Does anyone really like living out of a suitcase?

I confess that I rather do. I guess I went into ELT to travel, like many people in language teaching! Now I am madly preparing for a two week author tour of Germany Austria and Switzerland.

It’s a rewarding experience to run training workshops. I am always impressed at the motivation of teachers who come to these workshops on top of their busy working weeks, for input, stimulation, and sharing new ideas. I notice how ELT teachers working with monolingual groups are far more diverse in their approach to translation and using the students' L1 than teachers in the UK. With multi-lingual groups over here, it’s just automatically in the target language!

I believe it’s extremely important for cultural awareness trainers to experience life within other cultures. I once ran a CAT course for a Finnish company who had taken over a Spanish company. The Finns were going ballistic because they were sending e-mails and not getting replies. I have – bizarrely – lived in both countries, and it was essential I felt as a trainer to have experienced culture shock in both places. Quite different extremes in Europe!

On a personal note, this next trip is also a great chance to look up old friends. I spent a lot of my career visiting Germany, and it’s fun to go back. So, I’m dusting down the passport and creating and selecting training material in order to promote a course book. First stop next week is Cologne….I’ll be blogging with any thoughts on the session outcomes.


Dear Pete Sharma,

Thank you very much indeed for sharing your enthusiasm for travelling, getting to know different cultures, and experiencing "healthy" culture shock in such different places.

By the way, I also think that working with multi-lingual groups will certainly be enriching from a cultural point of view, contributing to understanding "otherness", and consequently valuing a variety of human experiences , beyond language. If ... "it's just automatically in the target language" then we'll have to give priority to attitudes, values, different/further knowledge.

Have a safe flight! In the meantime, we look forward to keep learning from you.

Best wishes,

Maria do Céu

Thanks for this mail, Maria

You make a very valid and valuable point about multi-national group teaching 

I am sure that many people in the proession of English language teaching have had their lives enriched through both travel and teaching students from another culture!

This has probably given many of us unforgettable experiences!

with all best wishes