What an insight into the many gateways which studying a Modern Language opens! Evading life-threatening situations, including being held at gunpoint and charming the assailants with GCSE Spanish, and winning over a future boss by playing a French song.
On the evening of 13th November, LXX and XX linguists had the privilege of enjoying an evening with three speakers who have used their foreign language skills in many walks of life, and who regaled us with extraordinary tales of their experiences with languages. We learned of the many career options that language qualifications present, ranging from espionage to international negotiations to teaching and translation. What an opportunity to benefit from their extensive backgrounds in modern languages and to understand how their qualifications have positively impacted their lives. It was fascinating and inspiring to listen to their stories, first as a formal presentation and following this, as informal conversations over supper. We can only hope that our futures in modern languages unfold similarly. Thank you to Dr Smith and the Modern Languages Department for organising this event.
Here are the career paths of the three speakers:
Dinti Batstone grew up in Asia and came to the UK as a teenager. After gaining a Sixth Form scholarship to Rugby, Dinti won 'UK Young Linguist of the Year 1990" before going on to read Social & Political Sciences at Pembroke College, Cambridge.
Funding herself through law school with freelance translation and interpreting work, Dinti qualified and practised as a lawyer at City law firm Linklaters in London and Hong Kong. From there she moved to the world's largest independent television production company, FremantleMedia, negotiating television deals across Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. After a detour for an MBA at INSEAD business school in France, Dinti returned to London and - somewhat unexpectedly - got elected to Lambeth Council. Politically active for the next decade as a policy-maker and campaigner, Dinti served as a councillor, stood for the European Parliament and chaired a policy working group during the Coalition years.
Most recently, Dinti has combined family life with non-executive roles including as a trustee of the Fawcett Society (the UK's leading feminist charity), advisory board member of upReach (a social mobility charity) and board member of the Arnold Foundation for Rugby School.
Dinti speaks fluent Italian, Spanish and French, very rusty Japanese and Portuguese, and has set herself a target of learning (modern) Greek by her 50th birthday.
Kiersten Sparke studied French & German at the University of Durham. Graduate trainee programme in insurance and risk management - Sedgwick (UK based company operating internationally), followed by Business Develpment Exec - Sedgwick Europe, based in Paris. SVP European Marketing - Marsh McLennan (US based financial and risk management company) based first in London and then Paris.
Self-employed translator based in UK; Communications Officer, UK Delegation to NATO, Brussels. Currently self-employed translator and French teacher in Rugby.
Fiona Fleming, teacher of Learning Development (Extra English) at Rugby School and formerly tutor in Southfield.
University of Edinburgh; Studied Mandarin at Beijing Languages Institute
Graduated MA (Hons) in Chinese (Japanese was a subsidiary subject)
Taught English to employees of a transport company in Japan (via precursor to JET scheme)
Worked as a Fund Manager investing in Asian -Pacific and Japanese stockmarkets
Self-employed EFL teacher to local businesses and overseas students
Coventry Technical College - Trinity College London Cert.TESOL