My name is Emilie Tornøe, I am a student at Aarhus University, Denmark. I study a master's program in International Business Communication. In this blog post, I will talk through my experience with a virtual international internship at MCH London and how CIEE has helped me throughout the process of finding my perfect match.
As a part of my studies, I had the opportunity to get credited for an internship. As I have little study-relevant practical experience prior to doing this internship I was excited but cautious about this opportunity. As the internship is a part of my study program there were a lot of requirements from my university’s side as well as challenges and uncertainties concerning getting a job in a different country, so I didn’t know where to begin or where to end the process. However, after speaking to a CIEE representative at a study abroad fair earlier this year, I became less concerned and more excited about the process and I felt that CIEE was the right organization to help me in the process of finding a great international internship. – And they really were.
I started this process long before lockdown hit, and I must admit that I initially had a very different idea about how the internship was going to go, but like it is with so many other things this year, it had to be adapted to a completely different and more corona-friendly reality. I am huge on planning and I worry when things do not go to plan, and when there was still stand in everything due to lockdown, I was seriously contemplating if it was the right time for me to do an internship, as the consequence of something going wrong would be that I had to extend my whole education to get the credit I need to graduate. However, I felt that CIEE handled the situation with such professionalism, and I felt greatly supported throughout, so for once I decided to trust the process and it paid off.
I was offered an amazing virtual internship as a marketing assistant at MCH London – The Responsible Advertising Agency. Before the interview, I was open-minded about what kind of organization I would be doing an internship with, and I never really expected a perfect match, but this really is. My job at MCH combines my professional interests and career aspirations. I identify with the organization’s culture and its core values of being a responsible advertising agency and their focus on having a positive human impact at the center of all they develop and deliver for clients.
My job at MCH is to manage their social media accounts, posting and writing content for their outbound marketing, community management (increasing engagement on social media), I am also undertaking the project of getting MCH the B Corp certificate which includes research of the accreditation and what they need to do to get the certificate. I do these things with amazing support from the MCH team. I moreover have had some extraordinary opportunities here amongst participating in PAC 2020, which is a course designed for people early in their career to give a greater understanding of the advertising process. Furthermore, I have had the opportunity to help with creating social media content for the International advertising association (IAA) UK.
Doing a virtual internship is definitely different than anything I have done before. At the core of everything is the importance of self-discipline and clear communication. At MCH, I am offered a very flexible schedule, which means that initially, my working hours are not monitored, and I am in no way being micromanaged. Self-discipline here is important because you are at home, and lines between when you are at work and when you are off work can become blurry, but people still trust you to deliver an elaborate piece of work. I found that creating a structure for myself was the easiest way of ensuring the quality of my work but also to make sure I can feel like I have time off. I have learned a lot about time management since starting this internship. One of my biggest challenges has been to adapt to a much more dynamic environment. From my studies, I have been used to having hours of uninterrupted immersion, whereas, in a work environment, I have had to get used to being productive in between meetings, etc. Furthermore, clear communication is another important element, because it is far more difficult for your supervisor to notice online, if you struggle with your tasks, if there is something you do not understand, or if you feel like you have too much or too little work to do.
I decided to move to London for the period of my internship. I did this to get the full abroad experience. As I spend most of my day in a small one-bedroom apartment, it has also been especially important for me to activate myself outside of the apartment. Luckily London has amazing, corona-friendly activities to offer.
Doing a virtual internship might be a different experience than what I expected when I began the process of finding an internship. However, it brings so many positive things with it. I get so many amazing opportunities. I get to sit in on a lot of meetings and learn about the profession, and as the meetings are held online it makes it logistically speaking more convenient to participate. As previously mentioned, there is a lot of flexibility involved with having an online schedule and also I believe we will see a more digital way of working in the future, and doing a virtual internship poses for an amazing experience and training in navigating in an increasingly digitalized professional world.