Shaun Meaney – BSc (Hons) Geography graduate

Current employer: Shrewsbury International School

Current job title: Head of Year

Current location: Bangkok

“I really enjoyed my time at Plymouth University and would recommend the institution to anyone. The teaching was engaging, facilities were great, there were varied recreational opportunities... A geography degree from Plymouth University is a well-respected qualification.”

Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I worked briefly in sales and marketing for a large surf wear brand, then moved into teacher training having realised that target driven sales was not the right environment for me. I completed my Graduate Teacher Programme training and landed a job in Brighton in a large comprehensive school. After completing my NQT, I continued to work there for five years before I then started to apply for international teaching jobs in British schools. This basically meant that I was teaching the same curriculum, but in a much more exotic location. I applied for jobs in Peru, Switzerland, and the Philippines, but chose a school in Bangkok, Thailand, which has proved to be a fantastic choice.

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

Teacher training is hard work. It dawns on you very quickly that this is not a typical nine to five job and, although the holidays are great, you are going to be spending most of them marking and planning lessons.

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

I have been lucky enough to organise some incredible trips and visits for our students; trekking in the Malaysian rainforest, climbing Mt Kinabalu, and skiing in Japan. I have also recently got involved in school sport. It is great to see the students develop in different ways outside of the classroom and in a challenging team environment. My sport is golf, so I get to spend a lot of time at some of the best courses in Asia.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could?

I realise now that having a masters would have been incredibly valuable in my chosen profession, and increasingly so in the future. Tacking that straight on to my undergraduate time would have been much easier than planning to do so later in life whilst juggling a busy job.

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

Having a passion for your subject shines through in good job applications, so get involved in as much extra-curricular activities as you can; trips, clubs, societies, etc all look good.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

A geography degree from Plymouth University is a well-respected qualification. The academics were all fascinating, and then there is also the stunning South West landscape.

What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?

I completed my RYA Dayskipper ticket on board the University yacht during one of our holidays. The course was run through the water sports centre in the Queen Anne Battery and was heavily discounted for students. Throughout the week we cruised along the coast from Newton Ferrers to Cawsand and across to Mevagissey and sailed through thumping SW 6-7 gales. It was brilliant.

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

I really enjoyed my time at Plymouth University and would recommend the institution to anyone. The teaching was engaging, facilities were great, there were varied recreational opportunities, and then you also have the dramatic South West coastline on your doorstep.