Competition in the world of work has never been as high as it is today. Doing an internship is almost an essential step for any student looking to start a career after their studies.
Why do an internship?
By doing an internship you can gain valuable work experience that will likely be viewed positively by potential employers. In addition to this, an internship can also help you make a decision on whether a job or career is right for you or not. It can help you get an idea of what the professional world of work is like, establish contacts and build up references that will be of value for future job applications.
Another thing to consider is that an internship will also help you assess where you are currently, and what else you will need to learn to prepare you for the world of work.
Where in the UK could you do your internship?
If you are thinking about doing an internship, you may want to consider going to London.
London is a city of ambition and is home to a hub of global businesses, especially in the international finance and banking sectors. It is also a magnet for the creative sector and a home to many NGOs. London attracts the best and brightest from all over the world. At the same time it is a challenging city on every level and it can take some strength of character to choose to do an internship in a city like London. An internship here will help you to demonstrate to future employers that you have an edge over other candidates applying for jobs in your chosen field.
However, it can sometimes be difficult to find an internship that fits your needs as more and more people recognise the importance of gaining international experience. This creates a more competitive environment for those applying to do internships. Therefore, do not be surprised if you have to interview against other good candidates for a role.
What level of English do you need?
If you decide that an internship in London is the right thing for you, you will also need to have a good level of English, most of the time, the level C1 is demanded which can be certified by passing exams such as CambridgeAdvanced English (CAE) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
If you do not have a level of English that is good enough and you would like to improve it, studying English in London might be a good option to consider. Indeed, studying English in London will allow you to be immersed in the English culture and therefore, you will be able to improve your English much faster than anywhere else in the world.
So if you are an international student looking to improve your level of English, then London is one of the most exciting cities in the world. London really is an international student city, pulling in over 100,000 international students that come from over 200 different countries all over the world. London is also a very multicultural and touristic city, with plenty of museums, historical monuments, more than 7000 pubs and 350 live music venues. You will have plenty of things to do during your free time.
Should you do an internship and an English course?
If you are thinking about studying English while doing an internship, consider whether your days might become a little overwhelming and exhausting. Will you have any time to see all that London has to offer? Might a better option be to do an English course first, and follow it up with an internship? This will help you improve your level of English, make new friends, socialise and find your feet in London. Then, by doing your internship, you can make use of the new vocabulary you’ve learnt in class.
On the other hand, if you are willing to work hard and you already have a good level of English, consider doing morning courses and then a part-time internship in the afternoons.
Should you book your language course via an agent?
Booking a language course abroad can be quite a big decision as it involves a lot of time and expense. It is therefore important to choose how you will book your course. Some people prefer booking with a study abroad agent because their spoken English is not strong enough to communicate with directly with the school.
However, if you are confident enough to do this, it is true that you can book directly with the school as you will have the majority of the information you need on their website. As mentioned above, study agents don’t usually charge any additional fees, so the price you pay them should be the price that is advertised on the language school’s website. An agent, however, enables you to have a face to face relationship and can help you get a better understanding of language course options. A good study agent will listen to your requirements and be able to advise you impartially.
Many parents booking language courses on behalf of their son/daughter prefer to deal with a study agency for this very reason. Some agents also have offices at study destinations like London and can therefore offer additional services, sometimes at additional cost but often not. You may, for example, be offered additional support once you reach London to help with any difficulties you face.
What about booking your internship through an agent?
Some study abroad agents also offer services such as internship placement as well as language tuition, or even a combination of both.
Agencies can sometimes help you secure an internship but such agencies usually charge you a fee that can be quite expensive. However, these agencies have really good networks and generally, clients are satisfied with the services they offer. If you don’t have a lot of time to look for an internship yourself, this may be a good option.
How do I find an internship without an agent?
If you want to look for an internship yourself, here are a few links that could help you in this task:
What type of internship accommodation should you consider?
If you are an international student looking to do an internship or study English in London, factor in that accommodation can be expensive. Halls of residence or renting a flat are often the first options that students think of when looking at accommodation options. These do offer good facilities and are often easily commutable to central London. However, these types of accommodation can usually only be accessible if you are staying on a long term basis (6 months plus). Furthermore, there are not a lot of spaces as university students tend to book halls on a long term basis. If you do want to book this type of accommodation, organise things very early.
If you are staying on a short term basis, say weeks not months, hotels or homestay (“host family”) are two different accommodation options to consider. Prices for basic hotels in London start from around £80 to £130 a night. If you can’t afford to pay for a hotel, a good alternative would be booking a homestay. Prices for homestay accommodation in London, at the time of writing, start from £135 a week. So, you’ll end up saving a lot of money booking a homestay rather than a hotel. For more information on this have a read of our previous post on different types of accommodation in London.
Can we help you find a London Homestay accommodation?
If you feel that homestay is an option that might work for you, take a look at our how it works page for more details on how to book a London homestay accommodation.
If you decide that you do wish to apply, then start by completing our online application form. One of the HFS London team will be in touch within 48 (working hours) with photo profiles of host family accommodation that is suitable for you. You will only be asked to make payment once you are completely happy with the options that have been suggested to you.
If we can help in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us! We look forward to hearing from you.