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Claire Franks

From my GCSEs I knew I wanted to pursue languages. I came across Aston when researching Translation Studies courses as at the time it was one of very few universities that offered this at Undergraduate level. As soon as I visited the campus I knew it was where I wanted to go, so I was delighted when I got my place on the BSc in Translation Studies - French and German.

My highlights of University life were definitely the Year Abroad in terms of languages, and more generally my time spent in RAG (the charity and fundraising society). My involvement as a committee member in second year was immensely rewarding, particularly acting as a founding member of the Relay for Life, which I am thrilled to see has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

I divided my Year Abroad between France and Germany. My first half was spent as a teaching assistant and au pair in Paris and the second working in a translation agency in Berlin. I found that living with a French family really helped to improve my French and gave me a home away from home. Working with lots of energetic and enthusiastic children gave me a lot more confidence in my language skills, which set me up well for a more classic work environment in Berlin. In the translation agency I was given a variety of tasks and worked with the help of a mentor who taught me a great deal about the field of translation and the working world in general. When I returned to Aston, they kept me on as a freelance translator and proof-reader and also invited me back to work in-house for a week during my final year. I still take on occasional projects and keep in touch with my former colleagues.

Since graduating, I have moved to Paris with my fiancé (we actually met on placement in a supermarket in France- another highlight of the Year Abroad), as I had planned to do for some time. I worked for one year at the International Chamber of Commerce as a legal secretary and have now moved on to work as a recruitment consultant at TM International. It is a small agency specialised in recruiting bilingual assistants (they placed me in my first job so come highly recommended!) so I am constantly switching between English and French, which I find very rewarding.

Claire Franks

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