On 23 and 24 March 2017 over seventy students and staff from Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield and UCL flocked to London for the 10th edition of the ALCS Student Days.
Christine Sas (UCL) put together an informative, inspiring and fun programme for all students of Dutch in the UK and Ireland. Both mood and content of this edition of the Student Days underlined that Dutch Studies is an exciting study option and that our students become part of a community that offers plenty of (career) opportunities.
The two-day event kicked off with a workshop subtitling. Prior to the Student Days, all participants from Beginner to Advanced levels were asked to pick their favourite Flemish or Dutch short film. Cinema Bioscoop and UCL’s Centre for Translation Studies first presented the basics of screen translation and then the students were invited to get stuck in. In small groups they tackled no less than nine short films: eight were given English subtitles, one was translated into Dutch.
The subtitling was not just practice but the real thing: the newly subtitled short films were shown to the students and the general public in the trendy RADA Studios that very evening. How fabulous to see the students applying their Dutch linguistic and cultural knowledge to unlock the work of young Dutch and Flemish filmmakers for an international audience.
On the Friday morning our Careers Panel of alumni agreed: they had not anticipated that choosing to study Dutch would prove so crucial to their career path. From the freelance translators –Tom Warne, Mark Potter, Scott Emblen-Jarrett – to Debbie Iles (Staffing and Recruitment for Benelux), Aimée Hardy (London Regional manager Anne Frank Trust), Lauren Harris (spokesperson and Senior Communications Advisor Dutch Embassy) and Christina Barningham (Foreign and Common Wealth Office, Brussels), they all confirmed that having Dutch on their CV made them stand out when applying for jobs. Their tips for the students in a nutshell: be bold; be aware how special your language and cultural skills are; and don’t miss out on networking opportunities.
The final slot was for NOS correspondent Tim de Wit. Before shooting off to put together an item for the Dutch main evening news, De Wit shared his experience of his first two years as a correspondent in the UK and Ireland. His anecdotes struck a cord with anybody who works in UK-VL/NL circles, but there was a serious message too: he stressed the importance of ethical journalism, of the continued necessity to tell the full story of the UK to a Dutch audience, in particular in the light of Brexit.
The ALCS expresses their gratitude first and foremost to UCL and Christine Sas for organising such a top event, to UCL for their hospitality, Cinema Bioscoop and Centre of Translation Studies at UCL for their inspiring workshop.
We could not showcase the wealth and opportunities of Dutch and Flemish Studies without the support of The Netherlands Embassy and Flanders House and of course, as always, the Dutch Language Union.