Staff Spotlight: Craig Kench

London Director of International Internships
Craig Kench joined the CAPA team in November of 2011. Originally from Gibraltar, raised in England and spending ten years studying and working in the USA, Craig comes to CAPA with a wealth of international experience. Holding a Master degree in Education, he has managed educational facilities around the London area as well as working for local government in the UK.

What makes studying in London a unique experience for students?

Craig Kench - London Director of International Internships

Craig: What makes studying in London unique? Firstly, I think it is imperative to understand that each and every student that engages in the CAPA Study Abroad program is very much considered unique. Students will have a unique set of experiences to date, a unique individual identity that has been shaped over time and continues to be shaped through this experience. Each individual comes to London with personal hopes and aspirations of what they wish to gain from the program and CAPA provides the guidance and support to allow each of these individuals to explore, analyse and understand London as a global city so that they can realize those aspirations; in a way, that is the beautifully unique quality that London offers. Very few locations in the world can truly offer individuals the ability to engage in such a colossal variety of activities or allow its visitors to immerse in cultures from every part of the planet. Residents within London give representation from over 270 nationalities and with over 300 different languages spoken; this iconic global city provides students not only the opportunity to observe different traditions or cultures, but to truly immerse within these cultures in day to day life.

In addition, London is home to international students from over 200 different nations and as such it’s the city’s ability to provide something that is so very contrast from their origins, but with pockets of familiarity that again makes London unique to each individual that comes to study abroad here.

How can participating in an International Internship or Service Learning placement add to the student experience in London?

CAPA London students strategizing with internship supervisor London Michael Guti

Craig: Participation in the CAPA Internship or Service Learning program has many additional benefits to the student experience. Having the opportunity to be placed with an organisation that meets your personal goals and aspirations will naturally provide an experience that will allow the student to grow both professionally and personally. Students will develop an appreciation and understanding of the British workplace; have the opportunity for networking and developing meaningful working relationships with colleagues and peers and develop professional skill sets that will bridge the gap between the academic classroom and the professional workplace. It is acknowledged that each student will not only shape their experience whilst in London, but will be potentially shaping their future experiences. In today’s current climate, international internships can become a key component in realising one's future professional ambitions.

What can you tell us about the workplace culture in London?

Craig: For all international students arriving in to London, they will come with their own perceptions of what the British workplace will entail. Naturally these perceptions and expectations vary; many have images of briefcase and bowler hats, a workplace filled with British accents and formal traditions. Others expect to be surrounded by relaxed and laid-back staff that enjoys a more sociable working environment. So what is the culture of a British workplace? Well, again it will be dependent on many factors; the type of organisation, the industry in which they operate, the location in London etc. One thing for sure though, with such a diverse range of people, communities and as wide a range of industries and placement opportunities, the British workplace will be one that is as true a representation of a multicultural society as can be found anywhere in the world.

Big Ben Night

What are some extra curricular activities participants enjoy while studying abroad in London?

Craig: One of CAPA’s unique program offerings is called My Education, an opportunity for students to engage with the City in which they are studying. With an extensive and diverse range of My Education activities that have been carefully selected by CAPA staff, students are able to participate in activities that will encourage them to not only interact with their surroundings, but will ensure that learning is a holistic experience that is forged between the classroom and their host city. My Education activities range from visiting temples of different faiths and religions, exploring historical boroughs of London, to attending performing arts, sporting events, museums and iconic London monuments. In addition to activities that will enhance the student’s exposure to London, CAPA also offer organised trips to other destinations in the UK and overseas, including day visits to Bath and Stonehenge and weekend trips to Paris.

What piece of advice would you offer to someone considering an internship or Service Learning placement in London?

Craig: If I could offer one single piece of advice, it would be to approach this opportunity with enthusiasm. Having an enthusiastic attitude and a positive outlook towards all stages of the placement experience is key to maximizing every opportunity.