FIE expects students to fully comply with the instructions and guidelines listed here. As part of your online application, you will also be required to electronically sign an agreement form indicating your acceptance of these conditions.
It is important for students to understand that the consequences of misconduct within the workplace might result in dismissal with no recourse to a further placement or program refund. Additionally, dismissal may result in loss of academic credit. Please read the following guidelines carefully and refer to them during your placement if you have any questions.
Required Documents and Materials
Students are responsible for ensuring the accurate and timely submission of all required internship materials, including CV, Personal Statement, choices, and industry-specific requirements such as writing samples, portfolios and police check. Failure to submit these materials within the required timeframe could affect the student’s placement.
Students should also ensure that any requested revisions or amendments are completed promptly and within the timeframe indicated by the Internship Mentor. Failure to do so could delay the student’s placement process and affect the student’s placement.
Students must not turn down a placement offer at the interview. Any concerns raised about the placement during an interview should be made to your Internship Mentor immediately following the interview.
In compliance with UK immigration regulations, the placement is an educational experience for which you are earning credit; it is not employment. All FIE internship experiences are unpaid.
Any concerns about your placement or conditions of work must be discussed with your Internship Mentor and, when necessary, your site supervisor.
No particular placement or placement industry is guaranteed to be available for an individual student during the short time the student is available to work in London. Students must select three different industry choices and may be placed in an internship related to any of their three choices. Students should ensure they are prepared to accept a placement related to any of their choices.
Only in exceptional circumstances will a placement be changed, and only after a thorough assessment of the situation by the FIE Experiential Education Team.
Every effort is made to schedule required class components outside of regular working hours. If students have evening commitments at their placement, required class sessions will take priority. However, if needed you should consult with your faculty member to see if special arrangements can be made.
Attendance and Absences
As internships/placement are part of the academic programme, full attendance to all internship days is required. Students must ensure they attend all internship days in order to receive their full academic credit. Failure to attend all days can also affect the student’s grade in the International Internship Course.
Students verify their attendance by submitting signed timesheets on a weekly basis. If a student fails to submit all timesheets before the end of the programme, each internship day recorded on the missing timesheets will be counted as ‘absent’.
If a student is going to be absent from their placement, it is their responsibility to initiate contact with the Experiential Education Team and their internship site to notify them in advance. If a student cannot participate in the internship placement for more than two weeks due to Mitigating Circumstances such as prolonged illness, disability or personal reasons such as bereavement, the FIE Team will work with the student and the home campus to arrange a suitable academic alternative. All students must be involved in some form of academic study in order to satisfy their visa and academic requirements.
Holidays (vacation) and leave for reasons other than those listed above are not permitted.
When a student has been absent from the placement, they are expected to fulfil their commitment to the placement by arranging with their internship site to make up their missed internship hours before the end of the program. Make-up hours will not affect the attendance record: the original ‘absent’ mark will remain. Make-up hours must be arranged around class obligations.
While in your placement, you must remember that at all times you are a representative of your country, your home institution, and FIE. Students are expected to maintain a professional and respectful demeanor in interactions and correspondence with anyone associated with their placement, including FIE staff.
Dismissal & Consequences
Both FIE and the placement site supervisor have the authority to remove any student from a placement due to unsatisfactory performance or unacceptable behavior. Students will in this case receive an “F” grade for the internship course.
In such instances where a student is dismissed or removes themselves from their placement, FIE reserves the right to remove the student from the program (including housing) and therefore require the student’s immediate return to their home country.
Unforeseen Circumstances at the Placement
Occasionally, due to circumstances beyond FIE’s control, a placement which has accepted an intern will no longer be able to host the student or will discontinue the placement. In these circumstances FIE will inform the student and organize a new placement for the student as soon as possible. The student must successfully interview at the new placement in order to secure the new internship.
FIE London offers service internships in 16 placement areas, catering to almost every major and providing students with a wide variety of opportunities to make a difference with gaining professional and cultural experience.
It is important to take the time to read about the areas which interest you so that you can understand what is – and is not – available. Each student should choose three of the areas from the list below and understand they may be placed in any of their three choices (though we always start with a student’s first choice!)
