Conversations on Studying Abroad

Culture, Colleagues, and Concentrate: How I Broke the Ice at my Internship in London

May 24, 2019 10:32:00 AM / by Guest Posts

CAPA Spring 2019 Diversity Advocates scholar Juan Gonzalez shares some of the memorable moments from his internship with Kingston Smith LLP in London. He also talks about his innocent mishap involving juice that made for a great laugh with his colleagues! As he reflects on the positive corporate culture and how he was able to foster social connections, he expresses his gratitude for a fulfilling experience during his semester and internship abroad.

During my stay in London, I had the amazing opportunity to work for one of the top 20 accounting firms within the UK, Kingston Smith LLP. Kingston Smith LLP is a mid-sized accounting firm with six offices located in and around London. The company provides advisory, audit and compliance, outsourcing, and tax and legal services to both entrepreneurial business and non-profit sectors. I was lucky enough to spend my semester abroad working as a data analytics intern at the city location. Reflecting on my experiences at Kingston Smith LLP, I would like to share one of the most memorable moments I’ve had whilst interning within the data analytics department which ultimately led to me creating a close friendship with my colleagues and generally made me feel as though I was part of the team. I will spare you all the technicalities of the data analytics realm as much as possible.

Selfie with ColleaguesA selfie with my colleagues from Kingston Smith LLP.

I believe that one of the most important factors of success for any new intern or new hire is getting comfortable with the office culture, essentially fitting in. Knowing this, within the first week of my internship assignment I observed what other people did in the office to gain a general sense of how things were done. A great example of this was when I was given the option to come into work at 9AM, but I soon noticed by the time I arrived everyone in my department was hard at work. For this reason, I adjusted my work schedule and began to arrive around the same time as my colleagues. After doing so, I began to notice how most of the staff would begin their day with a cup of tea or juice and a quick chat. The open dialogue that centered around the morning cup of tea helped to foster positive social connections. In an effort to become comfortable within the office, I decided to adjust my behavior and embraced the positive corporate culture. This is a great segue into the juice concentrate incident.

OJ ConcentrateThat one time I did not notice that this was concentrate and not actually orange juice.

During my first attempt to socialize with my colleagues I opted to pour myself a cup of orange juice. The issue there was that I had not noticed that the juice I poured into my cup was 100% concentrate. From-concentrate juices must be rehydrated just before consumption. Because of this small oversight I walked over to my department and began to socialize whilst taking a sip of the juice every so often. When I did so, I thought to myself how unbearably tart and sweet the orange juice tasted. I shrugged it off thinking that juice in London might just taste different and I should give it a try before deciding whether I liked it. So I kept sipping, chatting, and dying inside until I finally made a face and commented on how sweet I thought the juice tasted. My colleagues replied asking if I had rehydrated the concentrate by adding water. At this moment I realized the innocent mistake I had made with the juice concentrate and we all broke out having a great laugh.

Lip Sync FlyerOne of the social events hosted by the office.

After that moment, I became more comfortable around the office and developed relationships with staff both within and outside of my department. I was even able to attend a couple of social events the office hosted again to foster social connections. These events included a lip sync battle and a dodgeball tournament.

Thank You KSThank you for welcoming me into the Kingston Smith family.

Soon enough, I looked forward to coming into my internship and strived to give my best performance daily. I’d like to give a huge thanks to Kingston Smith LLP for welcoming me into their culture and family.

Thanks, Juan!

CAPA_Headshot_ROUND_Juan Gonzales

Juan Gonzalez is a junior at Rider University. He is pursuing a double major in Accounting and Information Systems and has been involved since his freshmen year in the Rider community with leadership positions in the Latin American Student Organization and Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity. He studied abroad in London with CAPA in Spring 2019.

At CAPA, we seek to foster increased student diversity and to provide all participants with the opportunity to explore, challenge and redefine their identities in distinct ways. Launched in Spring 2017, the Diversity Advocates Program is an extension of this philosophy and provides resources for advocates to pursue diversity initiatives of their own within their global cities.

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Topics: London, England, Internships Abroad