Inspiring the next generation of linguists Thursday, 03 February 2011 The modern languages department hosted a ‘World of Work’ event on 25 January 2011 to show Oxfordshire schools’ year 9 pupils the benefits and joys of learning languages. The aim of the day was to encourage students to take up languages at GCSE level and to promote the importance of communicating well with other cultures. Dr Irène Hill, Head of Modern Languages, has run the event for the past three years and has arranged inspiring talks from employers such as the BBC, Thames Valley Police and Blackwells. Schools attending were Bicester Community College, Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, Fitzharry’s School, Matthew Arnold School, Oxford School, Warriner School and Wheatley Park School. Students listened to talks by Chris Liebert from Microsoft (who speaks four European languages), Joanna Rubery and Nicholas Rollin from Oxford University Press, and Gianina Zugravu from Prime Research UK, all highlighting how languages can boost a CV and provide exciting career opportunities. Students also took part in a language taster session of Spanish, Chinese and Japanese, run by Brookes’ language lecturers. Microsoft’s Chris Liebert said: What I took away yesterday was the sense of joy in interacting with a great group of kids who were really well behaved and seemed really interested. It was nice also to get a fair few questions, which does not always happen. So, I drove back feeling a lot richer from the experience! A parent from Wheatley Park School commented that her son said it was the best school trip he has been on and a teacher from Matthew Arnold School said: It was a wonderful day and the students really got so much out of it. I had one parent call me up today on the phone to say thanks and that her son has now decided what he wants to do as a career and has chosen to do French and Spanish GCSE next year as a result of yesterday.