Ultimately, it is the charities and organizations who choose which student they will offer a position to, but these pages are a guide to the service internship areas in which the FIE Experiential Education Team has successfully placed students in the past. Please carefully read this introduction and the sections relevant to your major and interests. The three choices you select will be the basis of your Internship Mentor’s search for your placement. As the internship is coordinated on your behalf, it is important that you understand the reality of what you should expect from your placement.
6 Things You Need to Know About your Service Internship!
The best piece of advice we can give you at this stage is to read these materials carefully. One of the most important indicators of success in the international internship is your preparation beforehand and your complete understanding of the reality of the journey you are embarking on.
Before selecting your industry choices on MyInternship, take the time to fully digest our Realities of Working in London page, including industry differences, education vs professional practice, organization size and “brand name” organizations, and learning objectives.
To summarize the key points on the pages above:
Internships require flexibility, an open mind, a positive attitude, and a professional hardworking approach. You will be challenged in your London service internship!
Industries in the UK can be very different than in your home country and you should prepare for the fact that internship opportunities may be limited.
You will most likely be placed with a small or medium sized organization. Most large organizations do not offer internships for the short period of time you are in London.
All positions are unpaid and entry level. You will be expected to complete a wide variety of tasks, from basic and administrative to more specialized and project-based.
This is first and foremost a cultural experience. Interning in an international environment is an excellent learning opportunity to expand your cross-cultural skills.
The success of your internship placement is what you make of it!
Selecting Your Three Placement Choices
You should select three areas of interest which coincide with:
Please note there areno internships available in medical or clinical settings. Access to vulnerable individuals (including patients, victims, and children is limited) - and rightly so! Students should be aware their tasks and access may, therefore, be restricted. However, students looking to gain experience in these fields can still have valuable experiences in a London service internship. Students in the health field, for example, should consider disability rights, mental health, or environmental issues.
The general areas listed above are those in which we have successfully been able to place students. However, if you wish to intern within an area that is not listed, please email us. We are happy to let you know if your chosen option may be possible.
If you have any other questions or need more information, please do not hesitate to contact either your study abroad office or the FIE Experiential Education Team.
Internship Orientation After you arrive and before your interview, you will participate in a comprehensive orientation which includes the following topics:
Information about British cultural differences and the culture of work in the UK.
Emphasis on the concept of an international internship as a learning process.
A clear explanation of each stage of the internship process, intern responsibilities and requirements, and requirements of the intern’s home institution.
Practical advice about transport, dress codes and conduct.
A review of good interview techniques.
Placement Notification Students are notified of their placements after arrival in London and before the beginning date of the placement, barring circumstances beyond FIE’s control. Students are not informed of their placements until they are confirmed, and this can occur anytime between arrival and the beginning of the placement.
While you won’t get to select your exact placement, students benefit from FIE’s years of experience in organising internships for foreign undergraduates and guiding students to make the most of the experience. Only in exceptional circumstances will a placement be changed, and only after a thorough assessment of the situation by the FIE Experiential Education Team. If you would like to discuss your placement, please get in touch with your Internship Mentor.
Preparing for Your Interview Site supervisors are looking for students who can make a difference and contribute to their organizations. It is up to you to show your site supervisor what skills and knowledge you have to offer. Ensure that you are familiar with the organization you will be working with; check their website before you interview and read any brochures or literature that they may provide.
All placements are considered provisional pending a successful interview. Site supervisors can only make a final judgment on the suitability of the student for the placement upon interview. FIE students do not competitively interview for placements, meaning that only one FIE student interviews for each available role at a placement site.
If an interview is not successful, the student will be informed and will discuss with the Internship Mentor the types of opportunities likely to be available at this late stage. After consultation with the student, a different placement opportunity will be identified as soon as possible and the student will participate in another interview.
Internship Seminars International Service Internship Course (ISIC) consists of both the placement and the internship seminars. The seminars are scheduled alongside the placement. For students on a semester program whose internship starts after their midterm break, this means the seminars will also start after the break.
