An Interview with Giuliana Silveira – Principal of Kaplan Auckland

Say hello to Giuliana - the Principal at Kaplan Auckland! Giuliana is originally from Brazil, but has lived in many different countries around the world. We spoke to her about travel, Kaplan life in New Zealand and her crazy canine Brady.


How many languages do you speak?

I speak Portuguese, Italian, and English. I can get by with my French but it’s not as good as it used to be. My parents invested so much in my French when I was a teenager and look how it turned out – poor Mum and Dad!

What made you learn more languages and how did you learn?

My parents really encouraged me to learn languages as they quickly picked up that it was something that I enjoyed. Also, growing up in Brazil, it opens many doors if you can speak English fluently. I learned English, French and Italian by going to a school like Kaplan. I lived with host families in France and the U.S. to help me to improve these languages and immerse myself in the culture too. Basically, I have done exactly what our Kaplan students do, so I can really relate to what they are going through.

How have your language skills helped your career?

Well, I wouldn't be able to manage an English language school if I didn't speak English fluently - that would have been a showstopper! I think the more people told me I had to be a native speaker to have my dream job the more I became determined to make it happen.

What is your experience of living abroad and what is your favorite thing about it?

I have lived in London, Monza (near Milan - where my mum is from), a short period in Adelaide and now in Auckland, in this beautiful country called New Zealand. I have always enjoyed living abroad. It makes you appreciate how varied this world is. You get to experience different places, cultures, food, and meet wonderful people along the way. I genuinely believe that people who have been fortunate to travel and live abroad are more tolerant and sympathetic to other people's backgrounds.

What brought you to Kaplan?

The previous Auckland principal, Andrew Shaw, told me that there was a vacancy at Kaplan Auckland and asked me if I was interested in applying. I also knew Sheryl Jackson, who worked for Kaplan for 10 years , and she was very keen for me to join the team too. I knew of Kaplan's reputation and what a great school it was, so I grabbed the opportunity and came here.

What do you like the most about your job?

I really enjoy the variety and diversity of my job. It is great to be involved with all the different departments and oversee the day-to-day running of the school. There is never a dull moment.

Which is your favorite Kaplan destination and why?

Well, having traveled extensively, and having lived in many different places, I have to say that my favorite Kaplan destination is Auckland. This country is blessed with amazing beauty, but what makes it most special are the Kiwis. They are truly generous, friendly and laid back people. I have always felt welcome here. To top it off, Kaplan’s Auckland location is just stunning. We have a beautiful historic building here surrounded by greenery. People may think it is quiet, but we’re 5 minutes from some cool cafés, restaurants and fab shopping. I am a shoe addict, so I have high standards when it comes to shopping ... especially for shoes.

What is the best thing about working in such an international environment?

The best thing is that you are constantly learning. We have the best teachers at our disposal, our staff, our students, our agents, our homestays - you name it. Most of our stakeholders have something interesting to offer.

What are your hobbies?

I like reading, watching films, walking my dog, but nothing beats a good long meal surrounded by friends and family. That’s my Italian side, I guess.

Tell us about a funny thing that happened to you recently.

Well, I have the most beautiful Labrador ever. His name is Brady and he is 2.5 years old. Marley – from ‘Marley and Me’ - is a saint compared to Brady, so basically I get embarrassed a lot and have funny stories on a daily basis. Only yesterday we were walking and I decided to let him off the leash and immediately, he runs away into someone else’s garden. It was 6:45am and pitch-black! Luckily I had a flashlight on my head and managed to find him. He was watching frightened guinea pigs running up and down in their cage. I had to apologize profusely to the owners and their terrified kids; not a good look!

To learn more about the best way to study English, and to find out more about our staff and facilities, visit our ‘This is how we do it’ page.

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