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“Koblenz feels like a small London” – an Interview with Nathan, our English assistant

Aktualisiert: 27. Feb. 2021

English version

name: Nathan Clarke- Rochester age: 24 hobbies: football, guitar subjects: English (native) as assistant hometown: Stratton, South London

Schnurps: So, first of all, what´s your name?

Nathan: My name is Nathan, Nathan Clarke- Rochester.

Schnurps: What are your hobbies, what do you do in your free time?

Nathan: My number one hobby is probably football. I try to practise every day even when I'm here in my room. I play for a team in my University in Nottingham, play for the second team and, yeah, just with my friends. And football is probably my number one sport. I also like guitar, I play guitar a little bit. Getting a new guitar actually at the moment. It´s in the post, an electric guitar, so that's really nice. But these are probably my main two hobbies.

Schnurps: How old are you?

Nathan: I'm 24.

Schnurps: What do you study?

Nathan: Spanish and German, so I've enjoyed doing Spanish since I was like nine years old in primary school and I´m learning that since then. And German is fairly recent since I saw it in University. I mean in German I'm still beginner.

Schnurps: Why did you get this job as an assistant?

Nathan: Well, for the 3rd year of University you have to go abroad, spend it in the countries that you're studying the language of. So I chose to come to Germany, I thought teach English would be a good balance of obviously helping younger students, that I was in the same position as, to learn the foreign language, cause I feel like just talking to a native is probably about the best way to just grind it. So, yeah, I'm here for five months until February and then I'll be in Spain for three months. So yeah it´s just a good experience as well. I'm throwing myself into a city that isn't that big. I feel, like if I go to a big city then everyone is immediately ready to speak English to me straight away. If you come here, a slightly more of a town aspect, so that people are more comfortable to the spoken language. So, I kind of want to make it difficult for myself.

Schnurps: And is there any new experience you already had in this new job for you?

Nathan: Teaching; I feel like teaching, helping to teach a wide range of students from year 6 till I've been in classes about 18-year olds. The level here is crazy you´re all like so academic and so on the ball it's very different to the culture of school in England. Here you guys seem like very eager to learn and very eager to like bet yourselves in in the classroom and in England it´s a lot more passive. So, it's a nice change. Also just for the students themselves it's really good to help fill that like connection for that you're helping in a small bit of students that want to learn English that´s sick and seeing them like talking to them and just having casual conversation is great.

Schnurps: What did you do before, is there anything you did between you finished school and went to University?

Nathan: Before I went straight to university I had like a job for a year in London, just customer service. Just to try and get some experience, nothing too crazy. That was good. Just to get some money and then just came back to uni. I went to school, did a job in London, and then went to University and came to Koblenz. That felt like a stand up for me so far, everything is so different than I´m used to. Of course, going abroad to anywhere is going to be like that, but I feel like that, because I was so eager to come to Germany this is quite a special experience.

Schnurps: What were your first impressions as you came here to school?

Nathan: Just how on the ball you guys are, like how focused you guys are on your education. It's not something we like ,it´s difficult to say, because obviously there are loads of academics in London, but at this age especially and from so young to be so like focused is something that you don't see as often, specially the whole year group or the whole school fills up with that. I haven't been here very long, but it was very focused on your learning.

Schnurps: Is there any specific reason why you came to Koblenz?

Nathan: Well, it's a placement, so I was like selected to be here. My priority was to go to somewhere not a big city to start off with, like it[Koblenz] might as well be a big city, there's so much going on, I mean it feels like it's very multicultural, very cosmopolitan, it feels like a small London. It´s so busy, but it could have been anywhere in Germany I would have enjoyed it as I just came here to experience the culture, so I’m good.

Schnurps: You had your first lesson yesterday in the 7th, how was it?

Nathan: Great, just go to meet another class. Every day I get to teach like, help to teach a different age group of students just see the differences, like looking back when I was in that position but it's different when you're back in it again, so it's fun the younger kids are very active, good questions, silly questions, we´d fun.

Schnurps: In your extracurricular activity, what did you do with the kids?

Nathan: First had some like the structure kind of game that the teacher gave us to do. As a part of the curriculum for the first 5 or 10 minutes and after that it was just more freestyle conversation, so I just ask them maybe what they did ,what they do for their Holidays, what their favourite season is, what they do for hobbies, what their families like, where they´ve travelled to. Lot of these kids have travelled abroad very early.

Schnurps: Did you enjoyed that?

Nathan: Yeah, yeah it was good to be connected to the younger students.

Schnurps: Where there like many students or do you wish to have more students?

