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The Virtual Internships is a programme designed by eCoexist which we first offered to the University of Birmingham, UK and the Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia in the year 2017. It has also been successfully conducted with the Franklin University in Lugano, Switzerland. It is open to universities globally who would like to offer an opportunity for students to work on current global environmental issues and do a comparative study between their host country and the Indian context.

Aim: To provide the opportunity for cross cultural learning to students without the need to travel

Benefits to students

  • Exposure to other cultures - Virtually
  • Flexibility of schedule
  • Comparative studies across cultures
  • Simultaneous study of local vs global impact of environmental issues
  • Preparation for study abroad in the future
  • Understanding the Indian traditional views of sustainability

Benefits to eCoexist

  • Interns that can work from home
  • Cross cultural studies of environmental issues
  • Comparative research
  • Creation of global databases
  • Creation of international network for eCoexist

Benefits to institution

  • Possibility of learning exchange without travel
  • Minimised costs involved
  • Rich learning experience
  • Comparative study with international Universities
  • Opportunity to be part of a global network


  • Strict interview and recruitment of students to check self motivation and self structure capacity
  • Division of group into sub groups with corresponding students in other countries
  • Introduction to subject and discussion around specific local context
  • Weekly outline of scope of work
  • Regular skype discussions with mentor
  • One on one with each student
  • Country wise group discussions
  • Cross country group discussion
  • Local coordinators from each University to assist with logistics and to keep track of progress
  • Clear deliverables with space for creativity
  • Fixed timelines for deliverables to help students to stay on track
  • Review process during the internship and at the end to gather feedback from students

Issues of global relevance

  • Themes of the internships to be environmental issues of global relevance so that students can study their own context as well before comparing with other countries.
  • Cross comparisons reveal differences in approach and also help define best practices

Current topics of study

  • Pollution caused by plastic bags
  • Faith and conservation : a study of festivals
  • Natural dyes and colours: Toxicity of and alternatives
  • Biomimicry in design
  • Upycling of non biodegradable waste

Possible future topics of study

  • Waste in construction
  • Organic farming and foods
  • Green enterprise :alternative economic models
  • Livelihoods and sustainability
  • Spiritual ecology

Profiles of students

  • Groups from 6 – 8 students maximum
  • Minimum 12 weeks of work together
  • Age groups – 20 onwards – no upper limit
  • Fluency in English is crucial


  • Power point presentations
  • Articles
  • Research papers
  • Short videos
  • Posters
  • Design ideas

Ownership of outputs

  • Results of study will be co owned by host institution and eCoexist and branding for both to appear on all outputs

Costs of Virtual Internships

  • Fees to mentor
  • Overheads to host institution
  • Overheads to eCoexist

Possible financial models

  • Reimbursement to student by University
  • No remuneration to students / no fee
  • Regular paid course: fees paid by student - payment to eCoexist

Levels of Internships

  • First: Virtual Internship – 3 months
  • Second: Travel to India – 3 months
  • Third: Assimilation of learning back into local context