Internships are still sought after despite pandemic, surveys reveal

Posted November 24, 2020 by

By Luke Sandford of

Despite the limitations currently placed on most of our lives by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the want for internships amongst students is not diminishing, two surveys conducted in January and October 2020 for have revealed. One result of the January survey was that almost nine-in-ten students view internships as being important to their long-term career goals.

With numbers like this, it is little wonder that almost three-quarters of students (73%) intend to undertake an internship during or after their studies.

But why are internships seen as being so pivotal? With so many students wanting internships, how can employers know who is best for their interning vacancies?

Internships as Trial Runs

Some organizations choose to use internships as trial runs for possible employment. Interns who perform well and are a good fit with the organization can find themselves hired. This is particularly true for those from disadvantaged or minority backgrounds. But using internships as trial runs does now appear to be going both ways.

The surveys found that students increasingly want to use their time during higher education to undertake activities that will aid them in their future career aims. Internships are key to this. They provide an excellent way for students to truly get a feel for how a sector in industry functions and operates — and whether or not it is right for them.

For international students, internships can also be a way into another job market. It can help them come to understand how the job market in another country functions, how it differs from their own and, crucially, how to crack it.

International Students and Internships

Both the January and October surveys showed that interest in internships among international students remains healthy. It appears as though this rise cannot only be attributed to international students potentially wanting to broaden their horizons in other countries.

The October survey reflected the current conditions created by the pandemic, conditions which have forced some would-be international students to postpone or even cancel their study plans. But this has not dimmed their want to begin building their future careers.

In fact, almost a quarter (22.6%) of those who have had to change their study abroad plans want to undertake an internship instead. But sudden changes can also lead to sudden opportunities. This is where remote internships come into play.

Remote Interning

Once considered to be the ‘second-best’ option, remote internships are now rapidly on the rise — and this is beneficial to both organizations and would-be interns.

Remote internships give organizations the opportunity to de facto extend their recruitment reach, while allowing interns who might otherwise have been unable to undertake that particular internship to upskill and gain experience.

For example; a young school leaver in Jackson, Wyoming now has the opportunity to undertake an internship with an organization in Portland, Oregon. Whereas that organization might have previously required them to be present at their office in Portland in person, they are now able to work remotely from their home in Jackson.

Remote internships give students the opportunity to showcase their skill and to learn new ones. This might well be why, according to the Chicago Tribune, remote internships look as though they are here to stay, even once the pandemic ends.

The Takeaway

These two surveys for have revealed a strong want for internships. Some students are now following the lead of many organizations and using internships as trial runs for potential employees. In fact, very nearly three-quarters of students want to undertake an internship before or after their studies.

Internships also serve a useful purpose for international students in that they can help them to get a feel for how the job market in another country works, as well as coming to see its nuances. The fact that the pandemic has hit study plans is also driving more international students towards internships.

However, the pandemic has also opened the door to remote internships. These have allowed people who might not have otherwise been able to access an internship with a certain company or in a specific sector the opportunity to upskill, gain experience and potentially even land a job.

— Luke Sandford is a writer and content producer at Currently based in Lund, he is originally from the U.K. and graduated from Goldsmiths College, University of London in 2018 with a B.A. in Education. He has since written for several outlets and has worked as an English teacher, both at home and abroad. Luke’s passion for travelling and experiencing new cultures directly impacts his work as he seeks to create engaging, informative, and useful content for a wide audience.

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