Sunday, November 10, 2013

Nicola Clarke, Bratislava, Slovakia

Nicola Clarke
Who are you?

I am Nicola, a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) teacher, based in Exeter Devon, in the south west of England. I have moved around a bit before settling here in Devon, having originally come from New Zealand, and lived in Bratislava (in Slovakia) and London on the way. It’s the fact that I lived in Bratislava that I am writing this today!

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

In 2007, after finishing my Masters degree in Philosophy, I was at a bit of a lose end and really didn’t know what my next step was going to be.

There were not that many job opportunities for someone with my qualifications in New Zealand, and I had been thinking about doing a PhD somewhere in Europe, but I didn’t know where or what exactly my focus would be and I really felt that I needed to ‘escape’ New Zealand and look for somewhere new where I could have the space to think. The year before this I had been on holiday in Poland, where I had seen a lot of advertising calling for EFL teachers, as such I thought that this could be a chance to give myself some time to think about what to do, while earning a little money. I did my teacher training in Prague, and while I enjoyed myself in that city, I found it a little too busy for my then state of mind. A job was advertised for a Tefl teacher in Bratislava, which I applied for and got. At that stage I had never been to Slovakia before and didn’t really know much about the city I was moving to; but that didn’t matter at the time!

What challenges did you face during the move?

There weren’t really any great challenges to face during my move, as the school I was working for, IH Bratislava, helped me a great deal. All my accommodation, insurance, taxes etc was organized by the school, so all that was left for me to do was to buy my train ticket from Prague to Bratislava.

As such, I think that the biggest challenge for me was lifting my heavy suitcases on and off the train and not missing my end station. And for both of these I received many offers of help...

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