Alumni - Class of 2014

Rachel Paton

Rachel Paton

Upon leaving Hanley in 2014, I went on to study Geography at Oxford University. I really enjoyed my time there, having the opportunity to study really varied human and physical geography modules. In the summer of 2016, I conducted research in Galicia, in northwest Spain, for my dissertation - looking at the rate of soil erosion on terraced vineyards. Perhaps not the topic I would choose now, having seen a bit more of the world outside Europe, but one that was interesting at the time!

After graduating in 2017, I took a gap year - I hadn't missed my chance! I lived and worked in Nepal for six months, part of a team of three sent by an organisation called BMS World Mission. Whilst in Nepal, I worked in several schools, including one for Nepali children who have special educational needs and physical impairments. I have some really precious memories of my time with the children and teachers there. We also had the opportunity to go trekking and paragliding in the Himalayas, which was incredible!

I returned to the UK in March 2018. A year on, I work for Tearfund (a Christian international development organisation) as a Programme Support Assistant in the Humanitarian Team. My team is currently coordinating Tearfund's humanitarian response to Cyclone Idai in southeast Africa. It's such a privilege to know that the work I do - even on those days when it feels fairly insignificant - counts towards something much bigger. I hope to stay in the international development sector, and wonder whether that might take me back to Nepal one day!