This page contains the profiles of ex-students who talk about their current educational experiences, their careers and their job prospects.
Hi, I’m Lucy Bolshaw. Choosing to learn German at Lancaster University has to be one of the most spontaneous yet best decisions that I have made in my academic life. I actually came to university to study French and Management, but after finding out that I had the opportunity to study a third subject in my first year I had a difficult decision to make. After browsing through the subject handbooks, the possibility of studying German at an intensive level – from scratch – immediately stood out to me. The chance to become fluent in a language within four years was an exciting prospect, although I did start off the course being sceptical of how realistic this would be! Click here to read Lucy’s full story…
Emily Jameson. Click here to watch a short video of Emily talking about how studying German helped open doors for her. Emily is an ex-student of St Augustine’s R.C. High School and is now a qualified prosthetist and orthotist.
My name is Hannah Julian and I was raised in North West England from the age of 3 by my German mother and English father. I lived on the Lancashire-Cumbria border until I left my family home for university. Given my family background I found myself in the very fortunate position of having a head start when it came to speaking and learning German and I have always been determined to not let that go to waste, nor lose contact with my extended family and link to Germany. Click here to read Hannah’s full story…
After my A-Levels I went to study Modern Languages and Linguistics at Newcastle University. I spent my third year teaching at a Realschule in a little village in Sachsen-Anhalt before graduating with a 2.1. Following my graduation, I wanted to spend some time back in my home town, Lancaster; I moved home and quickly got a job as a Commercial Assistant at a metal fastener distributors, which only employed people into the sales and purchasing teams who spoke foreign languages. This was a fixed term contract so following that I moved into the same role at a pet food manufacturers. Both of these jobs included talking daily to customers and suppliers in French and German on the phone, email and face-to-face meetings. With the pet food firm I also spent a week at a trade show in Nuremburg with the Marketing dept due to my language skills which is ultimately what put me ahead of other candidates in the interview.
Now I am working as a Purchaser for a company that manufacture paper packaging for the cosmetic and food industries. I use my languages less on a day to day basis as the supplier contacts are mostly British however, their factories are in Europe so the languages are still useful for site visits. The company I work for is global and my next step is looking at the availability of doing a fixed term work exchange at another branch in Europe or even further afield.
My name is Manda, and I study German at the University of Edinburgh. I’m currently in my final year and so am approaching the end – and it has flown by! I often get asked why I study German, and my best answer is still simply that I enjoyed it at school, having been lucky enough to have gone to one of the relatively small number of schools that offered it as a language option. I continued to enjoy learning the language – despite the grammatical challenges it continues to present to me – and also learning about the rich and varied history and culture of this often underrated country. I have been lucky enough to have visited a lot of different places in Germany, even having spent the last year living in the beautiful city of Dresden in eastern Germany, where I worked hard on improving my language skills whilst gaining some fantastic experiences and meeting some great people at the same time. Being able to speak another language is a brilliant skill to have, and opens so many doors – I am very happy that this is the path which I have chosen to go down.
Hannah Pye (Ex-student of Runshaw Sixth Form College, Leyland) is in her 2nd Year of German at St Hilda’s, Oxford University. She writes: “I wanted to study German as a degree in Modern Languages seemed to offer a great combination of both analytical language study and the chance to continue my study of Literature from A-Level. I was also excited to get the chance to study new things such as Linguistics, Philosophy and History from a German perspective. The chance to get to study a degree that encompasses such a broad array of skills has meant that everything I study is challenging but extremely different and interesting. I’m also looking forward to being bilingual too; something which employers (seem) to absolutely love!”
Joseph Nelson (Ex-student of Hutton Grammar School near Preston) is a 20 year old student studying for a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in German at the University of Sheffield. He writes: “I have German studied for 8/9 years (since year 7). I achieved a A grade at A level German and 1st in my first year of study at University (67% in my German modules). Hopefully next year I will be studying aboard at either the University of Bochum or Dresden.
“I originally got a passion for German through listening to German music and have always loved the logical and structured nature of the German Language, it is also an extremely useful language in my main field of study of Engineering as Germany is well known for its engineering prowess with such companies at BMW, Bosch and Siemens, so much so the phrase “Made in Germany” has become a byword for quality. In the future I would like to work in Germany at one of their elite engineering companies.
