“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." A lot has changed since Samuel Johnson uttered these words, but they still ring true. London was big even in the 1700s, but now the city boasts an astoundingly large population of around eight million people, speaking more than 300 languages. London proudly has four UNESCO World Heritage Sites dotted around the city, 857 art galleries, and more than 170 museums. Internships in London, one of the world’s most storied cities, are a major step down the path to a truly well-rounded career for any young professional.
Internships in London
A London-based internship will provide you with access to not just a fantastic city, but to international work experience in one of the world’s major capitals. London has grown into a leading global hub for finance, music, business, fashion, research, medicine, and tourism. From the financial districts of the City of London and Canary Wharf (second in prominence only to New York) to the abundance of not-for-profits in London, the city is full of exciting internship opportunities with high-level, well-known, and industry-respected firms and organizations.
As with any internship abroad, placements in London will give you the chance to explore career options related to your interests, values, skills, and personality, to develop valuable workplace skills, boost your self-confidence, and gain knowledge about your chosen industry, and also form important networks and connections in London and beyond.
It is more crucial than ever that job seekers set themselves apart from their counterparts all fighting tooth and nail for every job opening created across the globe. Internships in London will give you the upper hand, distinguishing you from others in terms of skills, knowledge, and expertise. Come to intern in London and see what awaits you!
Life in London
When your working day comes to a close, the real fun begins! Spend your free time checking out London’s fantastic historic sites, museums, and art galleries. Relive history at the Tower of London, home to the Queen’s Crown Jewels, or try to catch a glimpse of Her Majesty herself from the gates of Buckingham Palace. Enjoy a panoramic view of London from Europe’s biggest Ferris wheel, the London Eye, or marvel at the entire city of London from the top of The Shard, Europe’s largest skyscraper.
London is well known for its abundance of nightlife; this includes hipster favorite bars of East London’s Shoreditch, university and tourist haunts in Old Street and Brick Lane, and glamorous nightclubs of Leicester Square, Mayfair, and Piccadilly Circus, where you will find packed dance floors.
London is also a shopper’s fantasy. Immerse yourself in London’s way of life by visiting the many outdoor markets scattered across the capital, where anything and everything is for sale. From scrumptious food and fresh fruits and veggies to vintage clothes, cutting-edge fashions, funky art, and impressive antiques, London’s got it all. Check out world famous department stores on Oxford Street, Regents Street, and Knightsbridge, home to upmarket Harrods, known as the grandest store in the world.
Salary & Costs
It was William Shenstone who said “Nothing is certain in London but expense.” The man had a point. Being an intern in London might be a stepping stone to a high-paying career, but it is not a highly-paid endeavour; in fact, you will be lucky if you are paid at all. Just remember: you might be poor in pounds by the end of your internship in London, but you will be rich in experience.
Internships in London can be either unpaid or remunerated with a minimal salary that will offset only the most basic of living costs. This can present a challenge to interns, as London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Since you don’t want to spend your entire internship in London closeted in your room eating two-minute noodles, it is recommended that you save up a “fun fund” before you go, so you can afford to do all those weekend trips and activities your friends will be doing (no one likes to suffer FOMO). It also helps to be in the know about cheap things to do and places to eat. There are some things that are completely free to enjoy in London; all museums and cathedrals are free to the public, for example.
Accommodation & Visas
Typically, interns will be housed in shared apartments, either with other members of their program or with a mixture of local and international workers. Your program provider will be able to give assistance finding a place to live if housing is not included in your program fees. With a constant revolving door of people coming in and going out of the city for work, it’s not difficult to find a room in a shared flat. Networking is also an effective way to find a place to stay; ask anyone you know in London to keep an ear out for a room available.
Anyone from outside the European Union will need to obtain a Tier 5, or Temporary Worker visa, in order to intern in London. Obtaining this visa is dependent on having a sponsor. Your sponsor will effectively take responsibility for you, confirming that you have a legitimate position with them, with the objective of professional development. The visa will cost around $400 in total, and usually takes around three weeks to be processed. To clarify the cost and your eligibility requirements, check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to find your nearest British embassy.
Benefits & Challenges
International work experience garnered in one of the world’s greatest financial, political, economic, and creative centers won’t just make you stand out from the crowd; it will put you head and shoulders above other graduates. An internship in London will be a springboard into the career of your choice. You will be able to gain valuable experience in high-quality, international organizations, develop multicultural awareness, and prove that you are capable of navigating the challenges of living in a megacity.
Having to get up and go to work every day, and not be paid for your efforts, sounds like a nightmare for some people. Luckily, in a city as wildly exciting and diverse as London, even the prospect of working for free can’t dampen an intern’s spirits. Living in London is, to put it simply, fun, because there is always something to do. The culture is unique and even quirky at times, and delving into the world of cream teas, pints of cider, and big red buses never gets boring. Even if you do get bored, there is a total of six international airports in London, most of them offering cheap flights to sunnier shores, making it easy to get away for a weekend.
An internship abroad should be about more than work; it’s about discovering different cultures, making new friends, and having a great time. Internships in London will tick off all of these boxes and more. Answer London’s calling and start looking for an internship today.