By Megan Pearce
On Wednesday 12th November, MMU International, the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences (HLSS) and Routes into Languages staged the Broaden Your Horizons: Study & Work Abroad Event, designed to raise awareness of the opportunities provided by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) to work or study internationally as part of their university experience.
Yasmin Hussain, Project Manager for Routes into Languages and organiser, said “This is an important event to inspire our students and in raising UK student outward mobility. The event and speakers highlighted the opportunities studying and working abroad creates and the significant impact this has on student employability and future career success.”
Deirdre Hynes, International Coordinator for HLSS said, “This was a fantastic opportunity for students to hear from industry speakers and be inspired through their journeys of studying/working abroad and their subsequent career success. The event highlighted how profound a study and or work period abroad can be for personal and professional development”
The opportunities for international work and study were definitely exhibited in their broadest sense as guest speakers spoke of their experiences working abroad in industries ranging from journalism and film production to politics, business and community volunteering. Speakers included guests from the BBC; the European Commission; Supporting Kids in Peru and Siemens.
Sarah Lewthwaite represented the BBC and discussed the ways in which languages and experience abroad proves useful – “not always in the ways that you expect,” she said as she recounted her own experience of speaking German in Delhi and Afghanistan.
Dr. Angeliki Petrits, from the European Commission, impressed upon the audience the importance of learning another language as she informed us that approximately 75% of people in the world do not speak English. She also talked about the variety of roles available to linguists within the European Commission and the upcoming Erasmus + program.
Liz Wilson from Supporting Kids In Peru demonstrated the ways in which NGOs (Non-government Organisations) such as SKIP, which teaches English in Peruvian schools, can provide volunteering experience across the globe, offering students a greater perspective of the world in which we live.
Mike Joyce from Siemens spoke warmly about his experience of working in a multinational company and studying in Germany and the confidence that these experiences can inspire within a person.
When I asked what the effect of this event on the attending students might be, John Singh-Green, MMU Study Abroad Alumni graduate of Public Services and organiser of the event, said that “This event was designed to inspire students to study and work abroad, either with MMU and Erasmus or with our external connections.”
The Dean of the HLSS faculty, Sharon Handley, had this to say about the event: “One of the biggest barriers to students taking up an opportunity to spend a year abroad is often fear of the unknown. Today is all about inspiring the students to believe they can actually cope with a year abroad, as well as providing them with the opportunity to listen to speakers who show them the value of spending time abroad to their personal development as well as to their future career.”