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Kathleen Garner (BA German 1968)

Biography

I worked for many years in organisations where I could use my languages, mostly secretarial but also translation work. More recently I moved to the Office for National Statistics where I became a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society. I have also been very active in politics and am currently campaigning as a parliamentary candidate for 2015.

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

Because I liked the sound of the course, in particular the offer of a year at a German university. I was also keen to take Italian as a third subject in my first year.

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

The closeness of the various university buildings and halls, the older buildings and the lovely walk across Whiteknights Park. Also the help and support from friends on the same course.

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

Always try and think a little further beyond the subject than you need to. Keep abreast of your studies rather than leaving everything until the last minute. Try and read more than absolutely necessary.

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

The year abroad made me fluent in German and with a good accent. It gave me a greater understanding of Germany and its people. It expanded my knowledge of the subject and working there over the summer gave me confidence to take employment abroad at a later stage. I made some good friends from both Germany and the USA whom I still know.

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

I am now involved full time in politics and am a PPC. This happened gradually but I only had the time for it when I had to stop work for some years following my divorce. However, it continued once I resumed work. Now I am retired it is easier to fit these activities into my life. I also have my own home and two lovely children.

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

If you are female try not to be cast in the secretarial role as there are more opportunities elsewhere.

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

Speak and write good, grammatical English.

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

My four years at university were certainly the best of my life. Probably my best memory is punting along the Neckar while at university in Germany. Next best is my first sight of the Faculty of Letters building at Reading.

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