Marta Estera Popescu, BA Modern Languages, University of Essex
Why did you decide to study your course at Essex?
Ever since I was in third grade I dreamed of studying abroad. Once I received an offer from the University of Essex all other options ceased to matter. The course and its diversity, the native speaker teachers, the extra-curricular and volunteering activities all made it an incredible opportunity.
What did you enjoy most about your studies? Which modules or areas of research did you particularly enjoy?
Studying foreign languages opened up a whole new world for me. I had the opportunity to study and travel abroad, meet numerous people from different countries, and immerse myself in an international experience. I also liked the technical part of my studies (grammar / vocabulary / syntax) as well as the more practical modules (translating, interpreting, subtitling).I was always curious about Psychology, so I also chose some modules outside my study area relating to it. I wanted to understand myself better and those around me to connect with them on a new level.
What career or further study skills did studying at Essex give you?
Studying Modern Languages, going abroad for one year and leading a teaching project for two years all enhanced my career skills and increased my chances of getting the job I dreamed of. Most of the work experience I gained was done through volunteering (Global Voices, Refugees Teaching Programme, One Off Projects). I have also used the valuable advice from the Career Centre in order to improve my CV.
Can you tell us about your current job, and how you got there?
After completing an online course for teaching abroad (The TEFL Academy), and obtaining my BA at Essex, I started applying online for jobs in South-East Asia, especially China, South Korea, Vietnam and Thailand. I had a few Skype interviews, and once I made my choice (and completed all the paperwork) I started working in less than a month. I am now working as an English Teacher in Ca Mau City, Vietnam.
Could you describe a typical day?
A typical day usually commences around 2 pm. I have the entire morning to myself. I teach a primary class (90 minutes), then spend the afternoon doing office work (compiling test papers, updating and reviewing old ones, marking assignments, writing reports etc.) At 6pm we start the evening classes – I generally teach 2 classes of 90 minutes each. I usually finished my day around 9pm and head home.
How relevant is your degree to your job?
My degree is crucial for my job as it is related to language teaching and one's capacity to adapt to a new lifestyle and country. Studying Modern Languages at Essex was essential for me!