Home England The London Intern: 5 Things You Must Know About The British

The London Intern: 5 Things You Must Know About The British

by Natalie Hastings

From the beginning of my internship until the end, I was constantly learning new things. Whether it was researching new companies, keeping up with the news on a daily basis, or observing the work culture, it was never a dull moment. I have pinpointed the five things that I think are the most important to share.

#1: They LOVE their tea
Tea time takes on a whole new meaning. From the very first day, I kept noticing everyone getting up from their chairs and constantly coming back with a mug in hand. I soon learned that everyone was getting their daily dose(s) of tea. Someone would ask, “Does anyone want tea?” or “Tea break anyone?” I must admit that I am now an avid tea drinker thanks to my co-workers!

#2: They are informed
I CANNOT emphasize this enough: PAY MORE ATTENTION. It is amazing how little I knew or cared about what was REALLY going on in the world before I studied abroad, but even more so, before I began my internship. Sure I knew about the big events, but I was never reading articles to learn more about the issues. In my office, we have two televisions with the news on 24/7. As a communications firm, it is important that we know what is going on in the world, especially if it has anything to do with the companies with which we are working. Lunch conversations were filled insightful discussions on present day issues. I made it a goal of mine to keep up to date so I could voice my own opinion.

#3: They are multicultural
In my office alone, there were six Americans, three French, someone from Hong Kong, someone from Bulgaria, someone from Scotland, and someone from Romania. There is SO much diversity. It was very interesting and enlightening to talk with and work with so many people with a different background. Everyone was so different but we were all working towards the same goal!

#4: They have accents, many different kinds
Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one English accent. There are many. Once you spend an extended period of time there, you can begin to distinguish different accents. Just as in the US, there are regional accents, and even different accents depending on which part of London you hail from. I could definitely tell the difference between the accents within my office. A co-worker who sat behind me would say “mate” every other word when talking to someone, “Yeah but mate..” or “Mate, listen to this.” A girl on the other side of me had a proper London accent, which is what most people associate with England. Another woman in my office prolonged the end of her sentences more than usual or have an extra emphasis.  It was very interesting to be able to distinguish the difference between each English accent.

#5: They are all business
I have always thought of myself as being a pretty honest and straightforward person. That was until I met my British co-workers. They are so straightforward and honest that I was offended even when it was directed at someone else. The difference is the British know when to take it personal and when to not. All the honest feedback and advice they give is NEVER taken personally. Period. One person could ask another’s opinion on a project and the person could simply respond with “it needs a little more work.” Now if someone told me that, I would think that I had done a horrible job. But the British just nod their head, agree or disagree. It is being critical to be constructive. You ask because you want the truth not the sugar coated truth.

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