The COVID-19 global pandemic has led to the cancellation of many internship and study abroad programs out of a concern for safety.
Many hopeful college students are left delayed and disappointed at a crucial point in their education.
One of those students is McKay Christensen, a mechanical engineering student at BYU. Christensen was part of the Chinese Flagship Program in China when the virus began to spread.
“I never had a chance to get to my internship in Suzhou China,” said Christensen. He would have been building jet engines with GE Aviation.
Christensen says missing this internship may delay his career plans by one year. GE Aviation will likely take him back next summer.
Like many students, Christensen is trying to stay optimistic.
“I don’t think I have the right to feel very put out or very depressed about it because people are having it very far worse off than I am. People are dying; people are struggling,” he said.
For student who are still figuring out their futures, missing a big internship can be a major setback.
Hailey Kim, a genetics, genomics and biotechnology student at BYU, was supposed to head to the Max Planck Institute of Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany for three months.
“I was really excited to do this internship,” said Kim. “It was supposed to be a really pivotal part of my education. It was going to kind of help me determine whether I wanted to go into plant genetics or human genetics.”
Kelsey Eyre-Hammond, a political science major at BYU, said that she still has some internship choices available but the options are more limited.
“Luckily for me, my internship provider is still interested in having me come,” said Eyre-Hammond. “I am still going, which is great, but I just won’t get credit for it, and I need to now find housing which is probably going to be three to four times more expensive.”