My internship at G-Research was my most positive work experience so far. It literally exceeded every expectation I had - even though I heard good things about the company before. Above everything else it was an amazing opportunity to work with some of the most professional people I've ever met, while doing work that felt actually useful.
I felt accepted by my colleagues as a part of the team - both socially, as they would include me in their outings, as well as professionally - as they would consider my opinions as an equal. During the internship I became an "expert" on one specific system and my team relied on my knowledge to explain it to others.
Not only did I receive extensive support from my mentor with whatever I felt I was struggling with, my other colleagues were also oftentimes interested in what I was doing, and were involved and observant enough to help me out of a few issues before I managed to dug myself too deep into them.
I had a specific goal that I was able to achieve within the duration of internship, while also managing to do some work on other smaller issues without doing overtime. In my opinion you couldn't ask for better balance - only issue being that sometimes I was blocked and had to be able to juggle working on multiple things "concurrently".
While I had a specific goal, and my mentor offered full guidance and support in terms of what I was doing, the decisions taken along the way were ultimately completely up to my judgement, and I had to plan and execute it all by myself. In the end, I felt just as responsible for the project as if it were one of my personal ones.
To accomplish my goal I had to learn to use an array of open-source software, and pick up a new programming language. I also received some amazing insight and advice from the people I was working with. I feel I've developed good practices that will definitely stay with me. The only downside on this point is that I had to learn to use quite a few internal tools and systems, the knowledge of which will not likely be useful anywhere else.
There weren't too many fireworks, but people knew how to had fun when the time came for it. Everyone is really friendly and rather relaxed - oftentimes cake or other sweets are shared freely. People have a good sense of humor whenever there is a chance to show it. There are many social events, as well as social clubs for after-work activities - and there are quite popular too.
While the planning was a little rough around the edges, it all worked out in the end for me. The scope of the project was sensible, and the most important thing to me was that I was doing actual work that I felt was very important to accomplish. The internship also gave me a good chance to see the company from the social side.
Unfortunately there weren't any targeted training sessions or courses available to me during the course of the internship. The training was mostly limited to the basic company systems on the induction day. Other than that there were some internal Q&A/support sessions held regularly, as well as on one occasion we had a private (4 person) session with one of the tech leads explaining our division's systems to us in detail.
While I did get a return offer, before that I was told on three separate occasions that even though I'm doing well there is an uncertainty about how many people would get offers because the company is now slowing down after a period of rapid growth, which had me very stressed out about it. Still, it seems like they are taking on a lot of new people in spite of this slowdown.
While there were a few events organized, I didn't feel particularly connected with other interns. In my opinion while the events were a fun occasion to socialize with random people, they were not organized with group activities in mind. As such I have not really gotten to know most of my fellow students.
Let's just say that central London is not among the cheapest of locations.
There is a broad choice of activities, ranging from sports, through board games, to organized conversations with other people. The clubs are plenty, and there is literally not enough time after work to do everything you might be interested in. The highlight for me was the Mahjong club with people from it regularly taking part in major competitions and organizing regional ones of their own.