Intern Abroad

Internship in London

June 6th, 2023 | by
  • Architecture M.Sc.
  • United Kingdom, London
  • Outpost
  • 03/2022 – 03/2023

The following notes are a collection of my experience and recommendations of my Erasmus year in London. I’ve put them in categories to make it a bit easier to potentially find answers to your questions. I’ve tried to keep it relatively broad so it’s not all about architecture and rather a guide to navigating a year in London. More so what to expect to happen in the background rather than specific locations or events. This focuses a bit more on students going abroad and specifically to London as interns rather than students. I suspect the experience will greatly differ depending on whether or not you do your Erasmus exchange as a student or as an intern. Things like accommodation, social life and money are probably where things will differ the most, as students can apply for student housing which will be cheaper than the general housing market (obviously there will be exceptions). Furthermore you will probably have a social circle from the get go, as there will be similar minded people in your courses or even other international students. Lastly you’ll probably not earn any money as a student. Depending on your visa (obviously subject to change) you might not be allowed to work, which can make living in London a little harder.

I really hope you can gain something from this list and that the numbers won’t scare you away from going. The great thing about a big city like London is that there’s always a way to make ends meet.

Architecture internship

  • Finding a studio in London can be made slightly easier by following an architectural photographer on instagram as a photographer usually has a wide range
    of studios to choose from showcasing their best and most recent works
  • I recommend calling people to show both initiative and how proficient you are in speaking English
  • Studios are usually very busy so emails might get lost
  • From experience I can confidently say that to going to a smaller practice will be way more beneficial in getting the right amount of one on one mentoring, more insights into multiple RIBA – stages and better opportunities to get to know your colleagues
  • For my internship I applied to multiple studios with natural building materials as that wasn’t covered in my B.SC


  • Be aware that the Erasmus grant won’t be enough to support you in London (Probably applies to the rest of the UK as well)
  • Try to get a sense of what your potential employer will be paying you to determine how much additional funds you will need
  • Aim for at least 700-800 £ as a modest room in zone 2 will cost about 600£ if you are lucky (London prices probably not applicable to the rest of the UK)
  • If you’re planning on commuting to work via the tube account for roughly another £150 as travel in 2022 from zone 2→ 1 was 2,50 = 5£ a day
  • A British bank account might also be worth considering as a European card might entail a lot fees (I recommend Monzo for this)
  • Opening a bank account requires you to have an address. Your workplace address should suffice


  • If you are struggling to get a decent internet connection l can recommend giffgaff as a provider



If you visit London as an intern and not a student you will find it difficult to find affordable accommodation as you can’t get into student housing!

  • Living in zone 2/3 is definitely more than alright & also central enough! It will be a few hundred £ cheaper than zone 1 and offer the same lifestyle
  • Be aware that travelling by tube everyday can add up and it might, again, be cheaper to pay more in rent than later on in tube fees as the season tickets are way to expensive
  • From personal experience finding a flat can prove to be difficult. This was probably exaggerated by the fact that I arrived in London in early 2022, right after the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the increase in energy prices resulting in a cost of living crisis in the UK, as well as a lot of migration in London as people were priced out of their current homes and in search for cheaper alternatives
  • I would not recommend staying at a hotel for even a few weeks as even the cheap ones will drain your accounts. Try Airbnb to find a longer term solution to have a place to start searching from if you haven’t had the chance to do so before coming to London
  • Airbnbs can be very costly as well so try looking in zone 3 if you’re staying in London. Your commute into central might only be 15 mins longer but you will save at least a few hundred pounds per month that way.
  • For reference I had to spent almost all of my Erasmus grant in the first two months of staying in London just for accommodation
  • Don’t be picky and take what you can get! You can always move later as renting culture in London is very different from Germanys and people are constantly moving. Usually the rooms are already furnished as people leave their stuff behind and don’t buy new furniture.
  • Renting can require references from previous landlords. Sometimes it might be beneficial to ask your Airbnb landlord or your employers to offer their contact details as a reference if your future landlord wants to check if you can make your rent on time etc.
  • In terms of utilities, be mindful that living in London means having to pay council tax! Depending on which borough, how many people live together and what employment status you have the tax can range from 30 to 150£ per month. ( As a student you are exempted from having to pay council tax, but if you are an intern you might have to pay and if you live with only students you have to pay the full tax that would usually be split with all the tenant that are not students)


Activities and getting to know people

  • Starting an internship places you in an unusual situation as you normally work 9-5 which makes it a little harder meeting other people in your age group as they’re usually studying, meaning they probably have a different routine/rhythm
  • I found that going to the gym for classes like yoga or boxing etc. can help meeting people after work organically
  • Other activities like pottery is also a great way to get creative and meet people in the area
  • An app I can recommend for meeting people in a new city is Meetup. Here you can search for different activities or interests and it will recommend events around you. Be careful though and don’t meet at a park at night or sth.
  • Another App I can recommend is Dice, it shows you concerts and events in your area and it lets you buy tickets securely directly through the app
  • Tuesdays is usually pub quiz night which means during the evening for a small fee people can form teams and try and find the answer to a couple of questions, another great way of meeting new people and usually the prize is a couple of free rounds of drinks

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