Ashley Riley, a St. Thomas University graduate, didn’t want university to end, but she was pleasantly surprised by what came next.
Riley is currently teaching English at a primary school in Spain. She graduated from STU in 2019 and completed her master’s degree at Dartmouth College.
By her third-year at STU, Riley knew she wanted to attend graduate school. She said completing her honours in Great Books prepared her for graduate studies.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better undergraduate education,” said Riley.
While she was at STU, she worked in the admissions office with Kaylee Moore and Camila Vásquez. She said STU students have a good foundation and resources to fall back on.
After completing her master’s program, she was left to weigh the possibilities of the future. She said she loved the university environment and saw herself working on a campus.
Riley heard about a program offered by the Spanish Ministry of Education, open to Canadians and Americans that have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Once accepted, the graduate is placed in an elementary, middle school or high school in Spain depending on their preference.
She applied to the program and was accepted to teach at an elementary school in L’Alcudia.
“I wanted to work with children,” said Riley. “Just because I thought it would be really fun.”
After teaching in Spain for three weeks, she would recommend it to anyone, especially students who are taking a year off between graduation and a master’s program. She said her coworkers at the admissions office at STU inspired her to go abroad.
“Don’t let fear make the decision for you,” said Riley.
Another STU graduate, Wasiimah Joomun, graduated with an honours in criminology and a major in psychology in 2020. She now works for a non-profit in Fredericton, the New Brunswick Student Alliance.
During her time at STU, she was the vice-president of student life on STU’s Students’ Union followed by her presidency on STU’s International Students’ Association.
Through networking and her involvement in student government, Joomun found out about the job opportunity at NBSA. The day after graduation, she had a job interview and was hired two days later.
She said the job she has now is thanks to the experiences she had at STU.
Joomun plans on going back to school to complete a master’s in public policy. Going forward, she said she will always be grateful for the critical thinking skills she received at STU.
Joomun’s advice to students is to try new things at university.
“The worst thing that can happen is you don’t like it, ” said Joomun.