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Many of our programs allow students to choose between two pathways: Service Internship and Internship. What’s the difference? And how should you choose?

First of all, the two pathways have a lot in common. Students on both pathways work the same number of hours and can achieve the same level of depth, development and career development. Both pathways include an internship placement and a seminar class (International Internship Course IIC or International Service Internship Course ISIC). On both pathways, students select and rank three area choices.

Here are the differences:

  • Whereas internships could be in any industry (including charities and not-for-profits), service internships are restricted to just charities, non-profits, social enterprises, and other organizations that are working toward goals associated with achieving public good.

  • The International Service Internship Course includes additional content on communities, their needs, and how to best serve your community of interest.

  • Service internships are as much about the benefit to the placement as they are about the benefit of the student.




In our opinion, the Service Internship pathway could well be considered Internship Plus: you learn just as much and have just as great an experience as our regular internship pathway plus you are guaranteed to be making a difference and help building a better world!


Here are two different types of students and how different pathway choices could affect them:

  • Corinne Anderson is a Political Science Major who wants to make the world a better place. She’s passionate about working with minority or disadvantaged groups and has further interests in education, poverty, and homelessness (see Corinne’s CV here).



The Service Internship pathway is what we'd recommend for Corinne. She can select her three areas of interest from our Service Internship Areas and is assured she'll be working with an organization contributing towards the public good. However, if her program doesn't offer the Service Internship pathway, she can still choose the Internship pathway and indicate "Social Welfare and Not-for-Profit Organizations" as her first choice.



  • Kenneth Small is a Business Administration student who is studying marketing and wants to run his own business. During his future career as an entrepreneur, he wants to keep the Earth in mind, because doing business can also do good! (see Kenneth’s CV here).


Kenneth can choose either pathway.


 On the Service Internship pathway, Kenneth can still hone his business skills for example doing marketing for a charity or developing projects with a social enterprise. With a Service Internship, Kenneth will learn valuable skills related to his major and future career while also making a difference.  Alternatively, Kenneth could go for the Internship Pathway and he might want to look at the Business & Entreprenuership, Communications & Journalism, and Environment & Sustainability industry choices. Even if he selected the Internship pathway, Kenneth might still be placed in a relevant department within a charity or not-for-profit as these opportuniries have a lot to offer business-minded students.



Ask your study abroad advisor which pathways are available to you. If you are still not sure, send the internship team an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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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.

Class Conflicts

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 program, 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 that 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. 


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FIE London offers internships in 13 areas, catering to almost every major and providing students with a wide variety of opportunities.

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, is the companies and organizations who choose which student they will offer a position to, but 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.



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, company size and “brand name” companies, and learning objectives.


Selecting Your Three Industry Choices

First Second Third Industry Choices


You should select three industry areas of interest which coincide with:

  •           your major (and/or minor, if applicable)
  •           your previous work/internship experience(s)
  •           your desired future career path

Keep in mind you MUST select three different main industry choices. Sub-areas are not required, but if selected must come from the options presented here. Provided that you have the relevant skills and experience, we endeavor to place you in an internship that is as close to your 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. Click here to see the instructions for selecting your three industry choices.

Additional requirements for certain choices

Certain industries require additional documentation:

Internship Industry Areas

London Internship students can select from the following industries:

XX = Most Competitive Areas    XX = Areas Where Significant Relevant Experience Is Required   XX = Most Popular Areas


 Business & Entrepreneurship
  • Business Management & Administration XX
  • Start-ups & Entrepreneurial Companies XX
  • Human Resources
  • Real Estate & Property Management
  • Tourism & Hospitality
  • Trade & Policy Organizations
  Historical & Cultural Organizations
  • Community Arts Organizations
  • Visual Arts & Galleries
  • Museums
  • Ethnic, Racial & Religious Diversity Organizations
 Communications & Journalism
  • Marketing, Advertising & Public Relations XX
  • Writing & Content Development
  • Events Planning
  • Specialized Publications
 Technology & Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Web Design
  • Information Management & Support
  • Product development & Testing 
  • Community Education Organizations
  • Educational Programs
  • Adult & Higher Education
  • Schools XX
  Legal & Justice Organizations
  • Justice & Human Rights Organizations
  • Legal Organizations XX
  Environment & Sustainability
  • Government, Non-Profit & Grassroots Organizations
  • Sustainable & Ethical Businesses
  • Members of Parliament & Constituencies
  • Political Parties & Campaigning
  • Pressure Groups & Lobbying Organizations
 Entertainment & Performing Arts
  • Promotion & Communication
  • Talent & Venue Management
  • Community Arts Organizations
  • Film, TV & Production XX XX
  • Music Agencies & Record Labels XX XX
  • Theatre, Dance & Performing Arts
 Public Health & Wellbeing
  • Disease & Research Charities
  • Health & Wellbeing Programs
  • Mental Health Organizations XX
  • Research & Data Collection 
 Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle
  • Fashion Labels & Boutiques
  • Beauty & Cosmetics
  • Interiors
  • Lifestyle
  • Fashion Design XX
  Social Welfare & Non-Profit Organizations
  • Public & Social Charities
  • Children’s & Youth Initiatives
  • Poverty & Homelessness Initiatives
  • Special Interest Organizations
 Finance & Accountancy
  • Finance & Accounting Departments XX XX
  • Financial Companies XX XX
  • Ethical and Community Finance Organizations
  • Economic Policy Organizations


