Careers Perspectives – from the Bath careers service

Focus on your future with expert advice from your careers advisers

Navigating the British work culture - how to be a chameleon

  

📥  Career Choice, Career Development, International Students, Networking

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Whether you have worked before or not, starting a new work experience or internship or placement in the UK can be a bit of a challenge. What are the rules this company plays by? What are the rules that everyone follows but are never written down? What are the customs - and how is it different from where you have worked before?

This conundrum is even harder if your previous work experiences have been in a country where the culture is very different.

From talking with international students, one of the things that concerns them is that where they have worked, speaking up with ideas, or questioning the way something is currently done, is not acceptable - yet it seems to be expected by British employers. So how can you know when you are doing what is expected, and when you have crossed an invisible line into being disrespectful?

This is where getting advice from other international students that have made similar journeys can really help - try registering with the Bath Connection or using LinkedIn to contact Bath alumni who have worked there. Or, if you are about to embark on a placement, speak to your placement officer about which students have worked there before and ask them about the workplace culture and any conventions you should be aware of to help you fit in.

Similarly - social gatherings seem often to be centred around pubs/bars and the consumption of alcohol. If this does not sit well with you - try suggesting an alternative venue for a change, maybe going to a restaurant instead.

To help you navigate these issues, we've written a handy guide to help you. And remember, Careers Advisers are always happy to talk to you about your concerns and how you can ensure you get your experience off to the best start and give yourself the best springboard into your future career. Just book an appointment to speak to one of us.

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