An alumna of our London Internship Program started her own fantastic blog to help students who are considering studying or living abroad. On Anchor Me Abroad she shares the practical advice she has gleaned from living in “5 states (visited 19), studied in 3 countries, [and] picked up 2 International Masters.” She wrote a great review of her time interning in London, and she is back with Part II. Read on:
Orientation & Introduction Into British Culture
As part of the internship program, before we even thought about actually working, we were required to complete an intensive three-week British Immersion and Culture studies course at the Richmond Campus in Kensington.
Despite popular belief from outsiders who have never been, the UK is not ‘just like America’ (Sorry Anglophiles, but you know I’m right!). There is an entire separate belief system about daily life, different culture cues, slang, ideals, you name it, it differs. Hey- Even our handle on the English language is night and day at times.
I found this introduction (taught by a British professor, who had experience living in America nonetheless) was a nice way to start our journey. It just offered such rich perspective on both small and larger concepts to be aware of once we started working in our roles.
I’m proud to say this course was useful to me during my internship and I also learned some things which I applied a few years later when I returned to London for graduate school.
The Internship Selection Process
The orientation process intertwined with the internship selection. During our initial application and admissions we were given the chance to select ‘general’ industries that we were interested in working in. As the time grew closer to our arrival in London, we were sent a list of potential hiring partners in our ‘Top 2’ industries with plans to have interviews once we arrived in the city.
As I was majoring in Broadcasting and Journalism, I was interested in both Media and Public Relations roles.
For each industry, AIFS offered a wide range of partner organizations from large multinational companies to small nonprofits so in a way, it was definitely up to each individual intern to decide which opportunities would work best based on our future goals and what we might be interested in gaining out of the overall experience.
I completed one in-person interview and received my offer within a span of five days. For the most part, this was fairly common with the exception of a few students who had already secured internships prior to arriving or those who had interviews as soon as we arrived in August. During my program, all interns were placed in time to ‘officially start’.
Our internships started the third week of September 2007.
Getting the Job Done
I landed an internship at CNBC Europe, working as a General Newsroom & Production Intern (which basically means you help with everything on a bespoke basis!) . As I have a strong distaste for ‘entertainment/fluffy ‘news’, CNBC was definitely my first choice as I loved the fact that the topics covered on the network were much more hard hitting.
My main assignments were on the shows Worldwide Exchange and Power Lunch Europe – a 5:30AM start everyday but I gladly traded my sleep for the opportunities it afforded me.
I loved my time at CNBC Europe. For starters, the commute was excellent – 45 minutes door to door both ways, which is not bad during morning and evening rush hours in Central London – particularly on the Central Line itself.
As you would assume, it was located in the Financial District, just steps away from St. Paul’s Cathedral and close to many of the main attractions ( I spent so many daily lunch breaks sightseeing away!)
I found the work challenging and valuable for my future (although I have since transitioned into Marketing and Advertising) and I learned so much about my work style and what I liked and did not like about being an intern. I also gained immense insight on what it was like to work in a foreign office environment – another foreshadowing experience for me.