CIS Abroad Blog

My Marine Biology Virtual Internship Experience

Vast Opportunities for Contribution

Before I started my virtual internship, I assumed I would be placed with an organization to complete tasks off a checklist. However, I was immediately accepted as an equal contributor to the overall progress of the lab. My ideas and work were incorporated into current essential projects even with the limited period I was able to intern with the lab.  

I was placed with a marine biology lab in New Zealand where I contributed to toxicology analysis on the endemic dolphin species of the country. As a biology major, I could explore this field of research not only as a potential field of study, but also for essential skills used in any lab work. Whether assisting with excel sheets of incident reports or completing literature reviews on marine mammal hormones, I was introduced to a wide range of projects relevant to my future work. As a perspective graduate student in a research lab, I was able to experiment with various aspects of daily research skills while also effectively contributing to ongoing projects of this lab.

The placement process through CIS Abroad allowed me to interview with many organizations for this summer program. I knew going into this internship that I would be my most efficient self in a group where I was contributing valuable progress. When I met with my supervisor for this placement, I knew within the first few minutes that I would be of genuine assistance to this lab’s overall goals. During the internship, I was continuously heard and given ample attention when explaining progress for projects and thoughts on future directions. 

Lindsay, Virtual intern in New Zealand, posing in front of her work from home setup.
My Work From Home Setup

Balancing an Internship, Job, and Family Life 

One unexpected benefit to a virtual internship was the ability to continue other aspects of my life while gaining this new experience. I had the opportunity to work both in person for another lab while working virtually in the evenings with my New Zealand placement. Thankfully with time zones, when I was leaving my job, the lab was waking up to start the day! This flexibility in scheduling and overall variety of work activities allowed me to be the most productive in all my responsibilities. Although this internship occurred virtually as a part time position, I was able to dive into new research areas while also having time to continue with my previous commitments at home. 

A Small Step in the Cultural Journey

Along with the introduction to work life, we built cultural competency surrounding the communities in New Zealand. Even without the in person learning from experience, this internship fostered cultural perspective through weekly meetings; When I'm able to travel abroad in the future, I'll have a solid background and understanding of places to visit and cultural competency when interacting with new individuals.I'm thrilled to have been given this introduction to New Zealand culture and work life where I'll use this learning experience as a step toward foreign travels. 

Learn more about virtual internship opportunities!