After graduating from UEA in 2008 with a degree in Translation and Interpreting, Nina went to work in Hamburg, Germany, providing language services. Now she lives in Santiago, Chile, where she runs the City Hall's International Relations Department.
Tell us about your career to date
My role in Santiago, Chile includes interpreting at official events and ceremonies as well as managing international correspondence, events and foreign delegations who visit. We are working on building an international network of local government best practices and host an annual conference which brings together local government officials from across the globe. I research and advise on innovations in governments and connect with think tanks and local government associations in different countries, all striving to overcome the stigma of public service and non-profit being inefficient.
What was it like studying at UEA?
I acquired a great professional and conceptual basis for a career in communications. The lecturers were excellent in their respective areas but also gave us guidance and support whenever it was needed, and encouraged us to branch out into other areas.
Why did you decide to study at UEA?
UEA has a great reputation, and I loved the feel around campus on my visit day. The language lab and other facilities were excellent, and the course and staff were inspiring. The other factors were how good Norwich is as a city and how close it is to London.
Did you participate in any UEA clubs and societies?
I joined Latin Soc, visited a number of guest lectures, including one given by Isabel Allende, and attended Hazel Marsh's documentary films and debate sessions.
Tell us how you got your first job after university and what that role involved
After graduating from UEA, I applied to various language service providers and networked as much as possible. I got a job fairly quickly, which involved interpreting, translation and language teaching tasks.
Has your course helped you in your career so far?
Yes, very much so. My degree taught me to be an open-minded, multi-cultural individual, to think critically, to listen, debate, reason and to be self-confident. As far as skills are concerned, it taught me the language and interpreting skills I rely on.
A degree in languages and cultural studies can really help you understand the multifaceted world we live in, and gives you the tools to make better-informed decisions, because you understand the cultural concepts that influence people's views and decisions. It helps you to look at the big picture. Interpreting gives you understanding, an ability to make on the spot decisions, the confidence to speak to people and the awareness that a joke does not necessarily work in all languages!
Looking back to your time at university, what advice would you give to new students?
I would advise students to approach potential employers early. Try to look ahead and plan which skills you will need to have to get your dream career, and ask yourself who can give you that job.
Personally, I think that my degree has given me a solid basis for my career and I want to share with prospective students that this degree can take you really far if you want it to. Interpreting helps you understand the concepts that make up culture and identity, which is useful to understand why people react in a certain way.
For more alumni profiles, click on the links below:
Luke Condon (Partner at Knight Frank, Paris)
- Lucinda Highley (Director - Business Development at Fitch Ratings in London)
- Clare Jenkinson (Animal Record Keeper and ZAM Administration at Banham Zoo Ltd (including Africa Alive! and Dinosaur Adventure) in Norfolk)
- Yasmin Juhoor (Event Manager at salesforce.com in Staines)
- Bonita Edwards (Company Secretary at the Overseas Development Institute in London)
- Rebecca Willimott (Account Director at Corporate Executive Board in London)
- Amy Williams (European Advisor at the UK Research Office in Brussels, Belgium)
- Carolyn Boyd (Editor of France Magazine at Archant Ltd in Cheltenham)
- Claire Verdirame (Head of Brand and Marketing Planning, Continental Europe at HSBC in London)
- Alexandra Smith (Head of Spanish at Haileybury College in Hertford).
- Georgina Pacey (Translator and administrator)
- Vincent Capet (Conference interpreter for the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium)