Is knowing how to speak English necessary in every country?
Which foreign language level should you achieve before arriving?
How will you communicate with your colleagues at your new workplace?
Try learning Japanese, refreshing your Spanish or learning new vocabulary in business English before departing on your next adventure. These language skills give you first-hand access to the treasures of a foreign country; the people themselves. Basic and more advanced conversations often require a specific language level, and these requirements usually lie in the A2 to C1 (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) language levels. If a language certificate such as TOEFL or IELTS is required for your internship, make sure to receive the certificate and prepare well in advance. Further information on language tests can be found on the DAAD website (only available in German).
Working languages often differ from the national language. For example, in Scandinavia, the Netherlands or Eastern Europe, your chances of securing a placement are high when you are comfortable conversing/ writing in the English language. On the other hand, an internship in South America might require Portuguese or Spanish language skills more than English language skills.
You can improve/gain language skills using the following options:
- Courses at your university language centre
- Offers from different education centres (ex: VHS in Germany)
- Language exchanges (ex: Faranto e.V. or other student initiatives)
- Online language websites (ex: Cela, Erasmus+, eTandem, Genius, Learn English, OrdCap)
- Language learning apps (ex: Duolingo, Busuu, Memrise)
Our tip: Immerse yourself in the new culture by connecting with native speakers and locals. Whether that involves talking to a store employee, a local student, or someone you met at a gathering last night… you will learn a lot about the culture and local lifestyle by talking to locals.