8 Reasons UK Millennials Should Try Working Abroad (and particularly in Asia)

Here’s an article I wrote recently for the Global Millennial Survey website on the 8 Reasons UK Millennials Should Try Working Abroad (and particularly in Asia). What’s your opinion? Have you experienced working abroad and do you think it’s beneficial?

The Well-Travelled Postcard

8 Reasons UK Millennials Should Try Working Abroad (and particularly in Asia) Photo taken in Johannesburg after the 2013 One Young World summit

One of the reasons why I originally started travel blogging, and publishing stories about my travels and different spells living in foreign countries, was because I strongly believe that it’s had a tremendously positive impact on my life. Travelling and living abroad has taken me down routes I would never have imagined, and opened doors to opportunities that would be otherwise unobtainable. The reality is that living abroad isn’t nearly as impossible as it might seem at first glance, and I’d love to think that this blog of mine might have helped persuade someone, even if only one person, of the virtues of living/working/studying abroad. I believe everyone in the UK should at least experiment living abroad for a while. Some will love it and discover a whole new world available to them, and others might not love it…

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Travel and Tourism as a form of Public Diplomacy

Here’s a post that looks at one way of gaining intercultural skills: travel. The Travel and Tourism Industry has huge benefits for the not only the individual undertaking the travel, but also for the reputation of their country and for that country’s international relations with citizens of other nationalities. Here’s a look a the role of travel in the arena of public diplomacy.

The Well-Travelled Postcard

NB. This is not my tattoo by the way! NB. This tattoo is not mine by the way!

          Alongside my love of travelling, another interest of mine is learning about international relations and cultural relations. In my second, third and fourth years of university I took an extra module in IR to improve my understanding of this field. I studied at the London School of Economics Summer School (a full 15-credit course on Understanding Foreign Policy: the diplomacy of war, profit and justice), I studied International Institutions during my Erasmus semestre at the University of Córdoba in Spain and I also took a 15-credit module in The Challenges of World Politics in the 21st Century during my fourth year at the University of Exeter.

          Since then I’ve been keeping up-to-date through reading, and the latest book I read threw up the interesting concept of Public Diplomacy and the role that the travel and tourism industry plays…

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8 Steps to Getting a First Class Degree in Modern Languages

Essential reading for any undergraduates studying Modern Languages: 8 tips to help you get that First Class Degree.

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Graduates with Mortar Boards

          Most university students dream at some point or another of getting a First Class Honours Degree, the highest grade in the UK higher education system. 16% of all students manage it, and while it’s not an absolute necessity for a graduate job (you need at least a 2:1 for most graduate schemes), employers do take grades into account when reviewing candidates. As you can imagine, there is a lot of hard work involved in getting a First, but there are also a few key techniques and tricks that helped me get mine… Most of these are specific to Modern Languages degrees (I studied Spanish, Italian & Portuguese) but 3 or 4 of these could apply to other subjects too.

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Career Options for Graduates with a Modern Languages Degree (Part Two)

Here is Part Two of my careers guide for Graduates with a Modern Languages Degree, and this post discusses the options for taking a post-university Gap Year, moving abroad to find work and starting a Graduate Scheme at a Multinational Corporation. It also concludes all the research I did into my own career and explains how I arrived at the career path I’m now on. If you haven’t yet read Part One, then take a look here: http://worldlyminded.com/2014/04/10/career-options-for-graduates-with-a-modern-languages-degree-part-one/

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Part Two: Post-Uni Gap Year / Move Abroad / Graduate Schemes

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         Last week I posted ‘Career Options for Graduates with a Modern Languages Degree (Part One)‘ and here is Part Two of my career guide for language graduates. The fourth year of university is an incredibly challenging time and many students stress over their career options. I did a lot of research at the time and thought I would put that knowledge to good use by passing it on through my blog.

         Have a read of Part One about Masters Degrees and careers in Translation, International Institutions and Teaching, and then read Part Two below on some other options available, and to find out which route I personally opted for!

Post-uni Gap Year

Post-uni Gap Year

After having such a brilliant 10 months abroad on my Gap Year before uni, I would have loved another…

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Career Options for Graduates with a Modern Languages Degree (Part One)

After all the research I did throughout my degree in Modern Languages, I’ve compiled my findings into a career guide for other Graduates with a Modern Languages degree. There are so many options for linguists and this blog post is just Part One, so make sure you look out for Part Two next week.

