Laurel Henning read English and French at Liverpool and graduated in the summer of 2012. Laurel, who spent her year abroad in Meaux as an English language assistant, now works as a journalist in Belgium.
In part, the year in Meaux inspired Laurel to think about working abroad after graduation. She comments “The chance to live abroad not only advanced my language skills, but really built my confidence and independence. I knew during my final year that I wanted to try and live abroad once I had graduated.” Laurel had long been interested in journalism, and spent some time seeking ways to combine her interest and flair for French with this career path.
Getting into journalism is notoriously competitive, and after several rejections, Laurel was delighted to be offered a six-month paid journalism traineeship in Brussels with MLex. After six months, Laurel was delighted to be retained as an accredited journalist, reporting on energy and climate policy in the EU and working for a company that has the largest number of reporters in Brussels.
According to Laurel, this career path has not been without its challenges. She continues, “It’s been a baptism of fire, but my French skills have been invaluable. I don’t speak French as often as I’d like and we report in English, but I often have to report from the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg and they don’t always supply English interpretation. It was quite a shock the first time this happened – trying to grasp legal jargon in your own language is hard enough!”
In part, Laurel attributes her success so far to the confidence that she acquired during her degree, and the communicative side of her French studies. “Every week we have to present our story ideas in front of the office and that’s pretty intimidating when you’re brand new, but it’s important to present clearly and calmly.”
Now well established in Brussels, Laurel acknowledges the part her degree played in her career success thus far; “I’m doing my dream job, and I don’t think I’d be here without the experience and knowledge I gained at Liverpool studying French.”
Congratulations, Laurel, and good luck in the future!