The seminars provide an academic forum for discussion, analysis, and reflection on the internship experience. Assessments include journals, development of professional materials including an updated CV and portfolio, a group presentation and a research paper. More information about the course and a sample syllabus are available on the ISIC course page.
Students are graded on participation in the class sessions, academic assessments, and performance in the placement. More information on assessment is available here.
Challenges in the Workplace Every student will face challenges in the London internship, but the challenges will be different for each student. Maybe for you the challenge will be understanding the variety of local and international accents, especially over the phone; discovering an industry works differently than you anticipated and so tasks you expected to be readily available aren’t possible or navigating hidden cultural differences between you and your colleagues.
Whatever your challenge, your Internship Mentor is here to help you make the most of your experience and your placement. Get in touch with your Mentor to schedule a meeting or drop by the Experiential Education Office for further advice.
Participating in an internship placement can be a life-changing adventure. While challenging at times, the rewards are plentiful and we hope that you will learn from this experience in many ways. You will develop new skills, increase your knowledge base and social awareness, and work in a new culture. Many students find the international service internship helps them define future goals, establish international contacts, and return home with a lifetime of memories.
Timesheets and Administration All students are required by the academic and immigration conditions of their programme to submit relevant documentation, including:
The Placement Agreement Form
The Mid-Point and Final Appraisals
Further details will be discussed at your Internship Orientation. Electronic copies of all forms are available in the Student Resources on MyStudy@FIE.
Work Permitted for Visa Students
Your FIE internship is the only type of work permitted for visa students (Tier 4 only). Please refer to our Visa Information page for more information.
Reverse Culture Shock Many students returning from study abroad programs experience what is known as reverse culture shock, meaning they find it difficult to reintegrate into their home country and way of life. Studying abroad and interning gives you insights into your own way of life and you may have a new perspective on your own culture.
Your experiences with FIE in London will have changed you. You may have new habits, behaviors, values and friends, and find your confidence has increased. Your friends and family may notice personal growth and changes also, and may be unprepared for the new you. This can often lead you to feelings of isolation and difficulties in relating to people who have not had the same experiences as you.
Remember reverse culture shock is a phase, and you will soon settle back into a routine. To help alleviate this transitional period, stay in touch with any friends that you made while in London who can relate to your London experiences. Contact your study abroad office for advice and support, and above all, don’t worry – these feelings will pass! Don’t forget, you can always visit London again, and your study abroad and interning experience will be one you will value for years to come.
Life After Study Abroad Thinking about what’s next after London? Have you made some great contacts or are you looking to return to the UK to study or intern? Check out our Life after Study Abroad page.
HOW DO I FILL OUT MY APPLICATION MATERIALS TO SHOWCASE MY SKILLS?
In the pre-decision stage of your FIE Study and Internship Program application on MyStudyAbroad@FIE, you will be provided with links to our online MyInternship portal. It is important to thoroughly read our Realities of Working in London section before completing your internship materials, and you must complete your internship materials before the FIE application deadline.
Proper preparation is key to your success in your internship. Make sure you have carefully read about the Realities of Working in London and FIE Service Internship Placement Areas so that you know what internships are typically available to students and so you can follow instructions closely. Your materials are your first opportunity to demonstrate your attitude and commitment to your Internship Mentor, who will be organizing your placement on your behalf. Make a good first impression! Your care and attention to detail will help your Mentor present you as a strong candidate for potential internships in London.
Step 2: Select your Three Service Internship Placement Choices
Take a look through all of the available Service Internship Areas and select three areas of interest with which you have had significant experience, a demonstrated interest or that relate to your academic studies. Potential internship placements are looking for students with awareness of their particular issue and a demonstrated passion and desire to learn. Make sure you can justify each of your choices.
On the MyInternship form, you should select three different main area choices. Provided that students have the relevant skills and experience, we endeavor to place every student in an internship which is as close to their original requests as possible. However, please keep in mind that while we will try to place you within your first choice area, we will utilize second and third choices if and when necessary, and will often use a combination of all three.
An example of a service internship choice selection:
Prisoner Welfare & Crime Reduction
Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Diversity Rights and Issues
Your internship will be organized based on the availability of placements, your background and the needs of the organization. However, there are many different kinds of roles available, including hands-on with constituents, projects, communications or business roles. You will have the opportunity to state your preference and give further information if required.
