While the prospect of an internship at Linklaters kept me keyed up on my 10 hour long flight from India, I was admittedly even more thrilled about visiting London, one of the biggest social, cultural and financial hubs of the world.
In my first few days of the city, I remember deriving comfort in the knowledge that I wouldn’t have to face the problems of unsuccessfully navigating a foreign language and could comfortably talk in English albeit with a very different accent and pronunciation from the Queen’s version! However, I was soon to discover that coming to a foreign country meant adapting to a sea of other changes, sometimes in the most fundamental and basic daily activities.
The one thing that has struck me immediately about people in London is how a spot of sunshine for a few hours translates into a “beautiful day” for most, which is understandable since London is known for its unpredictable weather and intermittent rain. Fortunately, since the weather has been pleasantly warm since my arrival, I haven’t been forced to test the endurance limits of my subtropical genes, at least for now.
The Linklaters team started off our trip with a bang by booking a private capsule on the London Eye accompanied by champagne to sip while enjoying the best views of London. This was the first in a series of social events that the firm has organised to ensure we get the best out of our experience of a vacation scheme in London and has been followed by many others including a relaxed afternoon at a pub, watching and cheering the England v. Slovenia game and a cocktail making class later in the month where we got to try our hand at creating cocktails and of course, sampling our handiwork.
The office is situated conveniently close to the Linklaters’ accommodation which allows me to take in the sights on my way to work every day. Walking through the cobbled streets, I am struck by the diversity of London. Faces from every race imaginable blend into each other and accents mingle providing a truly international flavour to the city and the opportunity to sample a wide range of cuisines, brilliant for an inexperienced traveller like myself. Be it the food market at White Cross Street which presents an interesting contrast to the plush luxury of Silks, Linklaters own multi cuisine restaurant (yes it is true), or the variety of places to eat in Angel where I am staying, I am constantly amazed at the array of choices that are available to suit every palate and wallet in this city.
Working in London has also lead to my inevitable introduction to the seemingly complex labyrinth of the underground tube system. However, I would like to believe that I have mastered the art of deciphering the differently coloured lines representing different routes and in the process learnt to appreciate how this efficient mass transit system plays a huge role in defining the city and its people. I have made use of the weekends to explore many famous sights of London and spending a lazy Saturday afternoon shopping at the Camden open air market, a walking tour of the area around Buckingham Palace and Westminster on a crisp Sunday morning, as well as my first ever musical experience (watching the current flavour of the season ‘Priscilla- Queen of the Desert’) at Leicester square one night after work are just some of the countless indelible memories that I will take away from this trip as I look forward to creating many more in the time I have left in London, a city that can be best described as the ideal destination for a working holiday.