Can I intern/work in Europe with speaking English only?

English Europeanoffices internship
New answer on Jan 04, 2022
7 Answers
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Haolin asked on Jan 01, 2022

Hi all. I am an international student at IE University in Madrid. I consider myself as a global citizen with diverse education background and inclusive mindset.

 I have had several consulting related internships, and I am looking for opportunities to intern or work in Europe, and I am wondering which offices/firms could be possible for me. (I know UK is a solution, but it's almost impossible for a Chinese student who is studying in Spain to get a chance…)

Language: Chinese (Native), English (Bilingual), Spanish (Basic)

Experience: Frost & Sullivan (healthcare team), Mercer (hightech&internet team), BCG (2 bdd projects), Publicis Sapient (TMT team), ByteDance (OD&TD), MeiOne (internal strategy consultancy)

All my internship experiences are based in Shanghai, and I am the Chinese nationality. 

Really looking forward to finding out some opportunities and suggests from here. Thank you very much!

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Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Jan 02, 2022
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.000+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ InterviewOffers.com) | Ex BCG | 9Y+ Coaching

Hi Haolin,

To work in Europe you have to satisfy two main requirements:

  • Language
  • Working visa

In terms of language, with English only you could target the following countries:

  • UK
  • The Nordics
  • The Netherlands (only for some companies like Bain, as others require Dutch)

Working visa depends on the specific office and company.

Your best bets in my opinion are:

  1. Look for a referral in some of the above countries. It would be very difficult to be considered without a referral if you don't have a connection with the country. Moreover they may be able to clarify with regards to the visa
  2. Apply in China and try to move to Europe after some time

You can find more on referrals at the link below:

https://www.preplounge.com/en/consulting-forum/hey-everyonehope-all-is-well-3176

Best,

Francesco

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Haolin on Jan 04, 2022

Hi Francesco, thank you very much for such detailed solution and process! It is very helpful!! As you said, I will start contacting recruiters from potential offices, and then build up my connection with people in those areas!

Hagen
Expert
replied on Jan 02, 2022
Current Bain & Company Project Leader and interviewer | 250+ interviews conducted | 6+ years of coaching and mentoring

Hi Haolin,

First of all, congratulations on the career trajectory so far!

This is indeed an interesting question which is probably relevant for quite a lot of users, so I am happy to provide my perspective on it:

  • Generally speaking, in order to work in whatever region, you need to speak the local business languages and you need to be allowed to work.
  • Given your specific situation, I would advise you to have a look at the following countries since most consulting companies have English as business language:
    • UK
    • Belgium
    • The Netherlands
    • Nordic countries
  • Moreover, in order to be absolutely sure, I would advise you to contact recruiters from your target companies, explain your situation and ask about the possibility to apply given your language skills.

In case you want a more detailed discussion on how to best secure an invitation in your specific situation, please feel free to contact me directly.

I hope this helps,

Hagen

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Haolin on Jan 04, 2022

Hi Hagen, thank you for the list of potential offices and the solution! It is very helpful! Have a nice day :)

Ian
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Content Creator
replied on Jan 02, 2022
MBB | 100% personal interview success rate (8/8) and 95% candidate success rate | Personalized interview prep

Hi there,

First of all, no matter what anyone says here, you may as well try! Get networking ASAP across Europe and, during those calls, ask them what offices are open to someone like you applying.

All it costs you is time.

In terms of your odds, they're quite frankly low. Without working rights AND without speaking the local language, what do you have that 100 other candidates don't? Think about it, would you hire you?

That said, if you are looking, then the UK and the nordic countries (Scandinavia, Netherlands, etc.) are your best bets. 

Good luck!

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Haolin on Jan 04, 2022

Hi Ian, thanks for your answer! It is very true that I need to start broaden my networks in the area where I am targeting for.

Lucie
Expert
Content Creator
updated an answer on Jan 01, 2022
10+yrs recruiting & top BCG trainer & BCG Project leader & experienced hire & ICF coach

Hello Haolin,

from my experience, unless you would be joining expert career track & specialized competence center it is unlikely you get an offer without C1 level of local language and work permit :-( 

I would recommend to join eventually MBB in China and once in apply to any internal position and transfer within the company which is usually fairly easy (temporary or permanent) to move and work around in the world.

 

Wishing you all the best!

Lucie

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Haolin on Jan 04, 2022

Hi Lucie, thanks for your answer. You are right that starting career in China, then try to transfer to Europe again. It is a new method that I didn't expect, thank you for the inspiration :)

Pedro
Expert
replied on Jan 02, 2022
Bain | EY-Parthenon | Roland Berger | FIT | Market Sizing | Former Head Recruiter

Without speaking the local language it is quite hard. Your focus should be on cities that have a large presence of multinationals (this means English may be more often the business language… and if the headquarters are there they will be more open to people who don't speak the local language, as they have a global business)… or countries that are quite open and don't have a language that is not widely spoken…

Overall I would consider The Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, Denmark and Sweden as your best chances.

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 04, 2022
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

Nice to find IE alumni here, I used to be an associate professor in the MiM and I absolutely loved it!

You will need to aim either at the UK or some of the Nordics

 

Cheers, 

Clara

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Haolin on Jan 04, 2022

Hi Clara, it very nice to meet an IE alumni here! Thanks for your advice, and let's keep in touch :)

Adi
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Jan 02, 2022
Accenture, Deloitte | Precision Case Prep | Experienced Interviewer & Career Coach | 15 years professional experience

I completely agree with Francesco here..

All the best.

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Francesco gave the best answer

Francesco

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