International internships came to a standstill as a result of the
Covid-19 outbreak. Planes stopped taking off, visas stopped being
issued, and students started staying home. How have internship
providers reacted? Viggo Stacey charts the growth of the internships
sector and asks, will the present online substitution be permanent?
ISSUE #26 | THE PIE REVIEW | 17
“ULTIMATELY INTERNSHIPS ARE
integral to career development,” says Anthony
Naglieri at Cultural Vistas. “Delivering expe-riences
that actually are providing a stepping stone to mea-ningful
career development.” That’s what counts, he says.
The benefits of good internship programs are clear to
students and the internship sector has been a burgeoning
offshoot of international education for a number of years.
There is an inherent benefit for host companies, too. They
are increasingly used as a means to recruit new graduates.
A 2018 Institute of Student Employers survey in the UK
found that 94 per cent of employers encourage interns to
return as employees. The reason for this is simple, ISE chief
executive Stephen Isherwood indicates. “Interns make bet-ter
hires. Former interns are more likely to accept job offers,
stay longer and often outperform their peers,” he says.
Employers have increasingly become savvier, says Dan
Ewert, Senior vice president, Program Research, Partner-ships
and Innovation at US-based Cultural Vistas. Along
with using interns to complete backburner projects, “many
are using this as recruiting”, he acknowledges. “They want a
chance to test out the student before they make a commit-ment
of hiring them on a full-time basis.”
PHOTO: VLADA KARPOVICH / PEXELS
The university nod
Around 70 per cent of students leaving the US in 2016/17
engaged in learning overseas without their programs requi-ring
them to do so, statistics from IIE reveal. Demand for
international experiences was driven by student interest, the
organisation said. Eight per cent of all US overseas expe-riential
activities in 2017 were work, co-op and internship
programs. However, universities have begun to accept the
advantage of graduates with international work experience.
“From our point of view, universities had pretty much
wholesale agreed that an internship was academically
valuable,” explains Emily Merson, co-founder and CEO of
19-year-old organisation, Global Experiences. “It should and
could be part of a degree program.”
Students can get both credit and financial aid for pro-grams
the company offers. That way international intern-ships
were becoming much more viable for students that
could not previously afford it.
Over in the UK, providers like CRCC Asia, Pagoda Pro-jects,
Cultural Vistas, Puentes Abroad, and The Intern Group
supported UUKi’s Go International campaign to promote
outward mobility from the UK – similarly aiming to make
international internships accessible to more students.