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How an Internship Abroad Helps You Live Like a Local

by AIFS Study Abroad

Starting a new job is always nerve-wracking, but starting a new job in a completely new country can seem a bit scary to a lot people. So when I decided to partake in the AIFS 9-week internship program in London, I was both excited and very nervous. With only one semester left until graduation, I really needed one final internship on my resume, but also wanted to go abroad while I still had the chance. Essentially, the internship program seemed perfect for me.

As a Sport & Entertainment Management major, I really wanted something in the music industry. Luckily, AIFS had a pre-existing relationship with a company called Academy Music Group, which owns and operates 18 different music venues throughout the UK. I was able to connect with their Digital Marketing Manager and set up a phone interview before I even got to London. After the call, he offered me an internship with their marketing team, and I was lucky enough to able to head to London with my internship already secured. 

Our company’s office was located in one of our four London venues: the beautiful and historic O2 Academy Brixton. It was quite exciting having the office in the venue and being able to hear a band’s sound check going on as we worked during a show day. I also really enjoyed all the work I did, which was mainly writing copy for the company’s many digital platforms. A lot of the writing that I did about our upcoming shows is now on the company’s website and social media pages, which means hundreds of thousands of people are reading things that I wrote – something not many interns can say! Through my internship, I was able to learn so much about the music industry in the UK and how it’s different/similar to the industry in America. I also learned a lot about British working culture. Most of my co-workers were in their late 20s, so I got on really well with all of them. We went to lunches together, concerts together, and they even rented out a bowling alley for a work social.

Not only was the work I was doing enjoyable, but there were also so many fun perksI could go to any show at any of our venues, got tickets to other concerts around London through my co-workers, and even got to attend a big festival in London with everyone in my office (we all got free VIP wristbands!). When I wasn’t at work or taking advantage of my work perks, I did so many other fun things with my time in London. I went to another amazing music festival in the countryside and spent the weekend in a typical English cottage, checked out Brighton for a day, took a weekend trip to Dublin, and really explored all the little things about London that make it such a wonderful city.

By doing an internship abroad, I learned so much more about British culture and about what it’s like living as a true Londoner. I spent a lot of my summer with British people that I met there, which allowed me to see local places that a tourist may not normally get to see. When my parents visited, I was able to show them places and neighborhoods in London that they’d never heard of, even though they had both been to London several times before. I picked up on slang, got familiar with my way around, made some great friends, and tried a ton of new things. I genuinely got to live like a real Londoner this summer, which is what helped make my experience so incredible.

After my internship, I’m now hoping to go back to London to work and live full-time after graduation. My summer with AIFS was truly an indescribable and invaluable experience, and I wish I could’ve stayed longer. So my advice for anyone who’s hesitant about interning in another country – do it! It’s the perfect way to truly immerse yourself in the country’s culture and see all the amazing things it has to offer.

This post was contributed by Jamie Smith, who spent her summer interning and studying abroad with AIFS in London, England.

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