What Might Surprise You about the Remote Internship Experience

If you are considering a virtual global internship, you have probably taken some time to reflect on the gaps you have in regards to your industry knowledge, your portfolio of skills, and your current abilities. This self-knowledge will really help you clarify the personal and professional goals you have for your internship experience. Sometimes, the unanticipated learning gleaned through the remote internship experience is the most surprising - and impactful.

CIS Abroad recently asked past virtual interns what they found to be the most impactful elements of their remote work experiences. Their answers may surprise you!

Learning to Deal with Ambiguity

Kevin, a computer science and business analytics double major, explained that:  

Being able to deal with ambiguity is definitely one of the most valuable lessons that this internship taught me... Though it might be confusing and intimidating at first, once I got used to it, I unexpectedly started enjoying it, as it provided me the freedom to explore all the possibilities as to how to accomplish my goals.”

Like starting college or transitioning to a new full-time job after graduation, life is filled with ambiguity. Figuring out how to navigate unfamiliar situations now, through a remote internship, will set you up for career success later!

Culture Learning, Remotely

Maddie, who interned for an organization in Ecuador expressed:

“I have gained a perspective on how intimidating and challenging it can be to work in a second language,”

She gave a presentation on her prosthetic ear design to colleagues in Spanish. She also explained that working cross-culturally gave her “the opportunity to experience new perspectives, and will influence how [she] will approach problems in future workplace environments: with the understanding that just because we are different does not mean that we do not still experience the same emotions.

While not the same as being in-country, working remotely with others from another culture is a different kind of cross-cultural experience. It will allow you to polish your intercultural communication skills and enhance your understanding of how culture and work intersect.

The Ability to Problem Solve and Work Independently

Employers want to hire people that can figure things out, think critically, and solve problems. Shreya, a finance major, found that through her internship she became “more independent and built on [her] ability to handle any problems that are thrown at [her].”

Sabrina, who is majoring in management, shared similar thoughts:

“The biggest thing this experience has taught me is that I have the abilities to do a project start to finish independently and this helped me overall feel confident.”

Interning remotely will challenge you to do the following:

  • Problem solve
  • Work independently
  • Gain confidence
  • provide you with real, concrete examples you can share with potential employers when searching for your first full-time job

Professional Skills for the Future of Work

Addy, a hotel and tourism major, summed up her virtual internship experience by stating the following:

"the one big unanticipated learning experience I came across was working efficiently remotely. I had no idea if I could successfully time manage a remote internship. However, I feel confident in working remotely now and feel like it prepared me for the future working force.”  

Likewise, Libba, a virtual intern in South Africa, commented:

“It was incredibly eye-opening
to see how the “real-world” workplace is going to be, and coming out of this internship I can confidently say that I am better prepared for that aspect of work life.”

In other words, virtual internships will help you up-skill in the following ways:

  • Enhancing your industry knowledge
  • Understanding the ins and outs of working remotely
  • learn how to manage your time and meet deadlines
  • prepare for the dynamic future of work

In conclusion, The global professional landscape is changing rapidly, with new industries and work opportunities emerging constantly. The way in which more and more of us do our work will continue to cross national boundaries, cultures, and time zones - often within a virtual environment. 

To start preparing for your professional future, check out the virtual global internship options available to you. Want to hear more about what past virtual interns have learned from their experiences? Check out their blogs they wrote during their virtual internship:


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