SU London Internships
Taking on an internship in London is a unique and fantastic opportunity to gain both international work experience and a deeper appreciation for the city you will call home for these few months.
An internship abroad can help you indentify career goals, learn cross-cultural communication skills, establish valuable contacts & immerse yourself in London's professional culture. Students may choose to enroll in internships in accounting, advertising, fashion retailing, finance, journalism, marketing, music industry, public affairs, public relations, social work, and much more.
Please note: SU London makes every effort to place students in internships, but placements cannot be guaranteed.
Fill out an internship request form which can be found on the Program Application section of the SU Abroad website.
For immmigration purposes, you must have a Tier 4 visa in order to obtain an internship. Students who only possess student visitor visas cannot legally perform internship work. Immigration law also expressly prohibits being paid for internship work: internships must be taken for course credit only.
A minimum of two full days per week must be devoted to your internship. There are no exceptions. If the internship provider agrees, this may consist of half-days totalling two full days.
Additionally, if you choose to take on an internship, you therefore acknowlegde that you may have to intern on Fridays. Amélie cannot make special arrangements so you have Fridays free. If you would rather keep your Fridays for travel, an internship may not be for you.
NOTE TO BANDIER PROGRAM OR MUSIC INDUSTRY STUDENTS: Grading requirements and the post arrival placement process will be explained to you in class. The below information is for all other internship students.
Again, as you are not a UK citizen, internships must be unpaid and must be taken for credit.
Your internship grade consists of:
• 40% from your workplace supervisor's evaluation of your performance
• 60% from your internship coursework, including your required written reports (see below), any additional paperwork as required by your academic supervisor.
Internship Written Reports
Detailed instructions about report content & structure will be emailed to those who have been sucessfully placed. All papers are due in hard copy form in the Academic Office, SR 101, by 5pm on the dates listed below. Papers not recieved by the deadline will be maked as an 'F'.
• Midsemester (exact date TBD): Reports 1, 2 & 3
• End of semester (exact date TBD): Reports 4, 5 & 6
During the Orientation & Arrivals week of your first arrival in London, there will be a mandatory Internship Orientation meeting.
At this meeting, you must update the information on the Internship Report you submitted to SU Abroad. List the times and days you are available, your syr.edu email address, and your mobile number (US or British - whichever you use).
Interviews are the next step. Amélie will arrange interviews over the first few weeks of classes. She will contact you to suggest placements and arrange interviews on your behalf. You must keep checking your phone and your syr.edu email during this period. If Amélie cannot reach you, she cannot arrange an interview. Interview details and directions will be sent via email and often at very short notice. You will not be placed until the interview process is successfully completed.
After the interview, you must check in with Amélie to let her know what happened. If the interview leads to a placement offer, please come to the Academic Office, SR 101, immediately to fill out any necessary paperwork.
An Internship Proposal/Independent Study Form is then sent back to SU Abroad to be processed. SU Abroad passes the form on to your home college for approval. Once approval is granted, the form is returned to SU Abroad then back to London. This process takes time so it is essential you fill out your Internship Proposal/Independent Study Form immediately after you have been placed.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Until the internship is approved and the paperwork is returned to SU London, it does not count toward your mandatory 12 credits of coursework.
Do your research. Learn about the history and background of the organisation, where their offices are located, how many employees there are and the clientele they serve. Gain information about the work they do and any current projects in the works.
Bring a copy of your portfolio, if applicable.
Plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. Allow yourself plenty of time to commute and find their office location.
Answer questions thoughtfully. Demonstrate you are knowledgeable about the organisation and what you can contribute.
Ask questions thoughtfully. It is always good practice to have two or three questions prepared to ask your interviewer.
Be your best self. Be polite, warm and respectful. Show enthusiasm and excitement about the organisation and the placement prospects.
Expectations at Your Internship Placement
You are there to work. Switch off your mobile & refrain from checking Facebook, sending personal emails or reading the gossip blogs.
Arrive on time every day. Allow extra time for travel disruptions. Nothing displays disrespect like showing up late without letting the workplace supervisor know. If you are running late, call the workplace immediately to notify them of the situation.
If you are ill, call your work place supervisor right away. Call before or within half an hour of the start of your shift. You must also contact Amélie to let her know about your absence.
Dress appropriately. Depending upon the organisation, the dress code may be casual or formal. If you are unsure, it is always better to over-dress than under-dress.
Be friendly and approachable. Make an effort to get to know your co-workers.
Be proactive. Complete your work quickly and efficiently. If you have nothing to do, request work or offer to help other employees with tasks.
British Work Culture
British humour is different than American humour (even the spelling is different!). British jokes incoporate irony and may appear dry or harsh. Americans may feel they need to add the words "just kidding" to cue their audience to their use of irony & sarcasm, but Brits do not: it is just understood.
British Workplace Behaviour
Within a British workplace, directions may be loosely structured with the expectation you will figure out what to do. Humour and socialising may be part of your internship experience, but this is not a cue to slack off. Rather, this is an opportunity to build relationships within the work environment.
Tea drinking and tea breaks are a huge part of British workplace culture. You will be offered tea and you may be expected to make tea. Learn how to make a "propper cuppa":
• Put water in the kettle. Turn it on. When it reaches boiling point, it should turn itself off.
• If you are making a cup of tea, one tea bag will do. If you are making a pot of tea, one tea bag per person plus one extra is appropriate.
• Pour boiling water over the tea bags. Let it steep for 3-5 minutes.
• If desired, add milk or sugar. If you can remember how your co-workers take their tea you'll make an excellent impression!
After Work/Pub Culture
Socialising with coworkers after hours is an excellent opportunity to build relationships and learn more about British culture. However, it is still important to manage your behaviour and act responsibly.
At the end of the work day, coworkers may head to the pub. It is unlikely you will be waited on at the table as pub food and drinks are generally ordered at the counter. Tipping is not standard in the UK. It is perfectly acceptable to go to the pub and not drink! But if you do, please drink responsibly.
You are an ambassador not only for your school, but for your country. While some aspects of British culture may seem very similar to American culture, there are huge differences. Be mindful not to speak too loudly or aggressively as this can be perceived as obnoxious or rude.
London is a multicultural city. Be respectful, keep an open mind and make an effort to learn about foreign cultures and their customs. What can they teach you?
For more info on internships