Manager, UK-wide women’s helpline

Naomi Salisbury,

MA(Hons) Linguistics, 2001

My current career

Since graduating I have mainly worked in the voluntary sector. I currently and previously have worked in a range of mental health projects including advocacy, training, information services, mentoring services and community development services.

Why I chose linguistics at the University of Edinburgh 

I chose Edinburgh as a place to live before the subject in many ways. I lived in rural Scotland and always loved coming to Edinburgh and knew it was where I wanted to live. At school I studied three different foreign languages and loved making the links between them. I didn’t know that Linguistics was a subject until I started looking into applying to university but when I discovered it, it seemed to be the perfect fit for my interests and skills

Why I enjoyed Linguistics

It was a new and fascinating subject that I felt was the perfect match for me – this was a very exciting experience to be learning about something that I had not previously conceived of. I still remember the way practical examples about communication were demonstrated in lectures and using them in my current career in training courses. It really broadened my understanding of language and communication.

Skills I developed whilst attending the University of Edinburgh
Although what I do now is not specifically related to my degree I feel I learnt a range of skills. Key to my current role is a deep understanding of communication in all its forms and how this can have an impact on relationships. In addition I developed skills in critical analysis, research and presenting information to support a variety of views.
I love Edinburgh as a place and I feel the location of the university in the city is ideal to feel embedded in the city as well as being a student. This meant I was also able to develop my interpersonal and communication skills in a range of jobs mainly in tourism. I also volunteered in the Advice Place and on Nightline which started me on the path to my current career.

Why study Linguistics?

Linguistics is a fascinating subject which gives you knowledge and insight far beyond language – my degree incorporated psychology, sociology, philosophy, statistics, acoustics, history, anthropology and really broadened my understanding of the subject and the world around me.

How my experience at Edinburgh helped me in my career

Studying at Edinburgh gave me a range of experiences both inside and outside the university and this gave me the grounding for the role I have today. It helped me to become more open minded, further developed my interest in people and how we communicate and helped me increase in confidence in my skills and knowledge.

My advice to students making career decisions today

Don’t be restricted by jobs you’ve heard of – there are so many fascinating roles out there that I had no idea existed when I was a student. Get work experience, volunteer and do things outside university to complement your experience. Being able to offer respect and use common sense are very valuable skills, and even if a degree isn’t obviously vocational be open to where (your degree) might take you.

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