Aston German graduate among 30 Ones to Watch 2016

Karina Burrowes, who graduated from Aston University with a BSc in German in 2011, has been selected as one of 30 Ones to Watch 2016 by Brummel Magazine. In their fourth annual Ones to Watch list, they celebrate “the breadth, performance and achievement of bright young talent in London’s financial services sector and allied fields”. Nominees are required to be under 40 years of age and an outperformer in their market and, beyond that, need to demonstrate drive, energy and an entrepreneurial spirit. Additionally, the judges looked for evidence of a nominee’s holistic contribution to the organisation, whether internally, as a leader of a networking or advocacy group, or externally, as a champion of a charity, mentoring programme or other such project.

Karina joined the Bloomberg graduate scheme in 2011 and currently holds the position of EMEA technical support manager.

Here’s what Brummel has to say about her:

Burrowes joined Bloomberg as a graduate in 2011 and has progressed from individual contributor to leader, then manager in less than five years.
A co-leader of the Bloomberg Women’s Community, Burrowes has a strong interest in gender diversity and is an advocate for a number of women in the technical-support department. She has organised events on topics linked to diversity and inclusion, from panel discussions to a workshop for leaders on male advocacy, which explored ways of tackling workplace gender issues.

Karina, congratulations from the German staff at Aston and all the best for your future endeavors!

Aston student blogger reporting from Austria

Christmas is everywhere! Birmingham is not the only place that can be proud of its beautiful Christmas market. Linz, the third-largest city in Austria, can also make you feel like Christmas was just a few days away. Beatrice from England has just had the chance to experience that first hand, enjoying Bauernkrapfen, berry punch and beautiful Christmas lights.

She is currently on her year abroad and has been blogging and vlogging about her experiences as a teaching assistant in Austria:

Aston German Graduate Wins Prestigious Scholarship

Dr. Stefan Manz, Head of German and dissertation supervisor, congratulating Jekaterina on a student prize during the graduation ceremony in 2013
Dr. Stefan Manz, Head of German and dissertation supervisor, congratulating Jekaterina on a student prize during the graduation ceremony in 2013

Aston Graduate Jekaterina Grigorjeva awarded Euro 29,500 to do Master of Public Policy in Berlin

We are proud to announce a fantastic student achievement. Jekaterina graduated from our International Business and Modern Languages (German) programme in 2013. She writes about her grant, her aspirations, and the support she received from Aston:


Being a convinced European my biggest aspiration has always been to contribute to the development of the common European foreign policy. By winning the Future of Europe Stipend I am now able to hit the envisaged road by undertaking my studies in Master of Public Policy at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. I am expecting it to be a very intense, highly demanding degree, which should prepare me for the real world of policy making. Prior to the beginning of my studies in September 2014, I will be working for a member of the German Parliament on an International Parliamentary Scholarship provided by the German government to young people from 28 different countries.

After passing my final year exams at Aston in May 2013, I moved to Germany where I started my job in Mergers & Acquisitions at E.ON SE. After completing an acquisition project of a UK-based energy efficiency company I decided to move to Berlin to undertake a new position, also with E.ON, however in Political Affairs & Corporate Communications, where I am working at the moment.

I would have never been where I am now without the support of Aston University lecturers, who always believed in me. My applications have always been strong thanks to the recommendations and references I received from them. And even now, after I left Aston, I can still rely on valuable advice from my lecturers. I am also absolutely convinced that without the guidance from my dissertation supervisor during the final year of my studies I would have never remained as focused on my objectives as I am now.


Aston Students Run Language & Culture Twilight Sessions at Local College

The project

From January 2012 Aston students have offered extra-curricular language and culture sessions to the students of Joseph Chamberlain College in Balsall Heath.

The project is run by Routes into Languages, a publicly funded initiative to promote and encourage language learning. Aston is proud to say that we have been leading the West Midlands Consortium of Routes since the programme was launched in 2006.

Preparations for the project started in 2011 and weekly Wednesday afternoon sessions are now taught until June this year.

Joseph Chamberlain College (JCC)

Situated in close proximity of Birmingham city centre, JCC teaches many students who are high-performing, and a significant number go on to undergraduate study. However, the student population at JCC largely comes from disadvantaged ethnic minority backgrounds and have normally not previously been able to engage in language learning, either at school or at JCC, where French A level was recently introduced and is the only language on offer at this level.

JCC staff are keen for their students to broaden their horizons through these extra-curricular language and culture activities and they welcome the initiative and the enthusiasm shown by Aston students involved in the project.

Benefits of the project

The project allows Aston to engage successfully with the local community. At the same time it helps to raise the profile of language learning and it offers our students the valuable opportunity to gain work experience and enhance their employability. This is particularly relevant for future teachers.


Reactions have been extremely positive on both sides. JCC’s principal Elly Tobyn hugely appreciates the time and effort that Aston students are putting into this and the students-cum-teachers are thrilled to have been given a very warm welcome by pupils who are eager to learn – even outside of normal classroom hours.

Student testimonials

The main reason I decided to get involved in the project was because I want to go into teaching – I’ve since received an offer for my teacher training. Having mainly taught at primary level, I was really intrigued to get some experience with an older age group. We were all quite apprehensive at first, but as soon as we arrived at JCC we were welcomed warmly and the students are fantastic. They’re really enthusiastic, not just about the language but about the German culture so it’s nice to be able to answer their questions using first-hand experience from the year abroad. The students are also really interested in University life and it’s lovely to give them an insight into studying at Aston – particularly languages.

