False Friends: Career/Carrera!

Career Confusion in English!

Career/carrera”  are a false friends in the English and Spanish languages.  “Career” in English refers to the professional long-term job you have after university.  “Carrera” in Spanish often refers to your years at university.

This means when you finish your “career” in English, you retire.  You stop working and start… um… playing golf or something.  In Spanish when you finish your “carrera” you start…um… trying to find your first job.  The two words are nearly opposites and so you must be very careful when using them.

My university students always say, “Next year I will finish my career”, which would mean, “I will stop working and relax for the rest of my life”.  I always think, “How lucky! Twenty five and you will never have a job again!”  It sounds really strange.

If you want to talk about your university years in English simply say:

When I was at college/university…

When I was studying…

When I was getting my degree…

This should clear up all confusion.

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