get a feel of Argentina culture. I learned about the history, food, music, movies, traditions, and Argentinean business culture to help me succeed at working from home in Argentina. During these meetings, I felt a sense of what Argentina culture is about. I enjoyed her classes weekly learning more about Argentina and hope to visit one day!
Reflecting on my Experience
Like many other individuals, I started my internship not knowing what it would be like to work from home virtually.
But doing an internship in Argentina from home was one of the best experiences I have ever had! I was given the opportunity to learn about new cultures, have professional and personal growth from my home. I was able to set up my computer anywhere, work around my pets, my family, and become a better version of my self.
Hanging out with my cat while I’m working!
During my last meeting with my supervisor, they offered me a position at Camping if I ever wanted to work in Barcelona and the supervisor of B Lab offered to write me a recommendation letter if I was interested in working at a B Lab which has multiple locations in the United States as well.
It meant the world to me to have been given these opportunities by Belén and Gabi, and that they appreciated my hard work enough to want to work with me again. I have grown my professional network out of the country to Buenos Aires and Barcelona during this experience and know that I made lifelong connections and could rely on the people I met in the future.
A big “Thank You” to everyone who supported me!
All of these people saw potential in me and helped me grow, which I am so thankful for!
- Thank you Josephina (on-the-ground staff in Buenos Aires) for finding me the perfect internship placement and checking on my progress.
- Thank you, Neil and Jen (course instructors for the internship seminar series), for helping me expand my knowledge on personal and professional growth to better myself.
- Thank you Marina and Uri (CIS Abroad local staff in Argentina) for giving me an understanding of the culture in Argentina.
- Thank you Belén (B Lab staff) for helping me during the process and possibly in the future with a job recommendation.
- Lastly, thank you to my supervisor, Gabi, for being there every step of the way to help me. You gave me an understanding of business and business culture in Buenos Aires and Barcelona. Most importantly, thank you for giving me independence and an outlet to express my creativity in upcoming projects for Camping. You helped me realize that I love being a project manager!
My name is Sabrina Savastano and I am from Long Island, New York. I go to college at the University of Alabama majoring in management with a focus in entrepreneurship and minoring in internal business. I interned abroad virtually in Argentina for the Summer of 2020.