"Immersion in the language was massively important, and I came back from that year virtually fluent in German. I would say that it is virtually impossible to study a foreign language without spending at least a year in that country, even if you don't formally study the language while you're there. In fact, it's an opportunity to broaden your academic horizons while maintaining your language improvement.
Experiencing a different HE system also gave me a far firmer understanding of our own HE system. Students in Germany seemed to take their studies far more seriously than in the UK, degrees last far longer and are more bespoke, built from modules chosen by the student which can reflect changes of interest over time.
It was during this year that I began to really focus on my studies, and also developed my interest in film studies. I went on to gain a Masters degree in European Film Studies at Edinburgh University.
Following university, I went to work as a radio producer for the BBC, and I now work as Director of Radio for a small but successful media charity, the Prison Radio Association. Although my residence abroad has not directly helped me get these jobs, I think having been exposed to a different country's media for a year has given me a unique perspective on our own media landscape.
I regret not having used my German more in my career - it was always my plan to but I got married and had children not long after graduation, and so it became less of an option. However, having lived overseas for a year, I am now looking out for opportunities to take my family to Germany for a year or two, and if I do end up taking this route, my experience in Mainz will be the main reason."