A passport to travel the world

2nd April 2004 at 01:00
NNot all Paul Keogh's pupils go on to study French at university, but what they learned in his classes has landed many of them a job and the opportunity to travel:

* French was not sports-mad Dominic Botwright's strongest point, but he got his first full-time job in Normandy with an activity holiday company, working for 18 months with disabled children on the strength of his French GCSE. The firm sent him to the French Alps as a snowboarding instructor with corporate clients, where his ability often came in useful. Now 20, he lives in Bulgaria and has achieved his dream of skiing for a living by working as an instructor.

* His brother Andre, 23, did not set out to use languages, but as a car salesman for Renault in Harrogate he regularly finds himself speaking to headquarters in France, relying on his GCSE French. He also used French in his previous job, working for international customer care with the mobile phone company T Mobile.

* A modern languages degree granted Louise Marris, 28, an unexpected passport into the pop world. Following her degree, she spotted a newspaper advertisement for a researcher to tour with French-Canadian singer Celine Dion. The competition was fierce, but in the end her French qualifications got her the job, which is based in Montreal, Canada, close to where the singer grew up. Louise has since travelled all over the world with Ms Dion.

* A job with top international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was Helen Gill's reward for gaining a degree in law-with-French at Nottingham university. Helen, 21, landed the job with the firm partly on the strength of her ability in French. The firm employs 2,500 lawyers in 28 offices around the world and she can now look forward to the possibility of working in Geneva or Hong Kong.

* Chris Yull went into medicine, but found a good use for his A-level French during his gap year working as a ski instructor in Morzine, France, near the border with Switzerland. He found himself acting as a translator for paramedics several times when accompanying injured British skiers by ambulance to hospital. Now 25 and a junior doctor at Queen Margaret's hospital in Dunfirmline, he is about to have a blitz on his French with the aim of going out to French-speaking West Africa with Medecins Sans Fronti res.

* Heidi Girardier, now 28, decided that she would become a teacher after producing a 10-minute radio programme in French while at King James's and winning a national competition. Although the school had thought she would only achieve a D grade at French A-level, her determination and the school's support resulted in a B. Following her completion of a PGCE in modern languages at Leeds university, she is now teaching at Holmfirth high school in Huddersfield.

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