Emma Meredith, International Director of the AoC (Association of Colleges), is this week’s Throwback Thursday.
Emma studied at Winstanley between 1991 and 1993, taking A-levels in French, Spanish, English Language and Medieval History. She then progressed onto Gonville and Caius College at Cambridge University where she completed a degree in Modern Languages.
After completing her studies, Emma decided to travel and secured a job through the JET Programme teaching in Japan. On returning to the UK, she then started at Shearings Holidays, using her language skills to take school groups on ski trips.
This experience of travel at the start of her working career inspired Emma to pursue an international career, which has led her to a number of different roles including International Officer at University of Liverpool and International Director at Edinburgh College where she progressed to the senior management team and had the chance to travel to Asia, Africa, the Middle East, South America and Europe.
In 2016, Emma moved to work for the Association of Colleges in the role of International Director.
Emma says: ‘The AoC is the representative body for further education colleges in England. I’m the International Director but my job is totally different to the job I had at Edinburgh College with the same title. Now I focus on education policy, working with Government departments to ensure that when anyone talks about UK-international education, they include colleges.
Studying languages has helped me to understand how people see things in different parts of the world, which can be totally different from how we see things in the UK. Recently I have been doing a lot of work on Brexit, and what leaving the EU might mean for UK colleges.
The place I have visited that I most enjoy going to has been Hong Kong, but I’ve also been fortunate to visit some countries that you are very unlikely to go to as a tourist – Uzbekistan, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia being just some of them. I’ll always be grateful for the travel opportunities that I’ve had.’