Meet our new Marketing intern – Mercedes

Language undergraduate, Mercedes, joins our Marketing team for a summer internship. In this blog post, we hear about her terms abroad in France and Russia, and what she hopes to gain from her internship.

What’s your background?

I study French and Russian at UCL, and I’ve just come back from having the best time of my life in Paris and St Petersburg over the last year.

Why did you want to work in the language industry/marketing?

As you can tell from my degree, I enjoy studying languages and want to work in a job that means I can use my skillset on a day-to-day basis. I believe there’s no better way of understanding the world around you than fully immersing yourself in another language and culture – so many doors are unlocked when you can relate to someone in their own language.

Marketing is one of the most important aspects of any business, as is localising products making them accessible to potential customers in this globalised economy.

What do you love most about languages?

I’m learning a lot about marketing during my internship, and I like that it is very varied and covers many fields, which makes my work interesting. I love the challenges that we face when studying languages, and the incredible successes that come with them. For example, finally managing to hold a full conversation with a shop-keeper in Russian is one of those ‘little wins’ that make all the hard work feel worthwhile.

Tell us about your studies

I really enjoy studying linguistics, and so for my year abroad projects, I wrote about how language could be a causal effect on culture – I looked into linguistic relativity and researched if and how homophobia in Russia might be explained through aspects of Russian vocabulary. For the French side, I wrote a research essay into how English loan words could be a potential threat to the French language. Being able to finally choose my own essay topics meant that I really enjoyed writing these projects.

What would you consider to be your biggest professional success?

I was fortunate enough to receive a private language scholarship for my studies in Russia and I wrote monthly reports about my time in St Petersburg in Russian and then translated them into English, and my feedback was that they got better and better each month.

I even managed to hold a Skype call in Russian. I definitely had sweaty palms by the end of it!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Aside from being happy and healthy, hopefully working in a job in which I can use my language skills and travel the world!

What makes you get out of bed in the morning?

Excitement for the day ahead. There’s no time to waste – today is a gift that’s why they call it the present.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

I enjoy being active and trying new things. I recently only just learnt how to ride a bike (yes – shocking!) and so I’m enjoying getting outdoors in the good weather and riding around. I’ve been trying out boxing which is really great, as is walking, running, and going to the gym. I love trying new food from all over the world and spending quality time with my friends and my family. Of course, I love to travel, and so I try to get in some holidays when I can.

Do you speak any other languages?

Aside from French and Russian, I know some basic German and Polish.

Who inspires you?

My insanely talented friends who speak more languages than me. One day I’ll catch up!

Any funny language stories to share?

In my term abroad, I lived with the funniest girl who created her own phrases in Russian, such as “if it’s not potatoes or chocolate, I don’t like it”. I’d walk in to find her doing the splits in the corridor next to her life-sized stuffed kangaroo, and eating a bowl of fried potatoes. She made up her own words and used sobaka (dog in Russian) as a term of endearment.

Any tips for those wanting to learn another language?

Be brave, and dare to speak with other native speakers – that’s the best and fastest way you will improve.

Once you get over the initial mental block of learning a new language it will start to come so much more naturally to you, just persevere, and the rewards of understanding a new culture and way of life will come to you.

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