From May 31st to June 3rd 2022, the Virtual Internships team will be attending the international education event of the year, NAFSA 2022. Read on to find out what’s changed since we were last at NAFSA, and the impactful solutions we provide higher education institutions.
NAFSA 2019 to NAFSA 2022: Three Years That Transformed Virtual Internships
To some, it seems like a decade ago, to others, NAFSA 2019 in Washington DC was just like yesterday. With no knowledge of what was about to befall the world, we networked, chatted, punted our wares, and generally reveled in what we had grown used to – an international gathering of like-minded folks with the improvement of Higher Education at the forefront of our minds.
Launching Our Vision at NAFSA 2019
Back then, Virtual Internships was a fledgling start-up; the younger sister of the thriving success, CRCC Asia. At NAFSA 2019, we gently stuck our toes into the deep waters of the international education community.
As a tech company on a mission to disrupt the traditional world and with only five employees at the time, we tentatively introduced our message that remote internships can:
- Offer work experience to those that might not otherwise have the opportunity
- Open up the world to many who were unable to travel
- Give students autonomy, time management, and remote working professional skills.
The resistance came: How can being online be any real substitute for being there in person? How could any jobs except IT and data entry be possible across the airwaves? But, we soldiered on, assured we were onto something, bending the ears of anyone who would listen.
The Springboard of the Global Pandemic
Shortly after NAFSA 2019, the global pandemic erupted, COVID-19 ran rampant and travel came to a complete standstill. As we all stayed inside, Virtual Internships went to work (metaphorically speaking). Through the sudden halt to the world, Virtual Internships’ solutions to immediate problems were catapulted into view:
- Host companies needed ambitious interns
- Students needed internships to stay on track
- Universities needed to keep providing career-readiness opportunities despite the blockers on travel.
Over those two years, we learned many lessons and were joined in the business of offering remote internships by many like-minded pivoting companies who also had to react when travel became impossible.
Fast forward two years and five employees have grown to 130. Virtual Internships has (to date) placed over 4,000 remote interns from 61 countries, with host companies located all over the world.
Solution-Based Philosophy: How We Can Help Higher Education Institutions Overcome Barriers
As things settle down and return to normal (dare we say it), it is clear that remote work and remote internships are here to stay. It is no secret that there exists a huge skills gap between what students learn in the classroom/lecture hall and what they will need under their belt before launching their career post-graduation.
All too often, Higher Education institutions and their students face one or more of the potential barriers that impede success with regard to career readiness:
- Students cannot get exposure to the type of career that interests them
- Students are unable to travel to participate in an internship in a particular culture or location
- Students are unable to afford traditional global internship placement fees
- Students feel marginalized by the traditional models
- Students are low on available time during their studies and life commitments, with even less time to commute
Virtual Internships offers students the opportunity to:
- Explore a new career with a remote internship
- Expand knowledge and skills within a career they perhaps already feel passionate about
- Build out their CV/resume with real-world work experience.
Whatever the issues keeping your students from success, Virtual Internships will call on the skills of all their team members to find a solution that addresses the particular issues your students face. Over the past 12 months, we have helped: students who are passionate about climate change work with companies to actively address what they should and can do to be greener; students who are keen to get an internship but just do not have the time or resources to attend an in-person internship; young refugees who needed to get work experience and upskill in order to land a job; and women who needed to get work experience before they return to work after a break to raise a family.
Brave New World at NAFSA 2022
Everyone attending knows that #NAFSA2022 is going to be different from any other NAFSA. The world of Higher Education, and indeed experiential learning, has altered fundamentally.
We will be grateful to reconnect with old friends and colleagues, and whilst many will strive to “get back to normal,” for some of us, the terrain will never be the same again. Nor do we think it should be. We look forward to coming together, listening to your stories about the last few years, and looking ahead to the future together.
Book a Meeting With Us at NAFSA 2022
If you are going to be at NAFSA 2022 –or even if you can’t make it and want to connect to learn more about Virtual Internships– click the button below to book a meeting with one of our team members who can tailor a solution to your specific career-integrated learning challenges.Book a Meeting With Us