Tamuna Dzmanashvili has been working for the Non-Academic Department since December 2011. After obtaining her Bachelor’s in American Studies from Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University, Tamuna worked as an English Teacher with the Tbilisi City Hall Project Study to Be Employed, aimed at providing English language courses to Georgian citizens, free of charge!
Hello, Tamuna, how are you?
Hi Raughley. I’m good, how are you?
I’m doing well, thanks! So, tell me, what were you doing before coming to work for TLG?
Before TLG, I used to teach English with the Tbilisi City Hall Project.
How do you feel that your experience as an English teacher helped prepare you for working at TLG?
It helped a lot because I have to communicate with TLG volunteers verbally as well as in written form. I write reports and emails and it’s important to be good at English and know as many grammatical rules as possible.
Where and how did you learn English?
I began learning English in school, then I continued at University, but I haven’t been abroad.
You mentioned that you did American Studies, could you tell me a bit about that?
Oh, it was an overview of everything about America. We studied American history, literature, economics, the philosophy of America, movies, poetry, and everything.
And what’s your favorite thing about America?
(Pause) The American Dream.
Meaning the possibility to achieve anything with enough effort. If you struggle for your dream, you can always achieve it. Going from rags to riches.
Okay, and what do you do here at TLG?
I am the TLG Non-Academic Team’s Coordinator’s Assistant. I communicate with volunteers on a daily basis. I write emails, make reports, read reports, and many other things, too.
Okay, sure. Now, what is your favorite aspect of TLG?
(Laughs) Well, um, doing my job! My favorite thing is reading Volunteer reports because I get information from volunteers directly: what they think about living in host families—about living in particular communities. And, of course, placing volunteers in host families. Also, I love reading our Facebook page because I find many interesting comments from volunteers and also I like reading our blogs—but it’s not my job. When I have spare time I love reading our blogs.
How has TLG been received by Georgians, and especially by host families?
Um, (pause). Hmm. That’s a kinda weird question because it depends on the region—it depends on the village. In some regions TLG is well-received and well-taken. The volunteers are treated well, but in another region they may not want to even hear about TLG volunteers. Actually, it depends on the volunteers’ experiences, on how they represent themselves, how they represent TLG and if they have a good experience while living in a particular community, host families—more host families are willing to host volunteer.
If you were a fruit, what fruit would you be, and why?
(Laughs) What kind of question is that? Ahh. As my favorite fruit is strawberries, I’d like to be a strawberry!
Alright, what is your fondest TLG-related memory?
TLG memory? (Pause) Uhhh, I don’t know! There are so many memories! I don’t know. Probably going on the excursion with volunteers to Vardzia.
Okay, so how do you think TLG has impacted you personally and/or professionally?
It has impacted me personally because I have made a lot of friends here and professionally because I—before coming here I could not speak English, although I understood everything. I could write in English, but now, as you can see, I can speak!
Okay, what is Georgia’s best tourist site?
Hmm. All parts of Georgia are interesting. Every region has something to visit. Maybe Kakheti and Samtskhe are the best parts to visit. I don’t know. Many parts of Georgia are beautiful!
Um, in 3-5 words describe Georgia.
(Pause) Beautiful. Mountainous. (pause) Seaside. Hospitable. Friendly.
You know, you’re the first person who answered that question in 3-5 words?
You said “3-5.” I tried to be precise!
And last question, what is your favorite style of Khatchapuri?
(Gasp) I love all of them!
Perfect! Thank you very much!
You’re welcome. I was expecting some terrible questions about everything. It was nice! It was fun!