- On 22/06/2020
When I first started my internship in Milan back in January, little did I know that I would spend most of my internship in my home country working from home.
Before the COVID-19 crises started I was at the beginning of my internship period with Eurocrea Merchant / European Digital Learning Network. I had decided to move from Spain to Italy to acquire experience in the European projects field and to get experience working in a professional environment. From the first day in the office, I was made to feel comfortable and at ease. In the start, I learned different terminology that would become common in my everyday vocabulary, for example, dissemination, intellectual output, or stakeholder. I also learned about diverse key factors in the implementation of projects such as maintaining good communication with partners and the importance of a clear dissemination plan. Working in the office I always felt the support of my colleagues, when I had a doubt or a problem, I only had to go next door and they would clarify everything for me. At that time, even if I was working from the office, I was also using some smart working tools like Dropbox, Google Drive and Skype.
Once the first cases of COVID-19 started to appear in Milan I decided to move back to Spain. I was lucky to carry out my internship in a virtual way, having constant contact with my colleagues in Milan. While smart working I have continued doing the same tasks I was doing in the office, and I have also learnt how to use diverse video call platforms such as Zoom and GoToMeeting. In my opinion, one of the most important things that you must take care of when you are smart working is communication. When you are a remote intern you do not have your supervisor next to you, therefore, a fluid online communication is essential.
Moreover, the biggest benefit I have discovered smart working is the opportunity to choose your own work environment. During the crises, the only possible work environment was our home, but in the future it could be possible to smart work from co-working spaces, libraries, etc… Being an intern smart working is also beneficial as you can discover your own working structure, you discover what is the best work methodology for you and how you can be your best productive self. However, the downside of this working style is the isolation, the lack of people working physically next to you can bring negative results. For example, miscommunication or misinterpretation, as I said before communication is essential when smart working but it is not always effective.
All in all, internships are essentially long-term investments as they tackle the issue of undergraduates failing to get a job due to lack of experience. In my case, I was able to acquire both professional and virtual working experience.