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Trevor Wornham

BA Language and Culture (Spanish)

Lawyer Trevor Wornham had always wanted to learn a new language, and to overcome his own doubts about his ability to do so. He chose Spanish because it is spoken so widely and began by taking classes at a local community college in Birmingham, where he lives.

After a couple of years he felt that he was ready to progress onto degree-level study and needed a course that would be flexible and allow him to study part-time. He had heard of Birkbeck and decided to enrol at the College, using the opportunity to set up a consulting room in London, in addition to his Birmingham practice.

Trevor has just completed the second year of his four-year programme and says: 'The tutors at Birkbeck are fantastic. Not only are they leaders in their own fields, they also really care about the teaching and learning experience, which I found quite different to my previous experience at university.'

Having spent several years out of formal education Trevor found that many of the skills he required for successful study needed refreshing. He comments: 'I found the first year really useful in terms of redeveloping the skills that I had lost since graduating the first time round. The course was designed in a way that enabled students to get up to speed during the first year, developing the study skills alongside knowledge in our subject area.'

'The library is also excellent,' says Trevor, 'The librarians are very knowledgeable and helpful and it is very good that a lot of the materials, including the library database, are on-line, which means I can access them even on days when I am not in London.'

When he enrolled, Trevor was not really considering the career implications of the degree but he says: 'Studying for a BA in Culture and Language (Spanish) has had unexpected benefits in my work as an immigration lawyer.  I have found that it provides a new talking and bonding point with some clients.  For example, whilst examining a client’s Portuguese passport, I commented on the drawings of Pessoa, the Portuguese writer and poet, in the design of the passport.  This caused the client almost to fall of his chair, through the shock of Pessoa being recognised outside of the Lusophone world.  My increasing knowledge of the Spanish and Portuguese speaking worlds is much appreciated by clients from those regions.'

Trevor continues: 'Studying for a BA in Culture and Language (Spanish) has not only broadened my horizons intellectually.  Whilst visiting Mexico City during reading week, and practising speaking Spanish, I met a Mexican lawyer who spoke no English.  If it were not for the skills I had learnt at Birkbeck, I would not have been able to communicate and network with the Mexican lawyer.'

'I’m now thinking about the possibility of doing a Master’s in Spanish. There’s so much that I’m interested in and I’d like to continue working on my language skills, combining it with cultural studies and reading primary sources in Spanish.'

Find out more about our cultural studies courses.

'Studying for a BA in Culture and Language has had unexpected benefits in my work as an immigration lawyer.'