This post was authored by Carl Hubbard an HR Undergraduate Program intern, from University of New Hampshire.

Carl sits outside while working on his laptop.

It’s hard to believe that just eight months ago, from my little apartment in Florence, Italy, I was clicking through the electronic paperwork for the offer I had just received from Cisco. I was going to be an incoming intern for the HR Undergraduate Program (HRUP) during the Summer 2020 season – and I could not have been more excited.

My time studying abroad in Florence was incredible, and I capitalized every opportunity I could – good food, good wine, beautiful Tuscan country sides, and of course – applying to internships. I was over the moon at the prospect of working for Cisco, and the fact that the internship was in San Jose, California made it exponentially more exciting.

I had never been to California before, and so much about the area excited me. There was natural beauty, the bay area, Cisco Headquarters, and the glorified vision of living in California in general. I mused with my roommates about living in Silicon Valley in the upcoming summer and how they all had to come out and visit me.

Then, the world changed – fast. It was now March 2020, and so many businesses were struggling to figure out what the path forward looked like. Many of my friend’s internships were sadly canceled – the companies just didn’t have the bandwidth at the time, and I feared that the same would happen to my internship.

That was not to be the case. At the end of March, I received word that Cisco internships were moving forward – virtually. It was a bitter-sweet moment as I was so grateful that my internship was still going to happen, but I was simultaneously devastated that I wouldn’t get to live the romanticized ‘Cali Summer’ I had imagined.

Carl holds a Cisco backpack over his shoulder while standing outdoors.

The weeks of online learning crept by until the calendar finally read May 18th – my first day at Cisco! Instead of walking through the halls of what I can only imagine is a beautiful Silicon Valley headquarters, I was sitting some 3,000 miles away at my laptop in my childhood bedroom in Andover, NH.

Starting off was intimidating. I feared I would miss an important meeting or get left behind due to the virtual setting. I couldn’t have been more wrong; during my internship I have felt supported in more ways than I could’ve imagined. I have my intern cohort, my manager, my team, and the HRUP community. I’ve never felt closer to a group of people that I haven’t met “in real life” – and Cisco employees tend to rally around us interns. Everyone wants to help however they can to ensure we have a great experience.

I think the most challenging times reveal a company’s true values and Cisco has continued to impress me in these trying times as their culture thrives and I can see the support system in action.

It is becoming clearer to me every day that Cisco is not only an innovator of technology, but also an innovator of supporting their people.

2020 may not have allowed me to have the beginning I dream of at Cisco, but I’m grateful that I have been able to experience a company that is so dedicated to progress, innovation, and truly taking care of one another.

Ready to innovate with us? We’re hiring. Apply now.