CIS Abroad Blog

Virtual Internship FAQ: Learn about International Remote Work

Now that the entire world (it seems) has been canceled, virtual international experiences are popping up all over. You’re likely being marketed these new opportunities and have a few questions - like, what is a virtual internship even? Although it’s definitely not a substitute for a true international experience, it can be a great stepping stone. Check out our comprehensive Virtual Internship FAQs to learn more about this exciting new experience.

Jump to your question:


working from home, virtual internship FAQ

What is a global virtual internship? 

Virtual internships are internships done remotely or online - a.k.a. a “virtual” setting. As an intern working virtually, you’ll be placed with an international company, report to a supervisor abroad, work with colleagues via online platforms, and gain relevant professional experience in your field. A win-win-win-win!

What skills can I expect to gain from a virtual internship?

Remote working is becoming an increasingly relevant skill in the current workplace, with more and more companies offering (and sometimes requiring) this ability. Hone these remote working skills as you work with your international colleagues from home. As you navigate a remote work environment, we’ll be supporting you every step of the way with our Own Work Remotely module series, making sure you have the fundamentals and best practices in remote working to make the most out of your internship experience. 

On top of that, you’ll be gaining all other hard and soft skills that every international internship provides, including cross-cultural communication, problem-solving, collaboration, and field-specific knowledge- just to name a few.

And on top of that, at the end of your program, we’ll help you articulate your experience and new skills in a way to help you find your next job!

Wait a minute...How can I have an international experience without being there in person?

We know it may sound unusual at first, but we’re ensuring you build a true connection to your host organization’s country and culture in a few key ways. 

  • Our Site Directors, who call each location home, will offer a window into their culture, as well as serve as a resource for all of your country-specific questions. 
  • Before you even begin your internship, we’ll host a pre-program cultural orientation to make sure you feel comfortable and ready for your first day. 
  • Each week, attend live Cultural De-briefs with your virtual intern peers to share your experiences working across cultures in order to better understand and learn from what other virtual interns are experiencing. You’ll walk away from this experience with a holistic view of the international work culture.
  • Virtual Local Life: Some self-guided, some social opportunities with your cohort, our Virtual Local Life programming will supplement your work experience - and hopefully cement that dream for going abroad in the near future. 

Why should I do a virtual internship vs. a traditional internship?

While it’s no replacement for the transformative power of international travel (which we’ll always be champions for), the reasoning is practical and about international work readiness. A virtual internship lets you get valuable international work experience in a cost-effective and low-risk way that also fits into your summer schedule!

And remember, remote work isn’t a temporary thing - it’s the wave of the future. According to Owl Labs State of Remote Work 2019, 52% of employees around the world work from home at least once per week and 68% of global employees work from home at least once per month. You’ll be sharpening those critical remote working skills and will be able to work from anywhere you please! 

What fields are available?

You’ll have the opportunity to participate in a virtual internship via a host organization based in either Argentina or South Africa. All placements are customized, but we’re excited to offer the following career fields:

  • Business & Economics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Government & Politics
  • Hospitality, Tourism, & Event Management
  • IT & Computer Systems
  • Law
  • Marketing, Advertising, & PR
  • NGOs & Non-Profit
  • Engineering

What countries are possible?

We currently have virtual internships available in Argentina and South Africa! More locations coming soon...

What kind of work will I do?

You’ll be assigned meaningful, measurable tasks and projects. While we can’t yet say exactly what you’ll be doing (because it depends on your host company’s current needs) you can rest assured knowing that you’ll be working in your intended career field on a relevant project.

Ultimately, you’ll produce a final video, presentation, or similar deliverable for your supervisor at the end of your internship to showcase your learning and results. The only person’s coffee (or tea) you’ll be fetching is your own!

What kinds of placements are available to virtual interns?

The quickest way to browse sample virtual internship placements is by checking out each program directly: Virtual Internship in Argentina and Virtual Internship in South Africa


"that's an old resume. It should read that I 'crushed it' from 2013 to present"; Virtual Internship FAQ

Can I put a virtual internship on my resume? Is it legit work experience?

You can absolutely put a virtual internship on your resume - and we’ll even help you do it! Modern employers want to see that you’re capable of operating in a remote work environment. Even if you don’t choose to work remotely in the future, demonstrate that you have the important skills needed to be successful in a remote work setting - skills that are desired by every employer.

How will I be able to build my network through a virtual program?

You’ll have access to colleagues from around the world. You’ll be working closely with your supervisor and may have the opportunity to collaborate with international colleagues. In addition, you’ll meet regularly with the other virtual interns as part of your cohort and weekly cultural de-briefs. You’re bound to build connections as you navigate a new culture together every week.

Can I earn credit?

Credit is not available through CIS Abroad, but we’re happy to work with you to meet your university’s requirements to obtain credit if that option is available to you. You can have between 120-240 contact hours, depending on the number of hours you choose to work per week. 


"Dish, Bish" Virtual Internship FAQ Program Details

How many hours can I work?

It’s really flexible to work with your ideal summer schedule and professional goals - you’ll work between 15-30 work hours per week during the 8-week internship session, for a total of  120-240 contact hours. The number of work hours per week will vary depending on your placement.

How long will my internship last?

Session dates for the virtual internships are June 8 - August 7, 2020. Placements are based on a length of 8 weeks.

How will I communicate with my host company?

Great question - this relationship is an important part of your experience. Expect to have a weekly 1:1 “in person” meeting with your host organization supervisor to discuss project progress and performance feedback through various technology platforms like Skype or Zoom. You’re also likely to have meetings and co-working opportunities with colleagues at your host organization. If you’re not already, by summer you’ll be a pro at all these tools!

Is it paid?

Virtual Internships are not paid, but you will earn invaluable work skills!


'I gotchu dawg' Virtual Internship FAQ Support

How does training and onboarding work? 

Never completed a virtual internship? No problem! Once you have your internship placement, you’ll receive pre-program mentoring with CIS Abroad teaching assistants through online seminars. Seminar topics include:

  • Building your personal brand
  • Intercultural communication
  • Remote communication challenges
  • Navigating the world of expanding digital opportunities


Calendar, Virtual Internship FAQ Dates & Price

What’s the price of a virtual internship?

The program price is $1990, which includes:

  • CIS Abroad advising support throughout placement process and duration of internship experience
  • Support pursuing university credit (optional)
  • Pre-Departure and Post-Program seminars to set you up for success
  • Daily/weekly check-ins with host organization supervisor
  • Internship Placement Confirmation Guide, which lays out the project work and outcome of the remote internship
  • Opportunity to present end-of-program project results to supervisor and/or remote organization

What is the application deadline?

The deadline to apply for our virtual internships is Friday, May 1, 2020.


"Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy" Virtual Internship FAQ How to Apply

What’s the application process?

After completing your initial online application and submitting your $90 deposit, get ready for things to move quickly! You’ll have a Skype introduction interview with your Program Enrollment Coordinator, who’ll get to know you better and learn more about your previous work experience and goals. From there, we begin the search for the best-fit virtual internship placement for you.