The challenges of working with an international remote team as an intern

Being an intern for an international remote team certainly comes with its challenges

We’ve had the pleasure of working with lots of international interns this year as our team moved from our Brighton office to working from home. Hopefully this has been the same for you and your company! Our interns have helped us massively this year and we’re very grateful – because we know that working with an international remote team as an intern comes with its challenges.

I sat down to chat with our latest Human Resources Intern, Linda Raynard. She’s been working with us from America for the past few months. We chatted about the challenges she has faced joining an international remote team as an intern.

Hi Linda! Let’s start with the easy stuff. Where are you from?

“So I’m from Michigan in the United States and I go to Michigan State University”.

How did you come to work with us this year?

“Earlier in the year I was enrolled in a study abroad experience with my university. I was so excited about it – we were going to start in the Netherlands and then travel to Belgium and France. It was going to be my first time on a plane!

“It was unfortunately cancelled but I still wanted to do something with human resources – that’s my major.

“I learned about this opportunity through my university. The email mentioned a global remote internship experience and that’s exactly what I was looking for!

“In the application process I was able to really explain what I was looking for out of the internship. This whole experience was kind of tailored to me – it combined my interests in student education, career preparation and had that global element I was missing.”

Nice! So what does your average day look like working internationally?

“I work in the early morning to mid-afternoon, Monday to Thursday. We have a five hour time difference between us, so I come online UK time at around 2 pm and work until 7 pm.

“My days always start with a catch up meeting with someone from the team. They give me a rundown of what was going on that day. Then I go onto our Slack channel, make sure I’m all caught up and then get started looking after our graduates.

“I create profiles, process graduate uploads and message them as well. I try to help them make their profile as good as possible for their applications.”

You’re working remotely and with an international team – how is it for you?

“It is definitely a new experience. My other jobs have all been in-person and I really enjoyed that experience. But now even my university classes are online.

“I would say that there were some challenges that I had to overcome, but I did it. And so they weren’t undoable, they were just part of the new experience that I wasn’t quite used to.

“But after a while I got myself into a daily routine. I’m online morning to mid-afternoon. Then I take a break and force myself to go outside and do something. And then in the evening I go onto my school work.

“Honestly doing schoolwork in the evenings was hard. It was a lot of sitting around on my computer.

“But I think my routine and the people I work with definitely motivate me. There is always a goal, always a new target I try to reach.

“And the work is actually really rewarding! When the graduates actually speak with me I really feel like my role is meaningful for them. So even though my work is behind the scenes and online, it is nice to get that appreciation.”

What were some of the other challenges you faced?

“So my interest is in human resources – that’s my major. I’m really excited about career development and things like that.

“So I guess that I had some standards and models that I was used to seeing coming into this. And I should have realised this at the start – I did later – but what I know about careers is not the same as what someone else knows.

“Other cultures also have different views on how you talk about yourself and your experiences in these situations.

“I also wasn’t aware of the tech industry jobs we work. I had to learn about software development and marketing and the skills that our grads need. So I learned about this whole industry!

“I was also able to challenge myself to grow my global competency. I’m more aware of how other cultures do things now.

“I’m so used to the way things are done here. I get an assignment and I’m told what font, size and margins to put it in. It’s very particular and I’m used to that kind of instruction. In this job I have more autonomy and freedom with my work. I was so used to being told what do to.

“I’ve been challenged to build my independence, autonomy and creativity. I’m challenged to actually think and be more engaged in my projects.”

Would you work remotely with an international team again?

“Yes! With everything going on in the world right now I feel very fortunate to say I interned at a company in the UK. Despite the pandemic I was still able to step out of my comfort zone, expand my knowledge and get that global competency I’ve been wanting.

“I would definitely recommend this kind of thing to everyone!”

What will 2021 look like for you?

“I’m graduating May 2021 so I’m getting ready for the future. I’m applying for grad school and also considering some work experience in low-income secondary schools, helping students apply for university.”

And that’s that! On behalf of the whole team at DigitalGrads I want to thank Linda and wish her the best of luck for the future!

About post author

Hi, I'm Daisy. I'm using my passion for writing to work with DigitalGrads on their content and social media campaigns.
Posted in Managing Juniors