Journey to Working Abroad: A Remote Internship That Became A Placement Year

According to the NACE report, 91% of employers believe that candidates who acquire relevant work experience during college are more likely to succeed in their respective roles. This indicates that hands-on experience is no longer a choice but rather a necessary equipment that prepare them for their future career. As the demand for work-ready graduates continues to rise, students are seeking experiential learning that bridges the gap between education and employment. 

Here, we delve into the journey of Savash, a student at Sheffield Hallam University who embarked on a Virtual Internships work-based learning journey with 360Fashion Network and turned it into a transformative placement year in China.


The Changing Dynamics of the Job Market

An analysis of job postings in the United Kingdom reveals approximately 34% of graduate-level jobs and 24% of junior or entry-level positions require candidates to have at least one year of work experience. These figures are even higher in specialized fields such as engineering and marketing.

A theory-based education alone no longer suffices to prepare students for the future of work. Employers now seek candidates who can hit the ground running, and for this, practical experience is important.


Savash's Journey with Virtual Internships

The Shift Towards Practical Learning

The perception of education ROI is changing along with the shift in employment needs. Savash soon recognized the significance of gaining practical experience early in his career. However, like other young professionals without prior work experience, he faced the challenge of breaking into his chosen field.

As a 'junior' anything; architect, designer, programmer, etc. it's almost impossible to get your foot in the door without experience, and it's just as hard to get paid for it. One great pathway to gaining experience is through an internship. Virtual Internships allowed me to work with a company that wouldn't have otherwise been on my radar and allowed me to give as much time as I was comfortable with giving.

Savash's journey began when he decided to join the Virtual Internships program. This serves as a gateway to gaining valuable experience with a company that would have otherwise been beyond his reach. With the program being integrated into the academic curriculum, it allowed him to contribute time and effort depending on his schedule. This flexible factor is critical for students, like Savash, to balance between academics and professional work.

The Experience That Transcended Expectations

Savash had clear expectations when he embarked on this journey. He hoped to bolster his portfolio, secure an international project, or gather impressive visuals for his website. However, what he gained far exceeded his initial goals. His Virtual Internships experience provided him with insights into the inner workings of a business operating in the international market, particularly in China.

Savash's experience extended beyond mere observation. He actively participated in real-world design projects and contributed ideas. This level of involvement allowed him to acquire practical knowledge and build a network of contacts that would likely have a lasting impact on his career.

Future Plans: Building on a Strong Foundation

Savash's internship was just the beginning of his adventure. The connections he forged during this period were instrumental in shaping his future. His conversations and collaboration with professionals in China opened doors to future career opportunities. In January 2024, he will join the team at 360Fashion Network in the Shanghai office, where he can expect to gain more hands-on experience in an international setting. 

Looking ahead, Savash's roadmap includes further exploration of Asia, with potential stops in Beijing, Shenzhen, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. These travels will not only enrich personal experiences but also enhance his global perspective, a valuable asset in today's interconnected world.

Upon completing his final year of university, he aspires to leverage his network of prospects for a graduate job in Interior Architecture, focusing on affordable, bespoke residential projects for clients. With a strong foundation of practical experience and international exposure, he is well-prepared for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.


Empower Your Students’ Journey With Virtual Internships

Savash's journey from a remote internship to a full-time placement in a foreign country serves as a testament to how experiential learning can open doors and create possibilities on a global scale. It underscores the importance of practical experience in the evolving job market and showcases the transformative potential of programs that bridge the gap between education and employment.

At Virtual Internships, we partner with universities, pathway providers, and governments to pioneer experiential learning at scale, granting access to real global work experience. Our platform goes beyond simple placements; we offer coaching and support to equip individuals with career readiness competencies. By introducing emerging professionals, like Savash, to the possibilities of remote work settings, we empower the next workforce generation for future professions.

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