Stay calm and just focus on trying to understand what's going on. There are frustrating times but in the end it will all be worth it. Remember that your boss has so much going on that sometimes he/she may forget that you are new or don't understand.
In general, read as much as you can about British politics and culture before you get there. Read a book on Globalization, and a book on London , the city. Check out as many websites as possible about life in London BEFORE you leave home for London . An example Londontown.com has everything. Streetmap.co.uk is also helpful.
Be on time every day. Try to come in as early as possible. Sometimes your office may have a smaller staff or require you to come in later, so this may not be possible. Keep C-Span turned on. Read the newspaper. Keep up with your deadlines. Keep your receipts
Pack a Travel Alarm Clock
I suggest bringing lunch to work to save money, and cook dinner at home and as a group if you live with others. Avoid local corner supermarkets. Although they're convenient, they're MUCH more expensive. Go somewhere like Sainsbury's instead. Tesco is one of least expensive grocery stores.
Bring passport size photos with you so that you have them on hand for subway passes or other cards you might need to get.
Interns should obtain an International Student Identity Card before arriving in London . This can afford you several discounts on museums, travel, movies etc.
Take the Bus as much as possible so that you get to know your way around. You see the city on your way places, and even though it can take a little longer sometimes, a bus pass is £9.50 as opposed to £17 pounds for a week so it helps save money
If you want to travel around while you are in London you should book it before you arrive- last minute means everything is booked or more expensive. If they go to Victoria station they can look into coach tour companies and where they all go. I suggest looking into a Contiki tour before or after internship-several of my friends did them and loved it.
Make a budget before you arrive in London . Try to stick to it as best you can. Try to find budget shopping at markets and try not to eat out very often. Be sure you have enough money for your entire stay before you leave home.
Be sure to bring a Converter. As the UK uses different electrical current than the US you will need to convert your appliances to the UK current. Otherwise you can purchase inexpensive irons and hair dryers in the UK .
Take time to explore the rest of the island, not just London . Highly recommend: Scotland , villages with stone circles, west coast of Ireland and do the Aaran Islands if you have time.
London is the place for art. Venture out to the Saatchi Gallery, the Tates (both of them), St. Martin's School has shows, The Hayward, Design Museum, The V&A, and of course the grandaddy of them all... The National Gallery. And I will share with you what my architecture professor told me before I left for the summer... The Sir John Sloan's Museum. It's the best kept secret in the museum circuit and I promise, you won't be let down.
BRING AN UMBRELLA!
I had a rather bumpy beginning which is atypical of the program, but I think that it was handled well and progressed into a perfect position for me. So, do try to let a few things go awry... you never know. Don't be so worried that everything is perfect, sometimes the little bumps along the way will turn out to be the most memorable.
If your work schedule won't permit you to attend the expeditions sponsored by Global-Eyes, try and research some other cool places to go on the weekends. Some ideas include: Newquay and Cornwall (great if you like to surf), Edinburgh , Cardiff , Brighton, or Wimbledon if you can get tickets!
Keep in touch with the assistants, MP's and other people you work with. Check in every once in a while because it's nice to know someone if you come back to London
If you get the chance, go to the constituency office (Parliamentary Interns). It reveals a lot about the process and the people
Try to meet people. I learned a ton from my British friends. They helped me with travel and food and American English faux pas, everything.
Enjoy even the busiest times, you will be amazed who you meet and what you learn.