Students Face Challenges Finding Internships During Covid

Chaminade students have access to a multitude of internship opportunities on

Lekaleka (Leka) Kiner-Falefa is a 21-year-old Business Administration major who was thrilled when she got an internship with Make-A-Wish Hawaii for the summer of 2020, just a month after she was set to graduate.  

However, due to the uncertainty with Covid-19 and the many lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, her internship was postponed from Summer 2020 until Fall 2020. By the time Fall 2020 came around, Oahu faced a second round of stay-at-home orders in September, and Kiner-Falefa found out Make-A-Wish had been furloughed and were postponing her internship for a second time while offering her an internship position for this coming spring. Because of the continued delay, Kiner-Falefa rejected the offer and since then has found a work-study job on campus for the Hogan Entrepreneur program. 

“Life still goes on, it’s not their fault [Make-A-Wish-Hawaii] or anything, it’s just timing,” said Kiner-Falefa, who is currently getting her master’s degree at the university. “I’m not frustrated with Make-A-Wish because I understand the circumstances; more so I am frustrated with Covid because it definitely interrupted a lot of my plans, like graduation. I couldn’t even walk the stage and whatever, so it just interrupted a lot of the plans I have. Even volleyball season, it’s basically canceled. Covid ruined 2020 for me.”

Like Kiner-Falefa, each semester, students are challenged to find an internship related to their degree in hopes of learning skills related to their careers. For some students, finding an internship is crucial for them to graduate while others are looking for an internship to prepare for their future careers. 

Even with the shutdown, this semester there are 25 internship opportunities on 12twenty, which is CUH’s internship and job listing site for students to explore internships related to their specific major.  The majority of these internships are virtual and are included but not limited to The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace Basilica, Hawaii Business Magazine, and Internships with Senator Brian Schatz.

As the internship coordinator, Riddle feels there is a lot of hesitancy amongst students with engaging in an internship during a pandemic. He also feels the students have high concerns if the internship the company is with is practicing C.D.C guidelines and enforcing social distancing. For example, Riddle had two students who were interested in finding an internship for the Fall semester but after following up with them they expressed how they were not comfortable in working in an internship in-person because of Covid-19. 

“I shared this with my boss too because the pressure is on, and I feel like I have to produce and place students but at the same time not forcing their hand because if they are not comfortable, then they are not comfortable,” said the internship coordinator. “We are also in a pandemic so that definitely plays a factor. There’s definitely hesitancy on how to get there, is everything socially distanced if the student has to be in the office, and what’s the work situation like, that sort of thing.”

As for Conrad Timothy, he hoped to have secured an internship during his senior year of college to satisfy his graduation requirement and to better himself for his future in the communication field. 

“I decided to take an internship is because I feel like if I were to graduate this May without any official Communications experience, I would have a hard time turning my degree into an actual career path,” said the 21-year-old Timothy. “I want to at least have a taste of what it might be like after graduation to help me decide what to do when the time comes.”

The senior Communication student has applied for an internship with Our Lady of Peace Basilica in Downtown Honolulu where he will perform social media and website designs for the church. He is awaiting his confirmation on when he will begin his internship. 

To find an internship for this fall or next spring semester, visit @cuhinternships on Instagram or email [email protected].