Virtual internship

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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, Whatsapp, 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.[1] The West African Academy of Public Health operates a virtual internship programme with mentoring cascade for recent graduates interested in working in Global Health The "WAAPH VIP" as it is called, engages youths in health information advocacy to expand their health information literacy, core leadership skills and community engagement capacity to work in public health issues. [1]

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.[2] 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.[3] They are presently most popular among small to midsize companies and online businesses.[4]

The US Department of State operates the Virtual Student Foreign Service program.[5] As of 2012, 343 eInterns have worked with US diplomatic posts in 97 countries.[6]

Virtual internships have been criticized for not providing the supervision and guidance that internships are meant to provide.[7]


  1. ^ Lee, Dreama. "President". (888) 291-9098. Efficient Enterprises, Inc.
  2. ^ Marte, Jonnelle (29 September 2009). "An Internship From Your Couch". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  3. ^ Damast, Alison. "Virtual Internships In Rising Demand". Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  4. ^ Braathe, Robert. "Internships". Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  5. ^ "Virtual Student Foreign Service". The U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
  6. ^ Ross, Alec. "Keynote Address: Alec Ross, US State Dept". Social Media Week NYC. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
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