Oxford is a city with old bones, but a young soul. Home to the world-famous Oxford University, Oxford is also one of the most diverse cities in the United Kingdom, excluding London. With its long-standing reputation as a central hub of culture as well as intellectual prowess, Oxford is a thriving city and an excellent location for those looking to intern abroad in a competitive environment that is vaguely reminiscent of Hogwarts.
Internships in Oxford
Home to many colleges and universities, the city comes with a booming economy, making Oxford a prime location for young interns. Internships in Oxford can last anywhere from six weeks to six months to a year; weekly hours required of interns varies by placement, usually depending on who you decide to work with. Some fields that are particularly popular for internships in Oxford include:
Science & Technology. Since Oxford University and many other polytechnic schools are located in and around the city, it has become a hotbed for innovation, research, and development, so it is not surprising that there is a strong science and technology industry too. Aside from privately-run companies, Oxford is also home to the Oxford Science Park, a science and technology park just outside of the city with strong ties to Oxford University which encompasses over 60 companies. For those looking for an internship abroad in scientific research or technology, Oxford’s constantly-developing industry is an ideal option.
Architecture. The city of Oxford proudly demonstrates examples of every architectural period of England since the arrival of the Saxons. The list of awe-inducing buildings is almost endless (the Radcliffe camera, the Bodleian Library, and the Divinity School, just to name a few), which is perhaps the reason for its popularity as a movie set. Oxford is also home to many dynamic examples of modern architecture, making it a choice city for those looking to live amongst the architectural wonders with which they are studying, designing, and preserving.
Publishing. Aside from the numerous smaller printing presses in the city, Oxford proudly (and loudly) claims the world’s largest university press in the world: the Oxford University Press. The second-oldest press in the world, this publication press continues to employ thousands of Oxford natives as well as releases a vast number of esteemed publications throughout the world. Closely tied to the University, the Oxford Printing Press and the other smaller, independent publishers make Oxford a truly rewarding place to experience the field of publishing.
Life in Oxford
If you’ve always dreamt of living in a city that effortlessly combines the tranquility of the English countryside, the prestige of British education, and a quick pulse of city culture, you’ll find it interning in Oxford.
Once home to C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, and Radiohead, Oxford is a city that manages to both laud the accomplishments of its famous literary and historical predecessors, while also keeping pace with a modern, bustling city life. This is mainly due to the impressive amount of universities and colleges, which fall under the umbrella of the University of Oxford. With the world’s best and brightest students and young professionals flocking to Oxford, the local community is one of the most diverse and vibrant in Britain.
For those interns looking to embrace the university culture, pubs and breweries are far more social spaces than in other countries. You could also try your hand at punting (using a pole to steer your flat-bottomed boat) down the many canals that wind their way through the city’s tree-lined streets.
However, Oxford isn’t just for bookworms, it is also known for its expansive shopping, music, and theatre scene. Following the cobblestoned streets beyond the tourist areas of the city will take you to trendy neighborhoods where locals stroll along pub-studded alleys, slipping in and out of cinemas, open-air markets, and many public gardens.
And of course, if you’ve always dreamt of going to Hogwarts, you’re in luck. While interning in Oxford you can go to the sets where Harry Potter was filmed at Christ Church College, amongst numerous other films and television shows. It is not uncommon to see a movie crew setting up along one of the city’s numerous twisting alleyways. Cinema and fantasy-lovers, eat your heart out!
Oxford is just one hour away from London by train, well within reach of the larger metropolis. The railway station and airport make travel to other parts of the United Kingdom and Europe convenient and easy too. Oxford is a small, walking city, most of its historical center can be reached by foot, allowing for a much more immersive everyday experience interning abroad and ease when exploring your new home.
Salary & Costs
It is much more common to find paid internship placements in the United Kingdom than in other countries, making internships in Oxford somewhat more feasible for international applicants with limited budgets up front. Depending on the level of work you are assigned through your internship in Oxford, you may be eligible for multiple forms of compensation, or stipends.
However, keep in mind that the cost of living in the UK is high, especially with recent currency rates, and Oxford is expensive. Interns can budget and save money by taking advantage of student discounts, or under the age of 25 discounts. As in most of Europe, the UK has excellent public transportation, but most of Oxford is accessible by foot or by bike.
Accommodations & Visas
With so many colleges and universities within the city, most young adults studying or interning in Oxford live in apartments (“flats”) or townhouses. Many internships in Oxford will include accommodations in program packages, or will at least assist interns in finding a place to live.
In order to intern in the United Kingdom, regardless of whether the internship is paid or unpaid, you must have a Tier 5 Visa. This visa requires that you be sponsored and obtain a certificate of sponsorship from the company or organization with whom you are interning in Oxford with.
You can apply for this visa no earlier than three months before your date of travel to the UK, however you must obtain the visa at least three weeks before entering the country. The visa application process is relatively straight-forward, but it is important to have all of the necessary paperwork and to be prepared to present it when you arrive at the airport. With this visa, interns can stay in England for one to two years, depending on the length of their internship in Oxford.
Benefits & Challenges
Competing with the Best. With so many talented students and young professionals flocking to Oxford, internship placements can be quite competitive and difficult to acquire.
Professional Prestige. The universities, businesses, and organizations in the city of Oxford are highly-regarded throughout the world. To work with the leading voices of these fields is an incredible opportunity for you to develop professionally and to curate experiences that will assist you in furthering an international career.
- Beyond Big Ben. Although London offers many outstanding internships, interning outside of the capital allows you to thrive both personally and professionally. Oxford holds all the charm of a small, English city with the grandeur of impressive history and a reputation of intellectual and professional prowess. Your relationship with Oxford and with those you work with will be far more personal and engaging than if you intern abroad in a larger city, leading to a much more rewarding experience.