Hobart and William Smith Colleges - Going Global with International Remote Internships
The HWS Update
A drone view of campus from the fall.

Going Global with International Remote Internships

The Center for Global Education and the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education now offer opportunities for remote international internships for eligible students.

Hundreds of students had their study abroad experiences cut short or cancelled in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. With social distancing and quarantine protocols still in place for the Spring 2021 semester, the Center for Global Education (CGE) and the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education found a new way for students to engage with the global community: international remote internships.

Aware that many of the Colleges’ global partners already offered virtual opportunities, Dean for Global Education Tom D’Agostino P’15 reached out to Salisbury Center Director Brandi Ferrara, whose team had guided students through the remote internship process in the summer of 2020. “It seemed like a natural way for us to collaborate and provide students with some sort of international opportunity,” he says.

Josh Hylkema '21

Josh Hylkema ’21

The Colleges have established relationships with five institutions — from large schools like the University of Auckland in New Zealand to smaller providers like l’Institut Américain Universitaire in Aix-en-Provence, France ­— to provide remote internships to 40 Hobart and William Smith students. They are working in a wide array of organizations and areas, including marketing, sustainability, policy and consulting for companies located in the UK, Ireland, Spain, France, New Zealand and Belgium.

Josh Hylkema ’21 was studying in the Netherlands in the spring of 2020 when his semester abroad was curtailed by the pandemic. Now, the history major is interning at Laffineur Law Firm in Brussels, Belgium — an ideal fit, as he is currently studying for the LSAT with the intention of attending law school — where he summarizes European Union legislation, case law, press releases and plenary sessions related to food and product safety.

Hylkema appreciates the opportunity to intern with a global firm and gain experience working virtually while also earning course credit. He’s thankful to the staff at the Salisbury Center for their guidance with cover letters, his resume and interviews and to CGE for connections to international programs. “They’ve created this perfectly mixed program that allows you to draw from both offices,” he says.

As participants have committed to devoting approximately 20 hours per week to their internships, Ferrara notes that excellent time management and organizational skills are a requirement. “Working internationally means dealing with different time zones and adjusting schedules accordingly,” she says. “While the internships are supervised, there’s a degree of initiative that’s very important.”

“One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that we’ve come to realize we can do things virtually pretty effectively,” says D’Agostino. “A lot of companies already work this way, so to have our students gain that experience helps to prepare them for what they’re going to experience after they leave the Colleges.”

For Hylkema, the program provides a peek at a potential future. “I hope to one day practice international law in an international setting,” he says. “This program gives me a great opportunity to see what that’s like.”

For more information about international remote internships, contact the Center for Global Education at (315) 781-3307.