The 2021 Global Internship Conference was held online June 14-18, 2021.

Session 1

Monday, June 14

Opening Plenary – Sustainable Development Goals & International Internships – A global call for action!

Keynote Speaker
Dr Norah McRae, Associate Provost, Co-operative and Experiential Education, University of Waterloo

Student Presentation
Sam Bisutti, Major: Mechatronics Engineering, University of Waterloo

“GIC After Hours”

Presentation 1: Eat, Pray, Love…And Everything Else We Did to Transition to a Virtual Internship Program

This presentation will focus on what the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Sydney did at the onset of the pandemic across our various internship programs (separately and for our GRIP in Sydney program) and how we came together, planned for, and implemented a virtual GRIP program for 2021. The presentation will also include feedback from one of our host organisations who has hosted both virtual and in-person students, as well as from a student who is currently undertaking our virtual internship program. We will discuss challenges, what has worked and what has not, and what we will keep from our virtual programming in in-person programs moving forward.


  • Dana Logston, University of Sydney
  • Melissa DiFrancesco, University of Pennsylvania

Presentation 2: Facilitating and evaluating virtual international internships – an Australian case study

The presentation will introduce evaluations and insights into the virtual international internships from the perspective of students, administrative and academic staff from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Australia. Most internships were conducted through third party providers in the Asia-Pacific region. Through surveys and interviews we gained insights into students’ perspectives of their WIL learning in international virtual settings and their recommendations for other students, program providers, and internship supervisors.


  • Beate Mueller, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
  • Yara Vasina, University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Presentation 3: Online Cultural Exchange is ‘Virtually’ impossible, or is it?

This presentation will oversee how a structured, ‘Cultural Mentor’ approach, delivered entirely online and with individualized support, can successfully mitigate negative impacts on cultural exchange brought about by a lack of opportunity for student travel.

The session will benefit from contributions from university and provider representatives, as well as participating students and Cultural Mentors from two unique ‘Remote Internship’ programmes delivered by Pagoda Projects on behalf of The University of Queensland and Swinburne University of Technology.


  • Paul Bailey, Pagoda Projects
  • Shirley Hsueh, The University of Queensland
  • Diana Gonzalez, Swinburne University of Technology

Session 2

Tuesday, June 15

The Future is Accessible: How International Internships Open Doors to Students with Disabilities


  • Ashley Holben, Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
  • Elizabeth Mohammad Park, Major: International Studies at Bryn Mawr College
  • Max Sederer, Northeastern University
  • Kyle Droz, Northeastern University
  • Sally Conant, Northeastern University
  • Alexander Stone, The Amandla Project

Presentation 1: The Future is Accessible: How International Internships Open Doors to Students with Disabilities

To spotlight an underrepresented population within the world of global internships, this session will center the voices and perspectives of global interns with disabilities. The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange interviewed over a dozen U.S. students with disabilities about their international internship experiences. Some of these alumni will share their stories, which are diverse in terms of disability, identity, internship destination, program type, and career goals. What these alumni have in common is that their experiences had a transformative impact on their career trajectories, their communities at home and abroad, and for some, how they – and others – see themselves in the world.

To complement the perspectives of the global internship alumni with disabilities, this session will discuss how international educators, institutions, program providers, and others can take action to mitigate common barriers to the participation of students with disabilities and uphold their commitments to diversity, equity and inclusion.


  • Ashley Holben, Mobility International USA (MIUSA)
  • Elizabeth Mohammad Park, Major: International Studies at Bryn Mawr College

Presentation 2: Are Global Internship Opportunities Accessible? Supporting Students with Disabilities Abroad

Northeastern University students are working abroad in more than 80 countries annually. Students with disabilities have unique needs that must be addressed before they can take part in such an opportunity. This session will explore best practices, including differences in law, logistical preparation for travel and living abroad, disclosing disability, and resources available to those who wish to pursue these global experiences.


  • Max Sederer, Northeastern University
  • Kyle Droz, Northeastern University
  • Sally Conant, Northeastern University

Presentation 3: The Amandla Project

This presentation will detail the program structure of the Amandla Project and the innovative ways in which it increases access to internships, experiential learning, and leadership development abroad for college students with physical disabilities.

Additionally, the story of the program’s formation will be discussed, illuminating common barriers faced by students with disabilities in pursuit of internships abroad.


  • Alexander Stone, The Amandla Project

Session 3

Wednesday, June 16

Presentation 1: Building a global virtual WIL program; WACE Global Challenge

Following a successful 2020 pilot, the World Association of Co-operative Education (WACE)
partnered with edtech startup Practera to launch a scalable “Global Challenge” virtual student industry experience program.

The program aims to provide students global WIL experiences by creating a platform for diverse Universities, students and organisations to collaborate on projects aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

A pilot in 2020 saw students from 9 institutions in Kyrgyzstan, Namibia, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Japan, USA and Germany undertaking cultural intelligence training and industry projects together through the Practera platform.

