University of Nottingham Malaysia

Career Journey: Sylvia Soo


Sylvia Soo (BA (Hons) in Education (TESOL), 2019) shares her career journey with us. Leaving her birthplace of Malaysia, Sylvia is currently working as an English teacher in Japan, she tells us that the biggest challenge she has had to face in her career is getting accustomed to the work culture in Japan. As she is only allowed to speak in English with her mainly Japanese-speaking students, she finds it difficult to relate to them and build a rapport. However, she says it is very rewarding when over time, she sees her students improve in their English language abilities.

Being an English teacher in Japan was Sylvia’s first job after graduating and due to her degree, she did not need any additional certificates. However, in order to spruce up her CV and stand out from other candidates, Sylvia also obtained an additional certification, the CELTA (Certification in English Language Teaching for Adults) in the UK before finishing her degree.

In terms of future career plans, Sylvia wishes to work in an international school as she is excited to take up the challenge that it entails. Her degree from the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) helped her in multiple ways when securing her job. Not only was it a degree in education, the same field as her career of choice, it was also a degree from a native English-speaking country, which is beneficial for teaching jobs across Asia. And as UNM is internationally recognised, employers were eager to hire her.

Sylvia is happy to have chosen UNM and states that the best years of her life thus far were spent in UNM.  She shares that aside from the academics, she picked up other essential skills from her time in the university such as public speaking, collaboration and networking. Currently, what she misses the most from her university life is having spontaneous adventures with her friends.

Finally, before we conclude, Sylvia has the following words of advice for aspiring students: “Whatever you want to do, even if you doubt yourself, just try it! It's better to try and fail than not trying and constantly wondering about the ‘what could have been.”

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Posted on 18th May 2021

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