If you've done your homework on where to intern abroad, you've noticed “London” is at the top of every list. Why? Because this dynamic city is full of opportunity on both a cultural and professional level. When thousands of students (and post-grads) aren’t waltzing down the infamous "Oxford Street," they’re clocking in at reputable corporate firms. The problem, however, lies when everyone (and their Yorkie) is putting “London Internship - Summer Analyst” on their resume and posting pictures of themselves with the Queen’s Guards on Instagram.
The solution? Intern somewhere in London that is unconventional. Somewhere you will stand out amongst thousands of applicants. Intern at a startup.
Hopkins rising senior and Sage Corps Fellow, Laura Walker, is one of 46 Sage Corps Fellows who chose the “(internship) road less traveled” this summer. Below, Laura shares her experience writing blog posts for the London startup, Reedsy, along with her biggest "ex-pat takeaways" and global advice to future Sage Corps Fellows.
(View a sample of the Sage Corps London itinerary here.)
What's it like interning at a startup in London in general and/or Reedsy, more specifically?
Interning with Reedsy has been an amazing experience both "work-wise" and the people I work with. Working at a startup has been vastly different from what I imagined... in a good way. I wasn't limited to just my specific field because at a startup you have to be willing to work on different tasks with your team to have the best growth rate possible. Also, the other employees are more open to my ideas and insights because they want other opinions.
London is what sets this adventure on another level, though. It's a bit overwhelming living here, but I've had such a freeing feeling exploring London on my own and with friends as well as working with my startup.
(Check out Laura's most recent blog post, Infographic: 5 Actionable Social Media Tips for Authors!)
What's your biggest take-away from the experience living and working abroad- both personally and professionally?
To be honest, I had very limited professional goals before venturing to London in the beginning of the summer because I still have another year of school to define them. However, now that I'm in my last week here, I've had time to think and reflect on what I want professionally as I move into my senior year at Hopkins.
Professionally, I was able to build more of a portfolio with writing sample for future job applications and I think I'll consider the content marketing field for potential jobs in the future.
I decided against going abroad in college, so this was really my first time this far from home and completely on my own. In London, everyone moves fast. It reminds me of New York, really. It was challenging having to adapt quickly to the environment surrounding this city, but also remain proactive at work as well.
But it's those sort of adaptations that will make my next challenging adventure that much easier.
My biggest take-away, though, is just being able to have an abroad experience different from anything I could've had through my university. It would've been just as exciting, but not nearly as rewarding professionally.
Do you have any advice for future Sage Corps Fellows interning in London? Places to visit, foods to eat, events to attend, etc.?
The most important advice I can give is to just constantly explore. Even if you just feel like staying in, you only have so much free time. Some of my favorite days were just exploring new sections of the city after work with the friends. I had the chance to go to Edinburgh and Lisbon (and I highly recommend doing some weekend travel), but I would say the things I'm going to remember most from this trip in 5+ years are the little moments that didn't seem so significant at the time but really defined the experience, like: brunch with friends in Granary Square in Kings Cross or looking through the Regent's Canal bookstore. Anyone can buy a travelers guide to the city and have a great time, but it's what you do in between each tourist destination that makes it your own unique experience.
Ready to become a Sage Corps Fellow and work at a startup in London? Get started here.