Updated: Feb 27
In episode 24 of Think Big Podcast, I speak to Sofia Kouni - an Architectural Graduate from the University of Dundee. She is bilingual, with both Greek and Scottish heritage. After a 1- year long break from her studies, during which she worked on a construction site, she graduated from her Bachelor’s and now works as a freelance Digital Content Creator for Architects not Architecture in Hamburg, and a full time Intern at Urban Design London.
In this conversation Sofia shares her journey from student to working including some of the bumps and challenges along the way.
In the episode we discuss:
✨ Her journey and mental health challenges and the surprising things that came from overcoming her challenges
✨ The benefits of being bilingual and what it's helped her to see and share with others
✨ Being someone with multiple interests and connecting to your values; and
✨ Using LinkedIn
✨ LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/sofia-kouni/
✨ Architects not Architecture - https://www.architectsnotarchitecture.com/
✨ Urban Design London - https://www.urbandesignlondon.com/
✨ Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/archienglishteacher
✨ Connect with me on LinkedIn Tara Cull
Extended Show Notes
Come and join the ArchiEnglish Community to take your English communication skills to the next level.
Ted Talk by Emilie Wapnicke - Why some of us don't have one true calling
follow your gut (instinct) - to follow what your instinct is telling you
to touch on something -
to come up - when something comes up it means you notice something or mention it
take time for yourself
digital content creation -
strong suit - strength or positive point
bend / flex your ear - to listen hard or adapt
put yourself in someone's shoes - to understand their perspective or point of view
to have something in the back of your mind - you intend to do it, but are not actively thinking about it
put on stand by - to place something to the side and complete it at a layer date
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 00:00
You're listening to think big episode 24
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 00:13
Hello, big thinkers and welcome to episode 24 of Think Big English for architects. I'm your host, Tara Cull, Australian language teacher, coach and landscape architect. And I'm bringing all these things together to help you build more outstanding communication skills. If English is your second language, and you're an architect, a landscape architect and interior designer, a student, or you want to work in the built environment, then you are definitely in the right place. To find out more about my coaching programmes, you can go to archienglish.com. And I'm very excited to share that I recently just opened the doors to the ArchiEnglish Community. We've had our first few speaking calls, and it's great to see people in there. To find out more about the community, you can go to archienglish.com/courses. And as always, you'll find the free transcript with key vocabulary, any grammar points and expressions from today's episode at archienglish.com/podcast. In today's episode, you'll hear a conversation that I had with architectural graduate Sofia Kouni. We address a lot of topics from the benefits of being bilingual, to also being a multi potential, who is somebody with many interests, as well as the importance of looking after your mental health. It's a great conversation and I'm really looking forward to sharing it with you. So let's get straight into the conversation. And let me introduce Sofia.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 01:41
Sofia Kouni is an architectural graduate from the University of Dundee. She is bilingual, with both Greek and Scottish heritage, having lived in Greece up until she was 17. And while having been accepted to study at the top university in Greece for architecture, the Athens Technical University, she followed her gut feeling and moved to Scotland. After a one year long break from her studies, during which she worked on a construction site. She received her Bachelor's in June 2021. She's now a freelance digital content creator for architects not architecture in Hamburg, and a full time intern at Urban Design, London. So welcome, Sofia, great to have you on podcast. Thank you for accepting my invitation.
Sofia Kouni 02:30
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 02:33
You're welcome. So we'll get straight into the conversation. We've been having a little bit of a chat, I think it's important we get straight into the conversation. And the very first question I always ask people to share is, what is a fun fact about you that has absolutely nothing to do with architecture?
Sofia Kouni 02:50
Well, actually, it's something that we mentioned already, I was gonna say I am bilingual. And so my mother is from Scotland and my father's from Greece. I always say, though, that I don't feel Scottish enough to say Scottish without the t as you pronounce it. And I also have a British passport now. So Brexit can't beat me.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 03:11
Yeah, that's good.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 03:15
And what, what are some of the good things about being bilingual?
