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Marian Henbest

BA French with German (2001), Broadcast journalist

Why did you choose Royal Holloway for your degree?

I chose to study at Royal Holloway as the modern languages department had a brilliant reputation and the course options fitted in with my interests. I was able to major in French, minor in German and still had the opportunity to take modules in drama and theatre studies and computing.

I also loved the location – Royal Holloway is close enough to London for evening and weekend trips with the fun, intimacy and safety of being on campus. The grounds are beautiful and the university is within walking distance from Windsor Great Park.

How did your time at Royal Holloway help your future career (academically or extra-curricular)?

My time at Royal Holloway helped me to gain the independence and confidence I’ve always needed in my job as a broadcast journalist, whether researching, reporting, interviewing or presenting news bulletins. I use my spoken and written French as well as my translation skills on a daily basis as I currently live and work in Paris. Thanks to my year abroad – the perfect taster! – moving to France was so much easier as I already spoke fluent French and knew about the basics… health services, banking, the dreaded red-tape and tax declarations!

What do you do now and what advice would you give to anyone thinking about a career in your sector?

I’m a broadcast journalist (TV, radio, web and animated graphics) currently working in international news for Agence France-Presse in Paris. To anyone interested in a career in journalism I’d recommend gaining as much experience as possible as early as possible – it’s a highly competitive industry! Getting involved in university and local radio, TV, web or print publications would give you a major advantage. Be prepared for long, anti-social hours and to do lots of unpaid work before gaining freelance shifts or short-term contracts. It’s definitely worth the effort as the work is fast-paced, challenging and always interesting. It can also open doors to international travel.

A degree in journalism itself isn’t necessary. It’s often better to specialise in another subject area and take a conversion course later.



Marian Henbest   

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