Friends for life from the CertTESOL and beyond

Vicky took the CertTESOL course with us back in 2011 and since then, she travelled extensively, added to her growing list of academic qualifications and made new friends around the world.

Why did you decide to take the Trinity CertTESOL and why Active Language in Cadiz?

From a young age, I dreamt of travelling, but as is often the case, life got in the way, and having spent a decade in the betting shop industry (two of which were post-degree), I began questioning what on earth I was doing with my life. I started looking into career options that would allow me to travel, and – along with recommendations from friends and family – decided upon teaching, and further still in my research, I discovered Trinity. I wanted to study somewhere I’d never been before, and somewhere which would allow me to immerse myself in a new culture, and that’s how I happened upon Active Language in Cadiz.

Was Cadiz what you expected? What’s it like?

Cadiz definitely exceeded my expectations! True laid-back Andalusian life at its finest! Wandering around narrow cobble-stone streets of an evening and relaxing on the beach with friends at weekends. And never underestimate what a post-assignment rooftop brandy and coke can do for the soul!

What were the highlights for you on the Trinity CertTESOL course?

My fellow students (many of whom I’ve stayed in touch with and met up with over the years in our respective countries as well as on the road) and amazingly supportive teachers! What really struck me was how supportive everyone was, and how we clubbed together to pull each other through stressful times: forming study groups, proof-reading each other’s essays, building each other up after a lesson observation that didn’t go to plan, and generally just taking care of one other. Role-playing a young learners’ class and learning Welsh as a foreign language also spring to mind! “Hoffi ti coffi anyone?!”

What have you done since you finished the course?

It would be quicker to say what I haven’t done, to be honest! I taught for a short time in Málaga, before heading to South Korea to teach in a kindergarten/ after-school academy. I then travelled Asia and Europe for 3 months, before taking up a position at IH in Riga, Latvia. I later returned to Korea for another year, during which time I completed a British Council SEN course online and sat the Cambridge YL exam. At this point, I decided I’d like to take the next step and move into mainstream teaching, so I returned home to London and gained Primary QTS through School Direct training. Oh and let’s not forget the mad rush to learn to drive and pass my driving test (first time; two minors!) in order to get to and from my training school!

I then packed my bags again and set off for Beijing, China, to teach Reception at a British international school, where I could marry my love of English teaching with my newly-acquired teaching skills and curriculum knowledge. During my time in Beijing, I completed an online British Sign Language course and also began studying a self-funded online Masters Degree in Special and Additional Learning Needs. I am still studying for this MA, and recently moved to Guangzhou in China, where I’m teaching Year 1 in a highly-regarded 8-form entry British international school.

My future goal is to move into a special educational needs support role, and perhaps into a SENCO position further down the line. Many of my prospective research topic ideas (still a year away) are actually looking at both additional learning needs alongside English as an additional language, or cultural perspectives of such.

In my personal life, I have been fortunate enough to immerse myself in the cultures of the countries I’ve lived in, and visit some breath-taking places that I had previously only dreamed of. As well as this, I have visited many other countries, predominantly in Asia, and have met so many wonderful people that I now have the pleasure of calling friends. I’m actually just returning from a trip to Vietnam as I type this and am in the process of planning the itinerary for my Christmas trip to South Africa to visit a friend I made in South Korea!

Within my new city of Guangzhou, I am currently involved in the organisation of several social events and a Movember charity event, and until recently, was indulging my new-found love of Zumba twice per week. Sadly, this is on hold as I’ll be undergoing surgery to correct an ankle injury sustained from a scooter accident in Beijing – oops! The thought of surgery in another country would have terrified the life out of me 8 years ago, but since starting my international journey at Active Language in 2011, the concept of ‘foreign’ no longer exists – I just call it ‘life’, now!


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