London Internships

All Temple London Fall and Spring students may apply for an internship in London. Internships usually consist of two full days on Thursday and Friday of each week of unpaid work at professionally relevant British organizations in London.  Internships are organized ahead of time on behalf of the student by the Temple partner in London, FIE (Foundation for International Education).  Internships are found each semester within a variety of industry areas, such as public relations, marketing, journalism, theater, media and film and television or relevant departments within other companies.

If you are planning on participating in an internship, you should read the internship placement preparation guide if you want to get a sense of the internship placement process or begin preparing your CVs and personal statements.

If you’re curious as to what the internship experience may be like, Fall 2013 Londoner, Rob Monroe, reporting from London for TUTV, gives you an insiders perspective on the internship program in the video below, beginning around the 9:08 mark.

Internship Placement Process

Overview

While completing the application for the London semester program, you will need to indicate at that time if you are interested in participating in an internship during your semester in London.  Once you are accepted to the program, you will need to complete a series of steps in order to secure your internship placement in London.  It is important that you follow the guidelines below throughout the process so that you prepare yourself to have a successful and fulfilling internship placement.  Our partner in London, the Foundation for International Education (FIE), develops a specialized academic and internship placement program that will allow you to maximize the value of your study abroad experience, gaining theoretical knowledge, practical skills, life experience and an international perspective.  From the beginning to the end of your internship experience, you will be advised and supported by the FIE internship team and you will have the support of SMC Study Away and the Temple London Faculty Director throughout this process, as well. The end goal is to ensure that your study abroad experience is a rewarding and fulfilling one, with manageable expectations, that lead to a successful placement and semester abroad.  See the following steps below for further explanation of the process:

Step 1:  Apply for the London semester program

Step 2: Read the Internship Handbook

  • You are responsible for being aware of all the information included in the Internship Handbook as it outlines the conditions and expectations of your placement.

Step 3: Complete the online FIE Administration Form  – Select Three Internship Placement Choices

  • Once you are accepted to the program, complete the FIE Administration Form, which includes selecting your Three Internship Placement Choices.
  • Use the Internship Areas Document to select your Three Internship Placement Choices.If you wish, you can provide a sub-category so you can indicate even further which specific areas within the industry you are keen on.
  • An example of Three Internship Placement Choices, with sub-area requests is as follows:
    1. Communications – Marketing and Public Relations
    2. Film Communications
    3. Fashion

It is important to take your time to carefully and accurately complete the FIE Administration Form. The Internship staff in London will take into consideration your professional experience, academic courses and achievements, answers to the internship questionnaire and as well as your three industry choices to place you in a suitable internship.

If you have any specific interests or skills, you should make sure to describe these in your internship questionnaire. You can also include an “interests” section on your CV and describe your professional and volunteer experience in your areas of interest. Put these together, these will help the Internship Staff match you to potential placements.

While FIE will make every effort to place you in your first choice industry, you may be placed in any of your three industry choices.

  • The deadline to submit the FIE Administration form is typically around October 9th for the Spring program and April 15th for the Fall program.
  • Pay careful attention to the rules and regulations presented on this form, and in particular the withdrawal policy.  By submitting this form you are bound to participation in the internship program.  The information collected on this form is used by FIE and submitted on your behalf to the UK Border Agency in order to generate a CAS Statement, which is required for your application for a Tier 4 Visa.

Step 4: Complete the online FIE Administration Form  –  Complete and submit your CV (Curriculum Vitae) and Personal Statement

  • A CV is the UK term for a résumé, which should be current and formatted to UK industry standards, as indicated in the Internship Handbook.  This document goes out to prospective internship placements, so make sure it looks organized and professional. You should have at least one other person review your document to check for spelling errors and grammatical mistakes: your documents will be sent directly to potential employers, who will judge your communication and writing skills based on what you have provided!
  • A Personal Statement is a one-page essay about what draws you to London for your internship experience.  It is also an opportunity for you to sell yourself more individually to prospective placements. The emphasis should be on your previous professional experience and the direct and transferable skills you can bring to a placement in London.  Make sure that the tone is professional, as it will be read by London employers.
  • Follow the detailed writing and formatting guidelines found in the Internship Handbook.  Remember to proofread all of your materials carefully for spelling, grammar, and vocabulary.
  • Submit a current version of your CV and Personal Statement as well as any additional documents electronically directly through the FIE Administration Form.  

