English language teacher Ben Gwillim is a former British serviceman with military experience from around the world, currently based in Slovakia. He has been working for THE BRIDGE for sixteen months.
How did you get to know about the teaching job in Slovakia?
I guess it was just serendipity. Newly qualified, I was looking for a teaching job, the Bridge was looking for teachers and the internet arranged a date between us. Sixteen months on, the relationship is still going strong.
Is this the kind of experience you were longing for?
Living and teaching in Slovakia has been extremely rewarding. I have been able to practice my skills in a variety of contexts and have made more progress under the guidance of the Bridge than I would have thought possible.
For any newly qualified English language teacher, abroad is where you have to go! I wish I had taken up teaching earlier!
What else do you like about working for the Bridge?
The Bridge has both allowed and encouraged me to develop as a teacher. I always know that I can get advice if I need it and as teachers we are trusted to get on with our teaching without micro-management.
I also really like the variety of students and building great working relationships with them has been very satisfying and productive. Free tea is also a real bonus for an English guy.
Have you had any other foreign experience besides Slovakia? How was it like?
As a former British serviceman I have worked overseas many times, sometimes under difficult circumstances. I would have to say Sierra Leone was one of the more challenging countries to work in but the people there were amazing despite their problems.
What do you like about Slovakia and its capital Bratislava?
I think most of the native English speakers here are really taken by the Slovak people. I have found them friendly and welcoming – but maybe they are just taking the chance to practice their English 🙂