We Are Essex

Kirstie's story

Headshot of Kirstie

"I just really like just being around books, it makes me feel knowledgeable, like there’s so much information coming my way"

I chose to do TEFL at Essex because I want to go and teach in other countries and travel and teaching is a very good job to do while traveling. I mainly want to teach in South Korea, or Japan. Possibly China if I can pick up Chinese? I’m applying to do a summer course where you go abroad for 3 weeks and study Chinese so I’ve applied to do that and if that’s a success then maybe China.

I wanted to live at home whilst at uni, so I looked for courses that were close but also suited me and the main thing I wanted to do was a year abroad. Essex was one of the ones that I found had the best course to offer. TEFL courses, even though they’re pretty much the same thing, they offer it differently at different universities and some have a more broad focus. I quite like that the course here is based on everything, like you go through linguistics departments as well as just teaching so you get a good variety of stuff.

I have a lot of hobbies, too many hobbies! I do Cosplay, I’ve been doing it for like 3 or 4 years. That’s why I’m poor! I found it from just anime, social media finding stuff like that and thought ‘yeah, this is cool’. And because I’d done acting at school and I liked making costumes when I was at school I was like ‘ah this fits my life so perfectly’. In my gap years of Uni I didn’t save, I just spent my money on making costumes. So I’ve made some pretty amazing costumes that cost a lot of money and a lot of time and a lot of techniques and skills which I harvest from my junior years doing textiles. Cosplay is pretty popular in Japan. In fact there’s a specific location in Japan that everyone travels to for this huge Cosplay event and it’s basically just the whole street is filled with Cosplayers. It’s like a festival almost. It’s pretty cool. So I think I’d definitely keep up Cosplaying over there.

So, I like South Korea. I like K-Pop and all that stuff, so I found a band called BTS. I don’t know if you’ve heard of them – you might have, they’re quite global now. They’re very hardworking, dedicated people and they connect with their fans on a very human level. It’s not idol vs the fan, it’s more human to human. So they’re very inspiring people for a lot of reasons and I was very motivated to sort my life out because I could see how they’ve achieved by working hard so I was like, ‘I could do that too’.

I also do pole dancing here at Essex. When I was younger I used to do ballet so when I saw that pole dancing was a thing here I was like, ‘yeah that looks really exciting’, and then I saw someone that I follow on Instagram does pole dancing and she kind of inspired me. It looked really fun and cool, and I thought ‘yeah, I’ll give it a go’. I play guitar as well and listen to a lot of music too.

I also study languages myself because I really like learning languages. It’s one of the other reasons that I wanted to do TEFL because, not only do I get to teach English but I get to learn the languages that I teach English to. I really like Korean languages in general and same for Japanese. I’ve been studying Japanese since I started here because I took the ‘Languages For All’ course which I really recommend everyone does because it’s so good. It’s just 2 hours on one of your evenings and then you can just pick and choose when you want to do it for the rest of the week, it’s a lot of fun. I’ve wanted to learn Japanese for a long time but I wasn’t very confident with it because I think some languages are kind of intimidating to look at, like Chinese, Japanese, Korean - it’s all character based so you’re learning a whole new alphabet. It can be quite intimidating but it’s been a lot of fun.

I pretty much spend about 80% of my time when I’m not at work or in classes in the library. It’s so good. I usually stay there until like ten o clock if I’ve got things to do. So I’ll go in the afternoon and stay there for like 6 or 7 hours. I just really like just being around books, it makes me feel knowledgeable, like there’s so much information coming my way. So yeah, I love the library. My boyfriend brings me snacks to the library, he does it a lot. He comes in with snacks for me and I’m just sitting there working and he taps me on the shoulder and is like ‘hey’ - it’s very cute, just what you need after a long day of studying.

It’s not my quote but “teamwork makes the dream work” I kind of believe that’s true. Before I came to uni I was working in a pub, I still do, I still work for the same company. One thing I learnt is that if you don’t work together nothing gets done. You’re there until 3am unless you work together to get things done.


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