Sofia Kouni 03:20
Well, some of the things I think, I've realised while being bilingual is that it's like a switch, you turn on and off. And sometimes it also malfunctions in conversations. And I guess it made me realise and see myself as a citizen of the world, rather than a citizen of a certain country. And it's really made me empathetic people that migrate or international.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 03:49
Yeah, I think that's really important. So I'd like to touch on being bilingual a bit later in the in the questions because I think it's, it's definitely a topic we can cover almost in a whole entire podcast episode. So I think it'd be good to ask a bit more about it as well. So before we begin, though, can you tell us a little bit more about your story? So where are you now currently? Where are you speaking to me from and what are your interests in architecture?
Sofia Kouni 04:18
So in May last year, I was awarded my bachelor's degree after a lot of struggles, which is definitely my highlight achievements so far. And so to give a bit of background for the first year, two years of my studies, I live with my auntie in Scotland, and commuted to Dundee nearly every day, which tilts up to about 10 out so that was one of the struggles that I mentioned. So on top of that, from my second year in university, I worked part time managed to move into my own flats and dandy, which I did and continued my studies in third year, again while working part time
Sofia Kouni 05:00
So this was something I had to do as my parents in Greece would struggle to financially support me. And at the beginning of my final semester, however, while I was sketching some precedents, actually,
Sofia Kouni 05:13
I suddenly started questioning what I was doing and why. And which kind of spiralled into a world full of doubts and turned out to be a depressive episode most, most probably because of burnout, because of the things I mentioned before.
Sofia Kouni 05:31
So eventually took a year off due to mental health reasons, which turned out to be my best decision so far. And just realise that once you choose yourself, then, like, start choosing you because opportunities were coming my way, when I didn't know what I was going to do that year. Like teaching Greek. I translated papers, I call out my own publications on literature and tourism. And last but not least, I started working as a construction manager as assistants, on sites in Greece. So all the things which I didn't actively pursue, started coming my way. And now after six months of job seeking after graduation, I am working as a freelance digital content creator for architects and architecture. And I just started working full time for urban design London. And my interests, I would say I have is definitely sustainability, which I actively promote, and community building, and meaningful and engaging spaces and places that foster interaction. For the future, I do want to complete my Master's at some point and qualify as an asset. I'm just not sure when we'll speak, To be continued.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 06:53
You don't have to know everything straightaway all the time. I think you have a very varied experience, and a really interesting story in terms of your experience studying and then having a year off. And I think that's something I'd really like to touch on, because it comes up a lot actually for, for students burnout in architecture as well. And I really admire your decision to take a year off and to do something differently. So I'd like to, if it's okay with you could I think for me, the mental health in architecture is very important. And I'd like to touch on that a little bit more, can you tell some things about what you learnt in that time that you took off, and instead of giving up, I guess, you took time off.
Sofia Kouni 07:41
So what has really sort of triggered me in uni is just imagine the scene of being in the library working in computers with other architecture students, and it being after 12 o'clock, and us continuing to work after leaving the library. And just everybody considered it was normal. And I just didn't, I thought, you know, it's not right to consider something like this normal. So it kind of manifested, you know, me after, I guess, working culture. And it naturally came to me the decision to take a year off, which is something that is not common and different paths and architecture, like maybe apprenticeships or taking a year off before even completing your bachelor's, or just choosing your own path is not very common. And to do that I had to have kind of mental health, excuse or else I don't think I could actually take a break, which I did, because I did have a sort of depressive episode but as I said, it turned out after I chose myself and my own well being, things started actually coming to me and people and opportunities. And it just gave me these opportunities, gave me the confidence to continue and maybe realise that architecture was something that I wanted to pursue. I wasn't just doing it because I don't know I started doing it maybe because I now I'm in it. I'm in the system, so I have to finish. And so I came back from confidently and was persistent enough to complete my Bachelor's. So you just need to take time for yourself and figure out what you like. So I actually was became aware of creative writing, after doing writing some publications and translations that year, which now is a bit of a hobby of mine. That's another thing.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 09:45
And did that lead you to your job architects not architecture?
