Online Doesn’t Mean Out of Touch | A Virtual Internship in Ecuador
My First Internship
At my school, I am a part of a program that allows students to work, travel, or even research during the summer. So, throughout my first year at college, I contemplated what path I wanted to take. Going abroad to maybe Greece or even Korea would be an amazing experience! On the other hand, getting real world experience in the engineering field would really help my career path… But my dilemma was fixed when I was introduced to CIS Abroad’s Virtual Global Internship program. With the help from my school, I applied and was accepted to intern virtually in Ecuador.
Putting my (Artificial) Heart Into My Work
I worked with the company RobotsCrate, located in Quito, Ecuador’s capital. During my internship, I mainly worked as biomedical engineering intern on an artificial heart project. A good portion of the work was research, but I was able to learn so much about the human heart, current artificial hearts, other transhumanistic research being done. On my own, my supervisor wanted to me come up with a way to lessen the damage to the rib cage when heart surgery is performed. My solution to that problem was a partial titanium rib cage implant. This idea was inspired from a 3D printed titanium rib cage designed for a cancer patient. Implanting a partial titanium rib cage would, in theory, decreased the need for snapped ribs to heal.
A titanium rib cage design
I designed my rib cage with the design software, SOLIDWORKS. Another feature I thought about with this was a detachable section of the left ribs in the event the artificial heart would need to be accessed again. Taking my idea as well as research I'd done on biocompatible materials, I worked with 2 other interns to create a singular artificial heart presentation. At the end of our internship, we presented our slideshow to a cardiac physiologist as well as the General Director of the Cardiology Association of Ecuador. I'd like to say I worked hard throughout my entire internship, but I think actually presenting took the most effort out of me!
One thing that surprised me while interning was how we all communicated with each other. I was expecting an exchange of emails, but we only used Whatsapp to communicate. This gave me the impression that the work ethic in Ecuador is a little more relaxed than what I know in America. There was also a lack punctuality when I was interning, it was funny to see that one time I was late to a meeting, but when I clicked the link my supervisor hadn’t even started the call! Another instance of a more relaxed work environment. What I really did enjoy about interning was the individual work I did. Much of what I did was very independent and my supervisor never really questioned my integrity, fully trusting my work. Overall, I would describe the work ethic in Ecuador to be more communal, almost familial.
In The End
I really enjoyed my virtual global internship. There were many things for me to learn and skills to improve on in just 7 weeks. I will definitely cherish my first internship for a very long time, looking back during my future career.
Hear what students, interns, and alumni have to say
BOLDLY COMMITTED to providing the best experiences abroad
Get to know your Irish classmates; you can learn about the country and culture from them. I have met people from around the world and from around America. Many of them I still stay in contact with them because we had become close friends and learned a lot from one another. These friendships would not be possible without CIS Abroad.
One aspect I enjoyed the most was the freedom that I had to be a student and visitor. My site director was the best at guiding me and always being there in any circumstance, yet I still felt like an adult.
This program changed my life in many ways, but most importantly it taught me how to be adaptable. I thoroughly enjoyed the intern mixers that allowed us to meet others in our program.
Come in with an open mind, make friends, and don't pass up an opportunity to explore. I now want to go on more adventures and feel more cultured.
Edinboro University of PA
I will forever have a respect for all cultures and people. My favorite aspect of the program was the weekend trips and weekly activities planned for the students.
University of Arkansas
The excursions included in the CIS Abroad program were amazing. The site directors chose awesome tour guides for our excursions and made it a great experience. Both the site directors and the tour guides were extremely caring and knowledgeable about their job. I felt safe at all times.
I stepped outside of my comfort zone and met so many friends while studying on the Gold Coast, which has allowed me to stay in contact with people on almost every continent. Being a marketing student, this diverse network will also benefit me on a professional level.
CIS Abroad created a comfortable and eventful atmosphere. This program opened my eyes to the world and allowed me to grow comfortable in my own skin when placed in new surroundings.
Colby Sawyer College
This experience opened my eyes to the beauty of the world and showed me how small my problems really are. It showed me that I can be whoever I want and do whatever I want and that money isn't everything. Lastly, it introduced me to my CISabroad family.
Keene State University
Going abroad with CISabroad was one of my best decisions. I really loved how CIS created a family through orientation, excursions, Facebook posts, rooming assignments, etc. There was never a moment where I felt alone or helpless. I've made friends that I'll have for the rest of my life.
University of South Carolina
This program made me realize how much I want travel, culture and adventure to be a part of my life forever.
One of the best aspects of the program was my site director, who is one of the most wonderful people I've ever met. The difference between my experience and my fellow students' experiences in other programs was very noticeable.
Loyola University Chicago
Studying abroad enhanced my Spanish-speaking skills, gave me deep friendships, and positively challenged the ways I viewed my own family, culture, and country. I’ve become a better student, sister, daughter, and friend. I can never see the world through the same lenses again. To that I am forever grateful.
Point Loma Nazarene University
This program gave me so many opportunities to learn about the Irish culture and took us on trips with locals to get the full experience. I was extremely prepared through CISabroad and was never nervous about any plans. I mostly miss the amazing people and culture of Ireland.
Boise State University
The best aspect of the program was the amazing people I met, the different culture, living in the city, and experiencing new and exciting things everyday.