Sophie Murray graduated from Reading in 2021 with a First Class Honours in Spanish and English Language. Here she tells us about her experience since leaving Reading, and how her joint degree prepared her for her future career.
“I had planned to take a break after graduating as I had applied for the ITV News Traineeship due to start in 2022, but ended up landing a role as a business reporter with my local newspaper (The News, Portsmouth) through the government’s Kickstart scheme. I’m currently on my six month placement and it’s been a brilliant experience so far. I’ve had the opportunity to attend events, interview inspiring people who are doing brilliant things in my area and have even had 2 front page stories in my first few months.
Although I’m not certain which career path I would like to pursue after my placement ends, I am confident that the skills and experience I’ve gained from it and from Reading (both within and outside my studies) have prepared me for many different roles in a range of sectors.
Whilst at university I had the opportunity to work as a student brand ambassador for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, where I created social media content and wrote travel articles in a flexible role alongside my studies. Also working as a student ambassador and course rep for the Department of Languages and Cultures boosted my confidence and gave me the chance to develop my interpersonal skills, by working on open days and taking part in presentations and meetings alongside my lecturers to represent the student voice.
In my final year, I was involved in creating the Department of Languages and Cultures’ Instagram page and led the student social media team. This project was so much fun and I learnt so much about leadership, running an Instagram business account (which I hadn’t done before) and gained so much digital marketing experience which I didn’t even realise at the time. I’m so pleased with the success of the account and I was awarded with Reading Students' Union’s ‘Outstanding Impact on Student Experience award 2021’ which was the best way to finish my time at Reading!
Studying Spanish has definitely prepared me for the working world, not only with the ability to communicate in a different language which is valuable as it is, but also from the personal development that comes with studying a language. The cultural studies made me so much more open minded and this was only enhanced with the year abroad. Being a global citizen is only becoming more important and studying languages really gave me a different perspective of the world that will be valued in any job role.
Studying English Language was so valuable because it gave me so many tools to take forward with me after graduating. In my final year I took a module called Intercultural Communication which was probably my favourite module throughout my time at uni. It was so relevant to modern life and I learned about how and why different culture groups communicate in the ways they do. Other modules also equipped me with knowledge and skills for going into jobs such as teaching, marketing, PR and journalism. As I’m unsure which direction I’d like to take my career, I’m so grateful that I was able to get a background in different sectors from the range of modules that were on offer.”