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Coffee with Robert Sim

Robert Sim

59 years old, hometown — Lerwick (Scotland), Educational consultant


Coffee with Robert Sim

About myself

I love my family, my wife and two daughters, they are my main motivation to do something, to achieve something. My oldest daughter is 22, she is studying for a lawyer, and the youngest is 13.

I dedicate myself to work and the hobby, which is music and poetry.


I like working here. Kazakhstan is a young country, therefore it is interesting to watch you building your future. I would like to help your country. I could help develop the educational system through educational consulting, sharing my experience, ideas.

I love music. I absolutely like all genres: jazz, rock, classical, folk music. I like Kazakh traditional songs. In my spare time I play in a band, I play the guitar and sing.

Now, I'm translating the Kazakh song "Dudaray" into English, or rather into Scottish, as some words in English and Scottish differ from each other. Also I'm working on translating "Kara Turgai", my translator friend helps me do that. Due to songs and music I find common ground between Kazakhstan and Scotland.

I love to read and write. I read a lot of books about education. One of them is "Why don’t pupils like school?" It describes the brain structure, tips teachers should remember, how to change the teaching methods. I like the works of an American writer William Faulkner - he has an unusual and original view of things. Also, modern Scottish poet Edward Morgan is great. In addition to writing poetry, he translates Mayakovsky's works.

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I write poetry, and some of my works have been published in Scotland magazines. In my hometown the play written by me was performed, which is very nice.

I like to travel. I’ve been to Germany, France, the US and various parts of the UK. Travel gives a chance to realize how people all over the world are both different and similar.

I like to practice meditation. I think a meditating one is freed from all problems related to material issues, the one realizes what is really important. Happiness is inside.

About Astana

After retirement I discussed with my family the opportunity to work abroad. I didn’t think that I would be hired so soon, but just two days after I left my previous position I successfully passed the interview for Nazarbayev Intellectual School in Astana.

Before cominghere, I read a book about Astana written by the former British Ambassador to Kazakhstan. When I arrived, firstly was struck by a modern city architecture, but now I prefer the old part of Astana. I’m staggered by the contrast between the new and old city parts.

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I like that here we can buy fresh and natural vegetables and fruits, which is difficult to do in the UK. Also I’m keen on the local cuisine, I’ve tried beshbarmak and pilaf, which are quite tasty.

I love karaoke in Astana. In the UK karaoke are mostly in noisy pubs, there’s no singing atmosphere at all, while here people rent special cabins to sing, it's convenient.

Living in Astana, I noticed that we are similar in many things. For example, in Kazakhstan, as well as in Scotland, family ties are important, here many know their kind up to the seventh tribe. For example, in England Christmas is a more important than the New Year, yet in Scotland it’s like in Kazakhstan. In Scotland New Year’s called Hogmanay, meaning “the last day of the year”. We celebrate it visiting friends and relatives, making parties. Earlier, when all the houses were heated by a fireplace, it was customary to give a piece of coal, which symbolized good luck in the coming year.

Caring people and their life inspiration

I am inspired by the nature of Scotland with many hills, forests and mountains. I was missing Highlands and went to Borovoe in winter. We walked along the frozen lake, among the trees, it all inspired me. I think nature always inspires.


It seems to me that people who are involved in the sphere of education are inspired by their students learning something new and developing. Personally, that's what inspires me in my work.

I'm proud of my children and music, the songs that I create. I believe that everyone should create something, i.e. buildings or music. No one can be limited. Being motivated, one can do whatever he or she wants. Everyone has the opportunity to fulfill their dream.

Current state of spirit

I am absolutely happy, I like being here and meeting good people. Today is my youngest daughter’s birthday, she turns 13. Also, today it’s Father's Day in Britain, so a little later we are having a phone talk.