Have you ever wondered what working in another country would be like?
As a student in Boston University’s London Internship Program, I was lucky enough to land an internship and experience British office culture myself. I am currently interning at United Airlines, specifically in the Press Office, which manages public relations for the United branches in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India.
At first, I didn’t know what to expect when working for a large-scale company based in the U.S., and how much it could truly differ. My internship is located at the United headquarters by Heathrow Airport and occupies a major portion of the corporate building. To my surprise, the press office is small, with only three people working with me. Because working in the press office requires a great deal of travel, it is often just me and one or two other colleagues together.
Everyone in my office is incredibly welcoming, and I’m glad that we all work well together. The energy in the room always feels light-hearted, and though there are plenty of stressful moments, my colleagues go above and beyond to ensure that everyone feels supported. I think I lucked out on being able to experience a small, tight-knit office in a big, global company setting — the best of both worlds!
A typical day begins with a walk to my closest Tube station, where I take the Underground train to Hounslow, which is just outside central London. The ride is about 40 minutes long, complemented by a 10-minute bus ride from the station to my office building. It’s considered a long commute in London — totaling to around 60-80 minutes. However, I’ve learned to truly enjoy the commute. It has become the perfect time to either listen to music or unplug and reflect on my day.
When I get to the office, I am greeted by my colleagues — my two supervisors, who serve as the PR Manager and the Head of Communications, as well as the PR Executive. They usually brief me on the happenings of the office, as well as any major company or aviation industry news. Throughout the morning, I am often whisked away to sit in on meetings and company calls. I complete typical PR-related tasks, such as writing press releases and news articles, compiling briefing documents and factsheets, as well as adding to media lists and researching industry material. A key element of my internship is helping create the next issue of an inflight magazine, so I usually spend a portion of my day editing and reviewing copy with the PR Executive. My day always includes a morning cup of tea and an afternoon lunch break, but the rest of my internship is far from being a routine. I love how dynamic and unpredictable each day can be.
Though I am not able to share some of the assignments that I’ve worked on (due to very strict NDA agreements), I can say that I’ve had some truly valuable experiences at United. Some highlights include seeing my articles published in United’s newsletters and engaging with some of the top executives in my office.
The press office has its fair share of challenging days, especially when issues arise and my colleagues are tasked with managing them. My colleagues amaze me by holding so much responsibility. Their hard work, drive, and passion are incredibly inspiring. I am most thankful for their kindness, willingness to teach, and dedication to ensuring that I receive the most valuable experience possible. My team is just as interested in learning about me and my culture as I am keen on learning more about them and the British way of life. Picking up British slang and work culture habits have been a rewarding part of my time in London, and I am excited to bring some great stories back home with me. My internship abroad has certainly become an unparalleled and unforgettable experience!
Celeste Lim, Study Abroad Correspondent
Celeste Lim is a junior at Boston University majoring in public relations. She is currently studying abroad in London, England, and is an intern at United Airlines. In Boston, Celeste is a member and PR director of Her Campus Boston University. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, taking photos, and consuming vast amounts of lattes.