Xpat Interview 2: Neil McGarry, Principal of Britannica International School

  • 29 Nov 2019 3:28 PM
Xpat Interview 2: Neil McGarry, Principal of Britannica International School
1. What’s been happening at work and at home since your first Xpat Interview?

Click here to read Mr. McGarry's first interview

At work, the school has continued to expand and grow, continuing to go from strength to strength. With the best staff and students in the city and an incredibly supportive parent base we are in a very privileged position.

At home, my family continue to grow up too fast. My eldest son is now a fully-fledged army officer having spent last year at Sandhurst Military Academy whilst me youngest is in Year 9 at Britannica. Unfortunately, my incredible Jack Russell terrier Ellie passed away last year at almost 18 years of age. A tremendous loss.

2. On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you with your life in Hungary, and why?
Around the 7 or 8 mark.  I love Budapest and Hungary in general is a beautiful country but also I sometimes miss certain aspects of UK life.

3. What’s the best party you’ve been to while in Hungary, and why?We were lucky enough to get VIP tickets to the Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Hungaroring last year via a family friend.  Four days of noise and excitement. The recent Xpat Charity Gala was also a good one.

4. What’s your favourite drink?
Non-alcoholic, it would be blackcurrant juice or Orangina, alcoholic, a nice Sauvignon Blanc or a pint of Bitter.

5. What hidden talents do you have?
Not sure if it’s a talent, as such, but I am unable to touch my left shoulder with my left hand!

6. What was the most interesting travel trip you have ever taken?
A three day trip around Tunisia, including salt lakes, a tour of the lunar landscape and cafes/bars used in the Star Wars films, visiting a genuine Bedouin house and camel riding in the Sahara were all included.

7. If you were given a wish that could come true, what would you ask for?
World Peace, I hope this could come true? Also, for Climate Change to be addressed appropriately across the globe.

8. What’s the last book you read, and movie you watched?
Last book was ‘Legacy: What we can learn about the business of life from the All Blacks?’
Last Film: Downton Abbey

9. If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?
I might copy Larry Flynt whose biography was called:  ‘An unseemly man‘
Or maybe ‘He isn’t too bad, despite how he looks’,
Or even ‘Neilly there’

10. What is the perfect pizza toppings combination for you?
Quattro Formaggio or Spicy salami with red peppers

11. If you could trade places with any other person for a week, real or fictional, with whom would it be?
Jürgen Klopp, the Liverpool Football Club Manager or Batman! I would like to try out all of his gadgets, especially the Batbike.

12. On a scale of 1 to 10 how unusual are you, and why?
I would say a 3, I am pretty level-headed and calm about most things and don’t have many strange behaviours or habits.  Others who know me may disagree…………

13. What’s the best website you’ve ever visited, and why?
The Britannica International School website, of course! I also enjoy the Premier League Fantasy Football site as it is colourful, fun and easy to use.

14. Who do you admire the most, and why?
My wife for putting up with me for all these years!  I have also had the privilege to work with some amazing teachers over the years, far too many to mention, but all of who gave up so much of their lives to support, encourage and develop our children.  Truly inspirational.

15. What do you like best and least about living in Hungary?
I enjoy the opportunities to travel to so many other countries so easily, the long summers, the fantastic restaurants and the fact I can go to the Grand Prix every year. I wish Hungary was not land-locked as I miss living by the sea.

16. What has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
Personally, meeting my wife and having children. Professionally, making the decision to move to Germany in 2000 was the stepping stone to everything that has followed

17. If you won USD 30 million, what would you do with the money?
Put a large proportion of it into savings for retirement and my children’s futures, use the rest to buy houses in Budapest, Port Grimaud, Guernsey and the Yorkshire Dales plus a campervan to travel between them!

18. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?
‘Shine’ by Take That

19. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
If I could choose, I would not want to just live in one place but be able to live in many.  There are so many wonderful places and I love to travel.

20. In ten years from now what will you be doing?
Depends on whether I win the USD 30 million!  If not, probably something similar to what I am doing now just a bit more slowly and with greyer hair.

  • How does this interview make you feel?