Internship Experiences and Testimonies

From Students

Experiences from a 2022 survey of current School of Architecture and School of Design students

gaining practical experience

“I have learned so much through my internships, they have been extremely valuable to me in my education and growth as a designer and future architect. I have learned how a practice works, worked on real life projects, and I feel like this has helped me immensely to transition my education to real world experience.”

“People working in the field aren’t perfect either. It will take time to adjust and everyone is right there with you. Everyone is always still learning.”

“I was able to get an idea of how architectural concepts apply in everyday life, rather than just an academic setting. This helped me think more practically when I came back to school in the following semester.”

exploring new paths

“I really enjoyed my experience, it opened me up to so many possibilities of where I could go with my Architecture degree. I also got to meet so many Virginia Tech alumni who also worked there. During my internship, I was working with chief architects to interview and set up contracts with private sector firms to hire them to work with the office and complete the courthouse renovations/construction. I also put together information on each courthouse and identified what problems they currently had and what parts of the building needed to be fixed.”

“Working in the real world was phenomenal, and a very critical experience to understand where I am and where I am going with my career. There are simply things that are not taught in school that are learned through the real world experience gained at a firm, and working at a firm also helps orient school, and what one should focus on and worry about moving through the program.”

Building new skills

“There’s more to architecture than just the designing side. A lot of collaboration and coordination is also just as important.”

“I learned a lot about the process of a building getting renovated, and the process of how architectural drawings get translated into real world design.”

“I’ve learned a lot from my internship experiences. I’ve learned technical skills, how an office runs, how projects run in an office, how culture changes from one office to another, etc.”

“[I] learned a lot of software skills and how to communicate in an office setting.”

“I learned a lot more about the practical parts of architecture (working with clients, administration, code requirements) vs the design focus we have in school

from firms

Experiences from our partners in the Pilot W_Internship Program

“Over the past several years we’ve hosted both graduates and undergraduates from UVA and found the experience valuable for the students and a wonderful way to connect with future talent for the firm. Ready to participate with project teams, the students have contributed to all phases with research, 3D modelling, presentation graphics, and project documentation while participating in concept charrettes and client workshops. The students are also given the opportunity to present their portfolio or area of focus to the entire firm and are always enthusiastic participants in firm initiatives and events.”

David Keith, Hanbury

“Last year, in my small Brooklyn office, we tried out the program, and we were fortunate to welcome three third-year students (one from Columbia’s undergraduate architecture school) and a graduate student. During the two weeks, the students created preliminary adaptive re-use concept layouts for a non-profit organization to occupy a large single-family house in Harlem as well as a 12′ wide dwelling. They all gave presentations to the clients, and the graduate student also made a presentation to the client, the contractor, and the real estate agent!”

Margarita McGrath, noroof architects