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Case Study

Gemma Cauchi

Hong Kong

PGCE Education (Independent Distance Learning)


Gemma Cauchi embarked on an adventure moving to Hong Kong with her husband. The move allowed her to hit the reset button and explore her passions. After spending time in schools and studying a Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) qualification, she soon realised she wanted to pursue teaching as a career path.

I spent time researching the best university and course to invest my time and money into and the University of Sunderland kept on coming up as the top choice. I spoke to previous graduates of the course, local tutors and friends within the teaching profession. Having last been at university 10 years ago, it was a choice I didn’t want to get wrong, and I honestly believe I chose the right course and university.

My undergraduate degree was based on my passion for geography and the environment, and I worked as a Geo-Environmental Consultant specialising in Contaminated Land following graduation. I then met my now husband, and we decided to move to Hong Kong to take on our next adventure together.

The best aspect of studying at Sunderland is the sheer amount of experience the tutors and lecturers have, they are truly unflappable, even in a global pandemic! They were always available at the end of an email or a video call. There is a very strong comradery on the course. The University is very open to feedback and that alone speaks volumes about how seriously they care about their students and the quality of teaching that they are delivering.

I would absolutely recommend the University of Sunderland, I have already recommended it to colleagues and friends, a couple of them have joined after me. The key bit of advice I would give prospective students is to be prepared for some hard work, you will get out as much as you put into it. If you can choose modules, trust your gut and find something that you’ll enjoy researching and writing about.

After graduation I have secured a position teaching at an International School in Hong Kong. I was working as an Education Assistant during my PGCE and was expecting to stay there for another year. However, Sunderland prepared me to move into a teaching position so well that I managed to secure this role, which will hopefully lead me to having my own classroom sooner."

Published 5 October 2021

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