Step 5: Complete the online FIE Administration Form  –  Complete additional requirements for certain internship choices

  • Police Check: required for all service internship students and internship students requesting law, justice, education, psychology, social welfare, charities or arts non-profits.
  • Writing samples or portfolios are required for students that list Politics, Journalism or Creative Arts, Fashion Design, or Graphic Design.
  • More specific details about additional requirements for these internship choices can be found here

Step 6: Apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa

  • You will need to apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa if any of the following statements apply to you:
    • You will be undertaking an unpaid internship, service learning, or volunteer placement as part of the program
    • You will be studying in the UK for 6 months or more
    • You will be undertaking part-time paid work in your free time
  • Applying for a Tier 4 Student Visa is a multi-step process that should be started as soon as possible. However, you cannot start the application more than three months before the program begins, and it may take up to six weeks to receive your visa. Additionally, applying for a student visa costs a total of $516 in fees (subject to change).  There are a few things you can do ahead of time to prepare for the overall visa process:
    • Apply for your passport!  This can be a very lengthy process so you do not want to delay your visa because you do not have a passport yet.  If your passport is set to expire anytime within six months AFTER the semester you will be interning, you should also renew your passport as soon as possible.
    • If you have a valid passport, but it is not physically with you while you are at Temple, make arrangements now to bring your passport to Temple.  You will need it during the process and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where it’s necessary to pay very high fees to have it sent to you.
    • You will need a passport regulation photo, which the Diamond Dollars office on Liacouras Walk provides passport photos to students at a cost of two for $10 (diamond dollars).
    • Ensure you have a credit card (not a debit card) to use for the online visa application. Prior to submitting your application you will also need to call the credit card company to inform them that a charge from the UK will be placed on the card and they should accept this charge as it is a valid purchase for your visa and not a fraudulent charge.  You will need to use your credit card to pay for the visa (approximately $516, but subject to change) approximately two to three months prior to the start of your semester in London.  If you are not using your own credit card, you will need to know specific details such as the name on the card, the billing address, etc.
    • If you don’t already know the following information, it’s a good idea to find out now since it’s asked on the online visa application: Parent’s names, date and location of birth and nationality.
  • Use the FIE Visa Guide to complete the visa application process.  The steps of the visa application process are as follows:
    • Receive your CAS Statement via email from FIE and verify the information is accurate. You must have a valid passport in order for FIE to send your CAS Statement.
    • Complete the online visa application, pay the visa fee, and schedule your biometrics appointment.    
    • Collect all supporting documents, if required, if you do not qualify for differentiation agreements.
    • Attend your biometrics appointment.  You must submit all documents to the UK Consulate in New York within two weeks of attending your biometrics appointment.  
    • Submit application materials, including a passport-sized photo, your actual passport, and a postage paid return envelope to the British Consulate in New York.
    • Receive visa in the mail and check for accuracy.

