I’ve worked a summer job every year since middle school in a variety of different fields, so it’s safe to say that I’m used to the daily struggles of a summer intern; I’ve worked in residential real estate, at a recruiting firm in the pharmaceutical industry, as a wrestling coach, at an ice cream shop, and at a liquor store. Still, even with all of this exposure, 3 days on the job in London has shown me that working in Britain is going to be different. Much different.
The atmosphere and vibe of the London workplace – at least in my experience – is much more relaxed and causal than that of the States. Here, grabbing a few drinks during lunch breaks is expected, coffee breaks are abundant, and office conversation is unremitting. Here, my colleagues bounce jokes off of each other and shoot rubber bands across the room when overall employee morale seems low. Here, the stupid mistakes of a new intern are expected, and aren’t met with scorn or frustration. Back home, I had become accustomed to a work environment fueled by competition and a no-nonsense type of mentality. I was used to spending my time at work with my head down and my nose to the grindstone, and I never expected to have fun carrying out the tedious duties that a summer intern is usually tasked with. Yet, I find myself in the same position here that I’ve been in during past summers, except now I’m having a little bit more fun. I’m still a summer intern who is left to do the office grunt work, but the positive attitudes of the people I work with make my position a little more tolerable. Maybe the fact that I’m in a foreign country has a little bit to do with it too – it’s definitely interesting to compare and contrast my experiences here to those back home as I explore this internship opportunity. I’m enjoying myself while learning more and more about the student accommodation industry every day, and am looking forward to seeing how this internship relates to the possibility of a career in investment real estate in my future.