Bryden Sandifer stands in front of Humayun's Tomb, in New Delhi

Bryden Sandifer reflects on her two types of global internships: in-person and virtual

Bryden Sandifer reflects on her two types of global internships: in-person and virtual

My name is Bryden and I’m a fourth-year studying Global Development and Spanish. I was lucky enough to take part in two Global Internships, one in-person and the other virtually. Both experiences were incredibly rewarding and challenged me in different but equally valuable ways. 

In the summer of 2019, I lived in New Delhi, India, interning with a public health organization. In my in-person internship, I was completely immersed in a culture entirely new to me. Not only was I navigating a new workplace, but also a different city, a different language, and a different culture. Being constantly slightly out of my comfort zone was at times overwhelming and challenging, but it helped me grow in many ways. It compelled me to learn how to communicate and relate across cultures, to be able to create constructive and lasting relationships. It inspired greater confidence in myself and my own abilities. It forced me to ask questions about the culture around me, and subsequently ask those same questions about myself. Living and working in another country for a summer challenged the way I see the world and lent me personal insights that I believe I will carry with me throughout my life and career. 

In the summer of 2021, I had the opportunity to work as a remote intern with a Peruvian education organization. Although this internship was in a virtual format, the experience I had was extremely beneficial to my growth as an individual and as a young professional. In this role, I learned about non-profit management and policy-making through projects focusing on fundraising and community engagement. I gained experience in working across time zones and languages, greatly improving my Spanish skills and recognizing the importance of clear and constant communication along the way. I gained experience in entering the virtual workplace, learning how to navigate social cues and cultural differences even through a computer screen. I was even able to build connections with colleagues and supervisors, despite the thousands of miles between us. Through my virtual internship, I gained experiences that have helped me solidify the path I want to follow for my future career. I have become significantly more employable and now have global work experience and communication skills that I know will benefit me greatly in my future career. 

My experiences with UVA Global Internships have been integral in my time at UVA. They have helped me analyze myself and the culture around me and look forward to my future career and how I want to engage with the world. While both virtual and in-person internships offer different lessons and experiences, as well as different sets of challenges, for me, both have been absolutely worthwhile and I would recommend them to all students.