The Linguist

The Linguist 57,3 – June/July 2018

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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28 The Linguist Vol/57 No/3 2018 OPINION & COMMENT Take it from a graduate The career benefits associated with learning languages are often used to encourage take-up in schools, but when I was choosing my options at secondary school this had little impact on me, as I had no interest in planning my career. What motivated me was a desire to describe the imaginary worlds I liked to invent, and the ability to understand The Simpsons when I went on holiday abroad. A turning point for me was when my best friend and I realised, aged 12, that learning a language would enable us to have secret conversations. We first tried Elvish, after obsessing over The Lord of the Rings, but soon realised it was going to be too difficult, and opted instead for a language that would allow us to get support from other speakers: French. Aspects such as these, which spark creativity and invoke curiosity, are a key tool that should be used to inspire young people to study languages. Another pivotal moment came during a careers talk when I was choosing my GCSE options. I had no idea what I wanted to do in life, only that I probably wouldn't have 'one' job forever or live in Britain indefinitely. Learning another language would ensure I was not confined to English-speaking countries, giving me the opportunity to speak to 220 million more people in 29 countries; opening up thousands of business opportunities; and allowing me to appreciate the cultures of other countries. I went on to study International Relations and Language at the University of Portsmouth. It was my goal to spend the compulsory year abroad in Quebec, as I had a fascination with Canada from an early age. In August 2016, I started a year-long role as a British Council Language Assistant in la belle province, following a rigorous selection process. My host family was warm, gentle, caring and crazy, greeting me with open arms (quite literally). I entered their home to find 30 people from the village who had come for a big sushi night to welcome me. The family provided an extremely caring environment, and as former Olympic skiers living on the edge of a skiing mountain, they also taught me to snowboard. Since completing the placement, my professional and personal development has skyrocketed. I have been a guest speaker at the London Language Show, become a British Council Language Assistant Ambassador, spoken at secondary schools and been offered teaching jobs in China. In addition to the obvious linguistic benefits, the experience had many supplementary effects. I have become more confident than I could have ever imagined. I used to avoid doing presentations and performances, but at the Language Show 2017, I spoke to an audience of 300 as a guest speaker for Speak to the Future, the campaign for languages. When you are learning languages, you learn so much more than that language; you learn Why students learn more from a languages degree than they imagine – and how this could inspire more young people to choose languages ED BUGLER

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