Internships are a vital part of a student’s journey toward a successful career. They provide invaluable real-world experience and a glimpse into the workings of the professional world. Today, I’m excited to share my personal experience with interning at The Land of Wanderlust (TLOW) and why I believe it’s a must for anyone looking to grow and develop their skills.
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Remote Work in Manali: A Unique Experience
TLOW is a travel company that offers backpacking trips and internships in various locations across India. I did my internship with them in the Summer of 2023. They gave me the opportunity to work remotely from the stunning location of Manali, alongside other interns. How often do you get the chance to combine work with such a breathtaking environment? I know I was lucky. The idea of working from a serene, picturesque place like Manali, where I could enjoy the snow-capped mountains, the fresh air, and the local culture, was both exciting and inspiring. However, this unique setup also came with its own set of challenges.
Self-Reliance and Problem Solving
One of the things I quickly noticed during my internship at TLOW was the level of independence expected from interns. Unlike some internships where you might have constant guidance, TLOW encourages interns to take initiative and find solutions on their own. While this can be challenging, it’s an incredibly valuable skill to develop. It forces you to think critically, problem-solve, and become more self-reliant, which are essential qualities in any professional setting.
For example, one of the challenges that I faced was writing engaging content for their website and social media platforms. I had to research about the destinations, the activities, the culture, and the history of the places that they offered trips to. I also had to follow their tone and style guidelines and adhere to their deadlines. I did not have much supervision or feedback from my mentors or peers. I had to rely on my own judgment and creativity to produce quality content that would attract potential customers.
The Challenge of Bad Weather
As much as I cherished my time in Manali, nature had other plans. Unpredictable weather conditions forced me to leave this picturesque location after just one month, cutting my internship short. This situation highlighted the importance of adaptability and resilience in the professional world. While it was disappointing, it was also a valuable lesson in dealing with unforeseen challenges.
For instance, one of the challenges that I faced was maintaining communication and coordination with my team members who were working from different locations. Due to bad weather conditions, there were frequent power cuts and internet disruptions in Manali. This made it difficult for me to access my work files, send emails, attend meetings, and collaborate with others. I had to find alternative ways to stay connected and updated with my work, such as using mobile data, offline apps, and backup devices.
Learning in a Work-from-Home Environment
After returning home and continuing my internship remotely, I noticed a significant difference in my learning experience. The initial thrill of working from an exotic location was replaced by the reality of remote work. While it was still a valuable experience, it became apparent that I learned less compared to being on-site.
For example, one of the aspects that I missed was the social interaction and the informal learning that happens in a physical workplace. Being on-site, I could have interacted more with my mentors and peers, learned from their experiences and feedback, and participated in their discussions and brainstorming sessions. I could have also experienced the work culture and the values of the company more closely. These are some of the things that are hard to replicate in a virtual environment.
The Importance of In-Person Work
My time at TLOW taught me that there’s no substitute for in-person work when it comes to learning and skill development. While remote work offers flexibility, there’s a unique energy and interaction that occurs in a physical workplace. Being surrounded by experienced professionals and colleagues fosters a more immersive learning environment, something I missed during the latter part of my internship.
This is not just my personal opinion, but also supported by research. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, face-to-face interactions are more effective than virtual ones for building trust, collaboration, and creativity. The study found that people who met in person were more likely to share information, generate ideas, and reach agreements than those who met online. The study also suggested that physical proximity enhances social bonding and emotional connection, which are crucial for learning and performance.
Interning at TLOW has been an eye-opening and transformative experience for me. It has not only allowed me to gain valuable skills but has also taught me the importance of adaptability, problem-solving, and the unique learning opportunities that come with in-person work. While remote work in a beautiful location like Manali is enticing, it’s essential to recognise that the true essence of learning often happens when you’re physically present in the workplace. For anyone considering an internship at TLOW, I can say from personal experience that it’s an opportunity not to be missed.
Text by Harender Singh