Professor Simon Gilson, Head of Languages at the University of Warwick spoke to students at Brooke Weston about the opportunities presented by studying a modern foreign language.
He spoke to A Level students and Year 11s about studying at university and the subsequent employment routes and statistics for language graduates with 91 per cent gaining employment in the first year after university, which is higher than graduates from many other disciplines. That figure rises to nearly 100 per cent three years after graduation, with most earning a good graduate salary of over £21,000 per year.
Prof Gilson told them: ‘It is not just speaking a language, although that is important, it is about the social skills, the communication skills, the confidence and the ability to meet people from other cultures and be at ease with them. All those kind of skills are really important. A degree with languages at university is a four-year degree whereas most other degrees are three years. You go abroad for a year and it may seem a bit daunting, but it really is a fantastically exciting part of the programme. It means that you get these skills in abundance, which is one of the reasons why language graduates are so popular. Some of them work in the city, in publishing, in charities and international organisations, the opportunities are huge.’
Famous celebrities who have studied languages at university include Chris Martin from Coldplay, Nigella Lawson, Lucy Lui, JK Rowling and Paula Radcliffe. Professor Gilson, who speaks Italian and Japanese, also gave a presentation to Year 10 students about A Level language studies and their post-Sixth Form options.
He said: ‘I came here to inspire the students about languages and studying languages at university. They were absolutely fantastic, very engaged and asked a lot of good questions. There are two or three students among those I spoke to who already wanted to apply to Warwick. We do French, German, Spanish and Italian as the four main modern languages, but it is possible to combine the languages together and also to study a range of non-European languages such as Chinese, Japanese and Russian. A language degree can lead to great opportunities and great careers.’