It is not uncommon for students and graduates alike to spend months, even years, pondering an internship abroad opportunity before making that final decision. Some of the doubts students and professionals share are about financial limitations, as well as insecurities about leaving familiar and known territories for a world unknown that may not meet their expectations and dreams. Simple questions seem to have daunting answers. Where will I buy groceries? How will I get around? Will my phone work? Just one of the many perks to choosing an internship in England, is that questions like these have easy answers.
Life in England is very comparable to life in the United States. You might have to become accustomed to driving on the other side of the road and using the term “bloody” in a whole new way, but other than that, the transition to life as an intern in England can be relatively seamless. Read on for in depth answers to your pre-departure or pre-decision concerns.
1. How Will I Get Around?
England is a relatively small country with an amazing infrastructure which means that travelers are able to maximize their time and get a lot of sightseeing done during their stay. Most cities are easy to get around using the bus, train, and of course driving yourself. An added bonus, walking to your job is usually an option. Many professionals do not own cars. It is very common for locals to just rent a vehicle for out of town Holidays. Schools, child care, shopping, and community centers are easily navigated to on foot, so the need for a car, is pretty minimal. The list 45 Essential Apps For Travel has a little of everything but several vital apps that can help with everything from electronically hailing a taxi to tracking flight prices.
If you have your eye on locations a little further away that is also no problem. The big ticket item will be your flight from home to England but finding extremely affordable plane tickets from England to other European locations is very easy. There are also trains connecting EVERYWHERE. For expert advice on how to get to, from, and all around the UK by train visit The Man In Seat 61.
2. How Will I Find A Place To Live?
Flats (British for apartments) are easily found once you arrive. Try to set up two to four weeks of temporary housing in a hostel, hotel, or with a friend upon arrival. It usually takes about that long to navigate the real estate market and find a good place to live. This can be difficult to do from overseas. Plus, it is really nice to visit the place firsthand especially if you would like to stay there for an extended amount of time.
Make sure to take into account the location of your internship while house hunting or discuss this with your employer prior to arrival. Usually they will be able to provide some leads for good housing nearby.
Flats are rented at light speed, so planning in advance is not easy. In addition, each individual realtor is only able to show their company’s properties. Plan to do a lot of footwork making door to door visits to the various realty agencies. They are easy to find and usually visible in storefronts down the main avenues of your English city of choice.
Allowing for this extra time will help you get to know the city of your internship, and the surrounding villages. If you aren’t in a time crunch, the right opportunity will present itself. Homes are also available for rent if you need a bigger, roomier space for families. An added bonus is finding furnished flats and homes is not uncommon.
3. Will I Have Time Off?
What a better way to get professional experience abroad than with a great work and home balance? The English have a habit of really enjoying, and valuing time off and it is not uncommon to take multiple 2-4 week holidays throughout the year! Travel and taking time off is affordable as there are travel options for every pocketbook. If you are traveling on a budget, Europe based airlines such as Ryanair offers cheap flights to over 160 destinations, and unending discounts that start at just a few pounds per flight! Europe and North Africa are at the fingertips of the England based worker. Professionals in all fields are encouraged to take time off!
4. Can I Communicate With People Back Home?
Absolutely! It is easily done. Many people buy cell phones upon arrival. Plans and technology are comparable to the states and about all you have to know is US Country Code 011. Plus, a dependable internet connection is not something visitors have to worry about while in England. Using online communications is possible on a daily basis. If you are not interested in using your phone for international calls consider sites that allow for computer to phone connections, or computer to computer connections like Skype and Google.
5. Will I Feel Isolated The Whole Time?
For professionals with little language ability, England is a great choice. It offers amazing cultural exchange and work skills enhancement, without the stress of assimilating to a new and difficult language. Although there are a few language nuances, they are easy to learn and usually fun.
It is a great option for those interested in moving and working abroad, but are not comfortable living daily in an environment that requires them to be skilled in a second language. Professionals moving to England for internship opportunities will have many opportunities to live a traditional British life and enhance their resume with a skill set that will be hard to compete with.
Interns will be amazed by the visitor friendly villages, city living, and culture that they will be exposed to. This amazing opportunity will be something you talk about, and cherish, for the rest of your life!