If you’ve been in and around IH Budapest for the last couple of weeks, you’ll have seen a new and very friendly face – the one just below, in fact.
It belongs to the one and only Nick Wimshurst, and it’s my absolute pleasure to welcome him to the team as our new full time CELTA trainer.
We had a little chat about his background, Budapest and beliefs.
NA: Hi Nick – welcome to Budapest, IH Budapest and IH Budapest Teacher Training!
NW: Thank you! It’s nice to join the fold.
NA: Tell us a bit about your background – where are you from? Where have you worked?
NW: I’m from a small, coastal town in the north-east of England called South Shields. I have spent most of my time teaching in Poland and the Czech Republic, but split this up working at University in England. Most recently I spent a year teaching and training in Dubai, which was interesting to say the least!
NA: So you’re from South Shields – doesn’t that make you a Geordie? (It’s just I’ve heard you deny this).
NW: It doesn’t Neil, no. Geordies are from Newcastle and the area around that city. I am from South Shields, which makes me a ‘Sand-dancer’. This name stuck many years ago. The nearest city to South Shields is Sunderland and people from there are called Mackems. As well as being a Geordie or a Mackem, the accent is also described in this way, so as I am in the middle – I have neither a Geordie accent nor a Mackem accent, but if you ask anyone from outside the area, they will all say I’m a Geordie as Newcastle is the major city in the area.
NA: Okay…that’s not at all confusing. Anyway, what were your impressions of Dubai? Did you do any CELTA training there?
NW: I trained to be a CELTA trainer in Dubai. I loved training in Dubai for three reasons. First, my colleagues were great and from all over the world. Secondly, the variety of candidates was vast, from young U.K. expats who had never been to the U.K. to experienced teachers from India and Pakistan to University professors from Saudi Arabia – never a dull moment! Finally, the students were wonderful and came for free lessons from their places of work (often pretty hard and underpaid work too) and were so enthusiastic and warm-hearted. Dubai itself is a place you love or hate, and whilst there were many things to like (not least its location for some wonderful places) I am happy to have moved on.
NA: How does it feel to be here in Budapest? What are your first impressions of the city?
NW: I am really happy to be in Budapest, especially as it’s spring. I came here for a short break three years ago in January and the Danube was almost completely frozen. I’m looking forward to exploring the city – it’s very pretty and looks like a great wandering city.
NA: Have you made it to the baths yet?
NW: I went to the Széchenyi baths when I came last time and look forward to going again. Fortunately I have found the swimming pool on Margit Island, or ‘fitness island’ as I have dubbed it – I’m tired just watching the joggers and cyclists.
NA: What about the bars? Have you done Szimpla yet?
NW: I must confess that I have no idea what it means to ‘to do Szimpla’, but I assume it’s beer-related, so that’s something else to go on the list. I have found some ‘canny’ little bars on my wanderings though and will be looking for more.
NA: Yes, Szimpla is probably the most well-known romkocsma, or “ruin pub”; although it’s far from the best, people often visit it not long after arriving. Moving on - you taught your first class of Hungarian learners this morning. How did that go? Any points of comparison or contrast with learners in Dubai or Prague or Torun?
NW: I had a lovely time getting to know and teaching the class this morning. The similarities to Prague and Torun are clear – very communicative students from the start and very friendly. The communicative approach to teaching was sometimes rather new to a lot of students in Dubai (who were mostly from other countries but some were from Dubai) so working through this approach was really interesting.
NA: You’ll need to get practising your answer to the question “What are your impressions of Hungary / Hungarians?” Do you need any tips in how to answer this? Or did you get similar questions in the other countries you lived in?
NW: The Poles and the Czechs often asked me this question and often followed up my thoughtful silences by telling me what they thought I was bound to think – friendly but straight and honest, which soft English people take for rudeness. I’m not sure I’d disagree. This was often followed with questions as to why I didn’t think Czech beer or Polish vodka was the best in the world at all. What do you think Hungarians will tell me about Hungary?
NA: I’ll leave you to discover that.