Meet Rob. He's Deputy Country Director for Portugal. He's based in Lisbon and he's in charge of the Teaching Centre.
Describe the town where you were born
I was born in an industrial city in the middle of England called Stoke-on-Trent. It's an odd city because it’s made up of 6 different towns all next to each other so it doesn't really have a centre. It's the birthplace of Josiah Wedgwood and has a long and rich history of pottery making. Sadly it's a bit rundown these days and has lost much of its former glory.
Which countries have you lived in?
I´ve lived in lots of countries since leaving UK in 1991. In chronological order the list includes Japan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Hong Kong and now Portugal. My shortest stay was 1 year (Saudi Arabia) and my longest was 9 years (Singapore) but the average is about 3 years per country. They are each exciting and rewarding in their own way of course. I got married in Singapore and our daughter was born while we were in Hong Kong.
What’s the best thing about living in Portugal?
The beautiful evening light in Lisbon, the charming ambience of the city and the amount of time I spend outdoors, which is much more than other places I’ve lived. I like the pastelaria culture too but perhaps that's just because I have a sweet tooth and enjoy tea breaks!
Tell us one of the most exhilarating things you have ever done
I like geography and have always enjoyed long journeys, especially across different countries. I went from Tokyo to London back in 1994 without flying. It took about 3 weeks but it was fascinating to see the East slowly turning into the West. We went mostly by train and bus but there were some boats and bicycles in there too!
I´m also still quite new to fatherhood so taking care of my young daughter is something else I do a lot. She´s great fun, very curious and fearless.
Tell us a good film you’ve seen recently
I like going to the cinema. My favourite director is Richard Curtis, who made movies like Love Actually and About Time. There´s something very British about his films, always showing the best side of the UK and exploring the delicate connections that make up families and relationships.
What's the best thing about your job?
Mostly my job involves looking after the teaching centres in Lisbon and the best thing about that is the variety. It's a really good mix of marketing, finance, human resource and customer service but the most rewarding part has to be meeting students and knowing that our work helps them achieve their dreams. I´m still trying to learn Portuguese so I have great respect for our students, who put such effort into their language learning.
Do you like travelling around?
Yes. I don’t think I could live in one place for the rest of my life, I´m always interested to find out what´s around the next corner.
Coffee or tea?
Tea, please! Oh, and a cake…