Hi! My name’s Katerina and I’d like to tell you a little bit about myself, about my journey and about learning and teaching foreign languages.
I was born in Brno, a beautiful town in South Moravia (in the Czech Republic). I spent my childhood there, making frequent trips to the surrounding countryside visiting castles and hiking in the forests. With my family we would go on biking trips around the vineyards and surrounding hills. It’s definitely a great place to grow up.
When I was a teenager I discovered my love of foreign languages - first English, then German. I attended elementary and grammar schools specialized in intensive foreign language studies: I studied English and German every day and was also introduced to French, Latin, and Spanish. Studying multiple languages helped me make logical connections and I loved comparing the vocabulary of the different languages. In the pre-Internet times foreign languages weren’t as easily accessible at first but I remember going to a local library, borrowing English books (simplified readers) and some English magazines for young people. I was realizing that being able to read texts in multiple languages was such an enriching experience.
Since an early age my parents regularly sent me abroad for short exchange programs to improve my English and I was staying with host families in various towns in the UK and Canada, making friends with other children and students.
When I was 16 we had an exchange student in our class from Germany staying with us the whole year and she and I became close friends. I started visiting Germany a lot after that and made a lot of international friends, finally ending up studying at Humboldt University in Berlin. And before I knew it, two years that I had planned to stay turned into seven.
While in Germany I turned my love of foreign languages into a job and became an English teacher - one of the very few non-native speaker teachers there and despite hard beginnings I managed to build a successful career in this profession. I was teaching young people as well as various professionals and loved helping them achieve their language learning goals.
I was slowly starting to feel a ‘seven-year itch’ though and decided to relocate to Vienna - after all, both my German and English were absolutely fluent now and I could live and work anywhere in Europe and beyond. It’s been my second year in Austria now and I’ve already managed to learn a lot of the local slang. INNES Institute Vienna is a cosy and friendly place with top-quality German language lessons and I got inspired already on my first day there. Helping the management team run the school has been a fulfilling and enjoyable task for me and I love getting to know new international students every month!
What I do when I’m not working: I’m a marathon runner and a sourdough bread baker. I also love sitting in Viennese coffee houses and reading good books. I’m also always tempted to learn more languages in the future so I can travel more!
Next time you’re at INNES come and see me in my office. We’ll have coffee and plan your German studies together.