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Looking for an English-speaking sales internship in Lille - 12 Things you should know before moving to France!
The City of Lille is one of the largest cities in France and is located near Belgium. The biggest attraction is educational services, trade and tourism industry. All that is why it attracts students looking for training or internship opportunities. Being a student has its challenges when you move to another country so let's find out your tips about English speaking Sales internship in Lille:
Decide Between an Internship or Training Program
Do you want to get a whole experience during your time abroad? Then I suggest you choose an internship opportunity over a training program (if there are any). Now, if you have no idea what each one means, here's a brief description of internships: An internship offers practical assistance, with the primary goal being to get the whole experience during your time abroad and learn transferable skills. On the other hand, if you choose to do a training program or crash course, it is more of a self-improvement thing that may not be beneficial once you go back home.
Common sense: If you are here just for fun and practice or looking to improve your language proficiency – then go with an internship, but if you want to build long-term relationships in an industry-specific company – training is best suited for these goals.
12 Things you should know -
#1. French companies are used to recruit international students, especially from India, the US, Canada and China, for their internship programs because they have excellent skills in English.
#2. Lille is located near the Belgian border, and its a very close to the European Union's headquarters in Brussels (only 1 hour by train). So, there are many opportunities for you to work in Belgium while staying in Lille. Many international brands like Intel, IKEA etc., have offices in Brussels where you can be part of a team or do some projects during your internship program.
#3. If you want to work/intern in Lille, then the first thing you should know about Lille is that it has a population of around 178,000+ (In the Metropolitan area), and Lille is the biggest city in French Flanders. You may be thinking now, what does this mean? Well, you will work for some multinational companies like Nivea, Intel OR for a local store or company. In both cases, there will be many people from outside Lille working as well, so your chances of getting picked are higher if you speak a decent level of English.
#4. When it comes to living in Lille, it's good that the city has more than 100+ nationalities living here (more than London). The climate in Lille is always cold (around 0 degrees Celsius in winter), but people do not complain because it rains only once in 2 months :) It is a good thing that there are many tall buildings in Lille so you can get great views from your apartment.
#5. There are many international events (food festivals, fairs etc.) happening every week. You should attend them as they will allow you to interact with people of different nationalities, which is very important for improving your English speaking skills if you want to work in sales later. I am sure that you will love free food :).
#6. Lille has got one of the oldest universities (University of Lille) from France. It has a vast main library (Bibliotheque Mitterrand) that is open 24 hours. Almost all the big multinational companies have offices in Lille, so this can be your second home. If you are not from France, there might be some issue with finding an apartment as people from France occupy most student apartments. You will need to visit the location personally and ensure that you do not fall for agents who charge insane fees every month.
#7. There are many shopping malls in Lille city centre where you can buy everything at a low price. However, if you want to buy clothes/fashion items, head towards the Part Dieu area or Gare de Lille-Europe railway station. Don't forget to take the metro; it is a very comfortable way of travelling within Lille.
#8. Almost all the big companies you can think off are hiring students for their internship programs in Lille. They will provide you with food and accommodation (free or paid). If they ask, then tell them that you want to learn French because most French people speak English but don't speak very fluently. Also be ready for any test like written test, presentation etc. from company's HR team. It is common practice in France.
#9. In France, all the companies have mandatory breaks for lunch and dinner. It is usually 1 hour. So, you should carry your food with you wherever you go because there will be no restaurants open at that time. You can always use Uber Eats on your smartphone if you do not want to carry food in a bag.
#10. In general, French people are sincere while doing business, but I would still suggest that you should always check small details like whether someone has signed or initialled at the end of any contract paper before signing it. Also, compare prices of different companies/stores when buying expensive things so that you won't get cheated or at least try to negotiate a little bit to get maximum discount.
#11. When looking for an apartment in Lille, remember that most landlords are from France to do things according to their local rules and regulations. I would suggest that you should always visit the housing area personally and make sure that the agent/landlord is not cheating you at any cost.
#12. They usually do not expect you to speak fluent French for sales internships because it is a plus point, but if they ask, tell them that your mother tongue is French. Also, when it's about choosing between two candidates who have both got similar scores on the written test, most companies will choose a person who has better English speaking skills. (French people might surprise you here with their English level)
If you are looking for an internship as a language student, then Lille is the ideal city. You can quickly get any level of training, but if you want to work in sales/marketing, it takes at least 2-3 months or more to improve your English speaking skills. It is recommended to learn some basic French before going there to talk at least a little bit.