Sofia Kouni 09:51
I guess in a way it because I realised that writing was a passion of mine. because what I do for architects and architecture is digital content creation, which part of it is mostly it's writing, actually, and creating social media content. So it was something that wasn't a strong suit for me in high school, because the way it was taught was very kind of, you needed to memorise and just not have your own opinion, and right wherever you were given. And but in uni through architecture, I actually realised that it is my strong suit, even if in high school, it didn't seem so I guess, in a way.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 10:38
And the other interesting aspect of that is to that you're working for a company in Hamburg, from Greece. And you're also possibly going to be, well, you're going to be going to London eventually. So I think it's really interesting how in the last few years, we've seen this development of different career paths for architects, and there's different possibilities. And since you've started working for architects not architecture, has it helped you to see different possibilities available to graduates in architecture?
Sofia Kouni 11:13
Yes, definitely, you don't need to know always go towards the path of qualifying as an architect, there are so many paths available. And I actually was applying for opportunities in property development as well, which is something that is not encouraged in university. A lot of architects have bias you on that. Because there might there must be quite a lot of property developments that don't do good work. But there are some that do. And so we do become a bit biassed while in Union, which I think is that's a reason as well, it's really important to kind of get out and work with people, instead of being in that system, that academic system and creating a mindset that's not flexible.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 12:03
And you we definitely don't need to just put ourselves in a box, for example, we can pursue other opportunities. So knowing all of that, and putting that all together, do you know what you want to pursue in the future or you're still unsure, still trialling different things?
Sofia Kouni 12:20
Well, I'm still unsure because I think that every time I say that, that's what I want to do. And life sort of turn things turns things around. And well, I I change opinion as well, which is one thing I usually say is that I generally don't have very solid opinions, I constantly change them. But I do think that's a positive thing. Because you're quite open to new experiences and new people. So I'm still open, I did say that I want to get my Master's done and qualify as an architect, but I won't put a stamp on that till it happens.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 13:03
I won't hold you to that. That's for sure. Yeah. I think the other thing that I was thinking too, is that, you know, there's so many different possibilities. And they're changing, as we were saying, you just never know what's going to happen. And I think the fact that you have all these multiple skills is quite common in architecture, you know, people who work in architecture, it's a very multidisciplinary field. So we have varied interests in a lot of interests. Have you ever heard of the term, multipotentialite - to be a multi potential light?
Sofia Kouni 13:36
I haven't actually.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 13:39
So there's a video, there's a video by Emily Wapnickie, I think her name is. And she talks about being somebody with multiple interests and multiple areas of interest and never feeling like she can settle in just one of them. So she likes to pursue different things. And that was a TED Talk that resonated with me and I know resonates with a lot of people that I've spoken to in architecture. It sounds like a TED talk that you might like to watch.
Sofia Kouni 14:10
Something from ancient Greece, the kind of story just like Troy, Odysseus who returned to Africa, and his whole journey. So he was characterised as, as that as someone that has much a lot of knowledge and kind of not just one interests, which I guess needed to at that time, if you can just be specialised in one area of work, because he had to survive. And so that was, yeah, that is something that I've been aware of through actually ancient Greek history.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 14:49
Yeah. Well, when you think about people like Leonardo da Vinci, he was not just a one dimensional person, he was very multi dimensional. So another another Another word for multi potential art is also a renaissance person. Because in the Renaissance, you had so many artists who were also architects, scientists, all those sorts of things. And for whatever reason we've kind of moved away from, from that model, and of success, but yeah, it sounds like, that's something that has interested you and that you're wanting to pursue. And I think that's a good thing. And, and it's okay to be like that. Excuse me, part of my part of your story that I'm really interested in is the fact that you're bilingual. And I think there are many advantages to being bilingual. Even if you're learning English as a second language, but you're still at an advanced level, I would consider that being bilingual, as well. But I think that, that that brings advantages and challenges. So can you tell us a little bit more about that? And what has helped you to see and notice?