Hands-on opportunities include working directly in the field or with constituents, for example caring for plants or animals, interacting with children, leading lessons or conducting interviews with clients. You might get a bit messy (in a good way!), but interns in these placements will have direct opportunities to learn about their placement’s services and their delivery.
Projects can be varied in scope and length, but these internships may include working on the research, planning, funding, execution or analysis and review stages.
Many office roles are similar to the roles in for-profit companies, such as finance, HR, marketing, events planning or IT. Some roles run parallel to their business counterparts, such as marketing for fundraising or HR for volunteers.
Many charities have an “all hands on deck” approach, with everyone pitching in as needed on a variety of tasks. In this way, your role may encompass several of the facets listed above.
No particular placement can be guaranteed to be available for an individual student during the short time the student is available to work in London. While you won’t have the opportunity to choose the particular organization where you will be working, you will benefit from FIE’s years of experience in organizing quality internships for foreign undergraduate students.
Step 3: Complete your online MyInternship Form
All students seeking internships must complete the online MyInternship Form. These questions ask you to define your objectives, career goals and expectations for your internship.
You should take the time to craft thoughtful responses to each question. You won’t have the opportunity to meet your Internship Mentor in person until you arrive in London, so this is your chance to really communicate who you are and what you hope to achieve to the person who will be working to translate your goals into the reality of your placement.
Your answers can also provide cues about your ability to follow instructions, your writing skills, and your attitude and commitment to the international internship experience. It is important for you to demonstrate you have carefully read and considered the Realities of Working in London guide – this will show your Mentor you are a strong candidate for a London internship.
Step 4: Write your CV (résumé)
You will upload your CV to the MyInternship online form. Your CV must be in Word Document format.
A Curriculum Vitae, or CV, (known in America as a résumé) is Latin and literally means “the course of one’s life or career.” Your CV is your all-important first impression on potential employers and should persuade an organization to interview you. You may think that because this is an unpaid experience that organizations are not concerned about who you are but are just looking for “an extra pair of hands.” This could not be further from the truth. Placement organizations are looking for hard-working, motivated young people to actively participate in their work. It costs valuable time to provide a placement for a student and most organizations receive many inquiries for placements, so they carefully select the students who they invite to join their team.
The information contained in your CV must be presented in a clear, concise manner. Take into consideration:
Order of information: The top third of the page is your prime space and should contain your most important, relevant information to ensure the reader remains interested. The order of your CV should be logical and interesting.
Content: Make sure spelling, grammar, and punctuation are correct. Avoid long sentences and paragraphs. Opt for bullet points and use positive phrases and words.
Font: Choose a clear, easy to read fonts such as Times New Roman or Arial using 10 or 12 point. Ensure there is continuity throughout your CV.
Format: Your CV should be a Microsoft Word document (other formats, including PDF, are not accepted). Refrain from using elaborate graphics or imagery as it may not be compatible with readers’ computers or devices.
Headings: Use clear headings to define topics and ensure information is easy to find.
Margins: Ensure your CV is clearly presented, visually pleasing and not too cluttered.
Length: The CV for a traditional-aged college student should not be any longer than two pages. Make sure it only contains relevant information, and if possible condensed to one page rather than try and fill two sheets.
It is important that your CV is targeted to your intended reader – in this instance, a prospective employer and the FIE Internship Team. It must be accurate, up-to-date and interesting. The reader is looking for relevant information. It is always tempting to compose a chronological account of your life to date but this is not necessary; organizations appreciate you are a full-time student and so do not expect you to have an extensive work background. The content of your CV will consist of your education, relevant work experience, interests, skills and placement objective. We recommend using the following sections to organize your CV.
Objective: Stating a placement objective at the beginning of your CV highlights your aims and aspirations. It immediately explains to the reader what you are hoping to achieve and it will focus and encourage the reader to continue to read further. However, as your CV may be sent to several prospective placements in different fields, your objective should be very broad.
Education: State which home institution you attend, your major and minor, and most importantly list the relevant classes you have taken. This will demonstrate your knowledge of your chosen field.