Please note that there are no internships available in science, math, engineering or the medical industries. However, students in these fields can still have valuable experiences in a London internship. Students in the medical field, for example, should consider Public Health & Wellbeing or Environment and Sustainability. 

The general industry areas listed above are the industries in which we have successfully been able to place students. However, if you wish to intern within an area that is not listed, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 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.

The UK government requires that all people working with an ‘at risk’ population have a background check, and this includes interns. All Service Internship students and Internship students requesting education, public health, not-for-profit, or legal and justice organizations as any of their three choices are required to bring a Police Check with them to London.

A police check (or background check, as it is sometimes called) is a document stating the criminal convictions (or the absence thereof) of an individual. In order to obtain a police check you have TWO options, please see the descriptions below.

Police checks vary in each country, and in the US can vary from state to state or even precinct to precinct, so it is best for you to contact your nearest police station early on in your study abroad application process to find out the requirements to obtain a criminal record check in your local area. In many cases, you will need to take a proof of ID (such as a passport or driver’s license with a proof of address). In some jurisdictions, the local police can issue the document to you right then and there. Otherwise, they will mail the police check to you once it is complete, which can take several weeks.


1. Option 1: Local (or US State) Police Check

A local or US state police check can be obtained from your town or university police or local sheriff’s department. What you can obtain here is an official letter or document from your police department verifying that you have no criminal record within your own city or state. There is usually a small processing charge for this check that varies by area.

2. Option 2: FBI Criminal Background Check (for US students only)

In the US, the FBI offers a Criminal Background Check that has the ability to highlight charges across any state, making it a more secure and inclusive document. The check costs $18 to run and you are required to have your fingerprints taken by a professional and submit them in a specialized way (you may need to pay an additional fee for the fingerprinting service). You can file the application either directly through the FBI, or through an FBI Approved Channeler.

The FBI is currently experiencing significant delays of 13-15 weeks to process a background check. If you choose this option, we recommend you go through an approved channeler. Note the channeler will charge additional fees, but may be able to provide you with a report within 48 hours of submitting your fingerprints (but do note the soonest fingerprinting appointment may be several weeks away).

All the information you will need about this process can be found at the following link: https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/identity-history-summary-checks

You may notice that your fingerprints are taken as part of the application for a Tier 4 Visa. This is just to confirm your identity – it is not a police or background check. If required, you will need to submit your fingerprints again as part of the police check process.


Please make sure you begin the police check process early; it could take several weeks to complete the process of making an appointment, being fingerprinted, and obtaining the background check. The check must be completed before you leave for London as you are required to bring it with you to the UK. It is usually not possible to complete the check once you are abroad.

You will upload a scan of the document to MyInternship so that your Internship Mentor can verify it is sufficient for your needs.

You will also need to make sure to bring the original document with you to London so that you can present it at your interview if requested to do so. Most placements will only accept the original version.


Special Note ArrowI have a criminal record. Will that prevent me from securing an internship?

In most circumstances, having a single offense or very small number of offenses unrelated to the nature of the chosen industry would not prevent a student from securing a placement. However, if you would feel uncomfortable disclosing the contents of your criminal record to a potential employer, you may wish to consider selecting an option which does not require you to produce a police report.

Please note that you may also be required to disclose any criminal offenses on the Tier 4 Visa application. Please see your visa guide for further details.


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Reverse Culture ShockFIE Image Library Residences 41
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 maybe 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.


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