A common question I get asked here is: why did you choose Scotland to study education? My answer is maybe a little more complicated than other international students, but it involves the coming together of a great programme and some family roots.
After completing my undergraduate diploma, I headed over to South Korea to teach English. I stayed there for a number of years until moving on to China where I worked for an international teaching consultancy firm in Shanghai. We analysed teachers’ resumes if they were interested in working internationally and helped them find schools that would be a good fit.
I became familiar with education qualifications from many countries and after two years in China, I felt that my real calling was teaching. I was ready to choose a programme to get certified.
While looking at post graduate qualifications around the world, I kept coming back to Strathclyde’s PGDE programme. It was appealing to me because it was offered at a masters level, and after completing the course I’d have half the credits necessary for an M.Ed
The course was also heavily focused on the placement learning and experiences. The PGDE stands for Professional Graduate Diploma in Education, and the focus is very much about training new teachers for the professional world of education.
An old church now hosts PGDE student lectures on Strathclyde’s downtown Glasgow campus.
Another thing that interested me was Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence. The program is relatively new and flexible with the adaptability to offer exciting opportunities for teachers. The programme offers vibrant discussions of educational policy in Scotland and invites new teachers to discuss, work in the field, then return and reflect to discuss again. The mixture of theory and practice is an excellent balance for new teachers.
Strathclyde has a sprawling campus which occupies a large chunk of Glasgow’s Merchant City. There are picturesque side streets lined with boutique shopping just a hop away from where students hurry along well-worn steps on their way to class. Lectures take place in old cathedrals, local theatres, and turn of the century buildings as well as the cutting-edge facilities of the downtown campus.
All these buildings are nestled in amongst the vibrant Glasgow restaurant scene, where you can grab a quick bite to eat or stay a while at a coffeeshop nearby. Strathclyde University also recently opened their new Sports Facility, which offers amazing facilities that are included in the accommodation for students living in the halls.
So with an exciting programme in mind, the thing that sealed the deal to come study in Scotland was the Ancestry Visa I applied for. Since my grandmother was born in the UK, and I was from a Commonwealth country (Canada) I could qualify for a 5 year UK Ancestry Visa.
This visa means I can study and work in the UK for the next 5 years so, after gaining my teacher qualification, I’m looking forward to completing my probationary year in Scotland. After studying and working in Scotland for a couple of years, I’ll have an internationally recognised education degree which I can take with me where ever I head to next.