Ella Graham Goodman – BA (Hons) History with English graduate

Year of graduation: 2015

" The university is fantastic, there are so many opportunities within and outside academia. I found the lecturers inspiring, and they made learning interesting and fun. The city itself becomes like a second home, it has everything: the sea, countryside, nightlife, shops and plenty of things to do. You meet so many amazing people from all over the world, it really is the place to be."

Has your career path changed since graduation?

I was unsure of what I wanted to do long-term after graduation, but my experiences in China, made me realise that I wanted to go into diplomacy, and knew I needed a masters to help me on this path.

What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?

The move out to Beijing was hard. Going from being surrounded by family and friends, and a life you’re accustomed to, to being 5,000 miles away from home, hardly knowing anyone! The language barrier was also difficult to start with, although I did learn to speak some Chinese. But now I’ve moved abroad once, I know I could do it again.

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

It was so rewarding seeing the children I taught develop their English skills and learn new things. Living abroad was also so exciting, being able to call Beijing home was incredible. It’s such an amazing city with so much to do and see. Brimming with history, culture, great people and amazing food.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

For teaching I would say to just give it a go, take a risk. One thing for sure is to make sure you look into the agencies/schools you may potentially go with, some will offer you a seemingly amazing deal that may not translate when you get over there. If you can, ask to speak to a current member of staff to see how they find it. Beyond that, I’d recommend anyone to try to get some international experience, it will undoubtedly help you whatever your future career goals are.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

My time at Plymouth equipped me with the skills I needed for teaching, as well as giving me the foundations for my masters. It has given me the confidence to try my hand at anything, and know that if I put the effort in, I can do well.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth? 

I got the opportunity to be part of the Shanghai Summer School in 2013, I had the best four weeks in the sun, with some amazing people learning about Chinese culture, politics and language, whilst getting to explore the city. Graduation also has to be up there. It was a wonderful day celebrating three years of hard work, and it was so nice being re-united with friends after a summer apart.

Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?

Yes! I’m still in contact with my old history lecturers. They always like to know how you’re doing and love when you pop in to see them. They were the ones I turned to for help with my postgraduate application and for references. I’m still touch with a lot of my old uni friends – some of them are still in Plymouth, a couple of them are actually working for or doing Masters at the university.

Would you recommend undertaking a course with Plymouth University, and why?

Absolutely! Studying at Plymouth has been the best three years. The university is fantastic, there are so many opportunities within and outside academia. I found the lecturers inspiring, and they made learning interesting and fun. The city itself becomes like a second home, it has everything: the sea, countryside, nightlife, shops and plenty of things to do. You meet so many amazing people from all over the world, it really is the place to be.

Is there anything else which you would like to share with our current students?

Just to enjoy your time here, you really will miss it once you’ve left.

Inspired by this story?

For more information about studying history with English, please visit our BA (Hons) History with English course page. For more information about our range of courses within the School of Humanities and Performing Arts, please visit the school page.

Want to find similar alumni?

If you would like to find out what other relevant alumni from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities are currently doing, please visit the humanities and languages interest area.