Gulnar Jafarli, an English language teacher and trainer from the Learning Hub in Beylagan, shares her story about working with the British Council and becoming a successful Chevening scholar.
Everything starts with a life goal. My life goal has always been to become a leader in education - I strongly believe that my work to improve the education system in Azerbaijan will make my country and community stronger. Being awarded a Chevening Scholarship is a dream come true! I am confident that my success will be my building block toward becoming a better teacher and leader.
Grassroots of success
After graduating, I have worked as an English teacher for seven years in different schools throughout Azerbaijan. At the same time, I’ve also worked with three NGOs, taking every opportunity to hone my leadership, interpersonal and communication skills where possible.
Being actively involved in an e-Twinning project co-sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Erasmus, I started working and exchanging knowledge with my peers from the schools in Europe, the UK, and beyond. This is when I understood that postgraduate education in the UK will be the best possible way forward for me and my professional development.
Road to Chevening
I learned about the Chevening Scholarship back in 2013. A friend and a peer from Egypt recommended that I apply for this opportunity, which offered scholarship awards to scholars with leadership potential to study for a master’s degree in any subject at any UK university. At the time; however, I couldn’t apply. I still needed more experience as a teacher and an educator to support my application.
Success isn’t easy to achieve. I haven’t been successful in my Chevening journey from the get-go. It took several tries, a lot of perseverance, research and commitment. But each time I applied, I came back as a much stronger applicant.
Teaching at the Learning Hubs
Last year, another amazing opportunity beckoned. I started working with the British Council Learning Hub in Beylagan. It wasn’t the first time I heard about the British Council. I remember countless times when I was searching for their teaching opportunities, workshops and scholarships. Finally, I got my wish.
We started with teacher training in October. I got so much more than I expected. The British Council created a productive environment for the teachers which enhanced our skills and expanded our knowledge about education in the 21 century. One topic that I was particularly enlightened by were the lives of women and girls in the rural areas and their access to education. I was so interested in this topic that it strongly inspired my Chevening essays!
Then, in November, we hosted an opening ceremony for the British Council’s newest Learning Hub in Beylagan. It was a start of a huge learning journey for both myself and my students.