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Part One: Masters Degree / Translator / International Institutions / Teacher

Modern-Language

         What can I do with a Modern Languages degree? Exactly two years ago I was in those shoes, asking myself that exact same question. I was in my final year of university and wondering what to do next after I graduated. I had chosen quite a broad selection of modules in my fourth year at the University of Exeter, covering Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Advanced Translation and even a module in International Relations, so I was keeping my options open and experimenting in lots of different areas. I’m one of those people who is always looking to the future, so this very question of ‘What can I do with my Modern Languages degree?’ had been playing on my mind for almost three years. At some point or another I contemplated and researched all of the various…

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‘Inspiring the Future’ through Talks and Workshops on Languages in Schools

Inspiring the Future logo

         A number of months ago I signed up to Inspiring the Future, an organisation which helps UK schools and colleges find volunteers to give careers talks and workshops to inspire their pupils. This not-for-profit organisation has even been endorsed by several high-profile influencers such as Boris Johnson and Miriam Gozalez Durantez, the Deputy Prime Minister’s wife. The talks can be on any type of career, and anyone can volunteer to help out. With my background in languages and intercultural skills, and given the ever–decreasing profile of languages in schools and universities, my obvious angle is to persuade more students to study languages and learn a skill they’ll benefit from for the rest of their lives.

         Inspiring the Future holds a database of volunteers who have signed up and schools can contact you and ask for help. Over the past few weeks I’ve been receiving a number of invitations from schools in London to give talks, hold workshops or attend careers fairs. We language graduates who are actually using our languages in the workplace are few and far between, and those of us in this category that aren’t in teaching or translation/interpretation are even harder to find. I say this because the “typical” next step for a languages graduate is often presumed to be a move into one of these two fields. Many people don’t realise that there is a whole world of other opportunities out there beyond teaching languages and becoming a translator (literally a whole world – speaking a foreign language opens more doors internationally than anything else). I differ from this stereotype, as not only am I working in business, but I was employed into my company’s European Graduate Leadership Programme specifically because of my Spanish language skills. Because I managed to use my language skills to get into “business”, I was interviewed last year as part of the Language Launchpad project run by the European Commission, the British Council and ThirdYearAbroad.com (here’s the video below). I think it’s this same angle that has attracted so many requests recently from schools for me to go and try to inspire their pupils.

          I’m delighted to be able to help out. The slight irony is that because I was employed for my language skills, I have also been sent on a placement to my company’s headquarters in Madrid for 6 months. It’s great news for me as I get to use my Spanish even more than before, I’m living abroad again (something I absolutely adore and recommend to everyone) and it’s another great example of the opportunities that can arise through speaking another language. The downside is I’m not currently in London to be able to go into these schools and demonstrate why intercultural skills and foreign languages are such great assets for future employability…

So there are two things I’d like to mention:

  1. I’ll be back in the UK at the end of July 2014 and I am very keen to visit schools and help out where possible, so feel free to contact me at contact@worldlyminded.com to set things up from July 2014 onwards.
  2. If you are a language graduate who is using your languages at work, and if you’d like to help prepare the next generation for the even more globalised world that they’ll be facing, then please register with Inspiring the Future and volunteer just a little bit of your time to help inspire others.

The ‘Languages for the Future’ report by the British Council and International Education Week 2013

        Last night I attended a reception held at the British Council in London to celebrate International Education Week 2013, which is running this week from 18-24th November and which aims to encourage language study in the UK, as we as a country are seriously under-skilled when it comes to languages in comparison to our European counterparts. The reception brought together a wide variety of people (language teachers, policymakers, civil servants, businessmen and women, graduates such as myself, translators, representatives of language and culture organisations, etc.) who all fully believe in the importance of language skills in the global economy. As a particularly keen advocate of language learning, I found myself in good company with plenty of like-minded people.

British Council IEW2013

       There are various different events and elements of International Education Week 2013, and yesterday marked the launch of a new report commissioned by the British Council called ‘Languages for the Future: Which Languages the UK Needs and Why’, researched and written by Teresa Tinsley and Kathryn Board, which I thoroughly recommend you take a look at.

        I found it fascinating reading and wanted to highlight a couple of passages that really interested me:

Many businesses do recruit young managers with language skills to enable them to work effectively in an international economy, but it is often easier for them to find young Europeans who have English and another language in addition to their first language. UK attitudes to language learning mean that the vast majority of young people in the UK do not have the kind of language skills to compete with their European peers for these jobs, and so there is a danger that our young people will increasingly lose out on employment opportunities and ultimately that there will be a negative impact on the UK’s economy.

