Katja Spanz graduated with our BA Hons in International Management with European Languages and Society in June of this year and is about to embark on postgraduate studies at Durham University. As she gets ready to start on that course, she’s sent us the following post with advice on anyone thinking about applying for Masters programmes.
“Starting a postgraduate degree has always been in the back of my head, but I never thought I would actually do it. Now, four years down the line, having finished my undergraduate degree from Stirling, I am about to start my postgraduate course in 2 weeks time and it still does not feel real to me. My educational story started out a bit unusually compared to that of some of my peers. After I graduated high school I took two years out, travelled to different countries and lived abroad to work and learn new languages. Only after this experience I decided to go to university and pursue a degree in business and modern languages. After researching for a while, Stirling University seemed to be the right choice for me.
Starting my fourth and final year at Stirling was different compared to the three years before. It would be the last time to sit in an introduction lecture for my business course and start speaking classes for my language modules after having studied abroad for a year. However, at the same time everything was familiar and felt like home. During my final two semesters my academic life took a clearer and more structured direction. I had to start thinking about where I want to be and what I really want to do. By discussing possible options, talking over CVs and applications as well as writing letters of recommendation for postgraduate courses, the teaching staff were of great help to me during this time, especially within the languages department.
If I can give any advice to anyone thinking of doing a postgraduate, I would say that it is essential to give yourself enough time to research the various institutions and programs thoroughly. Plan ahead when it comes to your applications, especially concerning the personal statement. Every university is looking for something specific, something that makes you stand out from the crowd. Take your time and determine what it is that you truly and really want to do. The most important thing is to be sure of what you want to do and to give yourself enough time to plan the application process. I personally started applying to universities right at the start of fourth year, but I have friends who waited until the following January. Due to my early applications, the first replies came in around mid-semester break amongst which was an offer to study Politics and International Relations at Durham University, which I accepted. After focusing on business and modern languages at Stirling I think this course is the right addition for me in order to prepare me for my future career.
Studying languages not only introduced me to new cultures and ways of life, it also encouraged me and gave me the final push in deciding to do a postgraduate degree. In my opinion studying a language introduces you to so many different, unexpected aspects of society and life in general that are of advantage for every single career path.”
Thanks to Katja for this article and best of luck for the course that lies ahead. We look forward to hearing how things go and where the Masters leads you next.