Before coming to Kaplan, I lived and worked in Japan so I know exactly how it feels to live far from home. I wanted to share my story so far to show you how I followed my path, my way.
Choosing my path
Ever since I was a teenager I’ve been fascinated by Japan, so when I met somebody who told me they had taught English in Japan without knowing any Japanese, I was interested in finding out more. I did lots of research into this exciting possibility and eventually decided that I could do it too!
While I was studying my degree in Media Production, I visited Japan twice and I knew that this was where I wanted to live. In the end, I decided to study some Japanese privately during my final year at university so that my language skills were good enough to get by. I had never been so driven to achieve something before in my life.
I lived at home while I was studying at university so I missed out on the independent student experience and wanted to try living by myself. I also wanted a new challenge; I wanted to live somewhere with a different language and a very different culture to my own.
My goal was to try it out for a year and experience as much as possible, but I ended up staying for 3 years!
Living abroad in Japan
I was already very familiar with Japanese culture and I could get by with my basic language skills, so I didn’t experience culture shock when I arrived.
“Every day was an adventure and everything felt new.”
In fact, I became very outgoing and tried all sorts of things that I wouldn’t have tried back home, and I made friends with people of all different ages, nationalities and backgrounds. Every day was an adventure and everything felt new. Even after 3 years I was still experiencing new things and meeting new people.
I worked as a teacher, but after a couple of years I took on extra work as a Web Editor for a magazine for English-speakers living in Japan because I wanted to improve my digital skills. I was learning how to build websites in my spare time and I was writing blogs to share with my friends and family back home.
Starting a new career
My experience of being on the front lines of the education industry, combined with my web-editing experience helped me get a job as a Web Editor at Kaplan. So, I decided to move back to London because I felt like it was the right time for me to start the next chapter of my life.
I loved creating personal videos of places I visited in Japan and I made some videos as part of my job at Kaplan, so I was pleased that I could put one of my interests to good use — I did do a media degree after all! Eventually I transitioned from Web Editor to a new role as a Video Producer and now, after 6 years at Kaplan, I’m the Video Production Manager.
Fran's path to success
I know what it’s like to be a stranger in a foreign country and how hard it can be to overcome challenges like language barriers. As a teacher I learned how to communicate effectively with people whose first language isn’t English, and I use this skill whenever I meet our students.
It feels great to know that everything I’ve learned is helping me to do something I love for a career.
This is my path so far.
If you’d like to learn more about you can follow your path to university, explore the links below.