Select positions with the International Internship Program (IIP) will now be offered virtually. The program had previously been canceled due to COVID-19.
In an email addressed to the IIP student cohort on Tuesday, April 28, the organizing team explained that the office was working with existing partners to launch new virtual options. It will be up to the partner organization to determine whether the internship can be completed remotely.
“These internships will not be the same length, style, or, frankly, the same experience as was expected for your summer,” wrote the IIP team in the email. “However, we envision these remote alternatives as the most feasible option given the impact of the coronavirus on the international landscape.”
Students who expected to travel to another country for their internships said that a remote internship lacks the same appeal.
Through a now-remote internship, Ana Pranger ’22 will work as a grant and foundations manager for Gendes, a nonprofit based in Mexico City that focuses on ending gender-based violence through conversations with and among men.
Since the Gendes foundation hopes to search for funding outside of Mexico, Pranger will contribute to plans to solicit grant resources from abroad.
Pranger had also hoped to use the internship as an opportunity to improve her Spanish.
“A lot of the draw for IIP people who are learning a second or third language is to be immersed in a culture and existing in a country where the language is not English,” Pranger said.
Fortunately for Pranger, she will be speaking Spanish with her supervisor, despite working from home.
Originally scheduled to go to Argentina, Alex Kilander ’22 will work as a project-based intern at the Centro Latinoamericano de Derechos Humanos, a human rights organization.
“It’s disappointing not to go to Argentina because I was hoping to get a lot out of the language and the experience, but I still think having something to do this summer is a good opportunity,” Kilander said.
Before the switch, the IIP office had originally offered different stipends based on a student’s geographic placement.
Shreesha Ghosh ’23 was originally awarded a $3000 stipend for her internship in Athens, Greece. She will now receive a $1500 award for the upcoming summer, as the IIP office is providing remote interns half of their former amount as an incentive to continue with the planned internship.
Ghosh, who writes for The Prospect section of The Daily Princetonian, will work at Athens Voice Media, which is based in Greece, to improve her arts and culture writing skills.
Since her internship involved writing for the tourism section, her original projects involved covering shows, exhibitions, and local events in Athens.
Now, Ghosh questions whether a remote experience will have the same value.
“They told me my job description doesn’t change, but how could it not?” Ghosh asked.
“Something is being salvaged, but the IIP is about the experience,” she said. “The whole idea of an international internship is being an adult in a different city.”
Despite the inevitable transitions, Pranger, Kilander, and Ghosh remain among a select few whose organizations will offer them virtual alternatives. For students who will not have virtual positions, the same internship will be deferred to summer 2021 and the students will be given first priority for the placement.
The IIP office has instructed students to list a canceled internship on their resume. The advice encourages students to list their job title, organization name, anticipated job responsibilities, and a brief note explaining that the internship was canceled due to international travel restrictions during the pandemic.
For students whose host organizations cannot offer remote internships, the IIP office is seeking arrangements for alternative remote summer jobs.