This session will;

  • Profile the context, objectves and design of the Global Challange
  • Overview pilot outcomes and learnings
  • Profile Practera’s underlying quality assurance framework & benchmarking study for virtual industry projects covering 9000 student & industry participants
  • Provide an opportunity to provide feedback and discuss the future development of WACE Global Challenge programs


  • Beau Leese, Practera
  • Judie Kay, World Association of Cooperative Education (WACE)

Presentation 2: Virtual international internships: An outcomes and data driven analysis of the hottest new trend in International Education

This presentation uses data from two leading internship providers to explore how the recent rise of virtual international internships affect learning outcomes. It will cover areas such as skill development and global citizenship as they relate to career readiness. The presenters will share practical tips and promising practices for ensuring experiences are beneficial for students, employers, and institutions.

Leah Mason will provide an overview of student participation in international internships, their perceived benefits for career readiness, and the documented learning outcomes. Emily Merson and Jillian Low, representing Global Experiences and Virtual Internships, will share their perspectives on preparing students for the virtual international internship experience, the necessary supports and program structure that facilitate a successful experience, and how current models facilitate access and opportunity for more students. The panelists will discuss their vision for internships moving into the future and how future models may address remaining barriers to student participation.


  • Leah Mason, Institute of International Education
  • Emily Merson, Global Experiences
  • Jillian Low, Virtual Internships

Session 4

Thursday, June 17

Presentation 1: Closing the Skills Gap for All Students – Virtual programs which address accessibility and workforce readiness

Virtual international internship programs became prolific as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A year later, it is obvious that these programs are serving several needs, possibly better than in-person international internships. As we shift out of the pandemic shut downs, we have the opportunity to re-think how virtual programming can continue to serve a wider student demographic than traditional mobility programs. . This presentation will focus on the current skills gap – in both hard and soft skills – between what is being taught by universities and what employers seek and how remote international training and internships can potentially do a better job of bridging those gaps for a wider range of students due to their accessible nature. It will also arm international educators and faculty members with vital information to have conversations with others at their institution regarding the potential to onboard and embed programs such as these.


  • Deborah Morrison, World Strides/ISA/TEAN
  • Emma Lazor, University of California – Santa Cruz

Presentation 2: Beyond Global Internships: Catalyzing Impact and Agency through Virtual Projects and Digital Badges

As student expectations for high-impact global experiences continue to grow, colleges and universities struggle to offer opportunities at scale, especially within the context of the continuing pandemic. At the University at Buffalo Experiential Learning Network (ELN), we have designed an alternative to traditional models, using co-curricular digital badge to incentivize, facilitate and assess engagement. While our Project Portal accommodates all types of projects, our Global NGO offerings are particularly popular. Students begin by exploring the UN Sustainable Development Goals and then connecting with NGO partners while moving through our PEARL framework: Preparing, Engaging and Adding value through their project contributions, Reflecting, and Leveraging their experiences toward broader impacts. Upon completion, students earn a Global Collaboration digital badge, sharable via social media or digital resume. This model offers curricular versatility while moving students from the realm of learning to doing.


  • Mara Huber, University of Buffalo

Session 5

Friday, June 18

Presentation 1: Internships in the Global Start-Up: Perspectives on the Role of Experiential Education in the Innovation Economy

In many ways the coronavirus pandemic accelerated changes that were already underway in the way we work and learn: remote and online, unbundled, project based, with an emphasis on lifelong learning. As modalities for learning have changed so too have the needs of employers globally. Increasingly, companies – small, medium, large – value both hard and soft-skill acquisition to expedite onboarding of job-ready individuals, all within the context of a global economy overflowing with innovation investment and early- and mid-stage startups searching for talent.


  • Patrick Moran, CIEE
  • Jeanette Cheah, HEX
  • Piper Jackson-Sevy, flytedesk

Presentation 2: How to design “green traineeships”?

Relating traineeships to the EU Green Deal and similar policies for sustainable development is not only about the way students travel to their host organisation abroad. Much more it is about reflecting about the role of oneself and the role of students’ host organisation in a green transformation of society. The session will present first experiences about the integration of those aspect into traineeship programmes such as Erasmus+ Traineeships and will encourage productive exchange about the design of “green traineeships” in an interactive session.


  • Thomas Berger, Institute inter.research e.V.
  • Burcu Atalay Emre, Yeditepe University (Turkey)

Presentation 3 : Virtual Internships: Developing a value proposition among the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.

Startups and SMEs are developing new products and services that incorporate innovative solutions to real problems. These same companies are also evolving towards new work environments: collaborative and flexible, with interdisciplinary teams and horizontal organizational structure, which empowers employees to propose and to be part of the decision making.

Mainly because of the mentioned above, the Global Internship Program at UDD seeks to offer a work experience to national and international students, in a startup or SME, because we see an added value in the student´s working experience, because of the companies’ characteristics mentioned above.

On the other hand, these companies have also seen a positive impact in having foreign students in their workplace, making them more aware of their opportunities abroad and the importance of having an intercultural team.


  • Jovana Batarce & Paula Arriarán, Universidad del Desarrollo
  • Paula Arriarán, Universidad del Desarrollo
  • Andrés Alcalde, Moovemedia

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