Course studied: BA (Hons) French and Spanish
A career in languages is varied and there are lots of exciting opportunities… You don’t know what things will lead on to! I recently translated for NESCAFE, thanks to my voluntary translation experience.
More about Danielle
Current Job Title: French and Spanish Teacher, Chellaston Academy
Tell us why you chose to study at NTU.
“I wanted to study locally and the choice of modules and year abroad option offered at NTU appealed to me.”
What did you enjoy most about your course?
“European studies in first year was incredible, I learnt so much in the lectures and was hooked. The lecturer was fantastic. I really enjoyed learning about the Civil War in Spain and France after World War 2. It made me realise that learning a language isn't just about the language but also the history and culture. And of course I really enjoyed my year abroad in Spain!”
What did you think about the course staff – include technical staff, administrators, lecturers and tutors. How did they support your learning and university experience?
“The French history and European studies lecturer was fantastic and the Spanish language lecturers were great. It was also nice to have conversation assistants.”
Would you recommend NTU and your course to someone looking to study in that area? If so, why?
“Yes it’s a modern course, with lots of flexible options for the year abroad. I had many friends who studied elsewhere and most did heavy literature modules which haven’t really prepared them for working in the real world!”
How has your career developed since leaving NTU?
“I started off teaching, then I moved into exports, translation, and now I’m back teaching. Studying languages is fantastic as you can do so many exciting things! My first role using my languages was at Disneyland Paris. I gained a lot of customer service experience and really improved my languages. It was like a holiday!
"After graduation, I worked at a university in a town called Besancon in France near the Swiss border. NTU send one of their language graduates over there every year, while one of their students comes over to NTU to do the conversation classes. While I was over there, I did voluntary translation work in my free time, I worked as a volunteer at the local Erasmus Student Network (ESN), providing private tuition and taught at a training school.
"Gaining skills in many areas is very important. When I graduated, my main goal was to keep my languages up. That is still one of my aims but after having worked in a company, which I did thoroughly enjoy, I wanted more of a purpose in life. That is when I decided to become a teacher.
"My role is very demanding but I love working with young people. My experience in Besancon has also made me realise that I will not be happy unless I work with people and help them. In the future, I would like to work at a university as an International Student Coordinator.”
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
“Working at Disneyland Paris, without a doubt as I went on the roller-coaster almost every day after work and explored Paris at the weekends!
''Teaching English to French students on exchange in Nottingham and then taking them out on day trips was also great fun!
“Another highlight was teaching English to French university students and organising trips and events for the Erasmus organisation and then participating in the events myself.”
What are your favourite aspects / greatest challenges of your current role?
“I love the kids and the school. I love getting involved in extra activities and shows. My department is the best in the world, I could not wish for a better team. The greatest challenges are managing the crazy workload and maintaining high standards, as I’m at one of the best schools in Derby!”
How have your studies contributed to your career / current successes?
“I’ve used the skills I learnt in every job I have had! I have needed my languages in all of my roles. Starting as a beginner in Spanish has made me understand how difficult it can be for students to learn a language; it makes me more patient and supportive. I will never forget some of the embarrassing things I’ve said to French and Spanish people. Writing lots of essays and doing presentations helped to give me the confidence to communicate verbally and by email to French customers.”
Do you have any advice to share with new graduates or other alumni?
“A career in languages is varied and there are lots of exciting opportunities, but it is difficult to get onto the careers ladder, so be the best. Continue to develop yourself personally; there are a lot of native speakers in the UK, so learn some new skills that make you stand out. Gain skills in different areas, e.g. sales/marketing. Do a few online courses, complete some voluntary translation work and keep your options open. You don’t know what things will lead on to. I recently translated for NESCAFE, thanks to my voluntary translation experience.
“So keep up your languages, meet up with natives. Never undervalue yourself, go for any job you see, even if you don’t think you’re qualified enough. If you have the languages, companies will often train you up.”
Danielle is an Alumni Fellow, she donates her time to support and inspire our current students. Visit our Alumni Fellowship page to find out how you can get involved.