If you have clicked on this blog post you are either:
1. A person that is looking to pursue a language degree and is not quite sure whether they want to be a teacher or not, plus you don’t know what other paths there are.
2. A student already enrolled in a language degree and wants to know exactly what they can do after their fun years of university come to an end.
Well, well well… if you are the latter, welcome to the club! My love for languages has always been present since birth: my mother is Scottish and my father is Spanish, thus my bilingual house made me learn two languages since I could talk. Some might say trilingual, as I was in an international French school for like, ten years. But I wouldn’t count it, as my French was almost lost after years of not practicing it during my GCSEs. But here I am: studying French, Spanish and Italian. Fun, right?
I love my degree, and actually, when I was doing my personal statement for universities, I myself thought I wanted to be a teacher. My grandad was a teacher, my parents are both teachers, so… does that make me the third generation of teachers? Do I have to be a teacher in order to have a job after university?
Honestly, not at all. If you are wanting to set foot into the education system after your degree, go for it! I will always be grateful for all my teachers, good and bad, that have helped me overcome all my exams and difficulties encountered in my high school years. Don’t let people look down at you just because you want to go through that path (trust me, I have been there). I am just saying that having a language degree is basically opening the door to a n y t h i n g you want to do. OK, maybe not biomedicine, although you could if you are veeery smart with what you do during your degree years and internships!
What I am saying is, if you do want to do something more than teaching, prepare in advance. Here are a few tips:
– Apply to be an exec: Oh my gosh, this is crucial! I am telling you, you will be gain so much experience by working in a group, gain leadership skills (good for your CV wink, wink) and it really helps you experience what the behind the scenes of a ‘business’ really is like (obviously it is not a business, but you are trying to get people to join your society, gain money and use that for your society, so you could present it like that).
– Internships, internships, internships! I cannot stress this enough. It does not matter how good you are in your degree (YES those 70s and 80s look so good in your degree) but gaining experience in a sector that you want to go to is crucial to getting the jobs you want after university. Set up a LinkedIn account, it is always nice to connect with people of your degree, see who works where and who is a Warwick alumnus… it’s a very useful tool that shows you the endless internships that you can get, almost everywhere in the world!
– Get a job at university. Honestly, if you are scared about LinkedIn or don’t know how to function it to your benefit (took me a couple months to finally know how to master that app), I recommend you get a job at uni. For second year, I was a student mentor, a student ambassador and now, a student blogger (cool, huh?). Getting involved like this at university will boost your CV, give you more experience and… you don’t have to travel far! Everything is on campus! I would say to get an actual job at university as well, such as waitressing at the Dirty Duck or at Curiositea, as I have heard that SU jobs are quite good at giving you work times that don’t clash with your contact hours. But if you do, be aware of how much stuff you have already going on and if you actually can do it.
And yes, guys, whatever you want you do, you can do it. But you always have to plan it in advance. If you want to go through the management path, which is great as they normally like a person that knows many languages, apply to be a marketing exec. Then, with your gained skills, get an internship suited to what you want to be doing later on. Finally, get sufficient skills that, from the moment when you get your degree diploma, you know exactly which path you want to go to, and have the sufficient tools for it.