Sofia Kouni 16:01
Yes, so as I mentioned briefly before, as well, I think it has made me really empathetic, especially to international immigrants, which is a very important aspect of design thinking. So because I often don't feel like I'm quick enough, or Scottish enough, I think I can get how someone might feel out of place. And funnily enough, I had to start working for a company in London in England, to be recognised as Scottish on my first day from my colleague for my accent to be recognised, which, I'm not sure if I do have a Scottish accent. But then when I used to visit relatives in Scotland, they would always say, I sounded American, because of all the cartoons I watched. And when I was little, and then I was taught proper English in school. And now I guess I finally got the accent. So I had to go. Or to work for a company in England to feel a bit more Scottish.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 17:01
Yeah, that's so interesting that you don't think your, your accent is Scottish, because to me, your accent sound Scottish. But I guess I'm not from Scotland. And sometimes I think the people that can be the most critical of our accent are the people that come from where our accent sounds, where our accent sounds like. So I think that's such an interesting thing that you don't feel Scottish. When you speak Greek, do you have an accent?
Sofia Kouni 17:30
I'm in Greece. Well, yes, you do get accents. Actually, I realised more when I was working on the construction site, because we had contractors from different areas. And because I had not gone to Greek uni to kind of be in touch and have a circle of I don't know, friends and students that are from different areas. I hadn't really heard a lot of Greek accents. I knew them, obviously, on TV and everything out some people that I had come in contact with, but mostly at the construction side. So they're realising Wow, well, there there are different accents. Where I had realised that more in the UK with all the kind of internationals etc, and not that much research, I don't know, if I have an accent, I wouldn't realise I have a certain weak accent. But they're not many. They're not. Usually it's like a trait that has quite a distinct accent, and some other areas in central Greece.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 18:31
So I think it's really important that we mentioned to that that the fact that you have this empathy that has developed through having two languages and being more aware of the challenges that other people have as well. And I see that as being a big advantage for working in leadership and working with with other younger architects as well who may speak English as a second language or who, who want to move to different countries. So is it something that you've thought about being able to mentor people or to think about how you can make a difference to the industry and that way,
Sofia Kouni 19:08
I had realised in university that I was usually the person just going to stand up and do the presentation. And that also has to do with my mental health, if I didn't feel confident, that would be something that I would do well, and if I didn't feel confident, then that's when I would sort of stumble, etc. But because I generally did not have an issue going up in talking about my presentation or a group presentation. And I was I want to say that I was the one that sort of encouraged other members of the team when they weren't feeling confident, to kind of remind them of what their strong suits are. And one thing that has stayed with me was a comment by an international students that come from I'm from Hong Kong. And I think it was just for an exchange. And we were having a chat, she wasn't actually an architecture, she was another sort of design department. And she was saying what I don't feel she was making mistakes in English. And she wasn't really confident. And I'm like, You should be because a lot of other people don't know another language, especially a lot of people in the UK, and you're actually, you know, brave enough to do your work, your studies and the language that's not your native one. And I posted something about that years after on Facebook. And without having, you know, been too much in touch with her. She commented that, that has stayed with her. And she's been telling that to her friends in Hong Kong. So that has really kind of showed me how one kind words can really impact people.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 21:00
Well, absolutely, that's so amazing. I've got goosebumps when you're telling you that. And I think that's so important that if you have an awareness of something, particularly around something like that, to share it with somebody, because you do never know who it will make an impact on. And even though it makes sense. Yeah, you know that a lot of other people don't speak another language. But just telling somebody and reminding them, helps to maybe get them through that challenging time. So I think that's a great story. And I would encourage students, people working in the profession, if you do speak another language, even if you feel like you're not perfect, which there is no such thing as perfect, then tell somebody else that what they're doing is great, and they're doing a great job. And that's definitely something I try and do as a teacher. And I mean it, you know, I think my students are doing an amazing job. I can't, I always say to, to people, when they do presentations to me, I cannot imagine doing what you just did in French. And feeling so, you know, successful at doing it. It's amazing. And I think, you know, people like yourself, people like me, who trying to make people aware of, of how difficult it can be, is a really important thing
Sofia Kouni 22:20
that you say yourself, as always your hardest critic. So a lot of people judge the way they talk, just a way to pronounce things, maybe in the language that is not their native language. But really, it doesn't sound that bad to other people. And what you really what's really important, actually, especially when I started living in Scotland, for the first time, is people actually pointing out, you know, kind of like weighing your mistakes. So what I used to say wrongly was I used to say calm instead of calm. Which I was convinced that that's the right way to say it. I'm not sure where I heard it. I was like, Oh, it might be American and might be an Australian, maybe, I don't know, co workers that well, what are you saying she could understand? I was saying, I was saying calm? And she actually I've seen calm. And that has stayed with me since because it was something I had been getting wrong for all my life.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 23:24
But I wonder if this person, did this person speak another language?
