Success Stories: Sophia Barbayannes (Early Years)

Here at Oxbridge, we’re proud of all of our students. But we especially love it when someone comes along who truly stops us in our tracks. One who has determination and commitment in spades. That’s where Sophia Barbayannes, aged 30, comes in.

Sophia is currently enrolled on four courses – courses that will allow her to fulfil her ultimate dream of working in education. And to top it all off, she’s studying in English, which, for some who grew up and went to secondary school in Athens, is no mean feat.


Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Growing up in Greece, Sophia lived with her parents, brother, and two dogs. Described by friends and family as friendly, energetic, and a little stubborn at times, she had a love for books from a very young age, and developed an interest in health and fitness as she grew older. But neither of these could rival her main passion: travel.

Even though she loved her home country, Sophia couldn’t ignore the travel bug any longer, and made the brave decision to move to London in 2016. Although she had a rudimentary grasp of the English language, she was by no means fluent, so being immediately bombarded with the UK’s variety of dialects was certainly a learning curve!

She explains: “When I first arrived in London, I was a little bit lost. However, I was really glad to have the opportunity to practice every day, and people were so kind. It made it so much easier.”

Although Sophia was still adjusting to her new life in the UK, she was certain of one thing: the value of a proper education. Thinking of her future, Sophia did some research into the kind of qualifications UK employers want to see, making the decision to start with Maths, English, and ICT Functional Skills Level 1. It’s here she learned to express herself more clearly, improved her writing, and boosted her numerical and computer literacy skills to boot.

Dedicated learner, budding teacher

Equipped with new qualifications, Sophia decided to enter the workforce. She settled on an early years educator apprenticeship programme, which allowed her to gain a relevant qualification as well as some money and experience. Incredibly, Sophia even challenged herself to complete a combined GCSE science award, passing all her exams with flying colours in the process!

By now, Sophia was certain that her future lay in educating the next generation, helping to instil the same passion for learning that she herself enjoyed. Having succeeded against the odds, she also wanted to mentor adult learners who were struggling with self-confidence issues.

So, she enrolled on four courses with Oxbridge that would enable her to achieve those dreams, and to qualify as both a teaching assistant and an adult education teacher:

Incredibly, Sophia is currently on track to finish all four courses early with excellent grades too.


The future’s bright

So what’s next for Sophia? After she’s finished her home learning with Oxbridge, she’s off to university! And as far as she’s concerned, the sky’s the limit: “Any kind of success, even a small one, helps me feel like I can achieve anything. I’ve realised I’m capable of so many things. My advice is to never hesitate in trying something new, regardless of your age, race, sex or ability. I’d recommend distance learning with Oxbridge to anyone – it was so incredibly convenient, and the support I’ve received from my tutors has been outstanding.”

Sophia’s tutor, Jennifer Ramsey, commented: “It’s been such a pleasure to be on Sophia’s journey with her. She’s always enthusiastic, diligent and thorough, and I’m in awe of the high standard of her work. I’ve got to know Sophia really well, gaining a very real sense of the compassionate, responsive and child-centred care she offers. It’s difficult to believe English isn’t her first language! Everything she does is done with care, thought, energy and insight.

“I genuinely feel sad that she’s almost finished her course, as I’ll really miss reading and learning about all she does. I confidently believe that Sophia’s attitude, ability and work ethic will serve her very well in anything she goes on to do and I wish her every success for the future.”

Sophia’s story demonstrates that nothing is impossible with tenacity and self-belief. As Sophia herself says: “Even if you’re starting from the bottom, never give up. Believe in yourself, stay motivated, and you can achieve anything.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed hearing Sophia’s Success Story. If you’re ready to take your career to the next level, our range of distance learning courses can help get you there – no matter what your goals for the future. For more information or to browse our full programme of courses, visit the homepage or speak to one of our experienced learning advisers on 0161 630 3000.