Students see summer plans canceled due to COVID-19

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Lehigh has canceled all international summer programs through July 31 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

One program that Lehigh offers in the summer, is Lehigh in Prague. Many students were preparing to spend their summers interning in Prague, until the program was cancelled due to coronavirus. (Courtesy of Lehigh Study Abroad)

The cancellation includes all faculty-led study abroad programs and all Iacocca International Internships, according to an email sent to students who were planning on participating in various summer programs. 

Partick Kelly, ‘22, is an accounting major and was supposed to spend the summer abroad in the Lehigh in Prague program. 

I was looking forward to the great experience I would have gotten from interning internationally, potentially in a big accounting firm,” Kelly said. “Now that the trip is canceled, I am looking for internship opportunities for this summer, although it is pretty late, and nothing is definite.” 

Logan Prann, ‘21, mechanical engineer, planned to work as a naval architecture intern for Metal Shark in Croatia through the Iacocca International Internship Program. Prann said the company offered him a chance to defer his acceptance until next year, which he is hoping to take advantage of. 

Kelly and Prann both said they fear that the hardships the economy currently faces may make it tough to find another internship, as companies may not be able to afford interns anymore.

“If the virus does not get better, I do not see myself working or interning unless I can do it remotely, or with very limited human (and) physical contact,” Prann said. 

Mikayla Zion, ‘21, is the president of the Accounting Club. She said as of now, she does not know of any accounting firms that have canceled their internships. She said, however, her friend who was planning to intern at a hospital has had her internship canceled.

Zion said Lehigh has a chapter of TAMID, where students are accepted through the organization to complete an internship program in Israel. She said an email was sent to students who planned on entering the program, which explained that remote internships are under consideration whether or not to cancel the program altogether. 

“This pandemic is majorly affecting many different companies’ incomes, and I believe that is going to be playing a huge factor is how they look to interns, because some companies may not be able to afford to hire anyone new,” Zion said. 

Lori Kennedy, director of the Career Center, said it is too early to tell the impact the virus will have on summer internships. She said it will be based on the industry, the size of the employer and the location. 

Kennedy said the next month is going to be really telling for the long term. 

“We want as many students as possible to reach out to us during this time, regardless of where students are,” Kennedy said. “We are here to support your success. It’s a team of people that care deeply and are working extremely hard to make sure that we’re very accessible to you.” 

As Lehigh has shifted to remote education, the Career Center has shifted all normal operations to virtual platforms, said Karen Kuczynski, director of career education

Kuczynski said the daily Career Lab, which operates Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. will continue through Zoom. The link can be found embedded in the title “Career Lab” under “Events” in Handshake. 

Kennedy said a high number of jobs are filled because of networking or referrals, so it’s best to stay connected and utilize this time at home to improve virtual connections or conduct phone meetings. 

“Students can also schedule one-on-one career coaching calls and mock interviews,” Kuczynski said. “Documents that students need reviewed such as resumes and cover letters can be sent to [email protected].”

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