What is your full name?
Are you married?
Where are you from?
I am from the beautifully vibrant city of Cork, Ireland.
What made you move to Bulgaria?
After travelling back and forth over many years, experiencing the wonders of Bulgaria. I decided to finally take the plunge and make it more permanent as a part of it had captured my heart.
How long have you lived here now?
I have lived here, in Sofia for the past year and 8 months.
Do you like living here? If so what do you like most and what don’t you like?
I find living here an amazing experience, full of little surprises and challenges each day.
What I like most about living in Sofia is the ease at which I can get to the mountains and have a relaxing hike to start my day, without it taking up all of my day. Also the many number of FREE walking tours around the city means that I have had the opportunity to learn a lot in a short time about the history, culture (which has some similarities to Irish culture) and cuisine of Sofia (and Bulgaria) has to offer. I find that the majority of the people in the city are very friendly and helpful and the youth of the city keeps it vibrant, open minded and progressive.
What I dislike about living here, I suppose the pollution and the density of the traffic when there is a pretty decent public transport system in the city. Also I find it frustrating at times the viewpoint some people have towards looking after their surrounding and keeping their parks and nature areas in a good usable condition. Over all though most people are looking to make Bulgaria better and i see it becoming even stronger.
Where do you work?
I work at a Language center in the center of Sofia Called “Excellence”
Do you like where you work?
Yes, very much.
Why did you choose teaching?
I think really teaching chose me as It has been something that I have been doing in an unofficial capacity for many years until 2 years ago.
What experience do you have?
The past 2 years I have gained great experience in class room and non-formal teaching methods to build on from many years of helping international students improve their language and life skills during my time at university
Which aspects do you like best about teaching?
I really enjoy the excitement and engagement from the students in wanting to learn, also I love it when I can also learn from them and their approach to solving problems which come up.
Do you think teaching is rewarding?
Yes. Every time a student shows their passion and enthusiasm from understanding and seeing their progress is very rewarding as you realise that what you do is making a difference for the better.
Would you recommend teaching as a career?
Teaching is not for everyone, it takes a lot of effort and commitment. For those who have a passion for helping others realise their potential, are willing to face the challenges they meet and take the time to explain the little details, then they will find it the ideal career choice.
Your life story, in your own words:
I was born in Cork Ireland and grew up in a small housing estate on the outskirts of the city, surrounded by fields on one side and bigger neighbourhood on the other. In school I was involved with the school G.A.A teams of Hurling and Football, I also learned to play the Tin whistle, a Traditional Irish instrument, Which today I still play as part of an Irish music group here in Sofia.
My childhood was one of adventure and imagination in the fields across from my house, where i would climb the trees, build forts, play sports and along with my friends spend some of our days after school being outdoors until it got dark, getting lost in our games and were called in by our parents.
I attended Terence McSweeney Secondary school continuing to develop my passion for music, and began to learn pieces simply “by ear”. I was interested in many other subjects also, particularly French and Maths, and stayed very active in outdoors activities too.
Over my sumers I would send time attending and later leading in the local summer schemes, going on many trips and looking after the younger children and creating games. A favourite memory of my youth is from when we would go on camping holidays to Co. Kerry near the seaside and wake early to go searching along the beach for crabs and other sea creature and create our own adventure as children do.
After finishing school, I worked for a year before going away to University, studying first in Dundalk Institute of Technology where I got a Degree in Mechanical Engineering, and then on to University of Ulster Jordanstown, near Belfast. Here I was part of the campus residential service team, looking after the Erasmus exchange students and putting on lessons in Irish music and learning the Tin Whistle as well as tutoring and assisting them in developing their English language skill. I was also part of the team responsible for revamping the international society, changing its name to the One World Society and getting local and international students engaged and active with each other through different activities and events and was a great success. After finishing University in Belfast my attention slightly changed and I took time to go travelling, walking 300kms in the south of France in 2014 along a section of the Chemin St Jacques or more commonly known as the Camino De Santiago De Compostela and then onto other parts of Europe. This has been one of the best experiences of my life so far and one which started my affinity with Bulgaria. The following year again I decided to do a work and travel trip, this time lasting 9 months and taking me to many places including Bulgaria where I spent 3-4 months teaching English as i hitch hiked around the country. Inevitable I went home to work for some time, but the draw to come back meant that it wouldn’t be long before I returned and continued with my new found career in teaching. Since moving fulltime to Bulgaria in August 2016 I have made some great friends and memories and have had some wonderful opportunities to develop personally as well as support others in their development. Last summer I was lucky enough to spend 3 months working with the Lucky Kids summer camp and found it greatly rewarding seeing so many wonderful and talented children energised to learn English and see their levels rise so quickly knowing that I also had contributed to this achievement with them.
Currently I am pursuing my education aiming towards non formal education and coaching having attended 2 Erasmus+ programmes on these topics using the outdoors as educational tools and will be attending my 3rd training at the end of May, allowing me to better use my skills in teaching, meaning better support and tutoring of those who I teach.