Going into this remote global internship, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew that it was going to be a very unique experience and that, at the least, it would be great professional experience and allow me to gain more skills, but I had no clue how much I would get out of it. I think at the beginning, I thought I would mostly be doing independent research to contribute to my supervisor’s work, but throughout the internship, I was able to develop a really great relationship with him and he explained how helpful my work had been and I began to feel like more a part of the team. As we worked together, he also began to give me more challenging tasks because he was impressed with the quality of my work. Towards the end of my internship, I was also able to work alongside my supervisor on a grant application and the collaboration on that project allowed me to learn so much and helped me get more of the classic internship feel that I would have gotten if I was interning in person.
The company I was interning for, VisionGreen, is in the supply chain industry but since my role was more research oriented, I wasn’t sure how much overlap there would be, but I actually found there to be quite a bit. My focus during this internship was sustainable reporting and sustainable practices which all tie back in to processes in the supply chain. I found that a lot of what I had learnt in my supply chain courses came in handy as I was already familiar with a lot of the terminology used, so I felt more comfortable with the material. For example, while working on the grant application, we had to create work packages and GANTT and PERT charts, which I had all been exposed to in my Operations Management class. Additionally, I feel like I gained a lot of skills and knowledge from this internship that I can apply to my coursework. First and foremost, I feel like this internship gave me a context for a lot of things that I learn in my business courses. This internship also allowed me to gain technical skills such as grant writing and allowed me to learn in depth about sustainable business practices, which can be applied to every single business and are often demanded of businesses these days.
In addition to technical skills, I was able to refine and develop several transferrable skills, the first being communication. In this internship, communication was often one of the most difficult parts because I was eight hours behind my internship site in Ireland. That was one of the biggest challenges I had to overcome, but we were able figure out the best times to meet and how to effectively correspond about my work when we could not meet face to face on a video call. Additionally, I was able to develop my cross-cultural communication skills, because while Ireland is an English speaking country, they definitely have some different work styles. I found that in their communications, they were not as straightforward as most Americans are in business, and they tend to be a bit more vague in their instructions. I learned to cope with this by asking for clarification if I was confused, but I also found that vague instructions could also be a positive, because I often had more freedom in how I went about my work. Another skill that I developed extensively was time management. When working from home, especially when most of my work was independent, time management was imperative. I had to give myself a routine and a schedule so I could attempt to supplement the traditional structure of an internship and allow myself to do my best work. This was definitely tough, but I think it is a very valuable skill that will help me in all my future positions.
Additionally, this internship allowed me to travel outside my comfort zone when my supervisor gave me the huge responsibility of working on a grant application with the EPA. I was very nervous about this project because I was contributing to the application that would make or break their chance at being awarded €100,000. This was a lot of pressure, but it was very empowering to know that my supervisor trusted me and my work. I was a bit overwhelmed when faced with this task at first, but I worked with my supervisor to break it down into manageable steps and we were able to successfully complete it. I think completing this application was the accomplishment I am most proud of from this internship. It was a difficult task, but I am now able to take away a new skill and I am more sure of my ability to be successful when encountering new challenges.
Overall, I had a really great experience with this internship and I am proud all the new skills I was able to acquire. I am also proud of the strong impression I made on my supervisor as he was very impressed with my work and said that I am one of the best interns he has had and that we wants to keep in touch and possibly offer me more work in the future. I’m glad I was able to explore a new area of business with this opportunity and going forward I think I will be more open to internship and job opportunities in new areas I had not previously considered it. The end of this internship brought mixed feelings, I’m sad it over but I am so excited about everything I learned from this experience, so as my supervisor would often say before signing off, cheers!