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Former student John Young teaching in the Lebanon

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John Young studied A levels in History, Philosophy and Politics with AS General Studies. John sent this to us from Tyre, on the coast south of Beirut.

 If I could pinpoint one moment that changed the course of my life, it would be my time at Long Road. Before Long Road I had never been keen on academia: reading and writing were things that bored me. It wasn’t until I took Philosophy A level that I felt an excitement for academia and a love for everything intellectual, and I knew I had found my calling in life. Without a doubt I can attribute my high achievement at university as well as the work I am doing in the Middle East, to the teaching I received at Long Road.

 After leaving Long Road I took a gap year and deferred my entry to university. In my gap year I travelled to Lebanon to work in the same school at which I am teaching now: the Lebanese Evangelical School in Tyre (which is in south Lebanon, near the border with Palestine). I taught English to primary school age kids. It was in this year that I started learning Arabic.

 After my year out, I went to the University of Reading to study Politics, International Relations and Arabic. I was very grateful to the university for taking me on archaeological trips to Jordan, Egypt and Syria, as a translator. This meant that I could return to the Middle East every year and practise my Arabic. This summer I graduated top of my class with a first class honours degree in Politics and International Relations.

Four weeks ago I returned to the Lebanon to teach A level History. There is a huge UN presence in the south, and their children need schooling. The problem is that they don’t speak Arabic and so when they have any lessons in Arabic they have to sit in the playground doing nothing! That’s where I come in. I am currently heading up the foreign system department; there are about 100 students to about 6 members of staff including myself. I love all of my students: they’re all so grateful for actually being taught something, they’re extremely well behaved and love participating in class. I have based the curriculum on the British system, and this year we will study World War 1, World War 2 and the Cold War. I also hope to run a history trip to Berlin at Easter time.  

Next September I plan to study for my MPhil in Middle Eastern Politics at Cambridge University. I have been accepted, and they are now searching for a supervisor who is fluent in Arabic willing to supervise my thesis. After that, I hope to apply to work in the Foreign Office or the diplomatic service and combine my passion for academia with my love of the Middle East.