A Chat with Monika - Education Advisor
Meet Monika, one of our Education Advisors. Monika is Polish and lives in London. We asked her how important it has been for her to learn English and about experiences in general about learning a foreign language.
How many languages do you speak?
I speak fluent Polish and English and intermediate French.
What made you learn a second language and how did you learn it?
Learning at least two foreign languages is a part of the education system in Poland. I started learning English properly when I was 11 and twice I went on a language course abroad, just like the ones Kaplan offers.
How have your language skills helped your career?
There is absolutely no doubt that speaking a foreign language fluently adds a completely new dimension to your career. In my case, speaking English allowed me to move and work in the UK and my Polish language skills help me in my job as an education advisor.
What is your experience of living abroad, what was/is your favorite thing about it?
Living abroad opens up your horizons – you meet many different people and start to understand different cultures. It’s simply extremely interesting!
What brought you to Kaplan?
It was a coincidence really. An agency I was temping for (working temporarily) while studying at a university asked if I would mind temping for a while for Kaplan as a receptionist. I agreed and spent about 3 months looking after our office and then moved to the direct sales department. I have been here for four years now.
What did you do before working at Kaplan?
Before I started working for Kaplan I studied at university and did some temporary jobs as an administration assistant.
What do you like the most about your job?
I love communicating with my students from all the parts of the world. Some already speak very good English; some can only say a few words but it is always fun and extremely interesting to hear what they have to say. I learnt a lot about the world, capital cities, geography, different cultures and languages… It is never boring!
Which one is your favorite Kaplan destination and why?
Every destination is unique. My dream is to visit all of them but so far I have visited our schools in the UK and on the east coast in the US. I won’t be original, but my favorite destination was New York City, and I also loved Philadelphia. I wish I could spend more time over there.
What is the best thing about working in such an international environment?
My job is basically like being on a permanent English language course at one of our schools. I have colleagues from all over the world, we socialise a lot and go out together; we do lots of fun activities at work. Because of that you get to know different cultures, you pick up other languages and it is simply so much more interesting that working in an office where everyone is the same nationality.
What are your hobbies?
I spend a lot of time reading when I am in London because I live in the suburbs and spend lots of time on the trains. I love snowboarding – but obviously I cannot do it here in London, that is why we go away for one week every year. This year we will spend a week in Italy. I love travelling, like most people.
What country do you love and what is your dream holiday?
I don’t love just one country. I think every country is worth visiting. My dream holiday is definitely sun bathing on the beach for two weeks solid. I like to see things, be active, speak to locals, eat local food and generally be on the move (although I do like to relax as well). I would like to travel more around Asia and I would also like to do a road trip around the US.
Tell us about a funny thing that happened to you recently.
Recently at work, we were having an award ceremony. It is a long ceremony where the best student advisors get awards in different categories. At some point I decided to sneak out for 3 minutes and get some air. I was hoping no one would notice. Unfortunately during these 3 minutes it was announced that I got the prize for the best contribution. When I was sneaking back into the room, I realised that all eyes are on me!! It was very embarrassing.