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1,000 words can be enough to feel autonomous, confident and secure in another country and brings some cultural understanding. ‘Fluent’ is an inhibitor, ‘functional’ is a liberator. It begins with a few words and phrases – and that small investment can grow into a lifetime of interest, employment and opportunity. – John Worne, Director of Strategy, British Council

British Council IEW2013

Being monolingual also carries cultural risks. Speaking another language provides a window to a different culture and customs and, in turn, provides us with a mirror to our own.

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David Graddol’s 2006 analysis of global language trends was a timely warning against complacency regarding the predominance of English worldwide. He predicted that the competitive advantage of English will ebb and that monolingual English speakers, unable to tap into the multilingual environments enjoyed by others, would face a bleak economic future.

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There is concern about the low numbers of students taking language degree courses. As a front page article in the Observer recently noted, the 4,700 students who have been accepted in 2013 to start language degrees is dwarfed by almost ten times that number taking business studies.

British Council IEW2013

       I’m attending one further language-related event during International Education Week 2013. This Friday I’m visiting the British Academy for the launch of ThirdYearAbroad.com’s new Careers Platform, and at the event there’ll also be a panel discussion on ‘home-grown’ linguistic talent and the employability of year abroad graduates, which I’m hoping will reaffirm my belief that Modern Languages were an excellent choice for my degree course!

International Education Week 2013 and my interview as part of the Language Launchpad

Take a look at my blog post below on the work of the British Council to promote international education. There’s also a short video of an interview I did for Language Launchpad on why I chose to study languages, how they’ve helped me gain graduate employment and my tips for students considering a third year abroad. Are you involved in International Education Week 2013?

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Web

        This week, 18-24th November 2013, is British Council’s International Education Week and throughout the week they aim to “promote the importance of an international dimension to primary and secondary education in the UK and to promote the learning of modern foreign languages as a part of this”. This exactly mirrors my thoughts on the importance of intercultural skills, which I’ve written about on my other website Worldly Minded and also here and is obviously something I was keen to get involved in.

         One of the projects run specifically to coincide with International Education Week is called Language Launchpad, a partnership between the European Commission and the fantastic website ThirdYearAbroad.com, which has produced a series of short videos to be shown in schools across the country to encourage students to study languages. I was very pleased to be asked to give an interview and participate in…

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Gender Equality and Intercultural Skills in the context of One Young World

Here are the links to two blog posts I recently wrote on the Telefónica Millennials website about my two main topics at One Young World: Gender Equality and Intercultural Skills. The article on How to Encourage Intercultural Skills is particularly relevant to Worldly Minded and can be found here: http://survey.telefonica.com/how-to-embed-intercultural-skills-into-society-and-the-learnings-from-one-young-world-2013/#sthash.79oGVqkW.dpuf

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Telefonica Millennials at One Young World 2013

        You might have seen some of my other blog posts about the One Young World summit I attended in Johannesburg at the beginning on October 2013 (you can find all of them by clicking here), but it was a truly incredible life-changing experience and one that I want to keep alive and present in my memory for as long as possible. It would be easy to slip back into my old way of life and lose the momentum and passion that all the delegates felt and experienced in Johannesburg, but I’m defiant that I won’t let that happen and as such I have a plan of action for taking next steps towards improving the world around me.

        I decided in advance of the summit that while I would attend every session/talk/debate available in order to learn about as broad a range of subjects as possible, I would also specialise…

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My Top 10 Tips for Learning a Foreign Language

If you’re moving abroad and want to maximise your chances of learning the local language, then you need to read these top 10 tips for immersing yourself in the language.

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         Within the next month or so, thousands upon thousands of students all over Europe will be packing their bags and joining the legions of 3 million Europeans before them who have done Erasmus. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, Erasmus is one of the best things about the European Union (in my opinion, at least) and it is a programme available to any university student in an EU country. It offers you a very simple way to study abroad, work abroad in a company or teach your native language in a school abroad.

        In the UK people tend to begin their Erasmus placement in the September of their Third Year Abroad, but in other countries some people begin in September or in February.

        Many of those lucky people setting off for their Erasmus year (or semester) will be doing so with a number of aims…

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