Examinations Services Manager in British Council Uzbekistan.
My first encounter with the British Council took place in May 1996 when I participated in a competition for English teachers to visit one of summer schools supported by the British Council. A group of English language teachers (I was a teacher at World Languages University at that time) was sent to various universities and colleges in the UK for two weeks. My summer school was at the Faculty of Modern Languages of Bradford University. Upon return from summer school in UK I worked at the university for some time and then submitted an application for a position at the British Council Information centre. To my surprise, it was successful!
I joined the British Council first as a librarian/receptionist at then a member of the Information Centre staff. Later I moved to projects, first on Education, then Arts and English, before finally settling at Examinations in 2003.
There were quite a lot of memorable events in my British Council life – the official opening of the British Council Information Centre in 1996 by HRH Prince Charles (yes, I actually shook hands with him!), the Umid Foundation (a government-funded programme supporting the aspiring youth in their overseas studies), the Asian Development Bank Textbook publishing project, where we helped to produce textbooks books for Grades 1-5 across all subjects, the International Language and Development Conference, the Hornby Summer School and many other exciting events.
The British Council has completely changed my way of thinking: I learned how to plan things, manage your time and money, stay positive in face of challenges and solve problems in short time (for example rescheduling exams for over 200 people in two hours!) and work in a team. I would say that working in a team is a main element of the job – in everything we do, we rely on each other, learn from each other and support each other as much as we can. And this is what I like most: you always know that you will get some kind of help or at least words of support that will instantly warm up your heart.
On many occasions I have been asked how I could work in one place for such a long time. Actually, I do not feel like I have been here for long! On the contrary ‘it still feels like first time together’ and one of the reasons for is continuous learning. By the time you have learned one thing, there is something else which you need to accommodate and put into practice in a short time. Most importantly, after all these years, the British Council has become my second family and a huge part of my life, which would be difficult to say ‘good buy’ to if I will have to at some point.