Are virtual green internships a good choice for your professional development? Of course. In fact, they could even fast-track your chances of landing a career in the green industry!
When you think of a virtual internship, you may picture someone perched behind a laptop, veiled from the on-the-ground action that’s going on in the green industry.
But it’s time to swap this misconception for today’s online reality.
With challenges like travel restrictions and social distancing, virtual internships offer a reputable alternative to on-site internships abroad.
You’ll gain just as much of the networking and professional development opportunities as you would on an on-site program. And you’ll also be involved in work that makes a real-world impact.
But, how is all of this possible while interning on a virtual platform? Let’s find out.
What are virtual green internships?
Virtual green internships allow you to gain experience in almost any of the different types of green jobs out there, from an online platform.
While virtual spaces weren’t as popular for internships before, the way we learn has undergone massive changes and there’s been a boom in people seeking out virtual internship opportunities.
Because they happen in different environments, on-site and virtual internships aren’t exactly the same. But the differences between them lie mostly in how interns get their work done and not in how meaningful the internship experience is.
For example, a wildlife conservation internship can be done virtually or abroad. If you pick an on-site internship, your days might be filled with tasks like data collection, data analysis, community engagement, and developing and implementing conservation projects.
And you can contribute to all of these tasks on a virtual internship too because these programs are designed to draw you into the action from afar.
These are some of the benefits of the best virtual green internships:
- You’ll gain skills and experience that improves your employability in the green industry.
- You’ll achieve qualifications as part of your green internship.
- You’ll receive a professional recommendation on completion.
How online environmental internship opportunities can speed up your journey to a green career
We interviewed two of GVI’s virtual internship alumni, Bella Parker and Hashikka Luxman. Now that they’ve both landed a green job, we asked them what they think about GVI’s online alternative to environmental internships abroad. Here are their stories.
Bella is currently working in her first green job, as a social media assistant for the organistaion Women in Ocean Science. She started out in the green industry on a GVI Marine Conservation virtual internship after completing a degree in marine biology.
Bella was concerned about how valuable a virtual green internship would be until she explored the virtual internship opportunities and got to know more about what an online environmental internship was all about.
While working as an intern, Bella was pleasantly surprised by the fact that she got to work with international conservation organisations like Save Our Sharks. And, the opportunities she had to engage with local community members and see how the work she did added to marine education awareness abroad was something that added to her experience in a big way.
Bella also says that her online environmental internship opened her eyes to opportunities in the field and got her thinking about what she wanted out of her career. She says that through her virtual internship she gained “a lot of career clarity”.
Hashikka works as a support sustainability officer for the Royal Free London National Health Services Foundation Trust. Her role focuses on developing and implementing changes within the healthcare system that make a meaningful contribution to addressing climate change.
After graduating from high school, Hashikka wasn’t sure that going to university was something she wanted to do. So she did some research and found a global health and safety company that offered a diploma course in environmental management.
She did this course part time while applying for internships. Through her studies, Hashikka met up with individuals who recommended GVI’s internship programs, which she then took a look at.
She signed up for the Wildlife Conservation virtual internship and got the chance to work with four different conservation organisations during her work placement.
Because her career kicked off during the COVID-19 pandemic, she went from a virtual internship to a mostly virtual working day – something that’s becoming more and more common. And, her virtual internship made for an easy transition.
So, online environmental internships can do more than just allow you to gain valuable work experience, they can also prepare you for a virtual career – if that’s what you’re looking for.
Here are some of the biggest reasons why an online green internship can speed up your journey to landing a green career.
How an online environmental internship can fast-track your journey to a green career
1) Structured learning and professional development
Virtual green internships are structured in a way that allows your virtual input to be translated into real-world impact.
This has a lot to do with the technology that’s available worldwide that makes it easy to communicate with colleagues and clients who might be an entire continent or two away.
Every internship is structured around six different project focus areas:
- operations and program management
- data analysis and research
- marketing, media and communications
- law, advocacy and policy
This setup means that every intern receives all-round exposure to the field, which is a great way to gain a realistic view of what your work day will be like once you land your green career.
2) Placement with real organisations
GVI collaborates with local and international organisations on five different continents and in 16 different countries.
This means that we have an extensive network of potential intern placements, and we make use of this to ensure that every intern gains the work experience they’re looking for.
Placements on a virtual internship mean that you get to know professionals in the field you’re working in from an online platform.
This could include Zoom meetings, email communication, virtual tours, online presentations and almost any other type of online interaction you can think of.
But don’t think that you’ll be expected to figure everything out yourself in this virtual space. GVI offers 360-degree support (support before, during and after your internship) as well as a personal internship mentor and career counselling.
This way, you’ll be guided through your green job experience in a meaningful and effective way.
3) Valuable networking opportunities
Just like getting to know colleagues around the office, or networking at in-person work events, virtual platforms allow for plenty of online interactions that’ll leave you with real-life connections.
From your supervisor to the staff you’ll work with from other organisations, you’ll be exposed to field experts on a daily basis and add to your professional development at the virtual forefront of the field.
In fact, to keep sustainable development moving in the right direction, green industry employees around the world are moving into the virtual workspace. So completing a virtual green internship can tell employers that you’re fully prepared to join the team on any platform.
Take a look at GVI’s virtual green internships and find out how you can boost your employability in the green industry by gaining work experience online.