College of Arts and Sciences had the opportunity to catch up with UD
student Samantha “Sami” Fleischner, a sociology and organizational and
community leadership double major, who completed a virtual internship
opportunity during Summer 2020. Here’s what she had to say about the
Q: What virtual experience did you participate in during Summer 2020?
Over the summer, I was fortunate to secure the position of
International Relations Officer for Universidad Adolfo Ibanez (UAI),
which is located in Chile. My roles included taking on the proposal of a
business strategy to attract international students in North America,
specifically for the university’s short-term programs and virtual
internship opportunities. Furthermore, I was tasked with reaching out to
numerous universities located in my assigned region in order to connect
with them and discuss the opportunities of partnering with UAI.
Additionally, I supported and further developed the UAI International
Alumni Network, where I created and maintained a Facebook group to
encourage alumni to connect with UAI and each other. Lastly, I proofread
the UAI website to check for spelling or grammar errors which was
helpful for the native Spanish speakers.
Overall, my tasks not
only offered me a chance to put the knowledge I have been learning over
the course of my four years at UD into practice, but I also got a taste
of what working at an international institution entails.
Q: How did you first hear about this opportunity?
I was supposed to go abroad to Spain during the summer through a
company that helps to place college students with internship
opportunities. However, this in-person reality was unfortunately paused
COVID-19 pandemic. Although my study abroad plans were not going to pan
out, I still wanted to have some sort of experience in the field of
higher education outside of UD. Therefore, I persisted and figured out
how I could still gain valuable skills and take full advantage of
virtual learning even if this new world of working and interning would
Q: What were your day-to-day duties like in your role?
My day-to-day duties in my role included participating in weekly team
meetings with my supervisor and other full-time employees, reaching out
to alumni and potential university partners, and researching other
universities and their offering to see how they competed with UAI. In
addition to these, I worked individually on creating and implementing
different marketing plans and strategies, I offered ideas about how to
strengthen networks within the university, and managed the ongoing plans
for growth that my supervisor and his colleagues created such as the
focus on the alumni network.
Although we were all
virtual–including the full-time employees–my day-to-day duties were not
impacted, but rather, enhanced. For example, I was able to connect with
other more easily since most individuals across the world were relying
heavily on technology because of the temporary shutdowns, which made my
job a lot easier and my completion of tasks moved at a quicker pace then
they may have if I was in-person. Furthermore, I was able to
participate in a webinar to prospective students across the world
because of this advance in technology, which was an incredible
Q: What did you like most about working in a virtual environment?
In terms of the benefits of working in a virtual environment, I
appreciated the ease of connecting with others. Although nothing will
beat in-person interactions, it was easy to reach out to other employees
at UAI to schedule and set up meetings. I also really enjoyed enhancing
my communication skills since I was tasked with using multiple
platforms, including email, social media, WhatsApp and Zoom.
Furthermore, the virtual environment allowed for me to meet everyone on a
person level by connecting with them on-on-one, and even feeling more
confident and able to reach out to universities regarding partnerships.
Q: Do you have any words of encouragement to students interested in pursuing virtual opportunities such as an internship?
our world is facing uncertain times, no one knows exactly when or how
we will go back to “normal” whether that includes more virtual aspects
of work or not. Preparing for this opportunity reflected the typical job
application process and interview–editing and revising your resume,
applying to the organization and interviewing for the position. The most
important part of securing my internship was conducting preliminary
research on the university I wanted to work with, and how my skills and
talents would be of use to their organization.
Do not let the
virtual portion scare you. Regardless of the format or delivery method,
work experience is experience. I was definitely nervous as to how a
virtual internship would play out, and I was scared I would be missing
out on valuable experiences that I would have received in person, but I
learned even more and had a unique opportunity because of the virtual
nature. My internship truly was an eye-opening experience to another
culture, way of life, and a different perspective to international
education. Article by Chris Kelley.