Translator? Language Analyst? Travel Consultant? Sales Manager?…Doctor! Student Careers representatives Lucy, Matea and Meg, from the School of Modern Languages and Culture hosted the annual University of Warwick Languages Alumni evening last term. Five recent graduates came back to share their experiences, including how they have been using their language degree after graduating. It’s fair to say some career paths were more surprising than others! So what advice did they have?
Ana Cachapa completed a Masters in Conference Interpreting after graduating in French and German. She went on to work with Amazon as a multilingual analyst and has recently set up as a freelance translator, using her French, German and Portuguese on a daily basis. Her advice “Be confident in your ability and chase that dream- even if it takes a while and is a sacrifice at first, I really think it will be worth it. I think if you really want it and you are patient, determined and persistent you will make it happen”
Ryan Fish graduated with a degree in German in 2017 and is an Internal Sales Manager at Kaimann UK (manufacturer of insulation materials). His role goes beyond the job title alone and he suggests that “what I have taken away from my graduate job search (is) , that every job opportunity is worth looking into, even if it doesn’t appear to be a match straight away.” Ryan spent some time job-hunting straight after graduating and says that “12 months ago I wouldn’t really have considered a role with ‘sales’ in the name”. Ryan uses his language skills daily, translating documents and communicating with the parent company in Germany; he is also involved in other steps in the process of sales, from marketing, generating new leads, logistics, accounting and account management.
Parvinder Kaur also graduated last year and enjoyed her time at Warwick so much she stayed for another year, she is part-way through a Masters in International Security and aims to work as a language analyst. “The Year Abroad was an unforgettable experience that allowed me to appreciate Bavarian culture and meet students from all over the world, which fuelled my knowledge and confidence.”
Bethan Wigget works for a tour operator that specialises in bespoke package trips for schools. She is involved in every stage of the research and design of the trips as well as handling any issues that may arise. “I speak German every day as I have to liaise with suppliers in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. There seems to be a shortage of language speakers with the right skills for this type of work because when we’ve had vacancies they’ve been difficult to fill. Rest assured your skills are in demand.”
Nicole Close also used her language skills straight after graduating with a degree in Spanish, volunteering with the International Citizen Service in Nicaragua. She is now in her first year of a Graduate Entry Medicine course, open to graduates irrespective of their degree (and science background). What was also vital was the work experience she secured beforehand as a healthcare assistant,“my language background has helped me in many aspects of my jobs and has helped hugely in studying for a medical degree”
Students who attended the event commented on the value of listening to graduates on such diverse career trajectories – it demonstrates the real breadth and application a language degree can have and illustrates not to make assumptions that certain careers, such as medicine, are no longer accessible. Five graduates with five very different stories to tell but all were united in the value of their experiences having completed a language degree from Warwick.