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?

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