Work & Volunteer Experience: Starting with most recent first, include any relevant work/volunteer experience you have had. For each item listed, include several bullet points indicating your main responsibilities and tasks.
Skills: This section demonstrates what you could bring to a position and highlights your transferable skills and industry specific skills. List your computer skills and any languages you speak and with what proficiency.
Interests and Achievements: Include any organizations or clubs you are a member of and any volunteer work you have participated in. This section provides an excellent opportunity for you to highlight any interests and achievements you have that are relevant to the field in which you wish to have an internship experience.
It may take some time to create your CV, but this is the document that is going to secure your internship interview, so take the time to get it right. Ensure that someone proofreads your CV to check for any mistakes or typos before you submit it to FIE. Your campus Career Center may provide a service to help you develop your CV.
Take a look at these two samples of well-done CVs:
If you are struggling to craft your CV, why not use one of our templates (Kenneth, Corinne) – just type over with your own information! (Note that students are not required to use our template.)
Step 5: Write your Personal Statement
You will upload your Personal Statement to the MyInternship online form. Your Personal Statement must be in Word Document format.
A Personal Statement will accompany your CV and is designed to give the reader an insight into you, the type of person you are and your motivations and aspirations. It will introduce you and your CV to the reader long before they have the opportunity to meet you in person. Your personal statement is not an essay on why you want to come to London but rather has a specific focus on the international internship, your goals, and your flexible approach to all three of your industry choices.
Your statement should be one page in length with single spacing or maximum 1.5 spacing. Though you should not feel constrained, we recommend the following structure:
You should start by focusing on your professional goals and how work experience in London will supplement them.
Then, you should talk about your previous voluntary and professional experience and your academic studies, emphasizing what skills you could offer a professional employer.
Your final paragraph should outline the industries you would like to work in as part of your placement in London, pertaining to your three area choices.
When writing your Personal Statement, consider who will be reading the document: potential employers (and your Internship Mentor!). You should leave the reader understanding what you are hoping to achieve and why they should want you at their organization. Avoid using negative phrases and terminology. Be careful in using jargon that might be specific to your home country. Keep the information relevant and refer to the details contained within your CV. You can use the Personal Statement to expand on skills, achievements, and experience you have mentioned in your CV.
The Personal Statement should be professional in tone, avoiding flowery or emotive language. Overly personal or sentimental anecdotes or information are not appropriate. The content of your Personal Statement will be similar to that of a cover letter for a job application. However, please do NOT put your Personal Statement in the form of a letter, as FIE will be writing to potential placements on your behalf.
Ensure that your Personal Statement is presented in a clear, concise manner, using an easy to read font. Make certain that the information is applicable and that your Personal Statement is no longer than one page. Be sure that your name is clearly displayed at the top of the document.
Take a look at these two samples of well-done personal statements, crafted to match to previous CV examples:
The UK government requires that all people working with an ‘at risk’ population have a background check, and this includes interns. All Service Internship are required to bring a Police Check with them to London. Please click here for more information about getting a police check. It may take several weeks to get the checks, so make sure you start the process well in advance of your arrival as you will need to bring it physically with you to London.
Can I organize my own internship?
In our experience, the typical foreign undergraduate student will not be successful at organizing an internship on their own which is compatible with the specific requirements of the academic program. Even where opportunities are advertised, the organization may be unable or unwilling to comply with, for example, the specific dates you are available to work. This is one of the great benefits of studying with FIE – we will organize the internship for you!
However, if you already have a strong personal network of contacts, it may be possible to organize your own internship instead of having FIE arrange the placement for you. If you would like to organize your own internship, you’ll need to email the Experiential Education Team before you submit your application. We’ll be able to advise you if your university permits students to organize their own internships and what the requirements are.
If your home university permits this option, you will be given further information about the requirements (for example, if the placement were to fall through, you’d be responsible for organizing an alternative for yourself) and a specific deadline for confirming the placement. The deadline will be well before your departure date as we must vet the placement, including a visit to the offices where you will be working, a process which can take several months to complete. Please note it is never possible for a student to arrive in London and then start trying to organize their own internship.