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From Hong Kong to the UK: How I’m utilising my skills andexperiences to teach English to refugees in Leicester

With a passion for language, a degree in translation and a former career as an interpreter in Hong Kong, Jennifer Tsang has switched careers and is now teaching English to others who have settled in the East Midlands.

Jennifer, 31, moved to the UK in 2021, and after a lifetime of speaking English and working as an interpreter, she was surprised to find that speaking English in England, was very different than it had been in Hong Kong.


The nuances of the British language can be hard to grasp, and it took finding a job at a local café, for Jennifer to build the confidence to grow her English Language skills. Now, after completing the CertTESOL - a qualification in teaching English as a second language - funded by East Midlands Councils, Jennfier has landed a role as an ESOL tutor at Twin Group and is using her experiences to help others who have settled in the East Midlands learn English to help them integrate into their new communities and find work.


Jennifer, who also worked as a flight attendant travelling the world before taking on her role as an interpreter, said: “I have a passion for languages. I did a degree in Translation in Hong Kong and worked as an interpreter for two and a half years before moving to the UK to marry my Husband, Felix.


“When I arrived in the UK, I began doing some freelance work, however finding translator jobs is becoming difficult with the rise of AI powered translations.

“I didn’t want to proofread AI translations - I wanted to utilise my passion to help others.

“When I first moved to the UK, I didn’t expect to struggle as much as I did for someone who’d spoken English their whole life – but speaking English in the UK, it’s more than the words. The practical skills needed for building new relationships is as important than the language itself.


“Working at Bom Bom Patisserie in Loughborough allowed me to build up those skills and practice my English speaking with our customers, who were all so welcoming and friendly.


“One of the ladies at my church is an ESOL tutor, and seeing her enthusiasm for the work encouraged me to look into how I could use my experiences to help others too, which is how I came across the CertTESOL course.”


Funded by East Midlands Councils via national Government funding, Flying Cows Learning offers a programme of courses which aims to increase the capacity of ESOL tutors in the region.


The free courses provide TESOL training to people who have moved to the region via Government resettlement programmes and visa schemes, including the Hong Kong BNO visa programme, Homes for Ukraine, and former asylum seekers.


Jennifer said: “The CertTESOL course was a fantastic experience. It was very intensive, but also very fun and interesting.


“It was enlightening to learn about the different barriers that people from different backgrounds face when moving to the UK, and learning to speak English, and then exploring the various ways we can overcome those barriers together.


“Teaching in very different to how we are taught in Hong Kong. Our ESOL classes are much more interactive and provide real life skills which is important for adult learners to see how they can implement what they have learned.


“Now I’m an ESOL tutor at Twin Group, I can help others overcome the barriers that I faced when I first moved to the UK and can use my experiences to help them.


“It’s so rewarding to teach people skills which will improve their day-to-day life, and future employability.”


The Flying Cows programme offers a variety of course levels, from programmes designed for people with lower levels of English ability who want to volunteer or help others in their community, to the world-renowned Trinity CertTESOL, for those looking to have a professional TESOL career.



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