Sofia Kouni 23:29
Sure, actually, maybe not.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 23:34
Because in the context of the sentence, you could figure it out, right, in terms of what you're trying to say. So I'm just trying to think how I would say it
Sofia Kouni 23:41
advantage, I guess, of knowing another language or being bilingual, that you might start understanding more languages easier. Even if you don't really know.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 23:54
You tend, I think, to you tend to bend your ear a little bit more to so when I say bend your ear, I mean, you. You try and use the context to figure out what the word might be. And, and I find that some some like friends in France, for example, it's much harder for them when I speak French, and I make errors with pronunciation. It's much harder for them to bend their ear and to think, oh, that's what she's saying. Like the other day, I was trying to say Phagwara. And they didn't know what I was saying. And they just kept saying, huh, what is that? And I'm like, you know, it's easy.
Sofia Kouni 24:32
Yeah, the same thing happened to my brother in Spain, where he was saying he was trying to say bus and I think I'm not sure how it said it's a bus and he was the bus. It was something quite similar. But they still couldn't understand it, which you know, as a yes. He's bilingual as well. So he would find it weird that they couldn't make that association.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 24:54
Yeah, for sure. And something that I was reflecting on actually when you were speaking Is that? For example, when I went to Scotland? I, I had trouble with the accent? How do you say the word towel in Scottish with Scottish sound? Okay, so maybe it wasn't work towel like a towel you dry yourself, say, am I say? Really? I don't know? No See, it was me saying it differently. They didn't understand what I was saying. I didn't understand what they were saying. And that can happen to between even between English speaking cultures. So we were having a big nightmare trying to understand what was being said. And that happens a lot, I think with the Australian accent. But beside that, what I was also thinking was that prior to learning a second language, I always felt like I was empathetic and understanding towards people who do speak another language. But when I started doing it myself, learning another language and living in a culture where I was constantly being bombarded with new things. That's when I really truly thought to myself, I'm really sorry that I wasn't more helpful when I was living in Australia, and I was surrounded by the comforts of my own language. And it wasn't until leaving that I really understood that. And I really appreciate that I've had that experience. So that now I can feel like well, okay, there's more that I could have done to help at that time, or I could have been more aware,
Sofia Kouni 26:35
kind of like putting yourself in the other person's shoes. You just, it's the only way to kind of really understand what's going through. That's something that I want to do at some point, maybe go to live in Germany, because that's, that is a language that I have never fully learned because I did private tutoring lessons, because Greek education is not the best time for languages, you have to do private tutoring, which is another kind of a whole other subject about inequality. Anyway. And so I stopped these lessons, actually, because I couldn't afford them anymore. My parents couldn't afford them anymore. So that's why I never fully fully learned German. So if I ever get the opportunity, I guess, to live in Germany, then I might do that.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 27:24
Yeah, go for it to it's always a something in the back of your mind that you can an each that you can scratch later on. Yeah. So when we last spoke, you did tell me about a new job that you just started. And you've also now have this new internship. So can you tell us a little bit about it and how this this particular job is different. I know we have spoken a little bit about it. But tell us about how you're going to organise yourself with these two different roles.
