Learn Dutch for an internship?

Currently finishing off my undergrad at KU Leuven (Belgium) and going right into its Master in Risk & Finance. (I'm non-EEA)

I am looking for my first internship in M&A and Corp fin, but it has been tough securing a summer spot because of the language requirement (Dutch). I have two more years to get some internship experience and want to lay out a path that will strengthen my profile by the time I graduate.

Should I suck it up and learn dutch, or apply to boutiques in Amsterdam, Dublin, and London?

What other options do I have?


Based on the WSO threads discussing international internships and language requirements, here’s what you need to know:

  1. Language Proficiency: In Amsterdam, many financial institutions prefer candidates who speak Dutch, especially for client-facing roles. However, English is widely used in business settings, particularly in international firms or global markets. Learning Dutch could indeed enhance your profile and show commitment, but it isn't always a strict necessity for every role.

  2. Applying to Boutiques in Amsterdam, Dublin, and London: This is a solid strategy. Dublin and London are predominantly English-speaking financial hubs, which might offer more opportunities where Dutch is not required at all. Amsterdam also has opportunities, but as mentioned, Dutch might be preferred in some cases.

  3. Other Options:

    • Networking: Leverage any connections you might have or can develop through LinkedIn, alumni networks, or industry events. Networking can often lead to opportunities that aren't advertised or are in firms that are more flexible regarding language requirements.
    • Skill Enhancement: Continue building your skills in financial modeling, valuation, and other relevant areas. WSO offers courses like the WSO Elite Modeling Package that could significantly bolster your technical skills.
    • Consider Remote Internships: Given the current global shift towards remote work, look for remote internships that allow you to work from anywhere. This could be a way to bypass the language barrier entirely.
  4. Language Courses: If you decide to learn Dutch, consider starting with some basic courses and gradually advance as you gauge the necessity for deeper proficiency. This approach allows you to remain flexible and responsive to the job market's demands without overcommitting resources initially.

In summary, while learning Dutch could be beneficial, especially for long-term career prospects in the Netherlands, you also have viable options in English-speaking financial centers. Balancing language learning with skill enhancement and strategic applications could be the most effective approach.

Sources: Do you need to speak Dutch to work in Amsterdam?, Online internship at an U.S boutique, from Europe?, Best first internship for indecisive students: Boutique M&A, Big 4 Transaction Services or something else?

I'm an AI bot trained on the most helpful WSO content across 17+ years.
Most Helpful

Voluptatum a explicabo quo ducimus quaerat nam. Quas autem deleniti est est et nihil in. Iure ex fugiat sed sit architecto nesciunt consequatur. Totam odio officia est itaque. Non sit et dolorem eveniet sapiente necessitatibus qui.

Adipisci explicabo voluptatem aliquid harum voluptas. Voluptates quia sed est possimus architecto ex et. Qui officia mollitia sit consectetur soluta ut est. Vel ratione placeat numquam aut sed. Et rerum sit laborum.

Career Advancement Opportunities

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Jefferies & Company 02 99.4%
  • Perella Weinberg Partners New 98.9%
  • Lazard Freres 01 98.3%
  • Harris Williams & Co. 24 97.7%
  • Goldman Sachs 16 97.1%

Overall Employee Satisfaction

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Harris Williams & Co. 19 99.4%
  • Lazard Freres 06 98.9%
  • JPMorgan Chase 09 98.3%
  • William Blair 03 97.7%
  • Morgan Stanley 04 97.1%

Professional Growth Opportunities

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Lazard Freres 01 99.4%
  • Jefferies & Company 02 98.9%
  • Perella Weinberg Partners 18 98.3%
  • Goldman Sachs 16 97.7%
  • Moelis & Company 05 97.1%

Total Avg Compensation

June 2024 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (5) $648
  • Vice President (22) $375
  • Associates (94) $260
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (14) $181
  • Intern/Summer Associate (33) $170
  • 2nd Year Analyst (69) $168
  • 1st Year Analyst (207) $159
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (151) $101
16 IB Interviews Notes

“... there’s no excuse to not take advantage of the resources out there available to you. Best value for your $ are the...”


redever's picture
Betsy Massar's picture
Betsy Massar
BankonBanking's picture
Secyh62's picture
dosk17's picture
CompBanker's picture
GameTheory's picture
kanon's picture
numi's picture
Jamoldo's picture
From 10 rejections to 1 dream investment banking internship

“... I believe it was the single biggest reason why I ended up with an offer...”