Hannah Miles, Durham University


Employer Lebanese Embassy

Degree Modern Languages and Cultures (German and Arabic)

What did you like most about your languages degree?

I loved that a degree in languages offered me the opportunity to study a wide range of subjects, including history, culture and literature. The small class sizes offered by Durham meant that everyone had a chance to really improve their speaking abilities and also get to know one another very well.

Furthermore, the Year Abroad was also a fantastic opportunity to do something that not a lot of people get the chance to do – live and work in a foreign country. My time in Germany was not only great for my linguistic abilities, but also for my self-confidence, problem solving skills and work experience. Whenever I return to Germany now, I always meet with the friends I made on my Year Abroad, many of whom I count among my closest friends. It is amazing to see how much your language abilities have improved after returning to university. You really can see your professional and personal progress through such a degree.

What are you doing now (graduates)? What will you do after graduating? Please provide a brief description of your current or future job’s duties and responsibilities.

After graduation, I will be moving to Berlin. Since living there for 6 months on my Year Abroad, I fell in love with the city and the people there and have been eager to go back ever since. I will be working at the Lebanese Embassy, subject to security clearance, and will initially be working in the passport department. As around half the staff are German and half Lebanese, I will be able to use both German and Arabic on a daily basis while gaining an insight into how an embassy runs. I hope to be able to assist with translation and interpreting as needed.

How did your languages degree from Durham University prepare you for your job?

I believe being able to study two languages in depth will help me massively in my career, particularly in my upcoming job where there will be no native English speakers other than myself. I have loved the challenge of learning languages and believe that employers see this dedication and ability to learn new things as extremely important in the workplace. At Durham, we gave presentations in the target language on a regular basis, which helped to hone public speaking and presentation skills which will be useful in many different areas of work.