A few weeks ago, I faced another one of my fears: that of public speaking. A few months ago, I applied for a freelance position at KIT Intercultural Professionals. The many benefits to this job are: it’s only when they need me, so I can be with my children. It’s interesting and exciting. And…it’s in Amsterdam.
I have been to their meetings before, and greatly enjoyed being able to go to Amsterdam on my own. I usually make a point of stopping at Starbucks and buying myself a great cup of their delicious chai latte. But this was the first time I went there to do my job- I was there not to be trained, but to give a training myself.
The presentation went well. I wasn’t nervous or anxious as I would usually have been. It was great fun, and I would love to do this again! The audience was small, so the presentation had a nice, intimate feel to it. They asked questions and I answered them. For the first time, I felt like I was in my element while doing a presentation.
I am not sure what exactly happened. It could be that I was talking about things I was well informed about- after all, I had the experience of living in Germany as an expat and know exactly what may seem strange to newcomers. It could be that doing this was just plain fun. It could have to do with the excitement of going somewhere on my own, and proudly telling my children: “I have to go to work”.
But there was also something else. Somewhere, deep inside of me, something stirred and yawned, and stretched, and said: “OK. You have to educate people. You know a lot of things about a lot of things, and people need to be educated.” I didn’t agree with this voice. I preferred to think that people just like hearing exciting stories and if I could share my experience and help others at the same time, then I think it’s a win-win situation.
However, it still seems to me that I have the “teacherous” gene as well. Yes, I know the word “teacherous” doesn’t exist; I’ve just made it up. Let me explain. My grandfather was a professor of law in Poland. My parents are professors at the University. My brother is not in Academia, but he’s good at explaining things in a comprehensible way. My parents-in-law are teachers, and they also like giving speeches on various topics.
As it turns out, I like doing this. I think it started with this blog. I simply thought my stories could be interesting and wanted to share them. However, only now have I decided to do a public presentation! As a child, I watched my parents give their workshops and seminars and lectures. To them it seemed as if it was the most natural thing to do. I knew I wasn’t like this. I had to prepare and work hard to make this happen. But I think the fact that I did out work into this only made it feel better afterwards.
So, yes I have the “teacherous” gene as well. I could totally give another presentation on the topic of intercultural communication.
To change the topic a bit, I was nominated for the Expatica “I am not a tourist” Blog Competition. I am proud and excited to be able to take part! You can see all the entries and vote for your favourite blog here! Alternatively, you can use the badge I have added to the sidebar- it links to the same site!