A virtual internship is a work experience program where the participant (intern) gains experience while working in a remote professional setting and is not physically present at the job location.
Virtual interns communicate with their employer online through various means including email, Skype, instant messaging, phone conversations, webinars, project management tools, SMS (text) messaging, etc.
Virtual internships are undertaken by both students and graduates. The most common virtual internships are in the following areas: Information technology; Software development; Marketing; Social Media; Research; Writing; Journalism; Media; Pre and post event planning; Video creation and editing; Human Resources; Graphic Design; Search Engine Optimization and Marketing; Some non-profits and government internships; Some political internships; Some engineering internships; and Some public relations internships.
According to career experts, although virtual internships are currently rare, they are growing in popularity due to improving technology and the growth of social media. A rise has been reported in virtual internships —most of which are unpaid— especially from small ventures and start ups seeking additional help. Larger companies are also starting to explore offering these types of internships. They are presently most popular among small to midsize companies and online businesses.
Columbia University launched the first virtual internship program on a college campus in 2009.
Virtual internships have been criticized for not providing the supervision and guidance that internships are meant to provide. 
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