Meet Programme Officer – International, Ruth. Before joining Chevening, Ruth lived and worked in China and South Korea, where she taught English as a foreign language.


Name: Ruth Dear

Countries: Eastern Europe, South and East Asia; Japan, Mongolia, South Korea, Taiwan, Brunei, Singapore, India, and Bhutan.

From: Essex, South-East England, but now she lives in Canada Water, London

Joined the team: December 2017


Previous Chevening experience:

I was aware of Chevening and have a friend who assessed for the reading committee, but prior to this role I did not have any direct experience. 


What other international experience do you have?

I lived and worked in China and South Korea as an English teacher for a total of three years. Whilst I was living away, I tried to travel as much as I could around the region. Now that I have returned to the UK, I still try my best to travel, both in the UK and further afield. Living abroad meant I met many people from all over the world, so I love to visit friends in their home countries, and get the best tips for where to go and what to see.


What is your favourite food that you have consumed on a visit to a foreign country?

When I left Asia for the final time, I travelled back to London overland via train and had some of the best food on this trip – Georgian food in Moscow, Peking duck in Beijing, borscht in Ekaterinburg, Moules-frites in Brussels, chocolate orange hot chocolate in Kiev. I also loved Dolsot bibimbap and kimbap in Korea and enjoy seeking this out in London (although it’s not the same!)


What are your interests?

Of course travel (and by the above answer also eating)! Most of my spare time is taken up with netball—I train once a week and play in a league with civil service teams. I also enjoy riding my bike, which I use for commuting but also at the weekend around my local borough of Southwark in London.


What is your favourite place in the UK and why?

Liverpool. This is the city where I studied for my undergraduate degree and I returned for one year in between my stints abroad. It’s a fabulous city with so much going on: it’s got the Beatles, amazing architecture, museums, a beautiful reading room in the city library, and some of the friendliest folk in the UK!


Are you looking forward to visiting your posts?

Of course! I just came back from visits to Kosovo and Ukraine during the interview period, which was great. Later in the year, I may be visiting a couple of posts in Asia. I would love to get around to them all!


Do you have any standout memories or anecdotes from your travels?

Walking along the Great Wall in China during their Spring Festival (Lunar New Year). It was freezing cold but there were beautiful blue skies and no one else for miles and miles. We exited the wall by zip-line so that was also quite an experience! Also eating a BBQ lunch on a nearly empty beach in the Philippines is a beautiful memory I will never forget.

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