Do you work or study?
I graduated a few years ago and I’m now in full time employment. I’m currently a student at Queen’s University, Belfast.
What is your job?
I’m currently an English teacher working for the British Council in Ho Chi Minh City.
Why did you choose that job?
I was previously a lawyer and found it to be really stressful and never had any free time, so after quitting that job I thought teaching might be the complete opposite of being a lawyer, you know not as stressful and more time off.
Are there lots of English teachers in Ho Chi Minh City?
Oh yes! There is a such a big demand for English as a second language here and it’s also quite a cheap place to live compared to many other big cities in Asia.
Do you enjoy your job?
Most of the time. It’s very rewarding to be able to help people every day and the students here are very hardworking and fun to teach, but you sometimes have lessons that do go so well and the money could always be better.
Do you get on well with your co-workers?
Yes, fine. I don’t really see work as part of my social life, so I don’t socialise with them, so I suppose I could be more friendly, but it’s just my nature to be a bit colder with colleagues. I think it’s more professional to be that way
What was your first day at work like?
All of the teachers’ main responsibility is to plan good lessons and then teach them to the best of our ability. On top of that we have several admin. tasks to carry out like mark homework, fill out attendance sheets and write reports.
Would you like to change your job in the future?
Yes, as I said before, I like working by myself, so I would like to be my own boss. I’m currently developing my own website, so if it’s successful I will leave teaching and work on it full time. This will also give me more time to work on other projects.
What is your typical day like in work?
I normally have 2 or 3 classes in the evening and I start the day by doing all the planning at home. This normally takes between an hour or two depending on the lessons. I then take the rest of the day to spend with my family, before going to work around 3 to print off my materials and then I teach all evening.
What would you change about your job?
As with most English teachers, we have to teach what is on the curriculum and this can mean that you are teaching some things that are quite boring or not very useful for your students, so I would like to have more freedom to teach outside the syllabus.
What do you study?
I study law because it’s a really well thought of degree and I’m hoping to pursue it as a career in the future.
Is it a popular subject at your university?
Very popular, in fact it’s one of the most sought after courses. I think there are about 350 people reading law at Queen’s. I think lots of student’s parents want them to study law so they can get a good job after they graduate.
Do you enjoy studying it?
t’s such a huge subject that there will always be parts you like and parts you don’t like. I find Human Rights fascinating because it can really make a difference to peoples’ lives. On the other hand, modules like Land Law and Equity are really boring.
Do you get along with your classmates?
Yes, they are all really great. Most people like to socialise together in the evenings and this makes us a very tight group. If you know someone socially, it is much easier to work together in class.
If you could change to another subject, what would it be?
I planned to study medicine, but then when I went on work experience I fainted at the first sight of blood, so definitely not that. I’m a real history buff and read books about World War 2 all the time, so I suppose it would have to be Modern History.
Do you plan to use the subject you are studying in the future?
Yes, I’ve already started to apply for jobs as a lawyer. We normally have to secure a job a year before we graduate and then work very hard to get a high overall mark. After that, I will probably do a Masters in law to become a specialist in one particular area.
What is the most difficult part of your subject?
You have to remember lots of legislation and cases and not only remember their names, but also how the affect each part of the law and how they interact with each other. Physically it can also be exhausting because we have to read very dense texts for a few hours every day.
What would you like to study in the future?
As I said before, my favourite type of law is Human Rights, so I would like to do a masters in International Human Rights Law. it’s right at the cutting edge of my field and there are also lots of very high profile cases in the media, so it’s really exciting and something I would like to become an expert in.
Why did you choose your university?
Mostly because it is close to my hometown and most of my friends were going there. I kind of regret it now. It’s a great university, but because it’s so close to home it doesn’t give you much of a chance to experience new things and meet new people. If I were to choose again, I’d study abroad