Moray House School of Education and Sport

Makiko Nukaga, MSc TESOL

"Don’t be scared, be prepared, and just jump into your new adventure!"

Makiko Nukaga

Where are you from? 

Tokyo, Japan

What were you doing before you started your degree?

I was working as a high school teacher and teaching English as a foreign language in Japan.

Why did you choose your progamme?

As an English teacher, I wanted to improve my professional skill in an English-speaking country since my undergraduate degree was not directly related to English teaching. I had an opportunity to take an intensive professional training course about TESOL in Australia. Then, I started to think about studying TESOL at university. I started to look  at various master programmes but the field of TESOL is extensive and the contents vary greatly from course to course. I checked the syllabus of TESOL courses from several universities and found that MSc TESOL at the University of Edinburgh contains a wider variety of contents including the area of my interest. Also, this course puts weight on applying theory into practice. Practicality is one of the most important elements for my selection.

Why did you want to study at the University of Edinburgh? 

One of my career goals is to deliver world-class education to students in public education. The University of Edinburgh is one of the top universities in the world and it has long history and great reputation for linguistics. Also, a one-year master programme in the UK suited my time and budget. The final decisive factor was this historical and beautiful environment. I visited Edinburgh three years ago, and I was impressed by the scenery and the atmosphere. I did not know that I would enter the University of Edinburgh at the time, yet the impression definitely affected my decision.  

What is the best thing about your progamme?

My best experience is the interaction with great teachers and tutors. They always stimulate us with their specialty and are on hand to give advice. I can proudly say that they are some of the greatest teachers in the world, and the experience with those who I truly respect as teachers and people will become my lifelong asset.

What has been challenging about taking a degree in 2020-21? How have you overcome those challenges?

Although there are many challenges for me to study in this unusual year, online learning has been the hardest part of my study. I had experience of online lectures in the past, but this was my first experience of collaborative classes with somebody I didn’t and couldn’t meet. I struggled so much but teachers always tried to support me and various support from the University was available. It was quite a tough experience, but I hope I can utilize the online learning experience in my future teaching.

What are you enjoying about your studies?

I’m currently working as a high school teacher in my country and studying at the University whilst taking special leave to study abroad. It enables me to see every experience from both a student’s and teacher’s perspective which broadens my horizon. As a teacher, learning teaching techniques and knowledge is very interesting and practical, but it is also very important to understand the students’ point of view. Including the interaction with teachers outside class or lectures, all my experience as a student enriched my view as an English teacher. 

How will this programme help with your career prospects?

Needless to say, the learning experience, knowledge, and skills which I gained here will be practically utilized in my teaching profession, and a higher degree will open up career opportunities. However, what I gain is more than that. Before I came here, I just planned to study here and gain some specialty, that’s all I expected. Yet, during this one year, I noticed my hidden passion about my job, I found a new topic which I can be enthusiastic about and I discovered new ideas and fields of English teaching which I have never known previously. Moreover, everybody who I met here including teachers and classmates with various backgrounds showed me broader possibilities in the future. Now the scenery of the future is completely different from what I saw before I joined this programme.

What advice would you give to someone considering studying at Moray House? 

Don’t be scared, just be prepared! If you are confident enough, that’s great. If you are not confident, or hesitate to start new adventures, just give it a shot! Maybe there are many challenges, but I’m sure that it will be definitely worth your time. Sufficient preparations such as learning basic English, studying skills for grad school or planning your year in terms of time and cost are VERY important so that you can overcome those challenges and make your adventure easier, especially if you are from different country or culture. However, nobody can be prepared perfectly, and nobody knows exactly what will happen, so don’t be scared, be prepared, and just jump into your new adventure!     

How would you describe your experience in three words?

Unpredictable mind-blowing adventure!