I can’t believe I have been here for two weeks now! I am getting more and more comfortable in London now that I have started my internship, attend my classes in person at the CAPA center and take the tube everywhere I go. Starting my internship really helped me immerse myself into the culture here in England. There are a few things that I noticed since the beginning of my internship. I have an internship in High Street Kensington, which is a wealthier area of London. My morning commute to work is just as busy as my evening one. I take the tube from where I live at around 8:30 to arrive at the office at around 9:20 am. Shockingly, it is harder for me to get into an emptier train in the morning than it is in the evening after 6pm. Kensington is also filled with tourists which makes it a pretty busy neighborhood throughout the day. I always enjoy my walk to get food during my lunch break as it is around the time most other offices also get their lunch breaks so the streets are filled with people wearing blazers and ties. With the neighborhood being family-friendly, there are many restaurants in the area where I work so I always get to try new food during my lunch break and find new streets. My lunch break usually lasts an hour which is the perfect amount of time to get takeaway food and bring it back into the office to eat it with the rest of the employees.
Another thing I noticed as I started my internship is that communication in the workplace is different here than it is in America. For example, directions are not always as clear and straightforward as we are used to having in America. At first, I thought it was my specific company that had this culture of not getting clear directions and having straightforward plans, but after talking to my friends who are also working in internship placements in London, I realized that it could be just the culture of the workplace in general or at least for small businesses in London. It was a little overwhelming at first to be given a task to perform without detailed instructions but in the end, I realized how helpful this internship will be not only for my future career but also to develop problem-solving and critical thinking skills. I was given a task by my supervisor and I had to research and try to solve it by myself. Obviously, if I ask for any help, my supervisor is always ready to give me more detailed instructions but it is not something that I am always given if I don’t ask. Another difference in communication that I noticed is the use of WhatsApp to communicate with employees and staff. I told my supervisor that I was going to message him about some questions I had and explained that it is not uncommon for companies to use WhatsApp as a way to communicate with each other in the UK.
There are many differences between the workforce in the United States and London that I will continue to notice and understand during the next few weeks working as an intern in London.