What do Modern Languages students do after graduating?
The world is your oyster ...
In 2016 we asked some people who had studied Russian at Oxford where that had led them, and this is a sample of their replies – comparable answers would have come from students studying other languages.
"I worked as a Research Associate, specialising in energy issues in Russia and the former Soviet Union."
"I now live in Vienna and am working as a translator at the UN, the International Atomic Energy Authority and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, mostly translating from Russian."
"I moved into law and am currently a trainee solicitor, hoping to specialise in energy and natural resources law."
"I moved to a business intelligence firm in the city, where I specialised as an analyst on Russia and the former Soviet Union. I undertook due diligence and intelligence analysis on businessmen, corporations and politicians, looking for signs of corruption, criminal activity and unsavoury connections. I was using my Russian (and at times also Polish) on a daily basis, scouring Russian-language news articles, legal records, corporate registries and blog sites, as well as speaking to human intelligence sources on the ground. I’ve recently begun a two-year-Master’s of International Affairs in Berlin, and hope to spend the second year of the degree abroad at Columbia University in New York, specialising in security and human rights in Russia and the former Soviet Union."
"I’m currently a Senior Project Editor; I work on materials for students and tutors in accountancy, law and health."
"I worked in Moscow for 4 years, first at the BBC Monitoring Service for a year and a half (translating news broadcasts from Russian TV and radio), which I enjoyed very much. I then moved to the Moscow Times. I’ve now gone back to university in London and am doing an M.Sc. in Speech and Language Therapy."
"I'm now a conference interpreter at the United Nations in New York."
"I currently live in Madrid and work as a publisher, and a translator from Spanish and Russian."
"Director of an international technology company for the former Soviet region."
"Worked in Russia, London and then Ukraine (various multinationals) for 4 years, then radically changed career and retrained to become a vet. Currently still a vet and now a university clinician and lecturer in Emergency and Critical Care Medicine."
"I did an M.A. at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies in London, and started working at the BBC. I spent a total of 6 years with the BBC - from admin to on-air journalism, and loved it. From news producing in the World Service newsroom, to a 3-week research trip to Pakistan. Then moved to Moscow to work with the RIA Novosti translation department (on Russian government websites). I've been in Moscow for 5 years and am now a Consultant in PR and Financial IR, in a consultancy specialising in Russia, the former Soviet Union and emerging markets."
"Intern reporter at Reuters."
"After leaving Oxford I moved to Ekaterinburg in the Ural Mountains, where I worked as a teacher of English and then found an admin job at the British Consulate there. This sparked an interest in a career in public administration. For the past 8 years I've been working in and around the EU institutions in communications/public information. Tomorrow I start a new job as a spokesperson in the EU Advisory Mission to Ukraine on Civilian Security Sector Reform. Before moving to Kyiv, I was working at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt where I worked on the euro changeover campaigns in newest members Latvia and Lithuania."
"I trained at the Courtauld Institute of Art in the Conservation of Easel Paintings. I now restore paintings and carry out research into painting techniques. I previously worked in the Antiquities department of the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. I currently work at the National Portrait Gallery."
"I joined Carfax Educational Consultants , and we grew the company over 10 years to include over 60 staff, several divisions (guardians, Carfax Tutorial College, private and residential tutors, projects and publishing) and international offices and representatives in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates, Monaco and China."
"I worked in business consulting for 4 years, then moved into the Financial sector via the world of fine wine trading. I currently work in pricing strategy for a multinational credit card company."
"I’ve done a Master's and Doctorate in Latin and Romance linguistics at Oxford, and separately have carried out linguistic fieldwork on Talyshi, a language spoken in Azerbaijan."
"I did a Masters in Russian literature at St Andrews, where, after a brief sabbatical in accountancy, I completed a Ph.D. After this, I worked for a year in IT, but I’m now teaching French and Russian at United World Colleges Dilijan in Armenia."
"I became a journalist when I left Oxford - and intended to go back to Moscow to become a reporter. However, I ended up in New York instead and took a different path, which led to a career as an author. I have now written 8 books and am about to embark on a 9th. I was awarded an honorary D.Sc. last summer, which is perhaps unusual for an arts graduate and a Russianist. I have done a huge amount of work in making science accessible and entertaining to primary school children, hence the award."
"I worked in corporate intelligence and I now run a venture capital fund."
"I have a Lecturership in Russian at Exeter University."
"A Master’s at SSEES. Then international development consultancy, which I'm still doing, previously at KPMG and now at PricewaterhouseCoopers."