Sofia Kouni 27:55
Well, as an architect, students, multitasker for sure. things and do a lot of things and think about a lot of things. And so I started working firstly, as a freelance digital content creator for architects and architecture, who approaches events with architects and then sort of unique and interesting way. And they invite three well known architects who are asked to talk about themselves, instead of talking about their projects, they usually do. So to speak about the past the influences and experiences, which makes it possible to better understand their work without even mentioning. And I believe it makes them more relatable as well than them being put on a pedestal for their architectural Brander. As is usually the case. And now, this week, actually, it's my, my third day on that job. And I started working for urban design in London, and remotely for now, but I will be moving to London soon. So I'm an intern there.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 29:08
And so what do they do in in this particular job,
Sofia Kouni 29:12
so they are part of Transport for London, and they're not for profit organisation who consults built environment professionals, and generally look to create good practice and do events as well and design reviews and work with communities do site visits, which I also think is really important, as I said, What kind of interest for community building and creating engaging spaces and places and places that are meaningful to the people that actually live there? And not just the architects and the built environment professional?
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 29:50
Hmm, it sounds like the two different positions will really complement each other. Yeah,
Sofia Kouni 29:56
I think so. I think anything that you do that I guess they that aligns to your values. Well, sort of complementing each other. And if you're using your skills and developing new ones, that's awesome.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 30:13
I'm glad you mentioned values too, because I was going to ask you, it seems like you really have really strong values, because you have a very consistent theme of things that you're passionate about, have you done work around understanding what your values are in architecture?
Sofia Kouni 30:30
Well, and architectures typically, maybe not. So I can develop them myself after developing personal values, because I guess they do come hand in hand. And through interviews as well, I think I've started learning myself a bit, as you're asked things that maybe you're you haven't been asked before, such as your values, and which I actually wrote down. But yes, I, during junior year, I started kind of developing a lot of climate awareness and empowering myself around climate justice as well. And when I started job seeking, I kind of created a brand for myself, when, when I started, my Instagram account really does not have much content yet. So I'm not a really good digital content creator for myself.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 31:21
But that doesn't matter.
Sofia Kouni 31:25
Yeah, which is, so I kind of ran from meaning which I really want to kind of put on standby, because that's what I tried to do in my projects, and unions will kind of have meaning behind what I'm doing. And not just striving for beautiful architecture or, or modern, or star.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 31:50
It's more diverse than that. And I think it's important to know that and something as, as you were speaking, I think it's really important to understand is when you have a good understanding of your values, and particularly thinking about the people that I work with, who speak English as a second language, because the field of architecture is so diverse. So if you have an understanding of what you value, and what you want to pursue, you know what vocabulary you need to build, that's more important for the path that you'd like to pursue. So I often talk about that connection between your values, and knowing what vocabulary you want to build. Because if you're, say, not interested in a particular area of architecture, you don't have to necessarily learn everything, and you cannot learn everything. So having that understanding of what you value, where you want to go or have some an idea of a couple of different paths, then that can help you stay focused on on where you want to be. It doesn't always work that way, of course, because life happens and things change. But it's it's definitely evident. And it comes through in the way you speak that you have this strong connection to what you've
Sofia Kouni 33:01
learned some terms, as you said, while kind of developing my values and what I want to do with the architecture that are potentially made, or the kind of hypothetical architecture that I do want to study. And which would be that participatory design as a climate justice is also a sort of new term for me. And just all these terms that keep coming up in the architecture that interests me, such as engagement interaction, which, I think quite important words for me and meaning.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 33:35
Yeah, and I think the interesting thing is we we tend to have a lot of buzzwords in the the industry, but actually knowing and defining what that means. Like, what does sustainability mean? What does community mean? What does? What does engagement really mean? What does it look like and being able to define what that is a way of trying to understand what the real meaning of that is, and it
Sofia Kouni 34:01
really is, sometimes there might not even be really a real meaning or a singular meaning because it means different things to different people. And that really depends on what they know as well, their knowledge, which is something that urban design, London does as well, kind of fun to inform community, and as well as the environment community and for local communities and kind of make them understand what some of these terms are. So they know what is happening in your area. So what is being developed? What are these architects? What are these engineers talking about? This? A lot of the time we use quite fancy terminology. And I would say as well, especially architects, and try and sound sophisticated. But really, you should come across your points come across to the wider public as well.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 34:56
Yeah, sure. So thinking about those I'll use it you're talking about and also connecting to your values. One thing that I've really admired about what you've been doing in what I've seen is you're engaging on LinkedIn, you're sharing your thoughts on LinkedIn. And I think that's such an important aspect of the being a student, or graduating as a student and trying to share your, your, your ideas. So can you tell us a little bit about the decision to do that, and what have been the benefits that you've seen from doing it?
