Internship: I worked for a small investment management firm called Union Investment Management located right in the center of London. At my internship, my main project I worked on was the creation of the firm-wide compliance manual offered to first time employees. In addition, I worked on creating summaries for client portfolios. The raw data was provided to me and the other interns, and it was our job to create an easy to read one page summary of what the data was showing. I greatly enjoyed my experience at the firm, not only because of the work we were assigned, but because I was really able to experience what working for an international company was like.
I Learned: Studying abroad taught me that there are so many beautiful places in the world that are just waiting for young students, like myself, to go explore and that aren’t necessarily the tourist “hot spots.” I have always loved traveling within the US, but having the opportunity to be out of my comfort zone and visit cities I had never even heard of before, truly brought a different meaning to the word ” exploring.” Because traveling around Europe is very accessible from London, picking my travel destination was always a challenge!
In addition, studying abroad also taught me the value of creating international friendships. For one of my weekend trips I decided to fly out to Skopje, Macedonia and then take a 4 hour bus ride to Ohrid. On the way back from Ohrid to Skopje, I sat next to a young girl, who helped me figure out the ticketing procedure on the bus after she saw my confused face when the bus driver spoke nothing but Macedonian to me. For the whole bus ride, she and I spoke about the differences in culture between Ohrid and the rest of the world, along with our travel experiences and school life. She and I still keep in touch via Facebook, and I am extremely glad she was able to help me with my challenge that day! I was able to develop plenty of other friendships from similar situations throughout my whole study abroad experience.
I Was Surprised By: What surprised me most about my time abroad was the amount of free time I had. Without having to attend club meetings, office hours, or work, I suddenly found myself with a lot of free time on my hands. After a while, I made sure I took advantage of all my free time. I started exploring all the different places that London had to offer!
The Hardest Part: The hardest part of my experience was finding time to keep in touch with friends and family from home. With the time change and with the different activities I was doing, it was difficult to find a time to update my family on everything I was doing. After a while I was able to balance my activities with my down time, and I ultimately always found a couple of minutes each day to catch up with my parents.
The Best Part: The best part of my experience was meeting wonderful English friends with whom I still keep in touch. During my time abroad I was able to develop a friendship with them that I know will last a lifetime. We did a variety of events such as cooking a “Sunday Roast” together, as well as having picnics at Hyde Park filled with typical English biscuits and snacks. My favorite activities included just hanging out at our flat with them and learning about the differences between American and British culture.
- Don’t stay inside! Enjoy every single day by doing something outside your flat. You’ll thank yourself when the time comes for you to go home.
- If your internship is close enough to campus, walk. It will save you a lot of money, and you’ll get to explore parts of London you normally wouldn’t have a chance to explore.
- Enjoy all the food London has to offer. There are plenty of places to eat delicious food – you just have to find them.