From the Other Side of the World
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July 14, 2020
Chloe Rosenberg, CAS '22
This summer did not go as I planned – and I am so grateful for it.
I was disappointed when I learned my summer abroad 2020 internship in Argentina was canceled. As a student-athlete, I have limited time to travel abroad during the academic school year, despite majoring in international relations and minoring in Spanish. I was thrilled to be accepted to travel abroad over the summer and get the international experience I had been craving. But, alas, coronavirus had other plans for me and my Penn peers.
When I learned that my internship would be offered remotely, I was unsure of what to expect. How would my days be structured? Would I still be able to immerse myself in a new culture from my house in New Jersey? What would it be like to work in groups over Zoom and Google Hangout all day?
Now that I am four weeks into my virtual internship, I can confidently say that I am learning a great deal and having a blast while doing it. Working as a marketing and business analyst intern for SolarLatam – a solar energy company based in Buenos Aires – I have the opportunity to use my knowledge, energy, and expertise in a number of ways. The most pleasant surprise is that even though I am on the other side of the world, I am still able to get an immersive and hands-on experience.
A day in the life as a SolarLatam intern consists of waking up early, going for a (masked) jog in my local park, working independently on an analysis of the solar energy market, calling my co-intern Jake to work collaboratively on a corporate presentation, taking a brief lunch break, joining the SolarLatam team over GoogleHangout for a quick check-in on our progress (en español!), working independently again until about 5:30 pm, and then signing off for the day after taking notes on my progress and updating my to-do list for the following days. Sometimes, I will take a break and listen to a Spanish podcast (my favorite right now is Rosie’s Tips) or use Zoom to call a mentor from my program who lives in Argentina and chat about how our lives and cultures are really similar or very different.
Working from home is something extremely new to me. The biggest lesson I have learned is to balance my time. Sitting in front of my computer for hours on end can be a challenge, and taking breaks to stretch my legs and rest my eyes works wonders. Another important lesson is to ask questions – don’t be afraid to reach out to your mentors if you need guidance! Luckily, the SolarLatam team has been amazing, warmly welcoming me and my co-intern and always accessible to discuss challenges or concerns.
Although I am still heartbroken that I was not able to live in Argentina this summer (winter down there!), I am incredibly grateful that SolarLatam and Penn were creative and flexible enough to enable me to have my virtual internship experience this summer. Helping SolarLatam enter the United States solar energy market has been a fun and rewarding challenge so far, and I can’t wait to see what the final month of my internship will bring.