How did you get to where you are now?
I gained a scholarship pre-final year through the Business Education Initiative (BEI) to study business for a year in the United States. While there I took an optional class in ‘History of Education’ and found it interesting. I also started going out with a girl from Chile. After the year I returned to Queens to complete my final year.
Following this I interviewed with various accounting firms and secured a job offer for which I managed to negotiate a deferred start.
I applied to teach English in Chile for a year through the British Council, with the option to return to take up the accounting job. I liked the teaching so much that I began thinking of a permanent career change. I was advised by an experienced English teacher in Chile to do a Post-graduate Certificate in Education if I was serious about teaching. I applied for and was accepted to do a PGCE in secondary mathematics at Birmingham City University and I contacted the accounting firm to explain my decision.
Following the PGCE I taught for two years in Birmingham, then moved to Chile and taught maths at a British school where I was promoted to head of year. I married my girlfriend (from Chile) and after two years in Santiago, Chile, we looked for opportunities abroad. She got a scholarship to study a PhD in Hong Kong and I got a job at Harrow International School Hong Kong, a boarding school where we both now live.
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills at Queen's
I took a careers course in my final year at Queens. This helped me better understand what employers look for in graduates and gave me a better idea of what to expect when interviewing with firms.
I attended two employer presentations. Both were useful but one was especially good as the partner whom I would be working under turned out to have the same first and last name as me. I was introduced to him, we chatted for quite a while, and when I had my interview a few days later it felt like I already knew everyone in the room. I was offered the job too!
Advice for other Queen's students
Keep an open mind. Take opportunities when they come along. Be flexible. See the world. A lot of people find reasons not to step outside their comfort zone. If you take the first step and apply for something ‘different’ (a placement abroad, a scholarship, a job requiring relocation or travel, etc.) you could find yourself up against much less competition than anticipated.