London is a fantastic city, and for international students who aren’t able to join us for a three year degree, there’s also the option of joining us for a semester! Westminster’s Undergraduate Semester Internship Study Abroad Programme is run by the University’s Education Abroad team and Westminster Business School’s Business Experience Team and offers the opportunity to both study and intern in London. As part of our of Semester In London series, incoming student Liz Taylor has very kindly agreed to share her thoughts on the programme with us :
Hi Liz, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
My name is Liz Taylor, and I’m from New Hampshire in the United States of America. My home university is Roger Williams University, located in Rhode Island. As part of the Semester abroad programme I worked as a Communications Intern for the Wonder Foundation, a UK-based educational charity that primarily works with women and children.
Why did you choose to study abroad for a semester?
I chose to study abroad at Westminster because I wanted the experience of living and working in another country, as opposed to the United States alone. I thought that doing so would broaden my horizons and give me a greater perspective of the world as a whole. As far as location goes, I chose England because my grandmother was originally born and raised here, and this is where she met and married my grandfather, a member of the United States Air Force. Even today, I still have family living in the Norfolk area, and I wanted to get to know the country that is so important to my family’s history.
And what about your study experience at Westminster?
I took four modules while I was here, one of which was required as part of my internship experience, and for the most part, enjoyed doing so. Although the structure was different from my courses back home, I still found it to be a great experience, especially since it was clear that the teachers were really passionate about what they were teaching. In particular, I really enjoyed my Creativity module because of the field trips we took to London museums. Exploring the Science Museum with fellow classmates is one memory that I will never forget.
Can you tell us more about your internship experience?
The process of applying for an internship over here in America was extensive because of all the paperwork I had to fill out, but once I arrived in London and began work, it was all worth it. My work for the Wonder Foundation involved a lot of graphic design, which I had not been expecting but enjoyed immensely. Although I had several co-workers whom were very friendly, it was a small company, so a lot of the work I did was independent in nature. Again, this was unexpected, but in the end, it helped me a lot. Overall, I really enjoyed working as an intern at the Wonder Foundation, and I was sad when the internship ended. However, I think it has definitely improved my employability because not only did it give me exposure to the working world of the UK, but it also gave me an idea of the kind of job I might like to have someday.
What were your biggest challenges and how did you overcome them?
For me, the biggest challenge was probably one of the most common: dealing with homesickness. At home, I attend a university about two and a half hours drive from my family, so they’re never more than a stone’s throw away. Here, that’s not the case. Even though I am lucky enough to have extended family in the country, I found myself really missing my friends and family in the States. I have found that keeping busy, whether it be through work, friends, or travel, has helped to alleviate this so that I don’t dwell on it as much. Also, a good Skype session with your loved ones back home never hurts!
What were your highlights of living in London?
My highlights of living in London were the fact that nearly every weekend, I got to explore different places I had only previously read about. London is a big city with a lot of history behind it, so there is something for everyone to enjoy. Discovering these places with friends that I met here was a definite highlight of my experience. I also enjoyed how easy it was to get from place to place with public transportation. My dorm is located right near a stop on the London Underground, so bearing that in mind, I could travel almost anywhere. I’ll certainly miss having that convenience when I go back home.
Would you recommend the programme to other students?
I would definitely recommend not only this particular programme to other students, but the experience of studying abroad in general. I think that the chance to live and work in another country is something that everyone could benefit from because it gives you a greater perspective on the world around you. At the Westminster programme, I grew both as a student and as a person because of what I’ve learned, and I know this experience will stay with me forever.
Can you tell us more about your future career plans?
I’m due to graduate next spring, and this internship has helped me to narrow down my career choices into something I could see myself doing. I really enjoyed working in the communications and visual design at the Wonder Foundation, so I’m hoping my future career path will involve something similar to that.
Thank you again to Liz Taylor for sharing her experiences with us! To find out more about Westminster’s Undergraduate Semester Internship Study Abroad Programme please visit our Education Abroad webpage or read our other blogs in this series!
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