Alumni Services

Yuanyuan Li

Yuanyuan made the most of her year in Edinburgh by taking part in diverse academic and cultural activities, and is now using the knowledge she gained at Edinburgh to advance English language learning in China.


Yuanyuan Li



Year of graduation 2015
Yuanyuan Li

At the moment  

I am currently working as an English teacher in an international school in Beijing, China. I'm really delighted to be working in education and have a full passion for teaching and learning.

Your time at the University

I gained my bachelor's degree from a university in China, majoring in English education. My strong interest in English language learning and teaching methodology led me to apply for the MSc TESOL in Edinburgh.

During the masters programme, I was very impressed by the professionalism and friendliness of the teaching staff, the diverse range of courses, the opportunities for academic development, and the inclusive cultural acceptance -  as well as the many kinds of cultural enrichment activities. I still remember visiting a local secondary school where I experienced an authentic classroom and the students’ activities and learning environment, which was the first time I realised the differences in teaching modes and curriculum structures between schools in Scotland and those in China.

In academic study, our professional lecturers and professors provided every opportunity for us to show our understanding of our learning, and I benefited a lot from collaborative work, such as workshops, group presentations, mini demo classes, and discussions. 

For extra-curricular activities, the University and Moray House School of Education really helped us enrich our lives in Edinburgh. I enjoyed the welcome we received during the Orientation Week, a hiking tour to Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill, a one-day tour to the Lake District, a Ceilidh, a Christmas concert, yoga club, and the proof-reading club in the Students' Association.

Life in Edinburgh is never boring, and study is never ending. I will always cherish the unforgettable experience in Edinburgh.

I was very impressed by the professionalism and friendliness of the teaching staff, the diverse range of courses

Your experiences since leaving the University

Upon completing my MSc TESOL in 2015, I went back to China to work as an English teacher in an international school in Beijing. As a language learner for more than 13 years, I was aware of the differences and difficulties between learning a language and teaching a language. Also there are challenges for teaching secondary students, not only in knowledge but also in behaviour, therefore having an overall understanding and being familiar with the target students are of great importance. In a mixed-level classroom of students in different learning capabilities, I have tried to design activities for individual learner differences.  What gave me a sense of achievement was the endorsement and recognition from my students, parents and colleagues.

In my third year of working, I was promoted to the head of the English department for overall development of the English curriculum and staff management. Working with students and teachers coming from different backgrounds reminded me of my time in Edinburgh. My school has successfully applied for the International Baccalaureate (IB), and is now an IB school. During the three-year application process, I guided my department to help it get familiar with IB philosophies and curriculum, localised the IB curriculum with the unique features of our school, and integrated the IB curriculum into the Cambridge curriculum. This work has really advanced my skills of communication, cooperation and reflection, which in turn has helped develop my career as a teacher and leader.

Life during Covid-19

The unexpected arrival of Covid-19 at the beginning of 2020 has made online teaching the main force for learning, something our school adopted in February.

I have attended many online sessions for teacher development, making sure that teaching is conducted as effectively as it is in classrooms. With the help of seminars and workshops, I have learned about the integration of technology and education, bringing tremendous benefits in English learning.

Alumni wisdom

Enjoy every opportunity to learn what you are interested in. Whenever you encounter difficulties and problems either in study or life, seek help from your peers and personal tutors -  they are always ready to help you.

If possible, join the Students' Association to meet more friends with international backgrounds, and have a city tour to explore the historical and cultural aspects of the city.

For international students, visit the international student centre for more inspiration for your studies and career.

Related links

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages