Smooth Landing in London

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Amanda Everett and Campbell Cooksey, just wrapped up their first week interning abroad in London through Academic Program International’s (API) 8-Week Fixed Date Internship Program. What a journey it has already been! Both students have been busy settling into their internships, making new friends, and exploring all this diverse and exciting city has to offer.

Before beginning their internships, Amanda and Campbell spent three days participating in API’s Workplace and Culture Orientation Program.  Interning abroad can be an exciting, but overwhelming experience.  To help interns have a smooth transition into their host culture, API delivers this active, fun and educational orientation to help participants quickly integrate into the city and their internships.

We decided to asked Amanda and Campbell about their initial first few days in London and this is what they said:

How did the Workplace and Culture Orientation prepare you for your internship?

AMANDA: It was great to get a lot of background knowledge on London and the terms and phrases they use here. I thought it was funny that a “band aid” is referred to as “plaster. Marilyn Grundy, our onsite support and orientation leader, was extremely helpful in giving us street smarts, such as how to get a meal deal for work lunches and how to interact with our supervisors. When I arrived, I remembered from orientation that it is a good sign if your co-workers are being witty and sarcastic with you, because that is the English way of showing they like you.

CAMPBELL: This orientation prepared me very well for my internship in London. I was able to learn about London, past and present, while soaking up all the history. Also, during this orientation we were taught how to interact with true Londoners. What is a very appropriate and acceptable topic to discuss back in the States definitely might not be acceptable here. So it was good to learn those things.

What was your favorite cultural activity during the orientation?

AMANDA: I really enjoyed the day that we got the London Pass! Marilyn set us up with the London Pass, which gave us free access to many of the key sites and locations around London. Campbell and I successfully saw 7 or 8 of the top places you must visit while in London, such as: The Globe Theater, Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, a River tour, Hop on Hop Off Bus tour, Tower Castle, etc. It was a packed day, but very fulfilling to realize that we could figure out our way throughout London on limited amount of time.

CAMPBELL: My favorite cultural activity was probably the Churchill War Rooms. I had no idea to what lengths they went to during those times. We have never had a war on American soil, so it was so neat seeing how they functioned during the war. Going through the bunker that they lived was so cool; I could have spent hours reading everything.

What was the most import thing you learned from the orientation?

AMANDA: One thing that I am extremely grateful for is the amount of confidence I gained within the first few days of living in London, including knowing my way around the city using the underground metro system, which Londoners refer to as the Tube.  Using the Tube so many times throughout orientation was very helpful because we could safely ask questions while learning to navigate on our own. During one of our orientation activities, Marilyn made us find our way to our internship site and it forced us to really rely upon our sense of direction and knowledge of the Tube map and London streets. When I was actually on my own, commuting to work soon after orientation, it felt like I had been traveling around London for weeks.

CAMPBELL: How to survive in London. You can come to London and be swallowed by everything, but orientation taught us the ‘loop holes’ on how to adapt and live here. It would be very easy to go out and spend $50 every single day if you weren’t careful, but we were able to learn about the meal deals that a lot of places offer, or top up card money savers. You definitely have to learn to become very street smart here, and I use what I learned every day.

Having had a smooth landing in London, Amanda and Campbell are both happy that they can spend their time focusing on their internships, gaining valuable career skills, and for the remainder of their stay abroad. 

Ready to start your own London adventure? Start with API!