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Top 6 lessons learnt by doing an internship remotely

Why do an internship remotely?

Internships are an excellent way to ease yourself into the world of careers. They give you just enough wiggle room to learn, experience and grow while adapting to work culture. Even so, not everyone’s ready to take the leap, and this fear could affect their career trajectory. If you’re one of them, then doing your internship remotely might be a great option for you.

Now, why is this so? Well, there’s no shortage of benefits when you’re working remotely. For example, you’ll have more time on your hands because you’re not spending it on things like commuting. This means you can use that extra time to really dive into your work and focus on learning new skills. Plus, being able to work remotely means testing the waters in the comfort of your own home. On the surface, that almost seems sufficient but there’s a lot more to remote internships. Let’s get into it.

Why do an internship remotely at all?

In a remote internship, you’re on your own (in some ways). You have to figure out how to manage your time and get stuff done without someone watching over your shoulder all the time. You’re also responsible for finding ways to improve your skills and make the most of the opportunities available to you.

These internships offer several unique advantages and benefits that differentiate them from traditional, in-person internships.

For starters, remote internships often provide greater flexibility in terms of scheduling. Many times, you’ll be able to choose or negotiate your work hours within certain parameters. The biggest benefit from this is that it allows you to balance your internship responsibilities with other commitments, such as courses/upskilling or personal obligations.

It doesn’t hurt that you can work from anywhere—even at the beach (as long as there’s a working internet connection). This means you aren’t limited by geographical location and can participate in internships without the need to relocate, which can be especially great for those who may not have the means to move abroad.

Additionally, you’ll typically eliminate commuting costs, such as transportation expenses and parking fees. You’ll also save in terms of accommodation, meals and other necessities. 

For those who want to expand their networks but find themselves restricted by where they live, remote opportunities open new avenues to stack your contacts. You’ll still gain tons of insights, perspectives and experiences that extend beyond local boundaries without having to relocate.

With the overall rise in remote work trends, you would essentially be preparing for the realities of the modern workforce. So, let’s dive into the main skills/lessons you’ll pick up by doing your internship remotely—and how to maximise your learnings to boost your personal and professional growth.

#1 Self-management 

When we talk about self-management and time organisation, we’re basically talking about how you handle yourself and your tasks throughout the day, especially when you’re working remotely. It’s all about taking charge of your own schedule and making sure you’re getting things done efficiently and effectively. 

There’s no one looking over your shoulder all the time, telling you what to do and when to do it. You’ve got to figure that out for yourself. This means you’ve got to learn how to structure your workday, prioritise tasks, and make sure you’re not overworking yourself.

Working remotely requires interns to take greater responsibility for managing their time, tasks, and productivity. In turn, you’ll develop valuable skills such as organisation, time management, and self-discipline.

When you can manage your time well, you’re not just ticking tasks of the to-do list. You’re also setting yourself up for success in the long run. You become more productive, you’re able to focus better, and you can maintain a healthy balance between work and your personal life. Plus, employers love to see candidates who can manage their time effectively – it’s a skill that’s highly valued in any job.

The best way to prepare for this is to use tools or aids to help you stay organised, like calendars, task managers, and even written lists that keep track of what you need to do and when you need to do it.

Establish a routine for yourself where you set specific times for work, breaks, and other activities you need to fit in. Don’t forget to communicate your availability and boundaries with your supervisors! It’s okay to say no to extra work if it’s going to overwhelm you. Not-so-fun fact: taking on more than you can handle is more likely to tank your progress than improve it.

#2 Relationship building and networking

Even though remote internships might seem like you’re working in isolation, they actually provide a fantastic opportunity for professional growth and networking. Despite the virtual nature of the work, you can still gain valuable skills and expand your network.

In particular, proactive relationship building–a component of networking—is all about taking the lead in connecting with your colleagues, even when you’re working remotely. It’s about being the one to reach out, initiate conversations, and build rapport with others, all through virtual channels.

When you build strong professional connections, you’re opening up doors to all sorts of opportunities. You might find mentors who can offer guidance and support, expand your network of contacts who can help you in your career, and even discover new job prospects down the line. Building relationships is like investing in your future success—opening doors to opportunities you may never have conceived otherwise.

In a remote internship, you’re not bumping into your colleagues in the hallway or chatting over coffee in the break room. You’ve got to make a conscious effort to connect with them virtually. This means scheduling virtual meetings or check-ins, coming prepared with questions or topics to discuss, and actively participating in conversations.

But to do this, you’ve got to be proactive in seeking out opportunities to connect with others. Actively participate in virtual meetings, ask questions, and seek feedback from your supervisors. Look for chances to collaborate on projects with your colleagues, attend virtual networking events or webinars, and reach out to industry professionals and mentors on platforms like LinkedIn. The more you put yourself out there and engage with others, the more you’ll learn and the stronger your professional network will become.

