Internship: I interned for the Policy Studies Institute under the University of Westminster as an Environment Intern. I mostly did literature reviews and searched for articles and relevant data about energy that were related to the project upon which my supervisor was working. I also did some more minor Excel work and searches. There seemed to be a mismatch between my internship aassignment and what I’m studying in school (Business+Economics), so it may not have been the right fit for me. I did end up asking the company if they could teach me some more relevant skills, so they taught me how to use a statistics software called SPSS, which was great!
I Learned: The experience was really amazing. I have been living in Boston for the past 15 years and have been attending school in the same 2 mile radius since 2nd grade, so this was the first time I really got the opportunity to go elsewhere and live there for a little while. Prior to the experience, I thought I would want to stay in Boston forever, but this opened my eyes to wanting and being willing to relocate in the future. In addition to this, I most certainly learned about the difference between culture here in the States, in the UK and in Europe. All three are quite different, and the UK seems to be a unique mix of American and European culture. I loved the people there and am planning to visit back in the near future!
What Surprised Me: Oftentimes when I visit new cities I have a criterion I use to evaluate them, specifically: “Would I be able to live here?” Most of the time the answer is, “no,” and I think that this is the case because I never spend more than four days in each city when I am travelling. I thought it would be the same case for London—that I would visit, enjoy myself, and look forward to getting back home to Boston. My attitude was completely different by the end of the experience; I wanted to stay and didn’t even want to go on my planned post-study abroad Euro-trip! I do think that London is the best city in the world, so I may be biased, but studying abroad in a new place really does change someone’s attitude about the world.
Hardest Part: The hardest part was definitely the mismatch between what I wanted from my internship and what actually happened; I had a lot of trouble communicating with EUSA and attempting to align my goals. Of course, I learned a lot from this and from the internship itself, but I wish the internship matching experience went smoother.
Best Part: Everything! Meeting Brits, living on my own but with best friends, meeting my roommate who is now a very good friend of mine, the sights, traveling around Europe, the food, living in a wonderful location, taking different classes that had a British/European twist, British accents!!
My Tips:Since it’s an internship program and I struggled with the component, I’d get that sorted out as thoroughly as possible. Talk to EUSA before you arrive as much as you can, so you know the 6 weeks you will be interning will be beneficial to your career! Go explore areas beyond South Kensington like Hackney and other parts of East/North London; no Brits our age really live in central London so make sure you take advantage of the Tube and go venture! Plan lots of trips to Europe since London is a great place to fly out of, though beware of the 5ish airports and the time it takes to get to them. Get Giffgaff for your phone plan no questions asked.