Case Study

Mathew Swinburne


After working in retail, Mathew Swinburne decided he wanted to follow his dream to go and live and work in Japan. Thanks to studying TESOL at the University of Sunderland he has achieved his goal and has gained employment, teaching in Japan.

The main reason why I chose the University of Sunderland was how the course compared to other local universities – not only did Sunderland offer the course in a 3-year package along with another subject, but they offered the potential of a Study Abroad scheme based in Japan.

The deciding factor in choosing to come to University was one of self-development. Before I made the decision, I was going from job to job in retail and warehouse but never really finding anything that motivated or inspired me. I had always had a dream to live and work in Japan and it felt like the time was right for me to go to university to find the path to achieve that dream.

Personally, the best aspects of the course were the friendly and understanding lecturers, which, along with the ease of accessibility of information and services, create a unique learning environment where creativity and passion are free to bloom. The positive and welcoming attitudes here helped to ease me into the mentality of starting university, as well as progressing through the course, while offering support for various issues and concerns.

My advice to prospective students would be to always make sure you get as much information from your course as possible, ask about possible options that your course could offer, never be afraid to interact with lecturers and staff as everyone wants you to succeed and get involved with both course activities and University-based groups.

During the first year of my course, I had to take up councilling support which greatly helped me get through the remainder of the year and beyond into my Study Abroad time and the year after.

As of September 2018, I have managed to gain employment teaching in Japan, achieving a lifelong dream, one that has been made possible through the University. My future career aims are to continue within the education area developing my skills so I can transition into university-based work in Japan. My experience has been an exciting, crazy, life-changing rollercoaster of an adventure that I would happily do again if I could."

Published 10 October 2018

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