Philippa, final year Translation Studies French/German

I saw this programme as a great opportunity to try and encourage young people to get involved in languages. The students at JCC have been incredibly enthusiastic and really want to learn more about Germany and its culture, as well as picking up a bit of vocab. This has been extremely helpful in confirming my plans to become a teacher and it’s been great to tell the students more about life at Aston, which I think they’ve also enjoyed. Anyone would benefit from taking part in this programme, not just those of us who want to go into teaching!

Adrienne, final year German & Psychology

Student rage over government cuts

Student protests about the latest government cuts got out of control yesterday.

Thousands of students (an estimated number of 50,000) went to London to show their outrage about the government’s plans of raising tuition fees up to £10,000 a year.

In the beginning, the protest was peaceful but got out of hand when several protestors stormed Milbank Tower, the Conservatives’ party headquarters in Central London. The crowd destroyed the foyer’s windows and occupied parts of the building so that police had to evacuate it.

All in all, officials seemed to be unable to cope with the students’ resistance and it took them hours to control the situation.

Several protesters have been arrested and taken into custody.

The protest was the first reaction to the cuts announced by the government a few weeks ago.

What do you think about the protest and reactions? Is violence a necessary means to show your anger or do peaceful protests have to be enough?

Read more about Wednesday’s actions and watch a short news clip at Tagesschau.

Sorry, non comprendo, I’m British

Andrew McDermott’s Interview in Times Higher Education

Our third-year IBML student Andrew McDermott, who is currently doing his internship at the Deutsche Bank AG in Frankfurt, was interviewed by Matthew Reisz last week, from The Times Higher Education ( In a special report on Britain’s linguistic skills gap, Matthew Reisz discovers that, globally speaking, Brits are missing out.

Andrew McDermott has published some reflections about learning and studying German on our blog. He especially writes about the importance of language skills in everyday communication as well as in modern business contexts. Andrew thinks that many British pupils are unmotivated to learn languages because of the rigid specifications of exam boards. Moreover, he wonders, “why the overwhelming advantages aren’t explained, drilled in even, to the pupils learning, or thinking of learning, a foreign language at school”.

For him, learning German has always been great: “summer courses abroad, meeting countless new foreign friends and a chance to really get to know a foreign culture and society (…)”. But he also thinks that languages offer great carrier opportunities and open new doors. Pupils should be made aware of that as early as possible.

Read Andrew’s post here.

Hi everyone !

CIMG2714 Hi everyone!

We are the new teaching assistants for German Studies at Aston and pleased to soon meet you all. We are Elke Kösser, Mirja Gehring and Karolina Bielecka (from left).

Elke, who studied Education and Teaching German as a Foreign Language in Dresden, will give a grammar lecture and German classes. She is the new DAAD language assistant and will be here for the entire year.

Mirja is an MA student of English and American Literature in Paderborn and together with Karolina, who studies Teaching German as a Foreign Language at the Free University in Berlin, doing an internship in the German department. Both will be conducting conversation classes for you to improve your every day German. They will also offer grammar clinics each week, so that you will be able to ask any questions you have.

We are happy to be in Aston and looking forward to talking to you next week!

Elke, Mirja, Karolina

Aston PhD graduate interviewed by “Die Zeit”

Yvonne Henze and supervisor

Yvonne A. Henze, a former colleague, who taught at Aston from 2002 to 2007, has now completed her ph.d and graduated as Dr phil in March (supervised by Dr. Claudia Gremler).

Yvonne’s thesis focused on the deployment of overseas employees in German multinational companies and on the cultural challenges they face when coming to work in the German headquarters. Yvonne’s research specifically looked at the implications of intercultural training measures for these employees, asking questions such as “How are these people prepared for their stay in Germany and at the headquarters? What are the problems they encounter and how can intercultural training alleviate them?”  Her thesis revealed a complex interplay of national and corporate culture that develops when people arrive from an overseas subsidiary – and sometimes have to realise that working for a company they think they knew well can lead to unexpected challenges.

Yvonne now works at the University of Göttingen where she conducts intercultural competence trainings for students and staff and teaches postgraduate courses on intercultural communication. She was recently interviewed by major German weekly “Die Zeit” in an article on the experience of culture shock.

Another Aston student makes an impression…

Karina Burrowes wasn’t the only Aston placement student featured in a German local newspaper. Bethany Stanney, who was interviewed for the paper’s “Faces & Stories” section, is currently working as an English language assistant in a Realschule in Walsrode, a small town in Lower Saxony.

She says she loves teaching the students about things that aren’t in their schoolbooks; as a native speaker, she is able to teach them those “small words” that make a language authentic. When she brought her Blackpool school uniform to class, it led to a spirited discussion about the pros and cons of uniforms; and students who do exceptionally well are rewarded with “Blackpool rock”, a sweet delicacy from Beth’s home town.

bethany stanney walsrode

Aston student makes the headlines in Germany!

LSS student Karina Burrowes is making quite an impact during her placement year in Germany.

The contribution she’s made during her time as a teaching assistant has made such a positive impression in the local community, that she was interviewed by the local newspaper. Karina, 21, from London has not only been working as a teaching assistant, she’s spent some of her spare time running a student club for young people – introducing them to the English culture and customs.

The reporter from the local newspaper commented on Karina’s excellent command of the German language and her drive to go the extra mile.