International Telework

Posted on Monday, August 24, 2020

Due to the current global pandemic, we have to adapt to the new restrictions. Among these adaptations, there is this question: are international internships still possible? Indeed, yes, international internships are available.

According to Miguel de Larrinaga, international practical teaching manager who takes care of the pedagogical supervision for internships, it is possible to do internships in places that would not be safe on the field. That said, the number of internships depends because there are three internship cycles per year (January to April, May to late August and September to December) and some internships last from one session to another. We have conducted interviews with a few people who are involved in the Faculty’s international program. Here’s what they had to say:

Despite the pandemic, what are the positive aspects of doing your international internship remotely?

There is certainly nothing positive about the pandemic, but there are positive aspects to doing your internship remotely. “I think [telework] is going to become more and more important and that gives students the opportunity to develop assets related to [telework],” says Miguel de Larrinaga.

In fact, Bibi Hakim, a student currently in an internship with the United Nations (UN), says that despite the fact that she cannot travel, she can work in the comfort of her home. This allowed her to improve her skills with platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Slack.

On the other hand, Meg Stalcup, professor of sociological and anthropological studies, gave the course Activism and Social Change in Brazil which served as a substitute for her field research course in Brazil. She mentioned that the students were eager to interact among each other and participate in the online course activities.

What changes have you made to the way you work?

According to Mr. de Larrinaga, the recruitment for international internships as well as its duration have remained the same. However, activities such as reintegration workshops that are done when students return, had to be done online.

Furthermore, during this time of year, Professor Stalcup would normally be in the field doing her research. Since she could not duplicate the field research for her Activism and Social Change in Brazil course, she decided to focus on Brazilian cinema for this course, so that her students could discover the culture and history of this Latin country.

For her part, Bibi tries to maintain a decent routine, while paying attention to her mental health and well-being and staying motivated. She alternates between two workplaces in her home, her bedroom and her living room, so as not to get tired or bored.

What do you like about teleworking?

“Feedback from my students made me think how awesome it would be to do both an intensive course for field research and then go to the field in Brazil,” said Professor Stalcup.

On the other hand, Mr. de Larrinaga likes the fact that it is a new challenge for students doing international internships since they have to get used to teleworking and working at different hours depending on the geographic location of the country of their internship.

For Bibi, it has been difficult to stay motivated during this pandemic, as she is used to running around town and interacting with people. However, this pandemic has enabled her to identify areas where she needs improvement.

How do you communicate with your colleagues?

It seems that many of us have had to get used to using a variety of technological platforms for university or work. This is the case for our correspondents, Miguel de Larrinaga, Meg Stalcup and Bibi Hakim. They use emails and a variety of platforms such as Skype, Zoom and Slack.

Moreover, since popular platforms in Brazil are different than the ones here, Professor Stalcup uses WhatsApp, which is a major platform in Brazil, Google Meet and Jitsi to communicate with her colleagues in Brazil.

Stay tuned for information on the 2021 Winter Internships! Should you have any questions, please contact the Office of the Vice-Dean, Governance & Internationalization at fssinternational@uOttawa.ca.

 

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