Outside my Degree and German I enjoy competing in sport; I am a starting player on the University American Football team and a Competitive Powerlifter (form of weightlifting).”
I spent four years at UCLAN studying German and Theatre Studies which included a year abroad. I intended to go on to do a masters, but my year in Germany sparked a passion for travel I didn’t know I had, so I decided to run away and see the world as British Airways Cabin Crew.
Alex Darby (Ex-student of Hutton Grammar School near Preston) is a language student at Durham University (German, French and Russian). He writes: “My name is Alex and I’m currently in my second year of a modern languages degree at Durham University. My interest in languages was sparked at school where I had the opportunity to study both French and German, soon developing a huge fascination for not only the language but the culture of both of these countries. I quickly came to discover that there was so much more to Germany than the age-old common clichés of Lederhosen, Bratwurst and Beer and soon found myself constantly wanting to know more about different aspects of the country and it’s culture. For me, the learning of a language was so much more than just learning how to speak a different tongue; I became much more aware of important cultural differences and historic events but perhaps more importantly I also found myself slowly growing in confidence and becoming a more independent individual. After spending time in Germany, including a two week work experience placement in the marketing department of a company in Velbert (in the west of Germany), I was able to see a significant increase to my level of German and became excited about the prospect of spending more time in the country.
“Coming to university in 2013, I decided to carry on with both German and French, but made the important decision of picking up a third language in addition. For this, I decided to take up the challenge of Russian having been fascinated by the language for several years before. It was surprising to see how having a previous knowledge of German, especially the dreaded case system, allowed me to understand the difficult Russian grammar much more easily! I can assure you that it really isn’t the easiest thing to grasp so it really true when they say that a knowledge of other languages really helps when learning a new one! I came to Durham with the attitude of taking on every single opportunity which came my way and as a result; you name it, I’ve probably done it! From rowing to organising college balls, to being a male fashion coordinator at a charity fashion show (with zero fashion sense/knowledge!) to being an ambassador for the university, I’m so happy with every opportunity which I have taken part in and truly feel that they have helped me to shape the person who I am today.
“During my time at Durham, I really believe that my knowledge and love for German have constantly grown. I have had the opportunity to study so many different aspects of the language and culture which I had never experienced before, from German literature, to translation and interpretation. All these really put my skills to the test and helped me to consider different possible future career paths which I could go into because of my knowledge of languages. I’ve also taken on the role as president of the German society so have really had the opportunity to meet different people with similar interests in the German world. I’m currently in the exciting, yet scary process of deciding my year abroad. As a huge German enthusiast, trying to decide one single place to live in a German speaking country for six months is an extremely hard decision but a prospect which I am very excited about. I can’t wait to really place myself into a completely different, foreign environment and look forward to seeing the huge impact which it will hopefully have on my language skills. It’s safe to say that the next few years seem very exciting and I can’t wait for the opportunities coming my way!”
Alison Grimshaw (former undergraduate at the University of Central Lancashire) is now Senior Translation Resource Manager at SDL. She writes: “I studied Modern Languages (German and Japanese) at UCLAN from 2003 – 2007. The course gave me the opportunity to live in Germany and Japan and to learn a lot about language and how it is used as well as about the culture of these countries. My experience at university has proved invaluable in helping me to build a career. I currently work for SDL, a multi-national customer experience management company. My role is in the translation and localisation department and I enjoy having regular opportunities to communicate with colleagues across the globe as well as managing translation projects which are enabling other global companies to communicate with their customers effectively. The knowledge and communication skills I learnt as well as the overall experience I had at UCLAN has helped me to be successful in my career and provided me with an excellent understanding of how important language is in the global economy.
After studying German to A level, I went on to complete a Master of Arts in German at the University of Edinburgh. As well as the German language, I studied German culture, theatre and film. I completed a dissertation on the topic of the role of the female within medieval German literature and received a first for this. Since graduating I have worked in banking, very much unrelated to my degree but after 2 years I eventually felt that I had to go back and use my German. Therefore I am currently completing my PGCE at the University of Cambridge to become a high school modern foreign language teacher, specialising in German.