With the tough economy and competitive job market, more and more high school and college students are turning to internships to get that extra experience. Internships are also a great way to network and make connections with different people. There are two types of internships: physical (on location) and virtual (work from home). But which type is better or are they both equally beneficial?
Pro: They are often more flexible
Con: There sometimes is not as many mentoring or networking opportunities
Current college students with internship experience were asked about their views on virtual internships and whether they were any better or worse than physical internships. The overwhelming response was that virtual interns’ schedules are generally more flexible- so flexible that they often have time for more than one internship. However, at the same time because virtual interns do not meet in person with their supervisors, communication can be more of a problem and it can be difficult to network with coworkers.
Some responses from college students:
“Virtual internships give you more independence and not as much mentoring as on location internships. For virtual internships you also have to organize your time wisely and respectively and wait for online advice from your supervisors. It is very doable and rewarding.” Laura Werthmann
“Virtual internships give you that freedom to have more than one internship or job at a time. For example, I’m working full time for a campaign, but I’m also a virtual intern for Latinitas and the Independent Voter Network. Both virtual and physical internships are just as rewarding though- you just have to balance your time wisely” Gabriella Marie Landeros
“I am currently doing three different virtual internships. This is my first time doing virtual internships and I admit I actually do like virtual internships over physical location internships. Sometimes it depends on where your internship will take place, but since I have had several other internships where I had to physically go to work I enjoy working from home and school. The only down part about virtual internships is that you have to schedule the time to sit down and do all your duties. I work on-campus part-time in a department and go to school full-time, but once I am done with all my work duties and school work, I dedicate the rest of time to my virtual internships. We communicate with the entire team and the bosses via emails, Skype, phone and text.” Shanette D. Buford-Brazzell
“Virtual internship do provide a little of independence and freedom, but they also force you to learn how to communicate a lot better. For example, without the communication skills you need for a virtual internship, it would be really hard to pitch article ideas and suggestions without having an interactive, personal conversation. They are incredibly beneficial for anyone wanting to learn how to better their personal skills in whatever work they may be pursuing, and also in instilling independence and self-guidance as well as strong communication skills.” Mary Ruiz, high school student.
Pro: There is more direction and it is often easier to network
Con: There is not as much flexibility
Although physical internships are not as flexible as virtual internships and often do require a set weekly schedule (and transportation!), there are usually more opportunities to make new connections and to develop more of a relationship with supervisors and coworkers. Plus, you can get more of a feel for the work environment to see if that career path is right for you!
Responses on physical internships:
“Physical internships are great because you get to meet new people, and network easier, and become a little more involved in behind the scenes action.” Laura Werthmann, St. Edwards University graduate
“I had a virtual internship last year that I learned from, but definitely would have gotten more out of it had it been at a physical location…On the other hand, I’m currently a virtual intern at iAcquire, an SEO company that I worked at physically in NYC this summer. This experience has been just as rewarding as when I was in the office because…I’m doing a lot of independent work. However, this is possible because I started in the office and was taught a lot in person for the first few weeks of my internship before I was able to do everything on my own without having to consult with people. So overall I would definitely say that having an internship in a physical location is better.” Amanda Gallucci
Overall, both virtual and physical internships have their own pros and cons. They both provide great experience so go get those internships, Latinitas!