Internships offer an excellent way of experiencing the professional, working life of London from the inside. Internships provide interaction and hands-on experience with the host culture, as well as direct professional experience related to your academic studies and long-term career goals.
The SU London Internship Program places students into local, national and international organizations in a wide variety of sectors.
Choosing to do an internship is a big commitment, and the process for securing an internship is complex, so it is vital that you understand all the requirements before applying. Below is an overview of the key steps in the process.
10 Steps to Your London Internship
- Read the SU London Internships FAQ [PDF, 47 kB] document in full.
- Consult with your school or college advisor to learn if you will be able to use internship credits toward your degree. Some schools and colleges, as well as some departments and majors, have specific restrictions or do not allow for internship credits to count toward the degree.
- Consider the time commitment. Placements require two full days per week, in addition to your academic schedule. This means you may have to work on Fridays, when your classmates are going on field trips or travelling. An internship is a serious commitment, which, when accepted, must be fully and responsibly fulfilled.
- Consider the costs. SU London internships are unpaid, for academic credit only. Additionally, you will be responsible for obtaining a special Tier 4 visa, at a cost of approximately $500.
As part of your SU Abroad London application, you must complete the London Internship Form, located in your application checklist. Deadline for submission is October 15 for the Spring semester, and April 15 for the Fall semester. This deadline is applicable for all internship types, including independent internships and Bandier program students.
3. Placement Consultation Video Conference
Once you are notified that your internship application has been accepted (usually within two weeks of your application) you will be asked to book a video conference call with the SU London Internship Director. This call serves as a pre-placement interview, and allows us to begin the process of matching you with available internships.
4. Commit to an Internship
Following your Placement Consultation, you will need to make your final decision on whether or not to commit to an internship. If you choose to continue, you must submit the Internship Commitment Form, acknowledging you understand the conditions, including the financial penalties for withdrawal. This form must be submitted by the deadline given in order for the placement process to continue. Note: Students who have secured an independent internship must also submit the Independent Internship Form at this time.
5. Visa Application
US and other non-EU students who want to intern in the UK must obtain a special Tier 4 visa prior to arrival. This process is complex and time-consuming, and costs approximately $500. The visa approval process can take eight weeks or more when the embassy is busy, so in order to avoid any problems, it’s important to apply as soon as you receive the notification to do so (approximately 12 weeks before the scheduled London arrival date).
Please note that non-US citizens applying for the Tier 4 visa may be required to take an English language test if the primary language of their home country is not identified as English by the UK Visa and Immigration Office.
More information about the Tier 4 visa application process will be provided by SU Abroad.
6. Arrange Your Schedule
In addition to your other academic classes, you must enroll in BUA 400: The Global Workforce, a weekly class earning 3 credits (inclusive of credits for the internship). This course is a legal requirement for all internships (including Independent and Bandier students).
You’ll need to arrange your class schedule to have two full days free for your internship.
Please note that there are no classes on Fridays, but SU London offers field trips every Friday. If you are not able to arrange your classes to have two free days other than Friday, you will need to have Friday as an internship day, and will therefore miss the Friday field trips, most of which are included in the program fee. Design students should pay specific attention to their studio and field trip requirements.
7. Provisional Placement Notification
Once we have provisionally matched you to a placement, we will notify you and provide additional information to help you prepare. This will generally happen a few weeks prior to your departure for London.
8. Attend Internship Orientation
During Orientation Week (usually on Thursday morning), you must attend a special Internship Orientation session, which will prepare you for your on-site interview with your provisional internship employer.
9. On-Site Interview
Your interview will be scheduled on either Thursday or Friday of Orientation Week. This interview is important, as placements are not guaranteed until the employer agrees. In the very rare event that the interview is not successful, an attempt will be made to find an alternative placement.
10. Your Internship Begins!
You will begin your internship, along with your academic classes and the Global Workplace class, which is designed to help you get the most out of your internship experience.
Students with personal contacts can opt to source their internship independently under the provisions of UK Immigration and SU Abroad/SU London. Placement must be unpaid and for two full days per week for the duration of the semester. The student must be in the process of confirming the internship at the time of applying to SU Abroad. The application process (including all the steps above) is the same, but an additional Independent Internship Form (available below) must be completed and submitted at the Commitment stage (see step 4).
SU London will conduct a site visit to the placement to assess suitability. Students who source their internship independently are legally required to obtain a Tier 4 student visa and take the academic component: BUA 400: The Global Workplace. If the internship falls through, SU London cannot guarantee an alternative placement.