Asian Studies

Meet our graduates: Francesca Triggs

While working as a trainee solicitor, Francesca (MA Hons, 2017) has recently had her research on “Positive Energy” in Chinese discourse published in the British Journal of Chinese Studies.

Francesca Triggs has achieved a lot in the few short years since graduating with an MA Hons in Chinese from the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) in 2017.

Photo of Francesca Triggs
Francesca Triggs

Having moved to London to work as a trainee solicitor - now Associate - at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, she has also continued to fine-tune her original research into The Ideological Function of “Positive Energy” Discourse - the subject of her undergraduate dissertation.

In 2019, her article appeared in the British Journal of Chinese Studies (Vol 9 No 2) and has since been viewed over 2,000 times, much to the delight of her supervisor Dr Mark McLeister (Lecturer in Chinese Studies) who comments: “This is an amazing achievement and demonstrates what our students are capable of.”

Asked what it’s like to have her work published, Francesca says: “Writing my dissertation involved a lot of time alone, plagued by self-doubt (at one point I thought I might fail my final year because of it), so it's pretty unreal to see a revised version of it published now. I'm very grateful to my supervisors (Mark McLeister and Daniel Hammond, with input from Roddy McDougall) for their support.”

From Chinese to Law via Student Enterprise

Before the third year of her degree, which Francesca spent in Taiwan, she did some work experience with a lawyer in Singapore (where she spent several years as a child), an experience which has gone on to shape her career.

As she explains: “I loved the problem-solving nature of the work, applied for a vacation scheme at Freshfields while I was still in Taipei, and was offered a training contract the summer before starting my final year at Edinburgh.” 

“While I hope to use my Chinese at work in the future, soft skills like time and project management have been most important to my transition between study and work. I didn't have long to research and write my dissertation (I changed topic two months before the deadline), so I needed to plan my time very carefully.”

“It's important for students to be aware that academic studies alone won't equip you very well for working life. My time with the committee of what's now the Student Enterprise Society (formerly iCue) was really helpful in highlighting areas I needed to work on outside my degree.”

We asked Francesca to give our undergraduate students some top tips on dissertation writing, which we've turned into a short animation.

Video: Not sure how to approach your undergraduate dissertation video
Not sure how to approach your undergraduate dissertation video

Are you interested in studying Chinese?

The University of Edinburgh is the only university in Scotland to offer both single and joint honours degree programmes in Chinese. You’ll complete a four-year MA degree, with your third year spent in full, or in part, in either China or Taiwan. You’ll learn to speak Mandarin, to read and write classical and modern standard Chinese, and take courses on Chinese and East Asian society, literature, history, culture and philosophy, from earliest times to the present day. Our programmes are designed for complete beginners.

Find out more about studying undergraduate Chinese in LLC

Related links

Read Francesca's article on the British Journal of Chinese Studies website