Tag: International Management

French and Psychology: ‘I still try and use French whenever I can’

As you’ll have gathered over the months and years of the French at Stirling blog, our degree combinations are many and varied ranging from, for example, French and Spanish to French and Philosophy via French and a range of subjects taught within the School of Management (Marketing, International Management, Human Resource Management…), French and Maths, French and Computing Science, and French as part of the range of Education degrees we run (Primary and Secondary).

One of the combinations that hasn’t featured as often here is Psychology with a European Language, a programme that enables students to combine modules in Psychology with modules in either French or Spanish, so it was particularly good to hear from one of our recent graduates, Luisa, who completed precisely this programme a few years back:

‘After graduating, I went on to do an MSc in Health Psychology at Stirling, as I was torn between what to continue with. I’d say the biggest overlap between the two areas (French and Psychology) was that I used a psychological approach called Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis for my French dissertation and it was one of my highest grades that year. It was the first time I had combined the two subjects but it worked well. I also had to write a Psychology dissertation that was due about a week after the French one: definitely a good test of time management and pressure having to write both at the same time.

I have taken a year to work in retail and I am now applying for jobs related to Psychology. However, I have also looked into jobs relating to French, as I had been told by a fellow 2016 French graduate that an organisation in Stirling was advertising translation jobs. I have always enjoyed the prospect of having more options because of having a joint degree. I still try and use French whenever I can and I hope to re-integrate it into my life in the near future.’

Many thanks to Luisa for sending us this blog post and we wish you all the best with the job applications, whichever route they take you down.

Unexpected directions

As ever, the blog is a little quieter over the Summer months but I’m determined to post a few articles, as and when they make their way to me so today it’s a chance to catch up with Chris who graduated a few years back now and whose career has taken him in rather unexpected directions since then:

‘It is hard to believe that it is seven years since I graduated from the French Department with the degree in International Management and Intercultural Studies. This programme was what drew me to Stirling – it was unusual in that it offered the chance to go to Strasbourg and get a Masters from a top French Business School.

2018 Chris Ball Photo 1 Jul18Following my time in Strasbourg, the opportunity came up to do a funded PhD which, although I had never been sure about what direction I would take following my Masters, felt like the right path for me. I came back to Stirling, because I really wanted to work with a lecturer who had taught me during my undergraduate time. My PhD looked at energy policies and green entrepreneurship in Britain, France and Germany, so I still used my French skills and conducted research in France as well as in the two other countries. During my PhD studies, I also did a stint teaching French at Stirling which I really enjoyed but I found very challenging, especially teaching things like direct and indirect objects to students fresh from school. It was fascinating to see it from the other side.

For the past two years, my life has taken a different direction. I have moved to Germany and started working in a research institution called Forschungszentrum Jülich, near Cologne, and I currently do research on the economic aspects of Germany’s energy policy. Although I already spoke German quite well, I have loved improving my German and becoming familiar with a new country. The skills I learned during my programme in the French department, involving a lot of time abroad, helped enormously with adapting to the new country and new language.

2018 Chris Ball Photo 2 Jul18

I still get to use my French quite regularly. The city in which I now live, Aachen, is on the Belgian border and close to Paris (two hours by train), so I am in the French-speaking world quite often. I also organise the French “Stammtisch” at work – it is a table of French speakers who meet once a week to have lunch, so that helps me to “keep my hand in” with the French.

When I reflect back on my time at Stirling, I have fond memories of the French Department. It was through the support of the department that I had the opportunity to do the Carnegie and Stevenson mini research scholarships which were very useful to my growth. I found studying contemporary Francophone culture broadened my awareness of different identities in the French speaking world. What I am doing now is quite different to what I did before and that is exciting – I would say that a key thing is to be adaptable and able to learn new skills and I felt that my degree at Stirling was a very good background for this.’

Many thanks (merci, vielen Dank!) to Chris for the update – it’s great to think there’s a Stirling-influenced Stammtisch meeting every week in Jülich! We look forward to finding out where the next few years will take you…

Thinking about Masters programmes?

