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“Language studies with the OU helped me further my career”

A degree in foreign languages with the OU enabled Donna James to flourish both personally and professionally through her career development. She believes that her OU studies played a big part in furthering her career.

“My greatest success was passing my degree with First-Class Honours on my 25th birthday – I practically screamed the house down when my result came through!  I’d sacrificed so much of my time and cried so many tears of stress and frustration over the six years of studying, that to get that result was just fantastic!”

Donna gained a BA (Hons) in Modern Foreign Languages (French and Spanish) and believes her OU studies were one of reasons she got her current job.

Language skills were key to my job offer

“The company I work for has customers and distributors all over the world, so the fact that I can communicate in French and Spanish was one of the key factors that made them offer me the job in the first place.  And I’ve been able to use my languages already, whether it’s following up enquiries or helping to translating quotations and other documents, either from French or Spanish into English or vice versa.”

Donna’s company is really supportive of her studies and would like to develop her skills further so she can engage in active sales with foreign customers. “It looks likely that I will enrol on a technical language course funded by the company and tailored to their specific needs.” Donna is also looking forward to using her language skills when travelling in the future.

OU was the ‘ideal alternative’

Donna came to the OU after originally enrolling at a ‘traditional’ university but found it wasn’t for her.

“The OU seemed like the ideal alternative – I could study from home and get myself a job at the same time to support myself, and the fact that I haven’t got to worry about debt at the end of it is very satisfying.”

However, now she has finished her degree Donna is really proud of her achievements. “Having to go to work and then motivate yourself to do two or three hours of studying when you get home each and every night is a real feat.  But I’m so proud that I managed it, and I’ve proven to myself that with a lot of organisation and dedication it is possible to realise your potential.”

About Author

Liz works in the Media Relations team within the Communications Unit at The Open University. She has over 15 years' marketing experience working across a range of sectors, from diamonds to shampoo. She has a BSc (Hons) in Management from UMIST. In her spare time, Liz is usually found on roller skates or off travelling, having adventures.

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