Exchange Matters / June 24, 2020

Tips and Tricks for Virtual Internships

By Brittany Rock, Program Manager, Training & Community Development, Global Ties U.S.

We asked Global Ties U.S. interns about their experience transitioning their internships from in-person to virtual this semester. They had excellent advice for both other interns working virtually, and for supervisors working with virtual interns. Here is what they had to say:

Elizabeth Landrum, a student at George Washington University, joined Global Ties U.S. as our Public Diplomacy & Exchanges Intern from August 2019 – May 2020.

“For me, the transition from an in-person to a virtual internship was abrupt. Luckily, the team at Global Ties U.S. was committed to making sure everyone had a relatively smooth transition into remote working. One of the most helpful pieces of advice I received during this time was a reminder that just like all new things, remote working would take some getting used to. I knew the way I worked at the office and the way I worked at home would look different, and It was helpful to remind myself that as long as my work was getting done it was okay if there were more distractions. A few weeks into my remote internship experience, my house was hit with a tornado, making this advice all the more helpful. For me, it was so important to lean on my support system and give myself more time to get things done. This experience was a good lesson in adapting to ever changing circumstances.”

For Sofia Espinosa, a student at NYU Abu Dhabi, this was her first internship experience. She interned with the Expo Team at Global Ties U.S. from March – May 2020.

“The first few days of the transition were difficult for me as I felt isolated from my coworkers and cut off from the larger office dynamic, especially because I had only started at Global Ties U.S. a week before going remote. My supervisor implemented three 30-minute check-ins each week with my team which really helped me feel more connected to both my coworkers and the work we were doing. Face-to-face interaction, like our virtual team-building session, has made the biggest difference for me through this unique experience. My advice to both supervisors and future virtual interns is to prioritize connecting with each other and checking in.”

Mireya Cabrera joined Global Ties U.S. as our Communications Intern from January – May 2020 through the Career Acceleration Program at The Washington Center.

“During the last months, changes haven’t been easy to accept. Being back in Mexico and leaving Washington, DC in an unexpected way was challenging. However every challenge is a growth opportunity, and I am grateful for all the personal and professional learning. The transition into remote work taught me the importance of leadership, assertive communication, empathy, setting clear goals, and staying connected. Virtual weekly meetings, informal online activities, and re-prioritizing team projects, were some of the effective strategies that kept us connected and helped to make the transition easier. Whether we work in person or remotely, these are the main things to guarantee the success of any organization and its members.”

For more resources on virtual team-building, setting expectations for telework, and teleworking best practices, visit the Member’s Corner (log in required) of the Global Ties U.S. website at: