As a Director of The Intern Group who is typically located in our administrative office in Chile, I was fortunate enough to spend a large portion of this summer in London and meet many of the participants on our international internship program. With participants from over 80 countries and representing over 42 languages spoken, we welcome to London, Madrid, Colombia & Hong Kong a diverse array of people with stories to tell and experiences to share; it was fascinating to learn about the people from all corners of the globe and in equal measure, exciting to think our program contributing towards the journey that people are on. Last week, I caught up with Divyalayka Balakrishnan from Singapore who shared with me her experience so far.
Tell me about yourself
My name is Divyalayka and I come from Singapore. I’m a third year student at the National University of Singapore majoring in Communications and New Media.
What are you doing in London?
I’m in London for an internship in the fashion industry. I’m interning at Paolita, a new and emerging swimwear brand in the UK. Fashion internships in London are obviously extremely competitive and at Paolita its exciting to be right in the middle of the action.
What has been the highlight of your experience so far?
The highlight of my trip so far would be exploring the city of London with friends I’ve made through this program as well as learning about the diverse culture that London provides.
How does the real London compare to your expectations?
There’s always something to do for everyone no matter what age, background or interest. Initially, I thought I had listed down all the places I wanted to visit but after coming here and hearing people recommend more places to explore, it just keeps getting more exciting. And, the one thing I will miss about London is the pub culture here where everyone has fun together. Even if there were no seats, people wouldn’t mind standing, having their drinks and laughing their hearts out. The other thing was safety, which I was quite worried about since I was traveling alone but London is a pretty safe place and it’s quite easy to get around using the tube.
If you could start your international internship program again from day 1, what would you change?
I wouldn’t really change anything because I’ve only had good experiences with Intern London so far ever since I got here. However, as things were quite rushed towards the final stages, I wish I had more time to prepare. Other than that, I love the program and especially all the events that Intern London had planned for us.
What’s next for you?
I’m hoping to enter the fashion industry in the future with my own clothing line. My internship taught me the business side of owning a brand from marketing to displaying products effectively to handling customers and providing quality service. In my mind I thought my only purpose here was to learn from my internship but now I feel that it was more than the internship. It was also about meeting and finding new connections that will be useful in the future. I’m truly thankful for the opportunity given to me, to learn and gain a new experience abroad. It was something I never thought I’d be doing.