Rebecca Hall: living a life beyond borders

Rebecca tells us about travelling the world and becoming a successful writer

“I knew a different side of Greece and the longer I was here, the more I realised there are reasons for everything that an outsider would not understand by just a quick glance at a headline. Plus, a visiting journalist would not be able to dig beneath the surface.”

Rebecca Hall on a boat

Rebecca Hall graduated from BSc (Hons) International Relations with Sociology and has since worked as an author, freelance travel writer and English Language teacher. She divides her time between the UK and her adopted home of Greece, and in 2018 won a prize in the London Greek Film Festival for the screenplay of her debut novel, Girl Gone Greek.

This is Rebecca's story

Learning from other cultures

I never really had a career path. I was a mature student so had various careers before University. I learnt earlier on in life to stop trying so hard and to let life run its course. It’s worked very well so far.

My educational experience at Plymouth honed critical thinking skills. Due to the subject, it attracted both young and mature students and therefore was very diverse. Critical thinking was encouraged – and this is important. Never stop questioning in life: the system, society, other people.

I have been an English language teacher to Greek students and a Cambridge University English language oral examiner. I also spent about two months in Cairo, Egypt, teaching summer school. I am now a part time English as a foreign language (EFL) teacher and freelance writer.

I love that I can travel to various countries around the world and work, either as a travel writer or as an English language teacher. It means that I can integrate into society and learn from other cultures – thus grow in myself.

I love the slightly crazy things I get to do – but don’t feel unsafe. Being the only passenger on a container ship with 27 all male crew from Athens to Hong Kong for 37 days as part of a writing assignment was the best trip in my life, ever. We went through the pirate zone and had to have security guards on board for ten days. One of them was from Plymouth. I got to become one of the crew – and felt like I had made a whole new family.

Girl Gone Greek

After spending time in Greece teaching since 2008, by 2010 I was not liking the international headlines about my adopted country. The press was full of negative criticism and accusations about Greeks being lazy, only wanting to drink coffee and ouzo and not paying taxes.

So I set about writing my novel: a fictional version of my first year living and teaching in a rural Greek village. I wanted to point out the humorous and positive aspects of this country.

I was spurred on by anger in a way – I wanted to put something right. But I'm not a political writer in any shape or form, and besides, I wanted a more subtle message and to present the humane side of this country. It had given me so much personally, I wanted to give something back, no matter how small.

I also started my website at this time,, which concentrated on why people should visit Greece, and then grew to other destinations I had travelled to.

I released Girl Gone Greek in 2015 – self publishing it because it did not fit into a niche category for publishers, which was fine because I wanted to maintain some control of my novel too – so I released it as a print on demand and Kindle format on Amazon. Self-publishing meant I also got to create and choose my own book cover, which has helped it to stand out.

It is hard not to run into artistic types in Greece and in 2017 I hooked up with a British novelist and screen writer who I had interviewed on my site in the past, and between us we agreed to see if it was possible to take Girl Gone Greek one step further and make it into a screenplay/script. 

My screenwriter, James Collins, wrote it in collaboration with me, and I started to submit it to film festivals to garner interest.

It won the Best Script in the 2018 London Greek Film Festival, and is a finalist at the 2018 Cypriot Film Festival. I’m travelling to Paphos to attend this festival, where there will also be a scene reading that will be video recorded and placed on the festival’s YouTube channel.

Who knows what the future holds? One thing is for sure: anger, if channelled properly, can be a good motivator.

Alumnus Rebecca Hall receives a prize in the London Greek Film Festival for a screenplay of her novel Girl Gone Greek.

Rebecca's advice:

“Be patient, keep pitching people and it really is about who you know. Make connections, follow up on leads, and be polite and professional (even when you’re rejected for the 100th time).”

Follow in Rebecca's footsteps

International flags photo c/o Istock

The central purpose of studying international relations is to gain a deeper understanding of the rapidly changing world in which we live. 

In the current era of political and economic turmoil, studying international relations responds to the enormous need for greater understanding of the underlying causes and consequences of violence, revolutions, migration, radicalisation, poverty, climate change, economic turmoil and much more besides. Whatever ambitions you have, the tools and knowledge you will gain from a degree in international relations are increasingly valuable assets.

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