It’s your first day on the job at a swanky international company in London. Your boss just asked you to take the lift to the first floor and fetch heaps of rubbers and drawing pins. Such a simple task leaves you completely stumped, but by the end of your internship, you’re taking the elevator to the second floor to get lots of erasers and pushpins like a seasoned British pro. Completing an internship abroad in England gives you an extra competitive edge in today’s globalized world, and what better place to do one than in a country that speaks (mostly) the same language as you? Intern in England — it’s more than tea runs and alphabetizing!
As the birthplace of the English language, Harry Potter, The Beetles, and Wimbledon, England holds a dear place in all of our hearts and makes all of our passports swoon. Thinking about internships in England may instantly bring up images of Big Ben and the Thames River, but there’s much more to this island nation than just London. From the calm waterways of Bristol to the red-brick warehouses of Manchester, there’s multiple other locations to choose from for your internship in England.
As the most populated and central city of England, London offers interns a quintessential British experience with its well-known touristy sites, red phone booths, and double decker buses. Home to the London Stock Exchange, a host of multinational firms, and ranked as the most visited city in the world, London has opportunities for interns in any field. Of course, the benefits of this city of over 8.5 million people don’t stop at your resume. Your free time after work won’t go wasted here, and even after you finish checking off all the most famous sights, you’re guaranteed to have a tea party to join or a concert to attend. Not bad for Interning abroad in England!
Nestled on the western coast of England is Bristol, a city known for its long maritime history and established industries in electronics and aerospace — a solid choice for internships in England. Kick back with your fellow interns at a pub next to the Suspension Bridge famous for its cider, then get some built-in exercise navigating the city’s hilly landscape. Summer interns have lots to look forward to, as Bristol hosts Europe’s largest hot air balloon festival every year. Apart from being completely free, you get some pretty amazing pictures!
Manchester is England’s second largest city after London, built on the foundations of the Industrial Revolution and still an important economic center. Even if you’re not an avid soccer fan, you’ll still find tons to look forward to in Manchester. With no end to the diversity of cuisines and pubs, your palette and appetite will leave Manchester completely satisfied. Apart from the usual British bangers and mash, you’ll find an entire street of South Asian foods dubbed the “Curry Mile” and even a Chinatown. Meet other young people through Manchester’s vibrant nightlife or hone your inner artiste while browsing the trendy art galleries and museums.
Internships in England
England is no stranger to large, multinational brands, and boasts many recognizable big names like Burberry, Shell, BP, and the accounting giant Deloitte. As a potential intern, you’ll have access to an endless pool of opportunities and industries. The kind of company you want to work at and the type of work will be entirely dependent on your qualifications and interests.
Because England has such a well-developed, diverse economy and uses English as its official language, almost every industry is available for an internship. Regardless of whether you’re looking to gain experience in communications, journalism, international business, engineering, graphic design, or the fashion industry, intern abroad organizations will help you find a suitable placement. Officially no previous experience in your target placement area is required. However, it’s advised that applicants have a strong resume and articulate clear goals, because many internship positions are extremely competitive. Internships will typically entail a full-time work week, which can range from as little as 25 hours to about 40 hours. You can find placements ranging from just a few weeks to several months.
When you intern abroad in England, workplace etiquette is very similar to that of North America. When meeting new colleagues in a business setting a firm handshake is the norm, as well as punctuality for meetings and work times. Dress code depends on the industry and company-specific expectations. If you’re looking to work at a graphic design company, your boss may show up wearing a simple t-shirt and jeans, while at an accounting firm everyone is dressed to the nines.
Salary & Costs
Although internship program providers require a program fee, they offer invaluable resources in return that ensure you an internship placement. Through personalized coaching, sweet company connections, and support every step of the way, your program provider shoulders all the tough work, which saves you the stress of navigating a foreign labor market! To make your life even easier, program fees also typically include accommodations, transportation passes, and insurance for the duration of your internship. Most internships are unpaid, but you’re instead compensated with unparalleled work experience, some shiny new bullet points on your resume, and of course an opportunity to live abroad!
England’s cost of living is by no means for the frugal, especially in London, where rents soar and eating out isn’t as cheap as you’d hope for an internship in England budget. If you’re completely bent on interning in England and want your pounds to go farther, consider living somewhere other than London like Manchester, where the cost of living is about 15 percent lower. However, the good news for all traveling to England is that the Great Britain Pound’s value has been gradually decreasing over the past couple years. More bang for your buck — er, punch for your pound?
Accommodation & Visas
You won’t be staying in a lovely lake-side cottage or a mountain-top castle, but program providers will make sure you’ve got a convenient and comfortable place to stay. The included living arrangements are typically in homestays with a local British family, apartments, or residence halls with other interns. You won’t have to worry about finding short-term, furnished housing, or about how to figure out your monthly utility bill. If you’re looking to learn more about England outside the workplace, opt for a homestay and find out if afternoon tea lives up to all the hype.
Non-EU citizens seeking internships in England will need to acquire a Tier 5 visa. The process and requirements provided by your program and the government are rather straightforward. To be eligible you will need to provide a proof of funds to show that you will be able to financially support yourself while abroad, a valid passport, and a certificate of sponsorship from your host company. If you can pass a tuberculosis test and fit a few more requirements, you’ll be well on your way to legal working status in England! Consult GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for that latest info on visas required for interning in England.
Benefits & Challenges
Apart from needing a bit more sun in the year, there’s few complaints to raise when finding internships for international students in England. As an Anglophone country, the doors are wide open for communication in both your workplace and with locals. No language barrier means that you won’t have to stress about how to order a coffee or ask for directions on the street. Even those few odd word differences will give you some great conversation topics.
A bitter pill to swallow might be the overall higher cost of living, so plan to start saving early, especially if your internship is unpaid! Interning in England will give you a unique, international perspective on your chosen industry and help you understand a bit more about the world around you—an essential skill in today’s globalized world.
If you’ve been having trouble deciding between gaining professional experience or traveling abroad, then hop across the pond to intern in England and do both!