We just accept students who are fluent in Finnish.
That is the response I have, probably, received from 50 recruiters or more, since I am looking for an internship in Finland. I am originally German-speaking and I just started learning this very hard language some months ago, and by now I am able to introduce myself and read quite an amount of the signs in stores. But I am very far from talking simple chat. I don’t want to know how many more years I would need to invest until I am able to communicate on a business level.
In the beginning I was looking at Finish companies that might offer internships but after the first 20 refusal due to missing language requirements I actually started to look for my home country’s companies in Finland. I asked DHL, DB Schenker, Kuehne + Nagel and some others whether they would take me, but although they are German originally, they just want interns who speak Finnish. Is it that insignificant that I am German born and might be able to facilitate the communication channel between Germany and Finland. And why is it that Finnish seems to be the corporate language in those companies?
That gets me to the question of what I am supposed to do. It is mandatory for my degree to do an internship abroad, but no company in my country of choice (Finland so far) seems to want me. Why is it impossible to find an internship in Finland without proper knowledge of the language. Someone suggested a Finnish job search portal, but unfortunately I am not able to log on there.
For the seven month I have spent in this lovely country so far, I had not a single problem with not knowing the language. In every store, at the police registration, at university, schools or other public places I got around with English just fine. Every single person knew English, some even do know German, and was able to assist and process my inquiry. Now that I really have to rely on my English skills, no one seems to care.
I wondered whether the same has happened to foreign students in Germany as well. But actually all large companies, like DB Schenker, DHL / Deutsche Post, offer positions for foreigners in their reigns, that demand sufficient knowledge of English and might recommend German, in this case, to apply and eventually get the trainee position.
What options do I have left now?
- I could decide for another country to do my internship. I could go to Great Britain, where they definitely need English-speaking interns. Even rents might be cheaper elsewhere, so I could together save a tremendous amount of money.
- Maybe I get an internship through good connections (I prefer the German term of Vitamin B (Beziehung = contacts). I can ask professors whether companies they work/have worked for or they know about award internships to students.
- Worst case scenario: Drop the double degree I am striving for and take up an internship position in Germany, where my language proficiency meets the requirements.
- Drop out of university and marry a millionaire!
- Well, maybe if I keep on searching some company might have mercy and opens their doors for me and might be surprised by what, or better who, they have employed.
Endurance is patience concentrated. (Thomas Carlyle)
Be aware: I am a very patient person! And maybe I will end up in Switzerland.