Meet the Team

Our team are friendly and welcoming. We are here to help you improve your English language and academic study skills and to adjust to life in the UK. We are experienced in working with students in higher education.

We look forward to meeting you.

Dr Malgorzata (Gosia) Drewniok
Head of International College

I was born in Poland and people call me ‘Gosia’. I first came to the UK as an international student (BA, MA, PhD) so I draw on my own experience in my work. I’m passionate about working with international students. My team and I work very hard to support international students at Lincoln, offering courses, workshops, and one-to-one appointments tailored to your needs.

I have a PhD in Linguistics and I am interested in anything to do with language. I have been teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP), research, and study skills at UK universities since 2008. I have also taught modules in linguistics in the past. I joined the University of Lincoln in January 2019.

When I’m not working, I like to learn about languages and cultures, therefore I travel a lot. I also love to read and watch good quality TV dramas.

Andy Barker
Deputy Head of International College and Pre-sessional Programme Manager

I was born in Cambridgeshire and have been living in Lincolnshire since returning to the UK, following a period of 10 years overseas. My time abroad was spent in international education living and working in Vietnam, Malaysia (Sabah and Penang), and New Zealand.

Whilst overseas I learnt many things about different cultures, languages, food, and people. I was lucky enough to have a very rewarding time while collecting many fond memories of my experience in international education. I have seen first-hand the process of learning in a range of international settings and I always seek to further understand and learn more myself. Having lived in several countries I can emphasise with students and the difficulties faced that being away from home can present.

Separate from my work in education I love being outdoors, photography, film, and reading. When not working I can often be found chasing my young son around the garden, or is he chasing me?!

Wendy Whatmough
International College Administration Manager

I am originally from Lancashire and first moved to Lincoln in 2001. I have enjoyed being a part of the team since June 2019. Prior to this, I worked in secondary education for several years. I support international students before they arrive in Lincoln, whilst on their Pre-sessional English and Academic Study Skills (PEASS) courses (both online and face to face), and those on their main course who would like to benefit from in-sessional English language support.

Having lived overseas in Ukraine, Cyprus, and Germany, I can empathise with students moving to a new country, away from family, with a different culture and language. Having completed postgraduate study in 2021 (MSc Human Resource Management), I understand the pressures and deadlines involved but I can only imagine what it must be like not to study in your native language.

My home life revolves around my husband and two teenage daughters who keep me busy. Much of my spare time is spent planning home improvements and DIY projects, and I love to travel when I can.

 

Dr Chokri Ghezal
In-sessional Programme Manager

I was born and educated in Tunisia where I achieved a BA in English and Literature. After teaching EFL, ESOL, and EAP in three different countries, I decided to go back to university in the UK in 2012. I studied for an MA in Translation Studies and then a PhD in the same discipline at the University of Leicester. I have always been interested in languages and translation. I am particularly interested in style and how, through translation, one could either preserve the style of the original text or manipulate it in order to produce a text in another language that is more accessible to a non-specialist readership.

When I am not reading or translating, I like to cycle in the countryside if the weather is nice. If not, I stay in and bake cakes and biscuits inspired by ancient recipes. In my present role, I work with a dedicated team that is enthusiastic about supporting international students and helping them improve their academic English and study skills. I look forward to meeting all the students who take advantage of the courses we provide throughout the academic year.

 

Gemma Spink
International College Senior Officer (Conversion)

I am originally from South London and moved to Lincoln in 2006 having been tempted up here by the property prices, which were considerably lower than in London!

I have worked for the University since 2014 previously in the Lincoln International Business School administrating programmes such as the Postgraduate Master's programmes. Before joining the University I worked for Lincolnshire Police, largely recruiting staff for the force and the London Metropolitan (MET) Police in a Criminal Justice Unit.  I have also worked for the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

In my spare time, I like to play tennis at a local club. I love history and enjoy exploring other countries and cultures, especially on foot. I love Italy, especially the food, the culture, and the history.

