University of Brighton Alumni Association

American school bus with monument valley Arizona in the background

PGCE to the Pan American Highway

Hear from Rebecca Marsh who tells us about her adventures since graduating and how the university set her on this journey and supported her through difficult times.

The Brighton Effect can take shape in many ways, sometimes it’s not just about the career path it sets you on but also, how it shapes you as a person and realising the things you want to get out of life to bring about happiness and fulfilment.  

Rebecca Marsh finished her PGCE in 2016 and has since embarked on a journey as a writer allowing her to continue teaching in a non-traditional sense.  

We caught up with her during her current adventure across the Pan American Highway to hear more about this project and learn how her time at Brighton shaped who she is today, as well as the support she received from staff at the university for a neurodiverse condition and some unexpected trauma. 

Picture of Becca Marsh smiling with a hat and sunglasses with lake in the background
Rebecca Marsh

Her professional journey: Career path and current projects 

“Since graduating I have become a full-time writer, sharing my experience travelling and creating online travel guides. I am lucky enough to have landed a career that still allows me to teach, inspire, and share my experiences with others but in a different more ‘hands off way’. I do hope to go back to teaching in the classroom one day, but for now I am very proud of and happy where I am with my work.  

“I am currently embarking on a seven-month-long journey along the Pan American highway with fellow teammates in an American school bus we kitted out earlier in the year.  

“We are making a documentary about our journey and the history of the road network with a film team, and I am also writing a book about the similarities and differences I see in the landscape and cultures along the way.” 

How Brighton set Rebecca on this path 

“My experience at Brighton gave me confidence and the foundations to go out and explore the world. When I finished my PGCE I wanted to travel before settling down in Brighton to begin a teaching career, as my time at Brighton made me realise that I wanted some more life experience before jumping into a full-time job.  

“I have always been quite shy and my experience during my PGCE brought me out of my shell and forced me to build confidence. I believe this gave me the building blocks to set off on a round-the-world adventure, and many skills were transferred into this expedition, such as communication, resilience, teamwork and patience.    

“One of my favourite opportunities at Brighton was assisting in teaching the National Art and Design Saturday Club sessions. As Brighton University was a host for these sessions, I got to work with all sorts of artists from various backgrounds which was such an enriching experience. The students were also choosing to be there, creating a positive work environment. It was really fulfilling for me to be able to work with such enthusiastic art students.” 

Wisdom for current students and invaluable support she received 

“A piece of advice I would give to current students at Brighton is to never give up. I was diagnosed with dyslexia during my first degree (prior to Brighton), and it was a huge hurdle to overcome. But I never gave up on myself and I am now a full-time writer.  

“I received one-to-one support for dyslexia during my time the University of Brighton, through my tutor who helped me with my written work, essays, and dissertation. She also gave me support to help work with other students in my classes. I chose to work with third-year dissertation students studying fine art, as I had received so much help on my BA Fine Art Degree at UCA Farnham, that I really wanted to pass that on. She gave me tools to help myself and help my students. 

“She also gave me some additional support for some trauma I experienced during my studies. My boyfriend of 4 years died in a car accident in December (2015) during my course. Many people around me advised me to pause my studies, but at the time, I felt like I had lost so much already, losing my passion, and my PGCE would feel like I had nothing left.  

“In some ways, it was something I was still in control of, and whilst it was extremely challenging returning in January for the second semester, it was the best decision I ever made, and I received so much support, patience, and understanding from my tutors, the university and fellow students. This had a huge impact on my future and I was still young at the time.” 

Defining success 

“Success to me means happiness and stability. A key part of life is growing and with this comes change. Being able to embrace this and adapt your work to create a fulfilling career is a huge sign of success. It is not always easy and it can be difficult to create a work environment where you are happy and financially stable but it is certainly achievable.” 

If you want to read more about Rebecca’s travels and work you can visit the Global Convoy website.  

Alumniamericabrighton effectCreativeEducationgraduatePGCEtraveltravel writerUniversity of Brightonusawriter

Alex Petrovic • October 24, 2023


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