Nathan: I like the small groups as I feel that you can concentrate more on the individual, so that's why I like to take out like maybe 4, 5 kids, but even 5 maybe is a bit too much ,but 4 it's good, so you can focus on them, helping each.

Schnurps: What are your plans for the future?

Nathan: I think I already do think that I wanna be do something focused on football. Overall playing or coaching, so factly coach abroad that would be perfect for ex German Spain. Get my certificates get my C, C2, C1 exams and try to use that. But anything to do with sport or staying active and if I can use up to coach at same time then perfect.

Schnurps: How do you feel about the atmosphere here in the school?

Nathan: As I said it's very, very different for first compare to what I'm used to in England especially, we have just to focus on learning. You guys are very independent, very expressive, we have obviously the uniform as well, you don't have that, so that helps to just feel like yourself and if you come in school you can have more personal freedom. I think the trust that the teachers give you guys to just focus on yourselves and you guys have it seems a good relationship with the teachers here, it's not like that in England, is very strict and very like teacher student is different, but here you guys it´s a bit more laidback and I think that really helps the students to feel trusted and respected in the school, so your just more likely and more natural to bath your education for yourself. I feel like that really works!

Schnurps: So, you if you could choose, you would go to school in Germany more likely than in England?

Nathan: Yeah, definitely!

Schnurps: Where are you from England?

Nathan: South London, it´s a little town called Stratton, yeah, I like it, I miss it, but it´s always nice to travel somewhere new and new culture.

Schnurps: But you are also used to London?

Nathan: Yeah, I love London, just London's great!

Schnurps: Is there anything here in Koblenz that you saw, that's way different?

Nathan: There are shops with personality in that related to the town. In London everywhere is quite the chains, you know, I mean one shop here that is everywhere, every city has the same shop, but here is very light. I don't know it's like we've got bakeries here that seem very local. It's not as often in London that you get that you get independent stores but based on shops that provide the same service everywhere, go back here we got more local.

Schnurps: Is there anything due to Corona, that you can't do?

Nathan: Football, social football; that's very difficult, because obviously Germany is one of the hottest in the world of football, you know, so I was looking forward to doing that when I came here obviously Corona has been around for the time, so I kind of expected that maybe it wasn't possibility, but yeah, it kind of sucks, that I can't do that as much as I would. And also like in London there's access to everything wherever you are, a lot of these clubs you have like 5, 10 minutes away from you, but for here and I don't have the access as much, I have to travel out a bit further or I have to get the train somewhere further, it's not walking distance. I was meant to join Metternich FC with Mr. Weiler his club and that's like one of the closest but for me to travel there is like an hour.

Schnurps: Where do you live here?

Nathan: In the city centre. So, I was looking at transfer, he said he can pick me up and drop me off, but that's not sustainable, you know, so I want to get the bus or walk. Based in our end in London I'm like 10 minutes or 5 minutes from my closest pitch. It´s different like that.

Schnurps: Is Corona stopping you in your career, so for example did you had to go to quarantine first?

Nathan: Germany's on the example list, as you guys literally are doing a great job here. I didn't have to do anything. I've invited my friends because there's no barrier restriction to it, obviously with the lockdown now it´s different. But even London is going into lockdown tomorrow for a month, but you guys are still under this, you can still come from Germany, I can still go home if I want, but yeah, career wise, just because everywhere is on hold, I mean applying for that internship in Spain, Spain is completely off the radar, you cannot go there and South America as well, but I wanted to go Colombia my Spanish side here, but that is not accepting anyone that isn't Columbian and so it's like very difficult to plan six months ahead, even in England, because so many businesses are about shutting down, not active, you can't say we got position, because they're just so concentrating on it right now it's very difficult, but one step at a time, I guess, so I'm gonna be here for the next five months we just enjoy this and then see what happens after.

Schnurps: In England you have the queen, the royals, as high representatives, in Germany we don't have something like that. Is that something very important to you?

Nathan: It is a cultural aspect that exists, but it's not necessarily like overly present in everyday life mostly we understand their monarchy, we respect that, but you might have to ask someone that's like ethnically English, they identify with it, but in London especially, the mood is, that the system of monarchy is kind of outdated like, but is what it is. Every country has their values or just that to respect it accept it, but it´s great for tourists, they always love the monarchy and it´s all on the coins in the shops in central London that's the big, big aspect, but in London it´s something we're proud of but it's nothing I would miss in Germany.

Schnurps: Thank you very much for the interview!

The interview was held on Wednesday, the 4th of November.

by Sören Kaltwasser, MSS13

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