GLOBAL VIRTUAL INTERNSHIP – Fall 2021https://glcollective.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/1637590459922-1024x474.jpg 1024 474 Nicole Mostert Nicole Mostert https://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/2ef1f5251a8b744d9cf0d8ff1a301f2d?s=96&d=mm&r=g
Current university graduates are entering into a world facing brand new challenges.
As Tim Berners – Lee says “we need diversity of thought in the world, to face the new challenges” and as the inventor of the World Wide Web, he knows new challenges well.
Diversity of thought was the order of the day on September 27th, 2021 when 26 students from 11 universities across 5 global regions met on Zoom to begin the GLC Global Virtual Fall Internship. Over the course of the 8 week internship, the fruit of this diversity was clearly seen. The interns were divided into 4 regional teams (Africa, Asia, Europe and South America), paired with local students, and placed with local host companies to complete an authentic project.
The projects centered around using the lens of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to produce tangible solutions to real-life programs. Each project addressed two UN SDGs and over 8 weeks the students worked together in their multidisciplinary teams to come up with solutions and recommendations for their host companies.
Interns working virtually in the African region collaborated with Kwanele South Africa to research a wearable solution to the problem of gender based violence in the country (UN SDG #5 and #16). In the region of Asia, GLC interns worked online with Rejani Coffee Company to create a business plan for turning coffee by-products into profitable products (UN SDG #9 and #12). In the Europe region, students interned virtually with KLAFS on a project looking at sustainable sauna concepts and trends (UN SDG #3 and #9). Finally, the interns on the South American team partnered with Senior Concierge to develop a Campaign to raise awareness of the problems faced by those in the sandwich generation or those who are parenting and looking after their aging parents. (UN SDG #3 and #17)
Throughout the projects, the interns learned how to apply the UN SDGs in a multi-cultural environment and harness their academic knowledge to international challenges. They had the opportunity to establish a professional rapport with professionals and students from around the world and develop their professional skills in an international work environment. On the personal front, the internship helped students examine their own strengths, weaknesses, values and beliefs as they consider future international careers.
In addition to host company representatives such as Jacqueline Pohl, interns have regional support teams. These teams consist of a regional coordinator who is in charge of scheduling and communication and a regional mentor who helps the team work through challenges and offers guidance in the local context.
The final words for the GLC Global Fall Internship goes to our interns themselves as they exceeded all expectations with their passion, they’re ability to collaborate internationally and the quality of their final deliverables. Freekje Enzerink from the Netherlands shares:
“First of all, The Global Virtual Internship was an amazing experience! The past couple of weeks were very intense but super thought-provoking, not only on an academic but also on a personal level.
The internship made it possible to develop my social skills and showed me how much I learned during the last years. I could now develop this further and apply this knowledge in real life for the first time! Working in a team of international students was very new and challenging. It was enjoyable to still meet people (even from all over the world!) during the times of the pandemic. This made us even more motivated to reach the specific goal. We had our challenges. For example, it was sometimes quite hard to schedule meetings since we were all so busy with our studies. However, it surprised me how well we eventually managed! The internship also taught me how to think further, develop my problem-solving skills, keep working hard, stay focused, and communication is key. I never expected to learn this much, and I would again like to thank everyone from the Global Learning Collective.
The Global Learning Collective encouraged us to keep learning and work hard to a more sustainable world. The world is our oyster, and we must make the best of it.”