Student Voices - A Day in the Life of a Virtual International Intern

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Internships come in many forms. Whether it's working under a professor on campus, interning for a firm in your home town, heading to the big city—or even abroad—for a corporate gig, or going remote and completing an internship virtually—everyone's in it for the same reason, right? To gain experience, to make connections, and to get ahead. At IES Abroad, we decided to combine "virtual" and "abroad" to create a new experience for interns when (or for whom) an in-person, on-site program isn't the right option. Enter the Virtual Internship Program (VIP). 

To give you a better idea of what this looks like, we checked in with one of the VIP participants to see what a day in the life virtually interning 'in' London looks like. Jessica F.—a Lehigh University student who's majoring in Finance and Mechanical Engineering—shared her day with us. 

A Day in Jessica's Life

This winter I interned with a private wealth management firm in London, England. It was a part-time, remote internship, and I was expected to work approximately 20 hours each week for my six-week break. My schedule each day varied depending on my tasks and scheduled meetings, but there were some things I tried to keep constant so I could form a routine. I outlined and photographed an example of what my day might look like from my point of view. This day was a big one because I gave a large final presentation, but other days were much more relaxed.

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Rise & Shine

I started my day off bright and early at 7:00 a.m. because by that time its already noon in the UK! I snoozed my alarm once or twice but then it was time to get ready for my day. Even though I needed to start early, it meant having more time later in my day to do things with friends and family because my workday ended earlier.

Time for Tea

After getting ready for the day, I would make myself a cup of English breakfast tea, rather than coffee, and drink it while I checked and answered emails for work. I normally would drink coffee, but since I was workingremotely in London, I wanted to incorporate some UK culture into my daily internship routine.

Weekly Check In

On this day, I had my weekly check-in meeting with my IES Abroad London Internship Coordinator, Beth. Once a week, normally at 8:00 a.m., we would have a check-in to talk about my internship, any issues I might be having, and any questions I had. It was nice to get an outside perspective on my work experience and it was very useful to talk to her about UK work culture before starting my internship.

Practice Makes Perfect

Since this was one of my last days, I gave a 45-minute webinar on value-based investing to my colleagues as if I were a financial advisor at the firm. So, after my meeting with Beth, I finalized my edits to my presentation and did a runthrough of it to practice.

Lunch Break

After preparing for my presentation, I took a break for an early lunch before meeting with my colleagues. I made scrambled eggs and a small piece of toast with spinach and avocado on it. One nice thing about working remotely was being able to take a small break to cook myself a fresh lunch, which I wouldn’t have been able to do in an office.

Walk with Mom

After eating my lunch, I normally took a short 10- to 20-minute walk. On this day, it snowed and my mom took her lunch break at the same time I did so I got to take a walk in the snow with her. It was nice to be able to take short breaks with my family who was also working remotely.

Final Presentation

After my short walk, I reviewed my presentation one more time and then met with my colleagues to give the webinar. I created this webinar deck for one of my colleagues to use in his efforts to grow his client base. He thought it would be beneficial if I present the webinar for my own practice and to show my him how I intended it to be given. This is a picture of my Zoom meeting with them following the presentation. This presentation was my final task for the day and I finished around 1:00 p.m. (18:00 UK time).

While the UK may seem culturally similar to the United States, their method and manner of communication is very different. I was not used to taking the time to exchange pleasantries and catch up on personal matters in emails or on calls before getting down to business. However, I think this is a very valuable habit to incorporate into my future interactions and I am happy to have learned more about UK culture even though I could not be there in person.

Before interning through IES Abroad, I already had an interest in working abroad or working for a large company with an international presence. I have a passion for travel and would love the opportunity to experience new countries and cultures throughout my professional career. My international internship experience through IES Abroad, though remote, reaffirmed these goals and made me even more excited to pursue a career that takes me to other countries! Though I do not plan to pursue a career in finance or private wealth management, sustainable value-based investing is a big interest of mine that I will use in my personal life and apply where I can in my future career.

Jessica f pumpkin patch pic

About Jessica

Hey! My name is Jessica, I'm a junior at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA double majoring in Finance and Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Energy. I'm passionate about the environment and contributing to efforts in sustainability and renewable energy any way I can! This passion stems from my love for the outdoors and in my free time I love to hike, camp, kayak, and ski. My passion for the environment has also combined with my interest in finance and investing which has driven me to explore sustainable investing and, in a broader sense, investing based on one’s values. I was able to explore this area further through my remote IES Abroad internship in private wealth management and am so happy to have had this opportunity!

The IES Virtual Internship Program (VIP) is available in the summer and fall and spring semesters and offers part- and full-time placements in a variety of fields and locations. Learn More about VIP!

“My international internship experience through IES Abroad, though remote, reaffirmed [my] goals and made me even more excited to pursue a career that takes me to other countries!”
Jessica F. (Virtual Internship Program London | Lehigh University)
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