Barcelona based alumnus Richard Davie talks about finding your niche, late night Fresh Air radio shows and why you shouldn't necessarily tie yourself to a career related to your degree.
|Degree Course||MChem Chemistry|
|Year of Graduation||2008|
Your time at the University
I chose Edinburgh simply because I knew it was a good university in a beautiful city. I got heavily involved in Fresh Air, the student radio station and that’s where I made all my lifelong friends.
I was really into the music and club scene; my favourite memories from university would be cycling round handing out flyers to promote events, getting up at 2:30am to go and do a late night radio show and getting to DJ in all the big clubs. That’s the beauty of university and societies; you can find your niche whatever it may be.
Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University
Running a business and teaching is very hard work but at university I learned to be extremely organised and to take a methodical, logical approach to work.
I remember working incredibly hard to study for and pass the final chemistry exams. I planned afterwards to take a break and spend the summer doing something fun so I went to Barcelona and got a job in a bar. I couldn’t speak a word of Spanish but I was good at studying (as I was fresh out of uni) so picking up the grammar books wasn’t a problem.
After a few months I decided I wanted to stay longer but the novelty of working in a bar had worn off so I did a TEFL course and found work as an English teacher. It turns out I was good at that, so I got lots of experience and after a few years started working as a teacher trainer.
The wages in Barcelona are relatively low so if you want to make decent money (or at least something comparable to a UK graduate salary) you have to go into business. After years of planning and preparation I finally opened my own teacher training academy, TEFL Iberia, and now train people who want to teach English as a foreign language.
Running a business and teaching is very hard work but at university I learned to be extremely organised and to take a methodical, logical approach to work. Admittedly I don’t use any specific knowledge from my MChem degree and people often ask me if I regret doing it but the answer is always a definite ‘no’, as I learned lots of transferable skills, had an amazing experience and met lots of fantastic people.
Put yourself out there, be open to new opportunities and don’t necessarily tie yourself to a career related to your degree.