University of 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. Our incoming student Diana Atamanyuk decided to share her Semester in London experiences with us in her blog below. To get an idea of what to expect from the programme, read on.
Hi, my name is Diana Atamanyuk and I was born in Ukraine. My path brought me to the United States of America where I had a chance to live and study. Back in the US, my home University is DePaul University, located in Chicago. During my studies, I decided to undertake an internship as part of the internship programme run by the University of Westminster in London. While taking my internship I chose an opportunity to work for a charity called St. Vincent’s Family Project. It is a registered local charity that serves 130+ vulnerable families within the Westminster community. Their office is located in the very heart of London so you can imagine how much I enjoyed arriving at Westminster Underground Station and hearing the beautiful Big Ben chiming to mark the start of my workday at 9:30a.m.
Deciding to do an internship and to study in London
The United Kingdom is an industrialised country, and the biggest sector it serves is definitely London which is the city of liberty and self-administration. Although, I would personally describe it as the city of dreams! London is a very lovely and vibrant city. You will be amazed by how much the city has to offer. It is the place where you can enjoy unsurpassed cultural life and many people who come here, are amazed by its diverse cultural, artistic and joyful way of living. One of the favourite parts of my internship, was to actually explore London: but there was so much to see in such a limited time! Consequentially, it is the time when you have to live life to the fullest.
An internship with St. Vincent’s Family Project
I had always dreamt of traveling to London. That’s why I was very enthusiastic about receiving the internship credentials at a prestigious university, like the University of Westminster. This greatly increased my chances of success. The reason why I have chosen to travel and study abroad is to equip myself with the necessary knowledge and experience needed in my future career. Additionally, I think this experience gave me a chance to grow more as an intellectual and a remarkable individual. Moreover, my biggest dream was to travel and have a chance to be surrounded by peers and workers who are motivated and successful. I didn’t want to limit myself to finding prosperity on one continent only, but instead I also wanted to enhance my world perspective by traveling and building up my knowledge internationally.
The internship application process could be very frustrating but it is also rewarding; especially when you receive an offer to work at your dream company. To give you an idea of the whole process: first you need to complete your CV and then make a selection of the area you want to do your internship in. When I was going through the process, I wanted to prepare myself as much as I could so I read several guides and comparisons between working in the USA and the UK. The differences are enormous, thus, I recommend to prepare yourself for starting a completely different chapter of your life.
During my internship at St. Vincent’s Family Project, my main goal was helping vulnerable families through their difficulties and their problems. In terms of my responsibilities as an intern, I had a regular face-to-face contact with families with children, completed budgets for accounting purposes, used social media platforms and made innovative changes by researching and writing bids. Additionally, I attended events and outgoing activities with the families involved in the programme.
Studying at Westminster Business School
The University of Westminster has a very high international standing among the UK institutions. Therefore, I felt really nervous on my first day at Westminster Business School. It marked the beginning of the whole new chapter. I didn’t know anyone at first but after a few days, I quickly found out that a majority of students were in the same boat. It made it easier to get to know each other.
In terms of modules, each module consists of lectures and seminars. By attending all of the lectures and seminars I received a very positive feedback from the module leaders. In general, my study experience was very positive as they always kept me engaged and motivated. In fact, all module leaders are always there to help you and I think that each module is well taught and organised. Also, students are very welcoming and they made me feel integrated and a member of a genuine community. The University and my course have both definitely lived up to my expectations. I can honestly say that no one will regret studying at Westminster Business School because it offers you the best possible experience.
Studying in London offers so many advantages. My campus, for example, was in the heart of the capital, enabling me to see many things around the city such as Madam Tussauds, Shakespeare’s Museum and other attractions. Because of that you can always see many tourists around campus and the Marylebone area. I can say that after choosing your course, one of the biggest decisions you need to make is to choose where to live and I was lucky to live on the Marylebone Campus. Additionally, a huge benefit was that it took me no more than five minutes to arrive at my lectures and it saved me time to explore London. What I really liked was that the Students’ Union was located directly on Marylebone Campus, making it easy to join any societies that would suit your career. The Students’ Union has great staff members who will ensure that you have a rewarding experience. I even took an opportunity to join the Economics & Finance Society which gave me a new perspective on my professional aims and aspirations. While being a member I also had an opportunity to network with business leaders and employers based in London. As you can see, at the Westminster Business School, you can find many rewarding activities that will help you in building your career.
Apart from being a student, there are many great things about being based in London; there is always something to do and something to see, from galleries to museum to shopping. However, the most amazing part of studying abroad is traveling. Before I came to London, I had a plan to focus solely on my internship and studies, but everything turned out the opposite way. I met a diversity of students from all over the world, and we started traveling all over Europe. I can honestly admit that traveling around Europe and making new friends will stay with me forever and was one of the best parts of the programme. To be honest, it has been one of the best experiences in my life as studying abroad and traveling expanded my international horizons. Consequentially, if you are thinking of doing an internship abroad – don’t miss an opportunity, because I didn’t!
Would you recommend the Internship Programme to other students?
Yes! What could be better than traveling to a foreign country, learning about its history, and business culture and developing new ideas? I believe that studying abroad is something that every university student should do to help him/her avoid ethnocentrism, to expand horizons, and to appreciate everything the world has to offer. I strongly believe that individual growth of a college student takes place both inside and outside of the classroom. Thus, an Internship Programme in London can become a life changing experience for each and every student.
Thanks to Diana 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!