Intern Insider: Navigating the Virtual Internship World with Ashley Ross

Intern Insider: Navigating the Virtual Internship World with Ashley Ross

Join Ashley Ross in “Intern Insider” as she navigates the virtual internship world, exploring its pros and cons. Discover valuable insights and practical discussion topics to help you thrive and succeed in any remote internship experience.

In this month’s Intern Insider, we are focusing on the new and upcoming experiences of remote interns through the eyes of Ashley Ross, an accomplished Instructional Design intern. Ashley has navigated the challenges and reaped the benefits of working remotely, creating impactful educational content for diverse audiences. With the job market increasingly leaning towards remote opportunities, understanding the advantages and drawbacks of virtual internships has never been more crucial.

Getting Started with Virtual Internships

The rise of the virtual internship world has transformed the traditional internship experience, driven by advancements in technology and the increasing prevalence of remote work. This shift allows companies to tap into a global talent pool, offering opportunities to students and professionals regardless of their geographical constraints. Virtual internships provide flexibility and accessibility, making it easier for individuals to gain valuable work experience and develop essential skills from the comfort of their homes. As remote work becomes more mainstream, the virtual internship world is poised to become a key component of career development strategies.

This resource will be invaluable as we delve into the experiences of onboarding and embracing new opportunities. For instance, Ashley Ross, who holds a master’s degree in Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies from Florida State University, joined RELI Group’s internship program as an Instructional Design Intern. She describes her initial impression of RELI Group as “great,” noting the genuine interest in matching candidates with the right positions. Despite the challenges of remote work, Ashley felt welcome during the onboarding process and received the guidance and resources needed to contribute effectively to her team.

Ashley’s experience is particularly noteworthy since the virtual internship world often lacks the personal connection between team members. In the following paragraphs, we will examine why her experience was different and discuss strategies for ensuring a seamless transition for interns.

Pros of Virtual Internships

Flexibility and Convenience

The virtual internship world offers significant advantages, particularly in terms of flexibility and convenience. Interns can work from any location, eliminating the need for commuting and allowing them to better balance their professional and personal lives. This flexibility also enables interns to manage their own schedules, making it easier to integrate work with other commitments such as classes or part-time jobs.

RELI Group demonstrates a strong commitment to accommodating interns’ needs by allowing them to plan their own schedules, ensuring they don’t become overwhelmed. For example, Ashley noted, “Another great feature of RELI Group is the understanding and compassion for work/life balance. My project manager respected my schedule to ensure I could complete tasks and projects without feeling overwhelmed.” Internships are meant to be a learning experience, not only in terms of job skills but also in developing effective time management and creating a balanced work schedule. This approach helps interns gain practical insights into managing their workload while maintaining a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.

Access to Global Opportunities

The virtual internship world provides unparalleled access to global opportunities, allowing individuals to work with companies across different regions and countries. This exposure to diverse cultures and business practices enriches the internship experience, broadening interns’ perspectives and enhancing their adaptability in a globalized job market. By collaborating with international teams, interns can develop a deeper understanding of cross-cultural communication, gain insights into various market dynamics and learn from seasoned and knowledgeable experts in their field.

When asked about her remote work experience, Ashley expressed gratitude for her role as an instructional designer, stating that it’s inherently suited for remote work due to the extensive computer time and use of design software. She also emphasized the collaborative nature of instructional design, noting that RELI Group’s culture facilitates seamless cooperation across departments and projects. Working with experts from different regions enables her to learn from their diverse expertise.

Skill Development

Engaging in the virtual internship world presents a unique opportunity for skill development and gaining proficiency with digital tools and platforms. As interns navigate remote work environments, they are exposed to a diverse array of online communication, collaboration and project management tools.

One of Ashley’s most challenging and proudest moments occurred when she collaborated closely with RELI Group’s project managers and subject matter experts (SMEs) to construct modules that embodied the company’s commitment to delivering innovative solutions. This collaborative endeavor took place remotely, with team members dispersed across the country. Throughout this process, Ashley gained invaluable experience in utilizing tools for designing training modules and operating within strict time constraints alongside her team. Despite the remote setting, she was able to cultivate real skill development that she can readily apply in a professional work environment.

This commitment to providing meaningful and hands-on experiences for interns reflects RELI Group’s dedication to providing interns with increased talent and growth within the virtual internship world. By actively involving interns in projects that align with the company’s vision and goals, RELI Group demonstrates its commitment to investing in the development of future professionals. Furthermore, RELI Group ensures that interns like Ashley have the opportunity to thrive and contribute effectively to the team, regardless of their geographical location.

Cons of Virtual Internships  

Lack of Social Interaction

The virtual internship world often lacks social interaction and in-person networking opportunities, impacting interns’ mental health and motivation. The absence of daily office interactions and face-to-face networking can lead to feelings of isolation, reduced motivation and heightened stress levels among interns.

However, with effective planning and management, remote work can decrease feelings of isolation, boost motivation and reduce stress levels. By implementing regular weekly meetings, encouraging intern involvement in team activities and providing opportunities to change scenery, such as working from a public coffee shop. These tactics can all contribute to a more engaging and supportive remote work environment. At RELI Group, Ashley mentioned her initial concerns about isolation but noted that she hasn’t experienced it during her time here, highlighting the company’s proactive efforts to fostering connection and engagement among remote team members.

Challenges in Communication

Communication challenges, including miscommunication and delays in feedback, are common hurdles faced in the virtual internship world. Without the benefit of face-to-face interaction, conveying messages effectively and ensuring mutual understanding can be more difficult. Miscommunication may arise due to differences in communication styles, time zone discrepancies or technical issues with communication tools. Additionally, delays in feedback can hinder interns’ progress and lead to frustration. Overcoming these challenges requires clear communication protocols, proactive efforts to address issues and ensuring feedback in a timely manner.

With this in mind, interns at RELI Group are provided with opportunities to have one-on-one meetings with managers and team members. This approach fosters an environment where team members prioritize each other’s needs, contributing to a workplace culture centered on proactive collaboration and effective communication. Such initiatives ensure that interns feel supported and empowered to excel in their roles, while also fostering a sense of mutual respect within the team.

Technical Issues

Technical issues and internet connectivity problems frequently disrupt workflow and productivity in the virtual internship world. Interns must develop the skills to independently manage these challenges, becoming adept at troubleshooting and finding alternative solutions. Ashley shared her experience with technical difficulties at work, noting, “Weather sometimes makes working remotely a bit of a challenge during a bad storm or extreme weather patterns.” Despite this, having a supportive team and a robust IT support system can help navigate through such trials. These resources provide crucial assistance in resolving issues promptly and ensuring work continuity during challenging circumstances.

Balancing the Pros and Cons

Balancing the pros and cons of the virtual internship world involves weighing the benefits, like flexibility and global opportunities, against challenges such as limited social interaction and technical issues. Yet, as demonstrated by RELI Group’s approach, it’s feasible to tip the scale in favor of the positives with proactive management and accountability among team members. Ashley’s perspective reinforces this, stating, “The pros significantly outweigh the cons of working remotely, and the freedom to expand my career footprint outside of a geographical radius has furthered my professional and personal experiences.” This illustrates how with careful management and a supportive environment, the advantages of virtual internships can far outweigh any drawbacks, ultimately enhancing both professional growth and personal development.

Discover More Internship Opportunities with RELI Group!

Join us in embracing the virtual internship world, essential for personal and professional growth. For more insider tips and insights, check out our other Intern Insider blogs today and dive deeper into our internship opportunities by visiting our careers page for more information. Your engagement and interest drives our success, and we can’t wait to connect with you further!