[email protected]: An Interview with Kristina Bär - Head of Customer Care
Meet Kristina Bär, our head of Customer Care for UK and Ireland. We asked Kristina how she got to learn English and her experience in general with learning a foreign language. Kristina is from Germany.
How many languages do you speak?
German, Dutch, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic – languages are my passion and my bookshelf is full of language learning books. I studied Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic at the University of Amsterdam.
What made you learn a second language and how did you learn it?
Due to the nature of my dad’s job my family moved around quite a bit when I was growing up and in each country we moved to my brother and myself went to local schools.
How have your language skills helped your career?
All throughout my career I have worked in international companies, working side by side with many nationalities in customer services and sales – I just love the buzz of hearing different languages around me all day.
What is your experience of living abroad and what was/is your favorite thing about it?
I have lived abroad all my life and I love discovering new places, meeting new people and experiencing local life
What brought you to Kaplan?
My passion for languages and experience in customer services – that pretty much says it all.
What did you do before working at Kaplan?
I worked for Samsung Electronics as European Contact Center Coordinator.
What do you like the most about your job?
Hearing different languages being spoken around me all day, signing up new students to learn and improve their English, and helping them get ready to embark on a great new experience.
Which one is your favorite Kaplan destination and why?
Just one? I’d have to say Melbourne as I have very fond childhood memories of the city – I haven’t been back there in 25 years so high time for a visit I guess...
What is the best thing about working in such an international environment?
Learning and discovering new things every day about other cultures.
What are your hobbies?
Languages, sports (cycling, hockey, football), traveling.
What country do you love and what is your dream holiday?
Egypt … the sheer beauty and magic of the Nile River, the sounds and smells in the Khan el Khalili market, the constant traffic chaos in Cairo and then the Pyramids in Gizeh … amazing pieces of craftsmanship and ingenuity so many thousands of years ago.
My dream holiday would be travelling around the entire coastline of Australia, capturing the beauty of the sea, country and people living close by.
Tell us about a funny thing that happened to you recently.
Last Wednesday my train home got stranded due to lines suddenly being closed due to an accident. After an hour waiting in a cold train, all passengers were told to get off at a small station in the Surrey suburbs … none of us had any idea where we were and how to get home. After in vain searching for a bus stop, we hailed a few cabs to share back to the village. New friends made and once back in the village we had a drink in the local pub to celebrate our adventure …