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Changing Lives in the Maldives, One Teacher at a Time

Meet Fathimath Shaaira. She’s teaching English and Science in elementary school in the Republic of Maldives, and is one of 1,000 teachers who took part in EF’s English language learning program, run in collaboration with the Maldives Ministry of Education. The initiative enabled teachers in state-funded schools to use EF’s online English school to improve their language skills, and become better equipped teachers.

We met with Fathimath to learn more about her English language learning journey and her time in Cambridge.


Tell us a little bit about yourself

I am from a small island in the Maldives called Lhohi where I work as a primary school teacher. The island of Lhohi is very small with a population of around 1,000 people which means we have a lovely sense of community and I know many of my students outside of school. The primary school where I teach has around 120 students and I am responsible for teaching 10 and 11-year-olds English and science. I really enjoy teaching both subjects but if I had to choose, science would be my favourite!


Tell us a little bit about the EF language training program?

I initially learnt about the language program from my principal and 8 teachers in my school took part in the program. The language program has provided me and my fellow teachers with a fantastic opportunity to improve our language skills. I have been studying with EF for six months and during this time I have progressed from Level 8 to Level 16, the highest possible level in English Live. I have completed all the materials and participated in many of the on-demand group classes.


How did you find studying English online with EF?

A new school curriculum has been introduced in the Maldives which means it is a very busy time for us teachers! Being able to learn online has meant we have a lot of flexibility to fit our learning into our busy schedules. The ability to access courses on my mobile phone gives me extra flexibility and means I can access my training no matter where I am. I can even complete courses whilst I am at the beach!


What did you like most about the course?

My favorite part of the EF language training program has been the group classes. It’s been wonderful to meet people from across the world during these classes. The teachers who run them really get to know you and they’re always excited to hear that I am from the Maldives, they always ask me lots of questions about the Maldives! I also enjoyed the one-to-one private lessons with teachers. The teachers provide extensive feedback which really helps my learning.


Tell us about your experience coming to EF International Language Campus in Cambridge.

I have loved my time at EF’s language centre in Cambridge. I never dreamed I would be able to come to Cambridge, so I am very happy that I have been able to visit. Everyone at the language center has been so kind and helpful. I have had a very busy schedule with lots of classes but there have been lots of social activities. I have been lucky enough to meet people from all over the world and have made some wonderful friends.


Is this your first time abroad?

Yes! This is the first time I have ever been abroad so it was a big adventure coming to England! It took me 12 hours to get to Cambridge from the Maldives so it was a very long trip for my first time traveling abroad. I have also had to get used to the cold weather in England, it’s very different from the Maldives!


How will you introduce what you have learned with EF into your teaching when you get back to the Maldives?

My family and friends in the Maldives have been very supportive of me coming to Cambridge and they can’t wait to hear about everything I have been doing. I also can’t wait to share my experiences with students and fellow teachers at my school. Everything I have learned whilst I have been in Cambridge is going to help me in my teaching.


English language learning


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