A big part of the college experience involves obtaining and completing an internship. After all, in order to become successful, one must not only obtain a quality education but also practical experience. That is why internships provide so much value for the average student.

Internships allow students to gain valid skills and work experience while continuing their educational pursuits. With the increasing costs of college, however, sometimes it is not feasible or realistic to do an internship in another state or country.

It sometimes is not even feasible to take an internship within one’s own state as it may be less efficient to take time away from studying to do additional work.

Many college students not only face debt while in school today, but they also have to work in order to pay for schooling, transportation, books, food, and other needs. To add additional commute times and workloads that cut into their paid work can have a negative and stressful consequence. The question must be asked, how do we handle this effectively?

Virtual Internships Allow Students to Balance More

No one is arguing against internships being invaluable, but there needs to be an argument made for how educational institutions and students go about getting and completing internships. Online education, distance learning, correspondence coursework, and virtual internships have long been considered taboo and illegitimate ways of gaining a quality education or experience, but that attitude is changing.

The great thing about a virtual internship is that a person can engage in one and still be able to make time for family, not having to worry about some stresses that a normal internship may contribute.

Virtual interns can prioritize their schooling, juggle their part or full-time jobs better, and enjoy feeling less stressed out about what is required of them.

Students are also often hammered with accusations that they do not know what they want to do with their lives, when many of them have not entered the workforce or have very limited workforce experience. Virtual internships allow these same students to figure out where their place is not only in the educational world, but also in the professional world.

Opportunities Are Really Out There

Some great online internship offerings are in the following areas: social networking, marketing, promotions, advertising, fundraising, poverty advocacy, victim advocacy, legal investigation, investment banking, freelance writing, and blogging. That is just a short list. Some internships offer credit, some offer pay, some offer work experience, and others offer combinations of those options. These internships are not just limited to everyday companies.

Even government agencies on jumping on the virtual internship bandwagon. For instance, for individuals wanting to become future diplomats or foreign service officers, the US Department of State has some amazing opportunities!

One of those opportunities is for a Virtual Student Foreign Service eIntern, in which students are expected to volunteer a minimum of ten hours a week on projects and other important work to promote US diplomacy.

Hiring usually takes place anywhere from mid to late July for the position, and applicants may be asked for an interview, to provide a few writing samples, or other examples of quality work. That internship would most certainly look fantastic on any resume!

Some critics argue there are fewer quality online internships available and that there are risks associated with working or interning online. Naturally, those concerns are completely valid. That does not mean, however, such criticisms are necessarily always true. In the early years of the internet, people were most definitely less internet savvy, falling prey to e-mail and online scams. Individuals should most certainly and often do take necessary precautions to protect their online reputations.

Do Your Research and Always Be Wary of Online Opportunities

 

Now, everyone can do a quick search on each institution they might want to work for to see what other people are saying about it and what the jobs available are really like. There are also online safety guides available to protect ones identity and sensitive information, which ought to be consulted any time a person considers an online position.

Individuals should navigate safe and well-known websites when considering a virtual internship, such as Internships.com and InternMatch. Potential virtual interns should also get contracts in writing for their work, whether paid or unpaid.

Unlike in a regular job, an internship allows a person to gain work experience in fields they might have been able to under normal circumstances. With virtual internships gaining ground, students and non-students alike can have it all. Even adults looking to experiment in new fields, or considering going back to school can try out additional fields in this manner before deciding to take the dive and take on potential student loan debt.

There is power in that flexibility, and that is why virtual internships are going to continue to expand and gain more credibility. They are here to stay.