I have been a coordinator for four years. I try my best to find as many students as possible from my country and bring them to Barnstaple. I come to SOL every year with a group of about 42 students from different parts of Slovakia. I also help other teachers to organize the trip if I do not take part myself, do the paper work, book the accommodation in France, deal with the transport company and of course with SOL office in Barnstaple. I also help Mark Andrews to organize SO/u/L camps in Slovakia.
I promote SOL on our webpage SOL SLOVAKIA . I try to attend every ELT conference in my country and sometimes abroad / Czech Republic, Ukraine/ and of course workshops and seminars. I also visit schools as I think it is the best way to promote SOL .
I am in touch with SOL coordinators mainly from Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine. We exchange news and ideas how to do our work better.
Viera Bačová who was a previous coordinator introduced me to Grenville who was at one of our teacher conferences too. Then I started to go to Barnstaple more often almost every year. I can´t remember the year but it was sometimes around 2001.
There are many things I love about SOL:
- its idea and mission and of course its people
- friendships that arise among teachers and students from different countries when they meet on a course
- the place where the school is situated – it is a great SAFE town in a beautiful part of North Devon, I also like Bideford but I was there only once with my host family . I have never been to Tiverton
- perfect programme during the stay that covers everything – school, trips, visiting beautiful and interesting places, meeting nice people, getting to know the country and the way of life of common people
- carefully chosen friendly host families
- great cooperation with the office
- and last but not least - reasonable price of the trips
I would like SOL to continue its mission and great work. As I told Kirsty - SOL is like a good wine getting better and better each year…
And what I would like a lot? I would like SOL to cooperate with Erasmus as then more teachers would be able to come to Devon and take part in great teacher summer courses or in our SO/u/L camps in Serbia and Slovakia. Because these courses are unique!
I am a teacher of 10 – 15-year olds in my home town Stará Turá. I teach English and Russian 25 lessons a week. Three afternoons in a week I spend with my adult students. They are much fun! At my school I try to organize activities for our students – English week with an English speaking lecturer, in September activities on European Day of Languages, Christmas bazaar, I invite English theatre to our school, a very nice activity is also “Night with Andersen” when we spend a night in our local library reading books and playing theatre in Slovak and or in English. That´s much fun too! I try to attend every conference and seminar in my area or in Eastern or Central Slovakia not just to promote SOL but also to talk and to meet to people. Face to face contact is much better than a hundred emails! When possible I go to P.A.R.K. conference in Brno and meet Karla and Mark or Kirsty. I was in Kiev conference 4 years ago with Mark and Iryna. Both conferences are a great experience for me. When it is possible I also attend seminars or workshops in my area.
There is something special about every country. Well, my country Slovakia is a small one but on a small area you can see everything – we have got more than 750 castles, manor houses and ruins of the castles. Nature is beautiful! Lowlands, high mountains, beautiful valleys! Our capital Bratislava is not a big one but I love strolling down the streets and lanes of Old Town. There are also many nice small towns with many historic places in my country, many spas where you can heal your body and soul, many lakes, skiing resorts and of course good food and nice people.
And what I like about Slovakia now! We have got a nice woman president. I like her a lot. As a woman and as a president. And another thing is that people realized that there are many things we can be proud of in our country and of them is national costume. It is an invaluable part of our cultural heritage. I am happy they started to wear costumes or part of costumes more. In fact every village has got its own costume. And some of them are really beautiful.
But the best is to come and to see it for yourselves! You are all very welcome!