Sofia Kouni 35:28
So fun fact, first, so my brother, and one of the three that I have three brothers that have, which is much older than me, introduced me to LinkedIn when I was actually under 18. So he sent me a link, login, and I got my email blocked, because I was under age. So that was my introduction to LinkedIn. And I was aware of the platform quite early and compared to other students. My age, and thanks to him, and I really started engaging more during my final year university, not necessarily just for job seeking. But I also like that I keep in touch with people in architecture, and the architecture scene in the UK, whilst being in Greece or while in lockdown. So kind of live streams, such as the ones by architectural, social, and which you have participated into, I wear my original during lunch, and my final semester. And I'm happy to because I became active in LinkedIn. And I connected with many wonderful people and actually got my jobs with a bit of help from that platform as well.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 36:42
Yeah, it's an amazing world of being able to put yourself out there even, like, I've met so many people on LinkedIn, and having conversations with people. Because when you the more you share about what you do and what you're passionate about, the more people see that and they connect with you. And I think that's something that I've really admired even with other people as well, when they're sharing their thoughts and ideas. And I try and speak to as many people as possible about what are the opportunities that have come to you because of LinkedIn. And I think for many people, it's a resource that remains very untapped. They haven't used it the way that they could possibly use it. And the amount of people that I've heard, say, Yeah, I got a job offer on LinkedIn, I wasn't expecting it. But they just sent me a message. So I think it's an important resource to make the most of,
Sofia Kouni 37:34
and, like as well, kind of seeing opportunities. And if I think that someone might be interested in that, just sending it to them or talking to them. So it's not really just about promoting yourself. It's about that sort of community that's being created and all that connections.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 37:51
I guess that brings us towards the end of our conversation. But before we finish, is there anything that I didn't ask you that you wish that I had asked you?
Sofia Kouni 38:01
I think we covered quite a lot of things. The conversation flowed towards many directions. I guess it's the sort of lateral thinking that then architects have as well. And so yeah, I think we we touched on topics that I was thinking we would.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 38:23
That's what happens in a conversation is good. I guess the last question I'd ask you then is, if you were to say, what is one thing that you want somebody to take away from our conversation? What would you say?
Sofia Kouni 38:36
I think the main thing that I would say, as something that I've gone through myself is really take care of yourself. And I know sometimes it's hard because you know, life gets in the way, and you start doing a lot of things as I am now kind of working two jobs. But I'm trying to remind myself that you are yourself as a priority. And you should choose to do things that you enjoy doing, that you're passionate about. But at the same time, not really getting carried away and leading yourself to burnout. Because if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to do the things that you love.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 39:17
Excellent parting words. Thank you for sharing that. I really appreciate it. And good luck with your internship, I hope everything goes well. And juggling all the different interests that you have, I think you've got a good task. They're a challenging task to try to juggle all those different things. So good luck with that.
Sofia Kouni 39:37
I usually do say that every year I give myself a new challenge. And I have done so so far. So let's see what next year might bring.
Tara Cull - ArchiEnglish 39:45
Well, this year's only we're only in February. So you've got a while. Well, thank you, Sofia. It's been an absolute pleasure speaking to you today. Thank you very much. Thank you for having thanks again Sofia. That brings us to the end of the Episode. As always, thanks again for listening to think big English for architects. If you've enjoyed this show, make sure you subscribe for more English tips for architects and share this episode with somebody who you think might find it useful. Remember, you can find the free podcast transcript with key vocabulary, grammar points and useful expressions at archienglish.com/podcast. And it's definitely that time of year again, where many of my clients have to do their annual reviews. So next podcast episode is going to be all about the language that you can use for giving a good review. So I hope you'll join me for that episode, and I look forward to sharing this one with you very soon.
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