Abbi Mullan - BA (Hons) English Language

Abbi Mullan and companion riding a camel in a desert

Abbi's Story

BA (Hons) English Language

When you’re at school, you’re not really expected to have your whole life planned out. Anything beyond college or maybe university can seem pretty distant. Well, not me.

I always knew that I wanted to get out and see the world, to explore what’s out there before settling down. From about 16, I figured the best way of doing that, or at least the most sensible, was to study for a degree that can open as many different doors as possible and then head out to teach in a foreign land.

So, I finished my A levels, took a gap year to help save a little money and then set out to find an English degree course that would help me fulfil my plan. Because I had a whole year to do this, I visited quite a few universities and they all kind of blurred into one until I arrived in Portsmouth. The sea was glimmering, sun bounced off beautiful old buildings and there were students everywhere around town. This was the place for me.

The sea was glimmering, sun bounced off beautiful old buildings and there were students everywhere around town. This was the place for me.

Abbi Mullan

Alumna, BA (Hons) English Language

Abbi Mullan sitting by a pool in scuba gear with assistant in water helping her set up

What made Portsmouth really stand out was its link with Trinity College. It meant I could take a TEFL course that would give me a qualification to teach abroad, while also studying for my English degree. At first I was a little worried about the extra work, but right away the course began complementing my degree modules.

In the space of one week, I could be studying aspects of English Language in a degree lecture and then teaching them to foreign students at the University. It was a little daunting as many of them were older than me, but the experience was invaluable. Much to my surprise, the additional study was enhancing my degree rather than getting in the way of it.

By February in my final year, I’d completed the TEFL and had been set up with a school in Dubai. Then a couple of weeks after graduation I was on the plane. My plan was on track! However, plans rarely go flawlessly. Most of my experience of teaching to-date had been with 15-18 year olds and above, but as a young English girl I wasn’t allowed to teach boys of that age in Dubai, and so I was sent to teach seven-year-olds. It was a bit of a shock, but I made the most of it.

I gained an internship at a PR firm and before long was offered an account manager position.

Abbi Mullan

Alumna, BA (Hons) English Language

A portrait of Abbi Mullan

After 2 years of teaching, I was ready to really put into practice what I’d learned on my English degree. It was only then that I realised what having Portsmouth on your CV can do for you. I gained an internship at a PR firm and, before long, was offered an account manager position. Soon after I moved on again, landing an editor position on an exciting new app.

So, while my plan got me where I wanted in the end, I’d suggest you should actually not plan too much. It took the curve ball of the school in Dubai to make me realise that really it’s best to try everything you can and eventually you’ll find what you love, especially when you’ve got a degree that opens so many doors.