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Good Luck Mike!

It’s a sad day when one has to say farewell to colleagues – something that happens often in this business, but doesn’t necessarily get any easier. A long-standing member of our team, Michael Graham, is moving to pastures new from January 2015. I have worked with Mike for many years, first as his DELTA tutor and then as his colleague in teacher training. If his recent farewell karaoke party (or should that be parties – he seems to be having quite a few) is anything to go by, he will be missed by many in the Budapest EFL community. I sat down with Mike for a quick chat on his time here and what lies ahead.

Mike pic 300x286 Good Luck Mike!

NA: Remind us of your background – when did you come to Budapest and where were you beforehand?

MG:  I started working at IH Budapest in January 2007 after doing my CELTA in 2006; before coming here I’d been working in Osaka in Japan.

NA:  When did you become a CELTA trainer?

MG: In 2010, I think, so yes, I’ve been doing it for four years.

NA: Sadly you are leaving us. Where are you going to next? Which country and which school?

MG:  I’m going to Vietnam, I’m going to be working for ILA in Ho Chi Minh city.

NA: Are you excited?

MG: I’m very, very, very excited.

NA: What are you most excited about?

MG: I’m excited about the adventure of doing the job I really like somewhere completely new, but somewhere where I’m lucky enough to know people, as I have some contacts there.  It’s the best of both worlds.

NA: What are some of the values of IH Budapest Teacher Training that you will take with you to Vietnam?

MG: I think the balance of professionalism with fun; I think the way we do it here is ensure that teachers really do develop in a focused, structured way, but they tend to enjoy the process too.  I think also because as a department we work so well together, we are not scared to discuss things that we are unsure of regarding the course and lessons. No decisions are made based on one person’s opinion, it’s all talked through.  That’s a really good way for a department to operate.

NA: What are some fond or funny memories you have of your time here at IH?

MG: My fondest memories relate to the fact that so many of us in teacher training and the school know each other so well that we have reduced each other to caricatures. For instance, an unnamed colleague’s distaste for multitasking, your utter clumsiness, my inability to change.

Mike swimming 225x300 Good Luck Mike!NA: Thank you for the kind words, not to mention the poster you put above my desk (“it takes skill to trip over flat surfaces”). Okay, now I’m going to give you some pairs. Choose one and if relevant say why. These mostly relate to Hungary. Here we go – Unicum or Palinka?[1]

MG: Unicum… if it’s really cold.

NA: Lángos or Kürtős Kalács?[2]

MG: I’ve only had Kürtős Kalács once. I’m going to go for that.

NA: Buda or Pest?

MG: For living Buda, for going out Pest.

NA: Vidra or nyest?[3]

MG: Haha! Vidra…I see nyest in my neighbourhood and I don’t see vidra. I’d be very surprised to see one walking down the road. I would have gone for kacsacsőrű emlős[4] if you’d given me the option.

NA: Tarzan Boy or It’s a Sin?[5]

MG: Tarzan Boy.

NA: Will you start a lunch club in Vietnam? [6]

MG: No, definitely not, because eating out there is going to be cheaper than buying food so there’s no point.

NA: What will you miss most about Budapest…apart from your colleagues and friends, of course?

MG: Well, I’ll miss the two Bs…as someone once famously said,  Budapest is great for the two Bs.[7]

NA: Ah, a wise man indeed. So, last question: how should we remember and pay tribute to you?

MG: Oh dear God…

NA: That’s a tough one to finish with. Maybe annual Karaoke?

MG: Yes. I trust if anyone goes to Karaoke they will think of me. And maybe remember me by wearing the odd flowery shirt on occasional Fridays? [8]

NA: We shall, Mike, we shall. 

On behalf of IH Budapest Teacher Training I’d like to wish you all the best in Vietnam Mike. We look forward to seeing you back here in the future!


[1] Two national drinks of Hungary.

[2] Lángos is a large deep-fried usually savoury flat doughnut, Kürtős Kalác is a sweet pastry often linked to Christmas.

[3] Mike can’t carry out a conversation in Hungarian. However, he is known for his extensive Hungarian vocabulary related to mammals. Vidra =otter. Nyest = marten.

[4] Duck-billed Platypus.

[5] Two of Mike’s karaoke favourites.

[6] Mike was a founding member of this club; teachers took turns to cook a delicious lunch for each other.

[7] He’s referring to something I say in my Meet The Trainers profile on the website:  http://teacher-training.hu/meet-the-trainers It became one of many running jokes.

[8] Mike founded the tradition of wearing flowery shirts as our IH Budapest version of dress-down Friday.

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