Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Languages in action

Edinburgh alumni are spread all over the globe. Here, we spotlight five recent graduates who have been making an impact thanks to their study of languages.

Zoë Windle and Lyndsay Cochrane

From McEwan Hall to Bafang

Swapping graduation scrolls for boarding passes, Zoë Windle and Lyndsay Cochrane embarked on the two-month student-led Anti-Malarial Outreach Project to Cameroon in 2013.

Partnered with local student group Come Over II, the team of eight medics, biologists and linguists worked to highlight how certain diseases could be prevented. Travelling to remote villages, they conducted surveys and held awareness sessions on malaria, waterborne diseases and AIDs.

Based in a French-speaking region, Zoë and Lyndsay’s language skills helped to deepen their connection with the Cameroonian partners and the community members.

Beyond a test of linguistic competence, the residence was also an eye-opener into how humanitarian projects operate on the ground.

For Zoë, this volunteering experience prepared her for undertaking a Masters in International Development in Paris, while Lyndsay has built on the third sector exposure to work for food bank charity, the Trussell Trust.

An ambassador for studying abroad

Julia Przedpelska

Returning to Warsaw after two degrees from Edinburgh, Julia Przedpelska acted on her desire to encourage young people to study abroad by joining the Kings Foundation.

Through a network of university ambassadors and mentoring schemes, this NGO helps Polish people access world-class education.

As its Chief Operations Manager, Julia supports young people in the process of making important life decisions and delivers educational projects to promote inter-cultural interactions. A highlight was giving a speech at TEDxYouth@Warsaw on how intercultural communicative competences are developed, an experience she thoroughly enjoyed.

[Studying abroad] changed me and transformed me into a more open-minded, more global citizen.
Julia Przedpelska

Correspondence from Russia

An unexpected but fortunate series of events has helped James Ellingworth (2011 MA German and Russian) build a career in journalism. Newly appointed a Business and Sports Correspondent for the Associated Press in Moscow, he started out both writing for and editing The Student newspaper at Edinburgh.

When subbing for an oil and gas news company in Edinburgh - correcting punctuation in less than exciting articles - the editors asked if anyone in the office knew German. That bit of luck and his language skills led to his first paid job writing news.

However, above all, James credits the experience he gained at the Student newspaper for getting him where he is today.

Covering the world

Camilla Hall

Camilla Hall joined the Bloomberg News graduate scheme straight after graduation, focusing on global affairs with particular emphasis on Iraq. Having set up a Middle East-focused magazine at university, she made good use of this experience and her Arabic to monitor simultaneous news reports. This led to a spell at Bloomberg's Dubai bureau, which included interviewing politicians.

Joining the Financial Times in Abu Dhabi, Camilla covered corporate and political activity in the region. In 2013, she was part of the team that won the Foreign Press Association award for best print and online feature. After five years in the Gulf, it was time for change and she transferred to New York, reporting on Wall Street and US banking.

Missing the travel and the opportunity to utilise her languages, Camilla is now is based in Los Angeles making a documentary about freedom struggles around the world.

This project has already taken her to Tunisia and India and she is relishing the global excitement that was missing.