As promised in the previous piece about Silje Volden, here’s the second Scandinavian account of life post-graduation, this time from Terry Karpathakis:
“Whether you fully master a profession as a banker, engineer, architect, teacher, factory worker and so forth, you are still limited in terms of its usage. As a professional, your job can only be applied in a context-specific environment in which the same language is spoken. However, if a company or an employee wish to expand their business and transmit their knowledge, they need to learn other languages. Learning a language holds the key to global awareness. Speaking many languages enables you to learn more about other cultures and to relate to individuals on a deeper level. Being multi-lingual is a sure way to further your career in any profession. Having the ability to speak many languages can help us transmit knowledge universally, increase cultural awareness, and reduce the amount misunderstanding and conflict that constantly surround us.
As a multi-linguist, studying at the University of Stirling was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. I graduated with a BA Hons in both French and Spanish. This in turn prepared me extremely well to complete my MA in Spanish in Ottawa, Canada. The language courses at Stirling offered modules in translation, culture, history, interpreting, literature, and much more. As a double major language student, the year-abroad programme was an integral part of the course curriculum, offering opportunities to both work and study in targeted countries. During my second year of studies, I went to Lille in northern France to work as an English Language Assistant, which was quite an achievement for a non-native speaker of English. The following year, during my Semester Abroad, I studied legal translation in Málaga, Spain. This immersive hands-on experience abroad gave me confidence and knowledge to successfully complete my studies.
Aside from these wonderful travelling opportunities the University of Stirling has to offer, the language course components are directly relevant to the current language learning environment. Courses such as interpreting, translation, and literature truly equip you with the tools you need to succeed professionally. In my case, the interpreting and translation courses helped me land jobs at the local court in Logroño in Spain as their official translator, as well as several teaching jobs in Ottawa where French is often a prerequisite for working. I also worked as an official IELTS examiner in Canada and I have been called on for various interpreting services in Sweden where I am currently working as a language teacher.
Now, ten years after my graduation, I speak six languages fluently, I have had plenty of job offers, I have benefited from visiting and living in many countries. Most importantly, I have many great friends from all over the globe. I am a citizen of the world.”
Terry happens to have graduated at the end of my first semester teaching at Stirling, so it’s particularly nice to have been able to keep in touch over the course of the past decade and we wish him all the best for the future!