Hi, I’m Amelia, and I’m a 1st-Year French and German student. I’m enjoying my course so far, and I’m looking forward to exploring the more specialised modules next year!
In this blog, I’m going to talk about my future career plans, what areas you could go into as a Languages student, and what opportunities and experiences you will get during your degree to help you with career plans.
It’s okay to not have a plan
Personally, I don’t have a clear career plan. The areas I’m thinking of going into are teaching or translation, which are two of the most common (but not the only) career paths for Languages graduates.
I like the idea of either teaching at a secondary school in this country, or teaching English abroad (in a French- or German-speaking country). I loved my language lessons at school, and having enthusiastic and passionate teachers made such a difference. I’d love to be able to replicate that for other people.
I’m also interested in exploring a career in translation, specifically subtitling and dubbing in the film and TV industry. This wasn’t a career I’d really ever thought about until I was watching the credits of a film, which included the person who had translated the subtitles, and I thought that seemed like a really fun job to do! Interpreting and translation are similar, but not the same. Interpreting tends to be listening and speaking, whereas translation is reading and writing, but both are good areas to have a career in.
Wider career paths to think about
Some career paths that aren’t always thought of when studying for a Languages degree are journalism, marketing, business, social media and marketing. All these careers utilise skills gained throughout the degree, such as good written and verbal communication, and intercultural understanding. It’s worth noting that for careers such as journalism or teaching, you’d often need to do a postgraduate course to qualify.
Opportunities for a career abroad
The other main career paths are working abroad, which is particularly a good option if you have a joint-honours degree. Or you could work in this country for a company that has strong links abroad, as it would be really beneficial for the company to hire people who speak other languages.
As I’m only in 1st Year, I haven’t yet had the chance to do many things focussed towards a career, but there are definitely experiences I’m hoping to take part in, or that I’ve heard about being useful for other people! The biggest opportunity is definitely your year abroad, which will be during the third year of your course. On your year abroad, you can study at a university, work as a teaching assistant for students learning English, or find a work placement in a different industry.
Taking a year abroad is such a great opportunity to gain experience in an area you may want to work around in the future. I’d like to do the teaching assistantship through the British Council for half of my year abroad, and get a work placement in translation for the other half. These are the two main areas I want to go into, so gaining this experience would help me to decide what I want to do with my career, and will give me valuable experience for future jobs I apply for.
Endless opportunities throughout your degree
There are also opportunities to learn additional languages through the Languages for All programme, if this is something that would help you in your future career. I’m planning to take a short course in Spanish, as many schools now teach Spanish instead of German, so it would really help with my potential teaching career. Furthermore, Global Opportunities have lots of information about summer intensive-language courses abroad, and other languages-based experiences.
Your personal tutor is also a fantastic person to speak to about career plans and how to gain work experience. Plus, your lecturers or seminar leaders will have supported many students into their careers in the past.
My biggest piece of advice would be to keep looking at different options, even if you think you know what you want to do. Take as many opportunities as you can! Don’t be scared to ask for advice or support from staff or older students – people are more than happy to share their experiences and tips with you.