#3 Cultural experiences

It’s important to remember that, in a remote setting, you may not end up working with people from your local area. You’ll likely be collaborating with teammates from all over the world—perhaps in a team that’s even more diverse than many in-person cohorts. This exposure to diverse perspectives and working styles can really broaden your horizons and open your eyes to new ways of thinking and working.

The thing about a globalised workforce is that fostering collaboration while maintaining an open mind is an indispensable skill. This fosters creativity, empathy, and adaptability—all soft skills that are essential for success in any career.

You’ll find yourself noting different backgrounds, time zones, and cultures—and learning without having to try. This means you’ll learn to navigate cultural differences and communicate effectively—something that can easily get you noticed when you look for full-time roles later. 

If you want to make the most of this opportunity, try seeking out opportunities to collaborate with diverse teammates. Listen actively to different viewpoints, ask questions to learn more about your colleagues’ backgrounds and perspectives, and embrace cultural differences as strengths rather than obstacles. By doing so, you’ll facilitate a more inclusive work environment while becoming a better collaborator and teammate in the process. 

#4 Learn the tech

The importance of tech proficiency cannot be overstated—most jobs heavily rely on digital tools and platforms for communication, collaboration, and project management. Due to this, being adept at using technology is a non-negotiable for remote work, especially as most of your work will be happening online. The tech exists to assist people, and it not only boosts your efficiency and productivity but also makes you more competitive in the job market. 

During your remote internship, you’ll dive headfirst into a myriad of digital tools and platforms. From project management software to video conferencing platforms and collaboration tools, you’ll gain hands-on experience with various technologies. This immersion will significantly enhance your tech-savviness and digital literacy.

Explore and familiarise yourself with the digital tools relevant to your field. There are a few tools that are commonly used that are great starting points if you’re uncertain. 

Don’t hesitate to seek training or tutorials for tools that are unfamiliar to you. Leverage online resources, such as tutorials, webinars, and forums, to develop your tech proficiency. 

#5 Clear communication

In a remote work environment, effective communication is absolutely crucial. Whether you’re sending an email, hopping on a video call, or chatting on a messaging platform, being able to clearly convey your thoughts and ideas is key to success.

When everyone on the team is on the same page and understands each other’s expectations, collaboration becomes seamless. Clear communication helps prevent misunderstandings and ensures that everyone is working towards the same goals.

When interning remotely, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice your communication skills. As you won’t always have the benefit of facial expressions, tone of voice or other body language to convey 100% of your message—so the words you speak and type will hold a lot more weight.

If you’re unsure about something, don’t be afraid to ask questions or seek clarification. And remember, communication is a two-way street – so be sure to actively listen to your colleagues and ask for feedback to ensure alignment and accountability within the team.

#6 Adaptability 

Inevitably, you’ll often find yourself facing unexpected changes and challenges—from dealing with technological issues to persistent communication barriers, or constantly shifting deadlines. 

Being able to adapt quickly and bounce back from setbacks could be the one thing that keeps you standing on your feet after a particularly rough day. These experiences will teach you how to adapt on the fly, find creative solutions to problems, and keep pushing forward even when things get tough.

But none of that matters if you can’t approach your challenges with the right mindset. Resilience isn’t about never failing—it’s about bouncing back stronger each time, and that’s the core of adaptability.

It’s important to view your resilience as a shield. It isn’t a permanent buff but rather a temporary shelter to keep you going amidst a barrage of the toughest obstacles.  

You need to trick yourself into seeing them as something other than obstacles. Instead, try to see them as opportunities for growth, a test or even a ridiculous game the universe decided to pull you into. 

Stay flexible in your approach, be willing to try new things, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Sometimes, you might need to concede to a problem and how you address this and grow from it is also being adaptable—so don’t put yourself down just yet.

Final thoughts

Overall, remote internships offer unique advantages that can contribute to your personal and professional growth in meaningful ways. It’s all about preparing yourself for success in an increasingly interconnected world.

To get the most out of your internship experience, start at square zero—not one. Forget everything you though you knew about your role, employer or industry and reevaluate it from a few paces away.

During your internship, prioritise your tasks on a daily or weekly basis. Figure out what’s most important to you—what are your goals and what do you want to walk away with?

Don’t be afraid to go out and find extra learning opportunities and take on difficult courses or classes. (There are tons of free webinars and online courses out there that can help you grow into a well-rounded professional.) It’s all about making the most of the opportunities that come your way, boosting your CV and employability while you’re at it! 

If you want to kick your career off in 2024, book a call with us, and let’s talk about it. You can also subscribe to our newsletter for the latest career information, tips, and updates. (They’re both completely free!)




Kahless is a writer with a special interest in sociology. He spends much of his free time travelling, reading, writing, and stopping his cats from ripping apart everything he owns. It’s advised to bring along a strong cup of coffee (3 espresso shots minimum) when approaching him.

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