Hi! I am sure that everybody at our school has noticed that we have a new Spanish teacher. His name is MOUSTAFA SABBANI ZAITOUNI and he comes from Spain. We decided to ask him some questions in order to know him better and know his opinion on some topics.
1. Why did you decide to come to Slovakia (why did you choose Slovakia)?
To be honest I did not choose Slovakia. When I filled out the application form to take part in this program, in the part where I had to select the country I just left it blank in order to have more possibilities to be selected since I did not have any special preferences.
2. Do you like our country? How do you feel here? What do you like the most and the least in our country?
Slovakia is an interesting country in several aspects. As I far as I am concerned I think it takes a while to get used to it. People, food, culture, everything is quite different in comparison to Spain. But once you start discovering the country and its particularities you realize it is a nice country. The thing that I like the most is the nature. The landscapes and views are amazing, On the other hand, the thing that I like the least is probably the sadness of people in general. When you are at train or walk around the town people look quite sad.
3. Can you, please, shortly compare the lifestyle in Slovakia and Spain?
Related to the previous question I believe that in Spain people are much happier in general terms. Even though Spain is in an economic crisis and a huge amount of people is unemployed, we are still happy and we try to enjoy life anyway. Maybe it is because the weather, or maybe it is a cultural thing or a mixture of both but from my point of view this is the main difference regarding the lifestyle
4. Are there any differences in educational system between Slovakia and Spain?
There are some differences actually. The first one is the timetable. In Spain we usually start the lesson about 9 oclock and have a long break for lunch from 13,30 to 15,00 and start again from 15 to 17. It was difficult for me in the beginning to start at 7,30 and wake up at about 6. I compensate that taking a nap since we don´t have lessons in the evening. We do not have mini breaks between lesson to lesson and every lesson lasts 1 hour instead of 45 minutes. As every system has its pros and cons, I would not be able to claim which one is better.
5. According to you, what are the students in Slovakia like?
In general I think they are more disciplined and hard-working than the Spanish students. They study far more and spend much more time doing homework and preparing themselves for university. We hardly ever have homework as it is not very common to give homework to students. I think that Slovak students are more aware of the importance of studying and going to university as a very important chance to improve their lives.
6. What do you miss most about Spain?
I guess typical things such as family, friends, and food. I also miss to socialize more and to go out for a drink or to the park during the week as it is seems to me that it is not very usual to do so here from Monday to Friday.
7. Do you have any troubles communicating in English/Spanish in Slovakia? Any embarassing or funny moments to share?
Students have a good command of English but outside the school the Slovak population in general has a poor knowledge of this language. As a funny moment I remember once that I was in a lesson teaching different adjectives to describe people and one of those was the word debil which in Spanish means weak. When I said it everybody started laughing and putting strange faces and when I asked what was going on they explained to me that debil means stupid in Slovak. It is funny, isn´t it?
Thank you very much for the interview and we wish you all the best!