Of all the nations in the United Kingdom, England tends to have the most recognition as a travel destination and seems to be frequented by business professionals possibly even more. Multiple English cities are world-renown for their exquisite history, and many others for their superb academic institutions. The British nation provides numerous prestigious internship opportunities amidst a distinct business culture, preparing young interns for their future careers, without a doubt. With plenty of quaint towns and rolling countrysides to escape to, as well as international cuisines and historical sites to explore, interns will surely enjoy their free time too.
Geography & Demographics
England may be part of both the U.K. and Great Britain, but any visitor must know the difference between the two or he or she will surely face negativity from locals. The United Kingdom, is actually short for the term “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” which should easily cue to the difference between the latter names. Great Britain is the large island that includes the landlocked nations of Wales, Scotland, and England, while the term the United Kingdom,includes both Ireland and Northern Ireland. The United Kingdom is located off the western coast of Europe.
Step foot in England’s largest cities, Manchester, London, Liverpool, and you will be confronted with a surprising about of diversity. Though previously a nation of blonde haired, blue eyed, fair skinned gents, the nation has drastically changed over the past few centuries and the country is now infused with individuals from across Europe and beyond. A large Eastern European population is present across the country, along with Indians, Chinese, and neighboring nationalities.
When it comes to religion, faith appears to be slowly evolving over time among England’s more than 50 million citizens. Though Christianity has dominated the religious arena in England for more than 1,000 years, more recently citizens are turning away from religion entirely and new religions are beginning to attract small percentages of the population as well.
Climate. The saying “dreary London” is quite accurate for the whole nation at most times of the year. Climatically the nation is plagued with dreariness, though visit in May or June and you may be surprised by a bit of sunshine and maybe even a handful of days where shorts or tank tops are comfortable to wear. The rain relentlessly falls year round, though Englishmen have adapted to it quite effortlessly with wellies and stylish raincoats or umbrellas. In England, you must always be prepared for torrential rainfall.
Along the coasts the winds can sometimes make the rain seem ten times worse, but on sunny days the immaculate coastlines also make the sun seem a hundred times better. In the North, the rain comes more often than not and the temperatures have difficulty reaching far above winter coat weather. The South is great in the summer months, weather venturing to quaint towns amidst rolling hills or enjoying ice cream on the boardwalk or pretending you are wearing a bathing suit and not a wetsuit as you dive into the Atlantic Ocean.
Food & Culture
Native English speakers and newly polished speakers alike may find it slightly difficult to adapt to the proper language choices of Brits. Their flair for eloquently strung sentences and complex vocabulary can leave outsiders questioning their knowledge of the English language. It may take some time to learn the quirks of the language, though locals will surely tell you that their language is not the one with quirks. Pronunciation of the same words may take a little adjusting to as well, ask a Brit to say aluminum or garage and you will clearly hear the difference. By the end of any internship, interns will feel as if they have had an extensive course in English grammar and language use, leaving England with a new vocabulary fit for royalty.
When the English say “petrol”, they mean gasoline or the fuel used to make a vehicle’s engine run. If you hear someone say they “need to put something in the boot”, they do not mean they need to put something in their shoe, they mean the trunk of a vehicle. Saying that you “fancy a sandwich” means nothing more than you “feel like eating” or “desire having” a sandwich. “Going to the garage,” is not the place you store your vehicle at home, instead it is the mechanics or auto repair shop. When you want french fries with your hamburger, it is best to call them “chips,” and when you want some potato chips to munch on you should ask where the crisps are. Tea time is not a time reserved only for drinking tea, but rather the time of day that dinner, or the main meal of the day, is had.
The Great British Pound (GBP) is the nation’s currency referred to as a pound or quid, and when divided into 100 pieces a pence. One GBP is roughly equivalent to one and a half USD. When you are trying to convert actual pounds to the Brits weight measurement, usually the stone, it is best to utilize the skills of Google.
Be prepared for a new kind of humor when you step foot in England, you will hear a unique style of sarcasm not common throughout the rest of the world. At first it may seem entirely unhilarious, but overtime you’ll find it growing on you. Between friends humor often revolves around making fun of things that are actually true, which can seem rude at first but it really is just playful teasing.
Brits are all about their fish and chips (remember chips are french fries). Deep fried to perfection, British fish and chips are well known around the world and available at almost every restaurant throughout the country. Almost every local has their favorite place for fish and chips among the vast array of choices, try out a handful of restaurants to find the entree that fits your very own taste buds best.
It is also quite common to find Indian curries in British restaurants, as much as in the handfuls of authentic Indian restaurants you will find hidden in small towns and lining the streets of bigger cities. The British have taken Indian curries and made it their own, from tikka masala to aloo gobi. Curries can be found ready to eat in grocery store delis (more often called supermarkets), and they will almost always make your mouth water.
Kebabs are also quite common as far as quick and easy meals go for locals, normally paired with chips as well. Lamb is the most common kebab sold, but other meaty mixtures are frequently available, topped with aromatically flavored mayo sauces and grilled mixed vegetables, all atop a fresh pita wrap. Kebabs are usually quite cheap too, and a favorite meal for university students and anyone on a tight budget for that matter.
Things to Do
No one can visit England without enjoying a Sunday roast dinner, a standard English family tradition. A roast dinner always consists of carrots, potatoes, radishes, and select piece of meat, from pork or beef, to duck or lamb, depending on the hostess’s liking. A nice side of gravy is always available, and horseradish or mint sauce are often used to garnish the meal. A roast dinner is most often shared among family and close friends, a time not only for a warm home cooked meal, but also a time to share stories, a good glass of wine, and plans for the future. If any Brit invites you to a roast dinner it is best to accept, and you will get to experience British food and culture wrapped into one deliciously filling meal.
Going for tea, though completely stereotypical, is a very common pastime in British culture. From Earl’s Grey, to English Breakfast, to cream tea, everyone can find a tea that suits them in the land of the Brits. Tea is drank in the morning, during an afternoon chat with friends, and surprisingly served right after dinner quite often. Cream is almost always dashed in any “cup a’ tea” and a bit of sugar too. Don’t be shocked if you hear the kettle whistling day and night in any British home.
Interning in England
Expect to dress in professional business attire and carry yourself in the corresponding manner during working hours. Brits maintain a high level of professionalism in the workplace and maintain cordialness in external and internal business transactions at all times. Don’t worry though, Brits still enjoy humor in the workplace when it is appropriate, but just get a feel for your superiors and colleagues before breaking out in a comedic skit. Read blogs about interning in England, reviews of internship providers, or ask employers questions about expectations before you depart so you are fully prepared for what your internship will require.
Across the country, by far, business related internships are the most common internship available for prospective international interns. Public Relations, Communications, Marketing, and Sales, are all widely available in big cities and moderately populated cities all the same. Journalism is also quite prevalent across the country, as the English have quite a thing for literature and writing, though foreigners will have to learn to adapt their language use and spelling slightly to fit with British standards. Other internships quite typical of England are Fashion or Research related positions.