Instagram stories: helping students to start their next chapter

01 May 2017

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60 languages students from Highams Park School in London met with Instagram last week to learn more about the career benefits of being multi-lingual.

Czech native Veronika led an engaging hour-long discussion with the students, who were eager to hear more about how languages had helped her to travel the world and ultimately secure her current job in Instagram's Public Policy department.

The event was facilitated by Reed in Partnership as part of its 'Young Careers' pilot, which it delivers on behalf of the government to provide London students with useful and relevant careers advice.

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Students were left inspired after hearing how languages student Veronika has travelled the world - starting with Mississippi when she was just 17 - by applying for scholarships in different countries.

"I wanted to see different countries and experience different cultures", said Veronika. "If I didn't do it from a young age, I wouldn't be where I am today."

Veronika encouraged students to develop their language skills - and career prospects - by applying for scholarships, internships and work experience in different countries:

"Get as much experience and as many internships as possible", she said. "Knowledge can get you the furthest. If your applications are declined, just keep going; push back, pursue, and never give up."

The session prompted an enthusiastic discussion between Veronika and the students, who were clearly inspired and had lots of questions for Veronika about her experiences.

"I very much enjoyed speaking with the students today", said Veronika. "I took them from talking about public policy and how it works at Instagram, to how I got to my role at Instagram and what career steps I took from the age they are now - 16.

"The students asked questions throughout the presentation which I really hoped they would - it's much more interesting that way.

"I think the one thing they wanted to know the most was 'how do I get work experience and internships? What do I do to get to where I want to be?'"

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Here's what some of the students had to say about the event:

Chris: "It was very good today. If I want to go and join Instagram, I know what to do.

Tye: I found today inspiring. It shows how you can have a good life and get a good job. My favourite thing was learning how some jobs can help you travel around a lot. I think that's exciting."

Matthew: "I really enjoyed today. My favourite thing was how Veronika travelled the world and learnt all the different languages. I thought it was a really interesting job to do, she's come a long way through learning all these languages and developing her skills - that's really beneficial for many different jobs and it can help you in many different aspects of life."

Jacob: "I liked the fact that we learnt about someone else's life who pursued what she wanted to do. She travelled, and I've always wanted to do that too. I'm definitely inspired."

Alvie: I really enjoyed learning about Veronika's experience, and what she did to get to where she was. It's inspired me, I want to travel and see the world - Veronika has shown me that I can do it."

Laura: "I liked learning about the different jobs and the places you can go to. I feel inspired because it shows you what you can do and what you can work towards, that you have to try for everything and you can do what you want to if you just try."

Erin: "I enjoyed Veronika talking about all the travelling she has done, it's really inspiring that you can do so much if you learn some languages. It just seems quite nice to be able to travel freely and have lots of freedom in your job and not be confined."