REAL-LIFE LEARNING, REMOTELY
We were seeing definitely more
university partnerships developing,
more flexible and innovative programs “We were definitely seeing more university partnerships
developing, more flexible and innovative programs being
talked about with universities that saw internships abroad as
the future for their abroad experiences,” Merson continues.
Global Experiences is not the only provider to highlight the
approval. “We’ve seen the rise since we first started going to
NAFSA all those years ago,” Daniel Nivern from CRCC Asia
and Virtual Internships relates. “They were quite lonely NAS-FAs.
We would be pitching to US universities about integrating
international internships into their course and giving acade-mic
credit for it. I don’t remember exactly when the tipping
point was. I’m going to say it’s around maybe 2012,” he says.
The US has “almost always been welcoming and accep-ting”,
according to David Lloyd, CEO of The Intern Group,
which has been running for 10 years. And countries that had
been sceptical have begun to catch up, he says. His company
is now partnered with 100 universities around the world – up
from less than 20 just three years ago.
NEXSTEP, which runs programs in Asia, began in 2008
with 100 per cent of its clientele being individual students.
Today, 80 per cent of its student flow comes direct from
institutions and providers, its founder and executive director
Jerome Le Carrou reveals.
“Universities are responding to the fact that their students
want to do more now,” Lloyd says. “They want to have really
meaningful experiences, make meaningful connections, but
also explore career fields.”
18 | THE PIE REVIEW | ISSUE #26
Generation Z is focused on the cost benefit
and the ROI of internships, providers say
PHOTO: IES ABROAD
Almost every individual interviewed for this article empha-sised
another characteristic of this new target generation
“These young people want to see their work having a
positive impact on society,” Merson highlights. Social im-pact
internship placements have increased in popularity, as
have placements at companies whose purpose may be big-ger
than financial and profitability measurements, she says.
“People want to use their major, but they want to use
it in an area that they can say there’s some sort of social
benefit.” After the forest fires in Australia in 2020, students
were queueing up to help. “We had students wanting to
go and help koalas in Sydney as a serious request for a
placement,” she says.
Interns want placements in line with their values, Dallas
Boyd, Global Internships manager at Intern Abroad HQ
agrees. “I think there’s probably more awareness around
the sustainable development goals,” she suggests.
Another trend is “shorter, shorter, shorter, shorter,” says
Ewert at Cultural Vistas, referring to a typical length of a
placement. “Students are comfortable that they can learn
just as much in a semester-long internship.”
“Short-term with maximum impact and affordable,” ec-hoes
NEXSTEP’s Le Carrou. This preference is especially
true for non-traditional students who are balancing multi-ple
responsibilities, agrees Katherine Jacobs, development
director at academic internship specialists, EUSA.
Jacobs also notes a shift in requests towards the scienc-es
– healthcare, sustainability, and environmental science.
“We’ve also seen that Gen Z is focused on the cost benefit
of an internship, and what their ROI will be,” she says.
Virtually here already
The immediate impact of the global pandemic has hit the
sector hard – all in-person programs have been essen-tially
cancelled. Providers who had all their eggs in the
in-person basket have suffered with some forced to make