Step 7: Manage your expectations for your internship

  • As the internship is coordinated on your behalf, it is important that you understand the reality of what you should expect from your placement.  The following five points will help you to understand what to expect from this experience and to get the most out of it.
  • Understanding the international internship:
    • The most important qualities you can possess are flexibility, open- mindedness, a positive attitude, a sense of humor, and a willingness to adapt to difficult, unfamiliar, and challenging situations.
    • Workplace environments and practices overseas can be different from those in the US. Moreover, some students may be coming to the internship with little or no office experience, and glamorous visions of the working world may be met with the reality of commuting in a big city and working full eight-hour days in front of a computer.  Unlike in the US where there are many multinational corporations, in the UK 99.9% of private sector companies are “small to medium sized enterprises” (SMEs). This means small and medium sized companies make up the majority of internship placements in London. As 75% of companies in the UK have fewer than 10 employees, it is very likely you will be working in an office with fewer than 10 colleagues. This is good news, as the internship coordinators have learned from their extensive experience in London internships that in the majority of instances, students get a much more involved and personal experience at smaller placements.
    • While FIE will make every effort to place you in your first choice industry, you may be placed in any of your three industry choices.
  • Understanding differences in the UK:
    • Your education and work experience may be interpreted differently overseas. Opportunities that might be available to you in the U.S. may not exist in the U.K. in the same form, may not be to open to international interns, or your educational and work background may not correspond to the needs and requirements of a particular organization or sector.
    • The FIE Team will provide the expertise in terms of developing your choices into the reality of an international internship in London, but potential interns must provide the flexibility and open-mindedness to accept a reality that may be different from expectations.
  • Understanding the reality of the available opportunities:
    • It can be challenging to accept that there are important differences in the way industries are constructed in Britain. This is especially true of industries such as film, TV, music, and journalism. Most production work is done by small independent production companies rather than large production corporations. And those large companies that do exist, such as the BBC, only operate a closed, highly competitive internship program which is not compatible with your program.
    • Within the creative industries, interns are not usually given the opportunity to make significant creative decisions or take responsibility for creative tasks as part of their experience, as these are managed by senior employees who are long-standing professionals in the field. For example, theatre students will not act; film students will usually not operate cameras or write scripts; advertising students will not normally design ad campaigns. However, there are many amazing opportunities available which will allow you to gain insight into the workings of your industry from an operational perspective and develop a variety of transferable skills.
  • Understanding education vs. professional practice:
    • At universities and within college departments, areas of study are clearly defined and categorized. Unfortunately, life is not as neat and tidy as a major. While your three industry choices will likely reflect contained areas, the internship may well span over several fields, or even incorporate fields that may not be initially thought of as allied.
    • Please also keep in mind that all placements are entry-level positions. All students should expect to be involved in a variety of tasks in the work place.
  • Developing your own learning objectives:
    • Every student has many reasons and personal goals for their international internship. A main objective, however, is to help you develop transferable skills, including general business skills and skills that increase cultural competence. Unlike specific vocational skills, transferable skills are those that can be transported from one context to another and one field to another. Building these skills in an international and multi-cultural environment will add a crucial dimension to your post-graduation resumé. Success in the international internship is heavily dependent upon your ability to manage your expectations and keep a handle on this main objective: developing transferable skills which will be valuable for any career in any future industry.
    • Please note that FIE cannot guarantee your placement can be counted for your major internship.  You should have a discussion with your academic advisor the semester prior to departure about academic requirements.  
  • The decision to understand a study and internship program abroad is an important one, and Temple alumni will tell you that the experience can be life-changing. As with all study abroad experiences, flexibility and open-mindedness are key. Students must be willing to be an enthusiastic and productive participant at the site to which they are assigned. Ultimately, the experience belongs to the student and their commitment to the worksite will determine the success of the placement.

Alumni Internship Story

LaToya Stroman Temple London Spring 2011; Major: Broadcasting, Telecommunications & Mass Media; Interned at Shorts International: www.shortsinternational.com

My experience in London presented a wonderful opportunity to intern at Shorts International. At the end of my internship, I interviewed for a job and was offered a position in their Los Angeles office when I graduate. I worked hard to communicate clearly, build relationships, conquer language barriers, handle difficult and unfamiliar assignments, and I was flexible and willing to learn. I am not afraid of the unknown and I am able to travel successfully. I am more valuable professionally because I proved that I can live and adapt in a new and unfamiliar environment, live and work with people from different backgrounds, and maintain good relationships.

Overall, my experience has taught me to continue to be a go-getter and frontrunner. I am aware that I have come out of the “American bubble” and this makes me more marketable. I am inspired to continue to take chances and apply myself because the sky is the limit.

Hear more from LaToya about her experience in London in her “Faces of Temple” video or read her story here.

Recent Internship Placements

You can find real examples of placements Temple students have had in the past here. This document provides full details for each of the anonymized placements where Temple students have interned in the past few semesters. Please be advised that we encourage students to be very open to internship placements.  It is in your best interest not to get too fixated on any one company as our placements change frequently and it all depends on what the company needs at a given time.  Flexibility with placement in your areas of interest and taking initiative and ownership of your experience will enable you to make the most of your placement.  For more information on placements, you can view the placement handbook here.