Nina Peronius: BA (Hons) English Literature with American Literature 2012-2015, Strategic Communications Officer, Cabinet Office

16 Dec 20
Two women sitting at a conference desk

“Last year I was working in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and while working one day at the British Embassy, I spotted a picture of Winchester Cathedral up on the wall. It was the most surreal feeling but did make me think it was almost a sign that I was on the right path, Winchester teaches you confidence that you can apply to anything.“

Nina Peronius went from studying in Winchester to working on international communications projects in the UK Government. After graduating in 2015 with a BA (Hons) in English Literature with American Literature, Nina now works for the Government Communications Service within the Cabinet Office, building strategic communications capability internationally. Since joining the civil service in May 2019, she has worked with governments in East Africa, Uzbekistan, Oman and Tunisia. Nina says that her time at Winchester helped her develop the skills she needed to work internationally.

“After University, I knew that I wanted to apply the communications skills I had developed during my time at Winchester to my career, coupled with my degree’s focus on world literature and accompanying narratives i.e. transatlantic, African American. I knew I wanted to work in an international setting, applying my knowledge and skills in an impactful and global way.“

“I remember writing an essay on the Ferguson riots in 2014. This really ignited a passion for activism and civil responsibility, and the role of literature and communications in this. We were always encouraged to challenge and question within my degree at Winchester and I really think these skills and the confidence to apply them has led me to actively challenge and question in my career.”

Outside of her studies, Nina found different ways to make an impact and get experience working with people. These experiences combined with her degree helped Nina to secure her first job as a Staffing Coordinator for NCS The Challenge, and she has since gone on to work in internal communications at Save the Children and the NSPCC, before joining the civil service last year.

“While studying at Winch, I completed a volunteering module working for Relate, a relationships charity, volunteering weekly for a few months. I also took part in the Raising and Giving Society and I think channeling my energy into making a difference and making space for these activities helped me to discover what I wanted to achieve in my career. I have continued to volunteer in my own career as well as training as a mental health first aider.”

While studying and volunteering, Nina also found time to work at the Student Union bar and as a tour guide. This is where she made friends and gained experience working in a team.

“I worked at the Student Union as a Bar Supervisor while at University, playing an active role in Union life and regularly attending and supporting events held at the union. I was on the other side of the bar at BOP. We have the ‘one union’ tagline and it really is like a community –  my closest friends today are those I met behind the Winch SU bar. It teaches you to manage your time and prioritise, it makes you become a well-rounded person, ready for working life.”

“I had such a positive experience and really loved the atmosphere and energy at Winchester. I wanted to share that with prospective students and loved working as a tour guide for the University during my second and third years. I have good memories of this job including showing someone around that went to my school in Croydon.”

Nina looks back at all her University memories fondly including her time working for the Student Union but she says graduation is what she thinks about the most because, for her, it really summed up her whole Winchester experience and the start of her career.

Graduation was the most amazing day – to celebrate your achievements and your friends’ achievements in Winchester Cathedral with your lecturers and university leaders. It was really special. I also received a phone call telling me I got my first job out of uni on the day of graduation. It was really nice to study somewhere that was calmer than where I grew up in London. It was a romantic place to study literature and I was able to build my own life rather than be one of many in London.”

Nina is happy in her current role, but her next goal is to develop new skills in her passion for communications and as such is looking to study a Masters degree alongside her work.

“I am looking into a Masters in International Communications to further my career prospects and work towards a role in international organisations like the United Nations for example. It would also be a good way to challenge myself because I have developed my skills in working but I want to develop my academic skills further as well.“

Now that Nina has experience working in communications using her Literature degree, she has some great advice for current students who may not know what they want to do after university.

“Many of my friends and myself didn’t know our jobs existed while we were studying; our roles now are so varied. While English Literature wasn’t the most vocational degree, it encouraged me to make my own way and challenge myself. Ultimately, if you enjoy what you are doing, you can’t go too far wrong.”

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