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University Student + Part-time Internship: it is Possible!

Kotomi, from Hong Kong, was a Content Writing Intern with Roots for four months. She participated in a part-time, remote internship as a full-time college student which allowed her to gain real-world experience alongside her studies. Read what she has to say about this experience.

They say internships help you discover what direction you want your career to propel into, so I sat down, laptop in hand, scavenging online for an opportunity to test my skills and find my true interests.

There wasn’t a set position I was looking for, as I didn’t have a clear description of what job I wanted to hold in the future. Perhaps something writing-related I thought, since I always had a knack for it and was keen on polishing my skills. I had trouble finding any possible opportunities for this in Hong Kong, given my full-time student status. That’s when a remote internship from Roots Interns caught my eye, and the rest is history.

What Was the Process Like?

Initially, I was interested in a listing posted on Roots’ website with one of their nonprofit partners. I reached out to Roots and asked for more details about this, but unfortunately realized I couldn’t take on this role due to the required working hours. Frankly, it took me by surprise when Roots asked if I instead wanted to intern with them directly, since they could provide arrangements for my needs. I decided to give it a shot and jump on a call with the supervisor to see if I was a fit. Friendly and understanding, the Roots team was sensitive to my needs and more than happy to assign me to preferred writing genres. Soon after, I found myself onboarding the team with a 4-month contract for a part-time and online content writing internship in Cape Town.

A Glimpse into My Remote Internship

Was it intimidating? Far from it. Here’s my experience summed up:

My supervisor would give me tasks on a weekly basis and would meet with me regularly to ensure my questions were answered and ideas were heard. The deadlines weren’t unforgivably rigid, and I was given enough autonomy to feel excited about work. I’d submit my writing tasks and would receive feedback through document comments, emails, or quick calls.

Around halfway through my remote internship, I began to help with the social media side of things, namely Instagram. The Gen-Z in me took great pride in creating captions and devising ways to increase our engagement. I typically had one Instagram post a week to curate.

Sometimes working remotely can feel, well, not “real”. It’s different from a traditional office workplace, but I think there’s beauty in that. Because there are no set working hours (also due to the timezone difference), this was extremely useful for a capricious college schedule. It meant I could slot in time for this in between my classes or even right before bed when my brain wasn’t fancying my own academics. But make no mistake, I still felt integrated into the Roots team. My supervisors would send constant updates in our workplace group. They would even send pictures of the stunning South African views from where they were based! I could feel I was a valuable member to the team, and I could witness how my contribution was making waves within Roots. Perhaps these points about why you should join this organization for a Nonprofit internship can aid my testimony to this!

If you’re liking the sound of this so far, why not check out what remote internships are currently available?

Lessons Learned + Tips & Tricks

1. Communication

Working and communicating solely online comes with its difficulties, so you have to be clear. If something university-related comes up that interferes with your internship, let your advisor know. They’re willing to accommodate busy schedules and adjust priorities if needed. I learned that it’s best to have both sides understand everyone’s current situations. Supervisors have their own lives too! They’ll understand as long as you are transparent with them. I felt at ease knowing how my team appreciated honesty and keeping them in the loop on any changes.

2. Self-accountability

This might be one of the key takeaways of remote internships. Your advisor isn’t there to physically guide you, meaning you are your own boss. It’s up to you to manage your time and the responsibilities during your part-time internship. For me, what helped was dedicating set time slots throughout the week to my internship work. Once you get into your weekly groove, being in charge of yourself becomes second nature. It’s great for those who want to practice responsibility and self-discipline!

3. Cultural Learning

In our global world, who wouldn’t want to be more culturally-aware? Since the Roots team has opportunities around the world, my writing pieces revolved around cultures unfamiliar to me. From traditions to geography to social issues, I stepped through my virtual window to experience another way of life. This is especially appealing for those who want to travel but can’t at the moment. Online internships allow you to find beauty in the foreign. Now, Lake Malawi is definitely on my travel bucket list!

Need more reasons on why to embark on a virtual internship? Let us assure you of the 7 best reasons to apply for a remote internship with Roots Interns.

Final Thoughts

All in all, this remote part-time internship is something I’m happy I took up! My original plan was to stay for two months, but it was so enjoyable and manageable that I ended up doing double the expected duration and extending to a four month internship.

College students, it’s definitely worthwhile to consider online internships alongside your studies. In fact, you can possibly earn credits towards your degree simultaneously by purchasing transfer credits, or speaking with your academic advisor about possible options and requirements.

My online internship helped me understand where my strengths and weaknesses lay and thus what career path may suit me. Even though my end-goal isn’t to be an online writer, I developed transferable skills relevant to any field. Go for it! You never know what you could learn about your professional or personal life.

For more information, get in touch the Roots Interns team to ask any questions and learn about available opportunities.

This blog was written by Kotomi Hasegawa