Troodia Theodorou overcame language challenges to earn a distinction in her Masters in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education and is now putting her knowledge into practice in Cyprus.
MSc in Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability Education
|Year of graduation||2018|
At the moment
At the moment, I live in Cyprus and work as a facilitator of outdoor and environmental education in an environmental centre under the Ministry of Education and Culture. Additionally, I am processing a publication and I am involved in different educational and social projects.
Your time at the University
When I first stepped onto the Moray House School of Education campus, I was not a registered student, however, I had my conditional offer from the University. I had been awarded a full scholarship but I had to meet the English language requirement as well.
The fascinating thing about this story is that my willpower showed me the direction. Despite not being a registered student, I landed in Edinburgh having only my faith and will to study. I remember making notes of articles I was reading on the plane. My professors welcomed me and encouraged me like they knew I could manage. At the beginning, I struggled a lot with the language, there were times I couldn’t stand it anymore. I remember studying and trying every single day to overcome the language barrier. It was exhausting but there was a strong motive behind it: my passion to learn and get the most out of my course. After some weeks, I had my English examinations and finally I was officially a matriculated student at the University.
I was lucky to have brilliant people next to me: my professors. They trusted me from the very first date. I owe them a lot. They showed me how people can encourage each other and how this true encouragement can help you take off! I have managed to graduate from my MSc with distinction and get a distinction mark on my dissertation too. (I don’t like to refer to numbers or levels but I do so here to tell to upcoming students that the sea is not always calm, and the point is not to wish for a calm sea, but to train yourself to be a good captain and wish for a good crew!) The Outdoor Environmental and Sustainability course changed me as a person and as a teacher. I was lucky enough to meet people who could shed light on my inner self and make me understand my place in this world, personally and professionally.
My interest in outdoor education arises from my belief that education mostly occurs outside the classroom, considering that education is life and life is out there! From day one until graduation, my belief of what education means was not only confirmed, but has been enriched with so many experiences, pieces of knowledge and memories. These memories are still alive till today and are useful in my current work. I feel grateful. I am curious and thirsty to learn more and more.
While I was studying, I worked as a pupil support assistant in a local school on weekdays and in markets on Saturdays or Sundays. My extracurricular activities included sports, music and a lot of exploration!
My interest in outdoor education arises from my belief that education mostly occurs outside the classroom, considering that education is life and life is out there!
Your experiences since leaving the University
Coming back to Cyprus was a difficult decision. It was my need a year ago. Adaptation was also difficult. At the beginning, I found a job as a teacher assistant, a job I appreciated a lot. A supportive teaching position can give you qualitative insights on children and help you improve your skills and philosophy as a main teacher. After that, I got my current job, being responsible for setting up a new environmental centre in Cyprus.
In this job, my duties go beyond teaching. I am responsible for managing all aspects of the operation of the center. At the beginning, it was challenging because it was the first time I had to manage technical or economic issues. However, I get a chance to see how the Cypriot public sector works, and to understand and form an opinion on the Cypriot Educational system. There are times when you lose your hopes or you don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, however, we need to remember that we participate in a continuous battle in life to keep ourselves in our center core! Edinburgh and the University did a really good job of that!
Life during Covid-19
Covid-19 has influenced my life and career but I never see change as a ‘bad’ thing. The lockdown made me explore myself more and pass time with my family. During Covid-19, I became productive by organising a children’s project I started a year ago. Unfortunately, we are not trained to get used to uncertainty as a normal part of life. It was time to get more familiar with the concept of uncertainty.
The University of Edinburgh was the place where I explored inner and deep parts of myself, personally and professionally. Being a student at the University was a continuous source of inspiration. My advice to you is to open your heart and mind and absorb as many things as possible.
Tiny things matter: the conversations with your tutors, your way to the University, the time you pass on the bus thinking about concepts and ideas, your thoughts and feelings towards every moment of university life. Your social relationships with others are priceless and are those which, at the end of the day, shape you!
Keep a learning log. You will be nostalgic once you have left and you will look for something to remember!