Right upon graduation, Nina, an avid philosophy and arts lover, followed her parents’ advice to take up a much-coveted banking job that presumably bolstered family pride. It was not until recently that she felt compelled to embrace her true ideals and resign. Following a huge fight with her parents, redefinition of career goals and a 3-month stint, she is now living her dream, in London! 

Not living the life I want

Nina entered the banking industry at her parents' suggestion after receiving a bachelor's degree in philosophy, a discipline she loved dearly but landed her few decent jobs. Working alongside number-crunchers who spent the better part of their lives behind the counter, Nina realised that this job is unsuitable for her. 

Driven by a simple vow to make her own life decisions, Nina quit her job and had a falling-out with her parents, who were appalled by any attempt to challenge the traditional notion of a good life for girls, which typically involves stable employment, marriage and motherhood. Insistent on mapping a career path around personal passions, she took the advice of a professor of hers: study contemporary art in the UK and undertake her academic pursuit by combining philosophy with painting, a childhood passion. “In the realm of contemporary art, I'm able to freely create things and express myself by means of paintings — unrestrained by convention!” she exclaims. Harbouring dreams to to establish a museum packed with her favourite artworks, Nina decided that majoring in Museum Gallery and Contemporary Studies was the first step towards fulfilling her vision. 

Going abroad is the first step towards fulfilling dreams

Nina has been relentless since making that momentous decision — she left her job last June, sought help from overseas education consultancies in August, started IELTS test preparation in September and consistently practised painting along the way. “At first I studied on my own, relying solely on readily available exam prep materials. I then came across an advertisement for the  IELTS preparation programme here. Impressed by its good online reviews, I took a taster session and signed up right away!” It took Nina just three months to secure a satisfactory IELTS score.

“Katie, the coach from my IELTS Preparation and IELTS Skills courses, generously shared test-taking tips and strategies with me. I’m also grateful for the intensive training with Mark, without whom I wouldn’t have scored one band higher in the writing module!” Nina remarked. However, citing an old Chinese saying, “The master leads you to the threshold and the rest is up to you,” she urges those who have enrolled, or plan to enrol, the IELTS courses here to do their part diligently and avoid over-dependence on the extraordinary teachers. As evidenced by the fact that Nina managed to compose at least one essay per week during the test preparation period, unswerving commitment and tireless endeavour lie behind every success. 

One step closer to her dreams

Nina strongly recommends that IELTS test takers follow her example sharpen their English speaking skills through myClass service. “Thanks to myClass, which involves wide-ranging conversation topics in an English-immersion setting, I became a much better English speaker, which was a surprise even for my fellow learners!” she recalls. Grades and test scores aside, Nina feels more comfortable expressing herself now. “I used to struggle through practically every sentence for fear of making grammatical mistakes, but speaking English is as natural as breathing to me now,“ she says. Strategically following TED Talks and BBC News to enhance her listening skills even beyond the completion of IELTS courses, she believes constant exposure to world news helped her to predict test questions while keeping her engaged in international affairs.

Words for test takers

Nina, who is moving full throttle towards her dream, gives IELTS test takers her advice: embrace change and don’t let the circumstances define you; adopt a different perspective at life’s turning points and tackle frustrations head on!