Conversations on Studying Abroad

Policy, Passions, and Pots of Tea: Interning in London with Humankind Charity

Apr 7, 2020 3:00:00 PM / by Will Baldwin

CAPA blogger Will explored new interests and passions while adjusting to work culture in London. Find our more about her internship experience with Humankind Charity in her latest blog post!

During my time in London I interned with Humankind Charity; an organization that gives services to people, families, and communities affected by addiction. While working in their campaigns and communications department, I truly don’t believe that I have ever consumed so much information in such a short amount of time.

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_Emma Baldwin_front door

Dealing with policies in the United Kingdom was very difficult, because I really didn’t know anything about the UK’s government processes. My first month I only read and researched while I was in the office. I felt so unproductive. It wasn’t until very recently that I realized that all of that research has led to me being able to speak with authority on areas of policy in a country that I don’t live in! 

More than that, my ideals and passions in my career have changed to encompass so much more. So far, I have been interested in alcohol policy and advocacy, specifically in regards to people with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Coming to this charity that works in alcohol and drug addiction, I have realized that you can’t have passion for alcohol or drug policy without passion, or at least a compassionate understanding, of the other. That absolutely changes the way I approach my work when I search for jobs back home. Going forward I want to look to work in places that care for all aspects of needs that a person may have.

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Culturally, I have found working in London to be… relieving. I am hesitant to say that, because it makes my day to day work appear seamless and easy. It is not. However, the absence of a clear hierarchy takes so much stress off of everyday workplace interactions. Our work culture isn’t exactly laid back, but it is judgement-free and very communicative. I have conversed with everyone above me about outside-of-work topics, and they all give me a happy “Are you alright!” when I come in in the morning (which, I must admit, I still do not know how to respond to).

CAPAStudyAbroad_Fall2019_London_Emma Baldwin_hall art

The very best thing about working here… the never-ending supply of tea. There is a beautiful English tradition to offer tea to everyone when you go and get a cup for yourself. “Cuppa?”, they’ll ask. I have never been so consistently caffeinated in my life. I have never had a proper British cup of tea, so once I had it I bought some to bring home to my flatmates. Now we make tea instead of coffee in the morning (there goes the french press we bought the first week)!

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Really, my understanding of politics, appreciation for fluid workplace relationships, expansion in my own passions, and serious love for milk tea have been at the forefront of my experience.

Thanks, Will!

Makenna Sturgeon


Will Baldwin is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2020, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Technical Writing and Communications and Political Science major at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

Will's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

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Topics: London, England, Internships Abroad