- Hi Sotiris! We ‘re excited to have you with us! You are a Speech and Language Therapist, born in Greece, starting off your career there, and have come to England recently. Could you tell us a bit more about your story?
After qualifying as a Speech and Language Therapist, I decided to study a Master’s degree in a relevant field to enhance my experience and further my career. After applying for and successfully obtaining a scholarship from the Onassis Foundation in 2013, I pursued my MSc in Neuroscience Language and Communication at University College London. Upon completion of my MSc, I worked as a Speech and Language Therapist in several schools, private clinics and hospitals across London and Kent. I have worked with children who faced a variety of communication difficulties, including developmental language disorders, speech delay, verbal dyspraxia, autism and dyslexia. This gave me a real sense of fulfilment as I was able to provide them with a solid foundation that they could then build upon.
At present, I am working as a Research Associate for the Neurodegeneration Imaging Group at King’s College London, and as a Specialist Speech and Language Therapist within the private sector.
- So how is your life in England now? What are the pros and cons of living here?
Currently, my life is busy and productive. Every day presents a new challenge, which encourages my enthusiasm and keeps me motivated.
Living in London has both pros and cons. The pros include fruitful opportunities for personal growth and professional development, social and cultural diversity and a spectrum of leisure activities. The cons include those which are present in any large metropolitan city, i.e. cost of living, limited space and competitiveness.
- What inspires you everyday?
Coming in to work every day and interacting with individuals from all walks of life, including doctors, scientists and patients, widens my understanding of healthcare, and thus inspires me to work harder and go above and beyond my rudimentary duties.
Outside the workplace, getting to know new people influences the way I think and feel. This inspires me because it shapes my mentality.
- Share some of the highlights of your recent professional experience with us. Tell us about the challenges you ‘ve faced.
To begin with, it has been highly gratifying to see the progress that my students made after receiving speech and language therapy. It was also particularly fulfilling to work with students who have had Greek and/or English as a native language, as well as international clients that flew over from different countries in order to receive assessment and intensive speech and language therapy sessions.
In addition, working within the Neurodegeneration Imaging Group has enabled me to carry out innovative research within the field of neuroscience and speech and language therapy. After having demonstrated the association between striatal dopaminergic denervation and speech and swallowing difficulties, I was offered the opportunity to present these novel findings at three world-renowned congresses: the Movement Disorders Society (2016 & 2017) and the European Academy of Neurology (2017). Here, I gave oral presentations and presented my posters to world-leading scientists and experts within the field of neuroscience. Moreover, during the 1st Panhellenic Speech and Language Therapy Congress (2017), I was invited as a speaker to give a lecture on “Neurolinguistic models, speech disorders and neuroimaging in Parkinson’s Disease” to an audience consisting of scientists, students and healthcare professionals.
- Do dreams really come true?
Of course, they do. As Theodore Roosevelt once said “Believe you can and you‘re halfway there”.
- What is passion for you?
Passion is enthusiasm, energy and eagerness for life. When your daily activities are in alignment with who you are, you get energy from carrying them out. I feel very fortunate as I have found my passion and I am living it.
- What is your advice to the Greek community of teachers in England?
Keep working hard, keep pressing on, keep making a difference. Continue to provide students with an insight into your own core values, forged by our honourable Greek heritage. Your actions will benefit the generations of tomorrow.
- Thank you very much for your time. We are looking forward to hosting your amazing ideas and various experiences on our website! Take care!