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Laura Allen (BA German and Management Studies 2006)

Biography

As a keen linguist I always wanted to continue my study of German after secondary school and improve my competence in that language. I now teach German at a secondary school in Surrey and I am Head of the German department. I am extremely pleased to be using my language skills every day and to be helping others to get better at theirs.

Why did you choose to study at the University of Reading?

I loved the campus at the University of Reading and on my visit there, all the tutors seemed very friendly and approachable. Coming from Kent, I also liked the proximity to my home town.

What was the best bit about living and studying in Reading?

I think that the best bits for me were the sociable campus and the friendliness of staff and students there.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Make sure you manage your time effectively, learn what it means to be an independent learner and remember to treasure each memory as the years fly by!

If applicable, how did you benefit from spending a year abroad / a year in industry?

It wasn't until I spent a year abroad in Germany that my language skills really improved - it really is true that the best way to learn a language is to live there. It also teaches you about the culture behind the language(s) you are learning and there is no textbook that can do this for you.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

After graduating, I worked for a year as a Graduate Intern for the Widening Participation Office on the Whiteknights Campus and then chose to start my teacher training through the Graduate Teacher Programme. Since then I have worked in 2 schools as a German teacher and am now Head of German and Co-Director of the Language College at my current school in Surrey.

What would be your top tips for students interested in working in this sector?

I would recommend you get lots of work experience, make informed choices and work hard to make sure you stay on top of your language skills and what is going on in the world of education.

How has the University of Reading and the Careers Centre helped in your chosen career path?

During my time at Reading I was able to take part in volunteering schemes and the Students' Associate Scheme which meant that I had a good idea, before my teacher training, that this career would be a good choice for me.

What are your top tips for students graduating this year? What should they be doing to secure the job they want?

Grades are not enough! Employers have to see that students are diverse in their interests, that they have work experience and/or evidence that they really want to enter a particular industry, especially if it's competitive.

What does the University mean to you and what is your favourite memory?

As a Reading resident 8 years after graduating, Reading has a special place in my heart. I think most young people do a lot of growing up during their time at university and one of my most treasured memories is probably the day I graduated, when all the hard work, tears, frustration and stress in the final year becomes elation and happiness!

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