"After graduation I spent 3 and a half years in Moscow. I worked for a French sports retail company called Decathlon. I spent that time speaking virtually no English. It meant that I am now very fluent in both French and Russian (plus I know how to say every type of sports equipment under the sun in both languages). After Decathlon, I decided that I wanted to pursue a more academic career (law) and I went to work for an English law firm in Moscow as a paralegal for the remainder of my time in Russia. I came back to the UK, did my law qualification and, before starting work in London, I decided I wanted one last adventure. I went to China for a year and taught myself Mandarin. I’ve been working in London since 2011 in an international law firm and have also spent spells working in China. I specialise in EU and competition law."
"I’m an installation artist and writer, also a translator specialising in art and architecture (from German into English as I live in Austria) and occasionally fiction. I’ve also worked as a cultural journalist."
"I became marketing and sales director of Gillette and set up the company in former Soviet Union. My spoken Russian became excellent. I then moved to Istanbul for five years and now speak passable Turkish."
"Editor at Modern Poetry in Translation."
"I run a language learning website through which I sell intensive German, Russian and Greek courses and learning materials, while also organising international conferences on language learning and multilingualism, and working with organisations such as the British Council and the European Union to promote multilingualism worldwide, while also writing a book on language learning."
"Since graduating I’ve been working in think tanks and social science research. This has included analysing and advising governments on how public policies are designed."
"I joined a classical music publisher on leaving Oxford, at first as an intern and then as a permanent member of staff. I have also worked in the Publications team at the National Portrait Gallery."
"I produce TV commercials."
"I teach French and German, but I first spent 6 months as a missionary."
"I went on to study a Master’s in Modern History (where my tutors loved the fact that I could read Russian, German and French archive material in the original). Then I joined the Civil Service."
"I studied percussion at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where I stayed for three years. Since graduating I’ve been working as a freelance percussionist. I work in the orchestral, chamber and solo fields. I also teach percussion and drum kit."
"I work in local government and have just started a part-time Master’s in ‘Critical Methodologies’ (French literature & theory) at King’s College London."
"I became a teacher (PGCE at Sheffield). Now I’ve been fortunate enough to be made the Head of Russian. I also run a nationwide committee for Russian teachers (Russian Teachers’ Group), which hosts an annual conference showcasing various pedagogical ideas."
"I’m currently working as a management consultant."
"I am currently completing a doctorate on the early medieval history of the North Caucasus. I will be starting my postdoctoral research in Byzantine and North Caucasian history in Vienna in October 2016."
"I’m a DPhil student in comparative Arabic and Persian literature."
"I have been working as an editor for an educational publishing company since graduating from Oxford. Presently, my husband and I are setting up a beer brewery."
"I went back to Moscow after graduating and tried out various jobs such as English teaching, working as trilingual PA in a Russian bank, a journalist, translator, copy-editor; then I worked for 3 years at an artist management company in London (working with many Russian artists), then for a year at a marketing company with a Russian client base. I’m now back at university doing an M.Sc. in Speech and Language therapy (which involves linguistics and phonetics)."
"I initially worked as the PA to a wine critic for a few months while applying for grad schemes. I ended up in my current job (as a strategist in a branding agency) almost by chance, but am very much enjoying it. As the only person in the agency who speaks Russian, I’m often called on for translations and general cultural insight."
"M.A. in Art History at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg (including semester abroad at the European University of Saint Petersburg). Master’s thesis on the influence of the Russian avant-garde on American minimalist sculpture in the 1960s. Volontariat (traineeship) at the Kunstmuseum in Stuttgart. Assistant curator at Haus der Kunst, Munich."
"I completed a Master’s in Russian and East European Studies at Harvard. I’m now a corporate lawyer by day (and most of the night) where I work heavily with Russian and Eastern European clients (I have used Russian, Czech, Slovak and Ukrainian – picked up at Harvard – at work). For the remainder of the night I am a struggling writer (on things Russian)."
"I had a few short-term jobs in the UK before I moved to Poland for three years and then did a Ph.D. in Slavonic Studies at Cambridge. I’m about to start a postdoctoral fellowship at Freie Universität Berlin."
"I trained as a school teacher and worked as a teacher of French and Spanish at a secondary comprehensive school in Coventry before moving to my current school in Hackney where I’m Acting Head of Languages."
"I continued my study of languages, first Arabic at the School of Oriental and African Studies as part of a Master’s, for which my major was Law in the Middle East and North Africa, then Chinese at BPP University as part of a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC), all funded by the law firm I work for in London as a trainee solicitor. I’m also a freelance producer of short films, comedy and theatre."