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.

2016-spanz-photo“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.

Mastering the French… and the rest

As well as a broad range of Combined Honours programmes involving French over the standard 4-year course of a degree (5, if you undertake an English Language Assistantship), French at Stirling also happens to be home to an integrated Masters programme in International Management and Intercultural Studies with our partner institution, the Ecole de Management in Strasbourg. This is a 5-year programme and, for students starting in Stirling, involves a semester of Study Abroad in 3rd year and then a full year in Strasbourg to complete the Master Grande Ecole in Year 5.

2016 Claire Wright EMS logo Feb

Claire Wright is one of our students who is currently in Strasbourg for the year, taking full advantage of all the opportunities available through a partnership with one of Europe’s most prestigious business schools:

‘I cannot emphasise enough the return on investment you will receive from studying abroad. In the increasingly globalised world that we live in, young people, like myself, are constantly reminded about the pace of change and the dynamics of cross-cultural collaboration. We live in exciting times as this change brings enormous opportunities to grow and develop as young global talent. By immersing ourselves in other cultures, we become aware of other people, aware of alternative views and more aware of ourselves.

2016 Claire Wright EM planet Feb

Stirling University’s unique integrated Masters in International Management and Intercultural Studies is perfectly fitting to today’s environment. Having the opportunity to study abroad in Mexico in third year, as well as further pursue a 5th year at EM Strasbourg France, to obtain a Master Grande Ecole degree, does not compare to staying local. At least for me, anyway, as I am always looking for a new challenge.

To cut to the chase, if you put the work in, you will reap the benefits of the course that Sitrling Uni offers. For me, this hard work has paid off. Particularly, having the opportunity to live and breathe the eclectic mix of French and German cultures in the heart of Europe has exposed me to the richness and multicultural diversity that the EU boasts.

2016 Claire Wright Visit to the Parliament Feb
European Parliament

From visits to the parliament to participate in mock debates to listening to the perspectives of guest speakers from the WTO, my horizons have been widened. I now think in ways that I never could have imagined and I always look beyond the immediate situation. You cannot learn this stuff, you just need to be exposed to it. Even if it is in the form of organised wine tasting sessions at France’s biggest wine exporter’s HQ.

To my surprise, my biggest challenge of all was not actually working in international teams at university, but was, in fact everyday interactions with French people. During my first few weeks, I found it a real struggle to get along with French people on a daily basis. But, I was determined to crack them. I even bought a book. It was ironic as in contrast to my experience in Mexico, where the culture is obviously different, French culture just seemed so much more difficult to master. Over time, however, I have learned to love the peculiarities, and, of course the rich culture of cheese and wine.

 

2016 Claire Wright Strasbourg Cathedral light show Feb
Strasbourg Cathedral Light Show

 

Overall, this experience has not only equipped me for a career in international business, but it has enriched me as a culturally sensitive individual. Gaining insight from industry experts has opened my eyes to the reality of the business world, preparing me to cultivate my future and become a global talent. This is complemented by my exposure to all things francophone, and my daily cooperation with the 12 different nationalities that are on my course. Not only that, but I have gained an ever growing international network and have made life long international friends. Speaking languages are just a bi-product of these soft skills that you will acquire through studying such a dynamic course and putting yourself out there.

Bonne chance!’

We’re looking forward to hearing where life will take Claire after she graduates later this year.

2016 Claire Wright MIEB 2015-2016 Feb

Spaces Available to Study French at Stirling in 2014-15

A number of places are available through UCAS Clearing to study French at Stirling in 2014-15. These are places for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland or from outside the EU but not, unfortunately, for Scottish students. If you are interested in coming to study with us, you will find more information here, including contact details for our Exams Helpline who can advise on exactly how to proceed.

Places are also available on our Global Cinema and Culture programme, to study Spanish and Latin American Studies, and on our double degree programmes in International Management and Intercultural Studies.