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Case Study

Stefanie Deri

Budapest, Hungary.

MA TESOL - Distance Learning


After hearing about the University of Sunderland MA TESOL - Distance Learning course, Stefanie Deri knew this was exactly what she was looking for - she liked the duration of the course, flexibility, and the expenses. Since graduation, Stefanie became more confident and although teaching is her passion, she now has a day job as a TV news presenter but is still teaching part-time and was offered a summer job position at the English language camp in Budapest, her home town.

I have been teaching since 2009. I graduated from a business university in 2011, where I originally studied Business and Marketing in Budapest. However, I realised that I love teaching. Probably, it came from my mother who is an English language teacher.

Thanks to my parents I have always had a passion to develop myself professionally. First, I attended conferences abroad; I learned to improve my presentation skills, and to deal with communication methods, which is absolutely essential for teaching. I also wanted to develop the way I speak and read to an audience so I took up a voice-coaching course. At the meantime, I have started working at the American International School of Budapest as a substitute teacher.

Between 2013 and 2014 I successfully completed the ECIS International Teacher Certificate course, which is an integrated, standards-based professional development experience assessed by Cambridge International Examinations. 

As I was enjoying teaching so much, I have decided to study even further to extend my professional skills and knowledge and to gain even more experience worldwide. That was the time when I finally found Sunderland. I remember that I had been searching for years for the appropriate MA course for myself, however, I could not find any.

Although, I was surrounded by native American colleagues who already had their MA degrees, the recommendations that I received were just not the right ones for me. One day I was substituting the elementary EAL teacher and I started to chat with my colleague next door. Luckily he attended the distance-learning TESOL MA course at the University of Sunderland.

In addition, he had the same career path as me. I was asking lots of questions about the course and I became so excited about everything he said. Right there I knew that this was exactly what I was looking for. I immediately googled Sunderland and I started to put together my application file for the course. I liked the duration of the course, I liked its flexibility and certainly, the expenses of the course were appealing compared to other similar courses.

I would definitely recommend the University of Sunderland to other students. The past 18 months was an unforgettable adventure. At first, I was a little bit worried about the type of course as it was a distance-learning. I have never studied like this before and I was not sure how I was going to be able to synchronize my current life and work with my new studies.

On the other hand, I was very excited. To be honest from day one it went so smoothly. The Canvas site is very straightforward and clear. We have received an enormous amount of support from the teachers, module leaders and tutors. I think communication works excellently between the students and the teachers, no matter where you are or what you do, you can always get in touch with any of the instructors of the course.

It seems like they are available 24/7. I think it's a big advantage of the Sunderland distance-learning course that even if you are not in the same time zone as the University working hours you could still complete your tasks, chat with your peers and submit your assignments.

I never felt lonely or lost during my studies although the MA course is not easy at all. Especially not when you choose distance-learning. Many times you get frustrated because you learn something new that you did not know before and it can be very tiresome and time-consuming even though it is enjoyable most of the time.

When I faced difficulties I always e-mailed my tutor who was the greatest help during this journey. Her name is Katy Mann, a truly kind and helpful teacher. Whenever I felt unmotivated or unenthusiastic, Katy always managed to get me over the hard times and support me with useful links, websites, information or just simply kind words.

The same applies to my fellow students who were in the same shoes as I was. Online discussions were always an option whenever we had a question or problem to solve we just simply posted on Canvas and in no time everything was resolved. It is nice when you have others who can motivate you and cheer you up when you feel down or exhausted.

If you would like to learn different teaching methods, new strategies, the latest teaching trends and international and intercultural understanding then the University of Sunderland is just for you. The system of the University is structured, very reliable, helpful and organised.

I think you definitely get more than what you pay for. Sunderland helps you to become a forward-minded teacher who understands the individual needs and cultural differences of the next generation. Moreover, the University provides collaboration with colleagues of different cultural backgrounds.

Since graduation, I became more confident. Although, teaching is my passion and I love to be with children at the moment I have a day job as a TV news presenter. However, I still teach part-time and I was offered a summer job position at the English language camp of the American International School of Budapest where I will teach EAL to an intermediate group of students.

I always dream about teaching abroad and pass all the knowledge and experience to children and fellow colleagues. You never know where life is going to take you.

You really need to be familiar with the online library system and searching tools and later on, you have to get used to the different databases. For that, there is a very nice and helpful librarian who can suggest books for your assignments or topics. She also holds online library courses and discussions to make you even more confident.

After all those weekends when you studied from morning till night, reading tons of pages of different books, writing thousands of words from month to month, having great conversations with your fellow colleagues, receiving positive feedback for your work, having seen how much you have improved from one assignment to another and getting better and better grades I can tell it is definitely worth the effort!

And the best feeling is that you have a teaching passport. From now on, you can teach whenever and wherever you want in the world!"

Published 16 May 2019

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