 

Anne O'Brien
Pre-sessional Programme Coordinator

I’m originally from Ireland, though have also lived in Canada, Spain, and Brazil. I first came to work at the University of Lincoln in 2013 after several years studying and working abroad. I’ve been working on the University’s pre-sessional courses ever since, helping to prepare international students for their university studies.

My background is in languages, linguistics, and translation. I speak Spanish, French, and Portuguese, so I know what it is like to learn another language to an advanced level. It can be very challenging at times, but also very rewarding. I love languages because they open up a whole new way of seeing the world. I feel privileged to play a part in helping international students discover the possibilities that are open to them and supporting them in their own journey at university.

Outside of work, I spend a lot of time switching between languages as many of my friends don’t speak English as a first language. I find that it makes life more interesting and keeps my brain working! My favourite way to relax is to listen to music, play guitar, or walk in the woods near where I live.

 

Michelle Symonds
Pre-sessional Programme Coordinator

I was born and raised not too far from Lincoln (in Nottinghamshire, bordering Sherwood Forest) and educated at the universities of Newcastle and York.

I obtained my PhD in learning theory at York in 1995, after which I spent several years as a post-doctoral researcher. I had the privilege of spending much time overseas for teaching and research purposes (predominantly in Spain), which sparked my interest in helping non-native English speakers in academic settings, ultimately leading me to Lincoln in 2014. I have worked closely with various learner profiles — from undergraduates to heads of faculty — designing and delivering workshops, courses, and online masterclasses in writing, presentation and lecturing skills, and research methods.

I firmly believe that working with people from different cultural backgrounds can be an incredibly rewarding experience for all involved. I particularly relish the challenge of helping those students who are about to embark on their studies here at Lincoln.

Aside from my current role at International College, I serve as language editor for an international journal and ad hoc reviewer for several scientific publications. When not working, I enjoy reading, listening to podcasts, and indulging my passion for music (I am an avid collector of vinyl records) while spending too much time pandering to the whims of two very pampered cats.

 

Carl Christopher
Senior English for Academic Purposes Tutor

Welcome to the UK, to Lincoln, to the university and – last but certainly not least – to the International College. I am looking forward to supporting our international students as they get stuck into their academic careers. I have lived and worked abroad for most of my married life, so I know how it feels to be far from home, friends, and family.

For most of my time abroad, I taught English at a university, and also took the opportunity to learn Arabic too. I love continuing to learn Arabic through the songs, films, and – most of all – the people of the Middle East. I am also a keen reader (of nearly anything!), and I love to walk and explore. Most of all though, my time and energy are invested into the greatest blessing in my life; my family.

Finally, you should probably know that although I am passionate about education, I could just as easily be a farmer.

Matthew Bayly
Senior English for Academic Purposes Tutor

I was born and raised in Lincolnshire and have been a member of the team since 2016. I have over seven years of experience working in education internationally as well as in the UK and lived and taught in Japan, Russia, and China. I was trained in educational practice at the Institute of Education, University College London and have a BA from the University of Leeds in English and History.

As Lincoln is my hometown, I am enthusiastic about helping students explore the city’s lively social life and its rich history and heritage. Lincoln has existed for over two thousand years, so you are joining a community with deep roots but also an exciting future! When not teaching, I am interested in pursuing my PhD in History, buying too many books, and exploring Lincolnshire’s vast number of historic churches.

 

Karen Priestley
Senior English for Academic Purposes Tutor

I was born and grew up just over the River Trent in Nottinghamshire, the home of Robin Hood. After living and teaching English in Portugal for 22 years, I have recently returned to the same area. My love for Portugal, the Portuguese language, and the Portuguese people evolved as an Erasmus student at the University of Porto, Portugal, as part of my BA Joint Honours in French and Portuguese at the University of Leeds.

I joined the team in October 2019 and am passionate about teaching English together with meeting and supporting international students. Fortunately, I am able to draw on my own experience of studying, working, and living abroad, and remember exactly how it all feels! I also have an MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and a Diploma in Translation.

In my free time, I enjoy reading and handicrafts such as baking and embroidery. I am also exploring and practising a newfound interest in gardening and vegetable growing.

 

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