“It is an amazing and unique community which can offer a lot in terms of knowledge, experience and friendships.”
Could you tell us something about your early career in the language sector?
Anna: I finished my training at the Teacher Training College in Budapest as French and Hungarian teacher but instead of teaching I started working as an interpreter at a French-Belgian FMCG company in Hungary. I then got involved in their marketing activities and spent a couple of years with planning weekly and seasonal promotions. But then with kids being around and very young I was looking for something different and something I always felt close to me – non-profit organisations. A considerable part of my life was and still is devoted to work for another non-profit organisation in Hungary though the profile is different. So, when Eaquals was looking for a part-time assistant in 2006, I felt this is something I would love to do with the background and expertise I had. Since 2006 I had various roles within the association and it became a full-time position.
Vivi: I graduated as a teacher, then I learnt advertising, marketing and communication at Budapest Business School (postgraduate studies). Before Eaquals, I did not work in the language sector, but worked as marketing manager for an international advertising newspaper, and advertising consultant.
What big changes have you noticed in the field since you joined Eaquals?
Anna: Membership has grown considerably, and attendance at our conferences doubled their size. It is a challenge to still keep the personal touch but I think is really important even when there are a couple of hundred attendees. This is something participants notice and appreciate.
Vivi: The number of Eaquals member is continuously growing every year, and we have more and more members from the university sector now. More and more language schools/institutes consider that it is important for them to achieve a high quality accreditation, like Eaquals.
You’ve both been working with Eaquals for some time now – Why did you choose to get involved with an organisation like Eaquals and what makes you stay?
Anna: I felt that this job although it isn’t teaching but was relatively close to my initial training.
There are several reasons which make me stay: people I work with and share common goals, we are all passionate about quality. I like languages and I love belonging to such an international community – it became an important and essential part of my life. I also like the challenge of remote work, some people think it is difficult and challenging to keep in touch with colleagues by email or skype. It is in fact but during our events when I finally meet people, when I put names and faces together after many e-mail exchanges make it a funny way to get to know people. And sometimes I really feel I know colleagues very well by the time we finally meet face to face for the first time.
Vivi: Eaquals is a unique workplace, and differs from the ones I worked for. It is very interesting how this organisation makes people/schools together who believe in high quality language education and this principle makes them a big family. I like the family atmosphere in my workplace; it is much easier to work even if there is a lot of work. Also, I am really happy to work in an international environment.
What about your role at Eaquals interests/excites you the most?
Anna: Conferences of course. It is a great challenge and I had to adapt to the rising expectations throughout the years. I have been involved in setting up 23 Eaquals events until now and working on 4 more in the coming years. There was only one event during all those years when we went back to the same venue so every time it is a new challenge to adapt to local conditions and local team, get to know a bit the country where the event is held. It is an amazing cultural journey for me.
Vivi: I am keen on supporting Eaquals members on a day-to-day administration basis, but I think the most exciting part is when we meet Eaquals people at the annual conferences and meetings. It is like being part of a big family.
What advice would you give to someone attending their first Eaquals event?
Anna: Get to know as many people as you can, share your experience with them. It is an amazing and unique community which can offer a lot in terms of knowledge, experience and friendships.
Vivi: Networking with other participants, have a chat with Eaquals Board or staff members in order to get know more about how Eaquals works, what are the benefits of being an Eaquals members, and how improvements can be implemented.