One of our favorite expat bloggers, Kalyn, of Girl Gone London reviews and provides insight on our Intern in Britain Program.
BUNAC operates in multiple countries for post-grads or gap year students and has different opportunities depending on your nationality. I would highly recommend checking them out just to see what else they offer if you’re interested in continuing to travel.
For those outside of the EU, they offer the BUNAC: Intern in Britain program that allows you to come to the UK on a paid or unpaid internship for a set period of time. This length of stay may change, so do check their website for the current rules. I’ve put together a brief BUNAC: Intern in Britain review to give you an outline of the pros and cons.
You have to find your own internship, which can be difficult from outside the UK, but because the company does not have to sponsor you (as BUNAC is considered to be your sponsor), most companies will be much more willing to have a chat with you or have a Skype interview.
While in the UK, Bunac offers as much or as little support as you need. Everyone must go to an orientation, but after that you can go to their events or do your own thing. I already had a relatively established life in the UK when I participated, so I didn’t take part in their social events, but I did see them advertised often.
The BUNAC: Intern in Britain staff are all extremely friendly and helpful every step of the way. Before I left, the staff in charge of arranging paperwork so I could submit for my visa were very responsive and always followed through on any promise to get back to me. While in London, the student support staff that ran orientations were friendly and approachable. Even months after I had finished my program, I needed BUNAC’s help to arrange some paperwork for another visa, and they were quick to give me everything I needed.
Things to Consider
Unfortunately you aren’t able to extend your time on this visa, as it is a Government Authorized Exchange Visa that assumes you will be returning to your home country afterwards. However, there are many success stories of interns who have gone on to be offered jobs and work visas from the company they worked for during their program. I am still working in some capacity for my BUNAC company a year later, though I chose to go back to America and apply for another student visa to come back and do a postgraduate degree.
BUNAC does cost about 800 dollars for them to sponsor your visa, plus the actual fee to apply for a visa with the UK government. No one ever said coming to the UK is cheap! In all honesty this was a huge cost for me and for most people, but I figured that I would eventually make it back through my paid internship, and I was really serious about coming back to the UK, so I was willing to do what it took.
There are also a few requirements regarding your status as a student, as you can only do BUNAC up to one year after you graduate, so if you think it might be an option for you–look into it now!