Careers – The Development Worker

Beverley Grey is living and working in Thailand for 15 months,
as a voluntary worker with Mon refugees from Burma. She hopes to go on
into Development work when she finishes this job.
Bev's new home in Sanghklaburi

Bev’s new home in Sanghklaburi

This is quite a change
from Bev’s early plans – at the same time as doing her A-levels, she was
competing for Great Britain in the World Cross Country Championships,
and thought about becoming a professional athlete. She studied English
and History at Cambridge University.

why did you want to go to university?

I wanted to go to university because I like studying, wanted to explore a
subject in more depth than was possible at school, and wanted to meet new friends.

why did you decide to study English?

I chose to study English at university because I really enjoyed it at school
and loved reading. I chose the course at Cambridge because it showed historical
breadth which I liked – it wasn’t just books from the twentieth century, but
covered everything from the 14th century onwards!

why didn’t you become a professional athlete or study Sports Science

I didn’t become a professional athlete as would have been a very risky move
(my career would have been over if I’d had an injury) and I needed to have a
qualification to fall back on. But more than that, I can’t just run – I need
to have something for my mind to do as well!

I would never have wanted to study Sport Science as you can’t live, breathe,
eat and sleep sport!!! I didn’t want to give up English and History as I really
loved them at school.

what did you enjoy most about university?

I enjoyed the chance to learn from world-renowned scholars in English and History
and met some wonderful people and made lifelong friends.

what did you do after university?

I went on to be an English teacher in Derby for 3 years. But now I’m working
for a voluntary organisation called Voluntary Service Overseas, living in Thailand,
and teaching English to Mon refugees from Burma. Longer term, I plan to go into
development work.

how has your degree helped you with your career?

Studying English was certainly vital in becoming an English teacher! But actually
though it is not vital for doing the sort of development work I want to do,
I feel the skills it has given me are extremely useful (broad mindedness, critical
thinking, even the ability to cope with a huge workload and reading list!)

what’s your advice to students who are thinking about A-levels and

Enjoy every minute and don’t worry too much, don’t become too worried about
English not being ‘vocational’ in the narrow, closed down sense. That’s what’s
great -it equips you for many things.