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Gaining experience


Finding work experience in a career that you're interested in will give you the opportunity to develop skills specific to that job, as well as enhance your proficiency in the language you are studying. There are lots of different ways you can gain work experience, whether you choose to volunteer, or undertake a placement or internship. 


Types of opportunities

Below are some examples of the different types of opportunities to gain experience while you study.

Placements will give you a long-term look at an organisation, and help you to build contacts and experience.

On some degrees, work placements are part of the programme, whilst on others you can choose to complete a placement as one of your modules. Should you choose to undertake either your first point of contact is your placement office in your Faculty.

Learn more about taking a placement


Many students choose to take a Self-Employed Placement. This allows you to work for yourself during your placement year and receive support from the University's Student Startup Team. You will have access to funding opportunities, networking events and workshops.

Learn more about Self-Employed Placements 

A high number of companies offer internships both within and outside of the UK. The companies and organisations offering internships, listed below, will give you an idea of the opportunities that may be available; you will need to do thorough research to identify further specific opportunities:

  • Go Overseas – A website where you can search for an internship, study, volunteer, or teaching position abroad as well as programmes with language schools and for gap years.
  • GoinGlobal – Exclusive to Portsmouth students and graduates, this comprehensive website dedicated to working globally offers details of thousands of internships across the globe.
  • Aktuel Translations – A technical translation company with bases in the UK, USA and Germany, working with over 400 language combinations.
  • British Council – The UK's international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.
  • GlobaLexicon – A translation service for global business providing services such as proofreading and editing, coding and voice-over.
  • THG Fluently – A translation company working with national and international clients across a variety of sectors.
  • Rosetta Translation – A worldwide translation company specialising in legal, technical, medical and financial language translations.
  • United Nations Language Careers – The UN is one of the largest employers of language professionals offering roles including interpreters, editors, verbatim reporters and terminologists.
  • Wolfestone – A global language specialist offering translation, localisation and multimedia services to high profile clients such as NATO and Coca-Cola.

Approaching local organisations, charities or community groups who would benefit from your skills is one way of gaining that all-important experience. The competencies developed will be invaluable and enhance any speculative applications you make.

The Careers and Employability Service offers current students and graduates access to a Virtual Volunteering Bank, which provides local opportunities to undertake alongside your studies.

If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team on email volunteering@port.ac.uk.
In addition to the roles advertised through our own service, there are a range of volunteering translation roles available. Translation & Interpreting (A guide to the translation industry) highlights some initial places where you can build this experience through their blog: ‘20 Best Websites for Volunteer Translators.’ 

Creating your own experience can be easier than you think, particularly using languages. There are many opportunities on campus, locally and worldwide via the internet, some ideas to consider are as follows:

  • The School of Languages and Applied Linguistics runs a Global Cafe every Wednesday from 1.30pm to 2.30pm and has previously run both on campus and virtually. This is a great place to socialise with other students from a range of countries and offers the opportunity to practice your language skills as well as supporting others with theirs.
  • The Students' Union has many cultural societies that could provide you with valuable language-related experience as well as other transferable skills.
  • If you are an international student you can work for the International Office as an International Student Ambassador. You will help to support both current and potential international students by answering any questions they have about living and studying in Portsmouth.
  • Exchanges and Study Abroad - These can provide opportunities to study or gain work experience in a different European country whilst completing a degree. For students studying European languages it can be an excellent chance to gain experience in the relevant country surrounded by native speakers. Since the UK is no longer part of the European Union the Study Abroad programme is currently transitioning from the original Erasmus programme and will be moving over to the Turing Scheme. More details will be released on this once more information becomes available.
  • Consider offering your services to local companies or individuals in the form of translation, content writing or tutoring. See our Speculative Applications Guide for information on how to approach enquiring about possible opportunities.
  • Find a language buddy or a penpal - FluentU have compiled this handy list of nine penpal websites to help you get started.
  • Write a dual language blog exploring world cultures, documenting your travels, your experience of university or any other subject you can imagine.
  • Go travelling, explore the country that is home to the language you are studying or broaden your horizons into different countries. You could potentially pick up ad hoc work as you travel or organise some before you leave.
  • Keep current with what is happening within your desired sector to support your commercial awareness. Sign up for up-to-date information on key websites focused on your industry and follow blogs for employer’s of interest such as this Translator’s blog offered by translation company Tomedes.



Building work experience

Learn more about how we can support you in securing experience and translating the skills you gain to future applications. 


Visit our work experience page




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