Graduation Year: 2009
Major(s): Political Science
Current Position: Exams Officer - Cambridge English Language Assessment, The Anglo Mexican Foundation - International Exams Centre - Puebla
Please give a brief description of your current position and where you're working.
I am currently working as the exams officer in Puebla, Mexico. I am in charge of everything related to Cambridge English Language Assessment at subcentre MX003. This means maintaining customer relations with schools and students, promoting Cambridge around 6 states in Mexico, organizing venues & exam dates, applying and finally handing in certificates. Aside from that, my job also includes providing consultancy services to other schools and organizations. These include teacher training, program development support, material development, placement and mock testing services. Finally, I work closely with my academic coordinator here in Puebla to offer testing services to our own student body and teachers, organizing workshops, training sessions for examiners and ceremonies for our students. I also give the occasional class still!
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
To arrive where I am today, there were no clear guides, or instructions telling me where to go, or how I was supposed to do things. My interest for Latin America was the key factor in my landing here. After a service trip to Peru and a semester in Chile, my advisor said, "You've caught the travel bug," and it was definitely true. My experience in Chile was how I met my wife, and I followed my interest and MY HEART to Mexico. I sold my car and took a chance, I had no job lined up, but had studied TESOL and political science which I thought was surely enough. The first few months were quite difficult; being alone in a new city, without the support of family or friends is tough, especially during the rainy season here! After a month, I found a job at The Anglo where I was accepted with open arms. The team was great and I felt a real opportunity for growth there. After 3 years of hard work and dedication as a teacher and examiner, I competed for the position I currently have.
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
I would say don't be afraid to take risks. If I had let the "what ifs" stop me, I would have never learned so much about myself. Here in Mexico, my character has become much stronger and my own resolve even more so. I think that taking risks has helped me become who I am today. Of course there have been times where taking risks have ended in complete failure, including in some circumstances in my current position. But, if you are willing to take those failures and learn from them, then taking a chance will always bring rewards (you just might not see them at first).
What skills are important in your field?
In the world of TESOL in Mexico, the most important skills one can have are being organized, being open to any opportunities and being committed to your work. These are what we look for when hiring examiners and teachers here at the Anglo. In my case, whenever a client or colleague asks me for support, I will almost always say yes. If it is a particular task that I haven't done in the past (most recently creation of an online platform), well I learn how to do it and turn in a professional product in the end. Being open to new opportunities will help you get ahead and learn new skills along the way.
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
The first real experience abroad I had was through Campus Ministry in Chimbote, Peru. This was not a vacation; it was a service trip which showed a side of Peru the rest of the world never gets to see. This is what got me interested in Latin America and politics in the area. If you have a chance to go abroad, I would recommend it. But I would also recommend breaking away from your study abroad group as much as possible to experience the real culture and area where you are.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
Cambridge English exams are increasing in popularity (compared to TOEFL) here in Mexico, so it feels great to have achieved spectacular growth rates here in Puebla and have received awards for great inspections from Cambridge English. But the most rewarding experience is the essence of my job and it comes when I hand a certificate to someone who has possibly worked for two or three years to achieve this level of English, and see their eyes light up with pride. That is the most rewarding part.
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