An RMIT student in Australia recently spent three months working on innovative European projects from her desk in Melbourne as part of a virtual internship program run by RMIT Europe.
Natalia Alessi, a Master of Design (Media and Communication) student, was successfully awarded the competitive RMIT Europe internship opportunity to support the marketing of the University's Ethical Cities: Urban Innovation Forum in Barcelona.
The opportunity, which was on offer by RMIT’s hub in Europe for the first time this year, saw Alessi work online and remotely to support the promotion of the event.
Alessi said that one of the things that attracted her to the virtual internship was the idea of working across different locations.
“I was also interested in improving my ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds,” she said.
“Across the project I was assigned, which included layout and design, social media analytics and content development, I improved my writing skills plus became more confident in producing work without supervision.”
Alessi also faced some challenges often experienced by organisations working across different time zones.
“Meetings had to occur at odd times during the day because of the time difference. And the need to be briefed properly on work tasks was critical" she said.
“But I think these were both challenges as well as learning processes.
“In a world where global connections and interactivity are in demand, it’s important to be aware of the way cultural differences can impact on communication and work effectiveness.”
And would Alessi recommend this opportunity to other students?
“Absolutely!” she said.
“It has been a great opportunity to amplify work experience with such a unique opportunity of working virtually.
“Working on projects that involve long distance collaboration is definitely a learning experience every student should consider.”
RMIT Europe’s Executive Director Marta Fernandez said RMIT Europe's virtual internship program highlights the nature of global organisations.
“We recognised a unique opportunity to be able to offer students at RMIT in Australia and Vietnam the chance to work on significant European projects without them having to leave the country,” Fernandez said.
“As a global university with two student campuses in Vietnam, a centre in Spain, as well as programs on offer through partners in Asia and Europe, we enjoy the opportunity to be creative and innovative with the mobility experiences we offer our students.
“While RMIT Europe also delivers more traditional models of student mobility such as semester exchange and summer schools, virtual internships make international experiences for students more accessible while letting them experience working for a global organisation.”
Fernandez said RMIT Europe is sharing these experiences with its industry partners across Europe, who are interested in creating similar unique opportunities for RMIT students.
Story: Karen Matthews