London is consistently ranked the most popular study abroad destination for US Citizens. It’s not surprising that American students flock to London because the city is bursting with iconic buildings, hundreds of museums and parks, history, and multiculturalism. Check out these four keys to success and get started on your own internship in London!
1. It’s okay to get lost
London is a massive city spanning over 600 square miles with over 10 neighborhoods. It is an amazing place to live and work, but it can become pretty overwhelming to navigate. It’s okay to be nervous when using public transportation in a new city for the first time, but don’t worry if you mess up. If you miss your stop or get off at the wrong station use that time to explore where you are. On a free weekend hop on the Tube and just go explore a new area because you never know what hidden gems you may find. Just be sure to keep your wits about you, and make you sure you always look the opposite direction when you cross the street.
2. Be social
In London it is pretty common for colleagues, including the boss, to go out and get a pint after work at a local pub. As an American intern you may feel a little unsure about drinking with your coworkers, but as long as you do not over indulge you should definitely spend time being social with your colleagues. Building relationships with your supervisor, coworkers, and other interns is vital to your happiness and success within an internship. Even if you are a little shy, don't hesitate to try to connect with your colleagues including joining them at lunch or happy hours.
3. Don’t assume there won’t be any language barriers just because you speak English
Even if the language is the same, there are some nuances that you will encounter with the meaning of certain words, phrasing, and even intonations. Our Director of Academic Internships, Melissa, is an American who lived in London for two years said; “Getting used to the differences of the language was by far the most challenging thing for me. I had to adjust from being a straight talking Midwesterner who also spent a lot of time in New York City where being upfront is expected. I had to adjust my communication style by taking into consideration the impact my tone and word choice would have on our host employers.”
4. Keep an open mind
No matter how you feel before you get to London, be it excited or nervous, your time abroad will never be as you expect it to be. It is that feeling of unfamiliarity and new experiences that makes travel so incredible. Take advantage of all that London has to offer. You are guaranteed have an amazing internship in London if you have a positive attitude and open mind!