Interning in London has probably been the highlight of my experience abroad.
At first like most students must feel, I was incredibly nervous. I knew the stereotypes about the British in the work place from what my program told me and I knew that there would be some cultural differences that I probably wouldn’t think about until confronted with them in the moment.
From my own personal experience I’m here to tell you what its really like in my office place. The first thing that definitely through me off was how fluid people in the office were about meal times and coffee breaks. On my first day as soon as I sat down the office manager was asking me if I’d prefer tea or coffee before my coworkers asking if I would like to go to the cafeteria for breakfast with everyone else.
I feel like my idea of how a workplace should function especially in the American context is much more focused on productivity so that definitely took some adjusting.
I also realized that banter and sarcastic comments is a lot more common in the office space. Since we’re a political office the news is always turned on and there’s not an hour that goes by without somebody saying something witty or a funny back and forth between us all. It took me awhile to get more comfortable with engaging but it definitely livens up my day in the office.
Something I was more shocked about was the fact that using profanity was much more common in the workplace and it was a very casual occurrence. I was no stranger to hearing my boss curse when driving us to the local office or watching somebody swear at the national news. I think it quickly brought down any barriers of formality in the office and I soon saw that coworkers had a sense of camaraderie in my internship. It also helped that there were only about five of us in the office but it definitely helped for me to relate to my colleagues and also open up to asking them questions. If they could swear in front of the new intern I definitely could ask them how to write a better policy letter right?