Should an Architect Internship be Intern?

Should an architect internship be intern ?
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For the last 15 years I would get a couple of emails a month from (interior) architects, mostly Belgian students asking for an internship in our office.

For the last 3 years this has changed towards 2–3 mails a week and surprisingly, all international students, as far as India. We specialise in visionary design, based on business models with strong views on future society needs, something that you can not learn in every university or school. That is probably why, among many other reasons.

Now the problem is, since 2011, we do not have our large office anymore. I sold the building. The reason was simple; staff hated to commute to Brussels.

So, I took our team and company fully online. We where prepared for this since we were already working with clients and team online since 2006. Inspired by Jason Fried and his company 37Signals (we were an early adaptor of we rent now a co-working space with administration support in Brussels and meet there when necessary. Advantage is that we now have an international team that is highly motivated and specialised. For the moment I am in Jakarta, just finished a large project Houbii.

So, In the summer of 2015 Nicolas, an interior designer of the Brussels Luca School of Arts, applied for an internship of 3 months with Imaginif. We explained him our way of online working and he was immediately enthusiastic. The school initally was a bit reluctant since they had never encountered a situation and question like this before. They agreed after we explained our new way of working. The colloboration turned out very succesfull and I quote Nicolas: “My experience working with Imaginif online, improved completely my chaotic way of working and self-discipline.”

Back to my 2–3 emails a week asking for internship. Inspired by a keynote video about The Future of Digital Nomads by Pieter Levels who made,

I got the idea to bring international students together with architect offices worldwide that offer an online internship.

Not every architect student has the possibility to travel abroad (or is not allowed from his parents) including the obstacles of residence and working permits are not helping. I believe this would be a great contribution to the world of design.

So, do you know architect offices that would be interested in this approach and accept online internships?

I would also love to hear your comments.

Thank you.