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The American Institute

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Brett Campbell

In 2010, Brett co-founded the American Institute with the lofty goal of bringing the American education system closer to Croatia. In addition to his many responsibilities here, Brett has also worked as a lecturer at the University of Zagreb's Faculty of Political Science and the College of International Relations and Diplomacy Dag Hammarskjöld. He has also served as a freelance copy editor for GONG, UNDP, the Institute for International Relations, and GiZ, among others. A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Brett earned a master's degree in European and Eurasian studies from George Washington University and is currently pursuing a PhD in international studies at the University of Trento. Though no longer teaching courses, Brett remains a vital part of the American Institute’s management team.

Kristina Mustapic                     

Kristina was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. Following her family’s Croatian roots, she decided to attend university at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Dubrovnik campus. Here, she earned a bachelor’s degree in International Hospitality Management, with a focus on Human Resources. Kristina later moved to Zagreb, completed her TESOL certification, and began teaching English to various age groups and levels. She has a passion for helping people reach their educational goals and is constantly preaching to students the philosophy of “lifelong learning.” Aside from working as the manager of the American Institute, Kristina has a passion for singing, traveling, and Croatia's most popular sport, soccer.

Suzana Colak

The child of Croatian immigrants, Suzana was born and raised in Sydney, Australia. She graduated from the University of Sydney in 2004 with a degree in Social Sciences. Prior to her arrival in wonderful Zagreb, she worked as a market researcher in both Sydney and London. Since then, she has worked as a freelance translator, proofreader, and ESL instructor, where she specializes in Business English courses. In addition, Suzana has loads of experience preparing students for CAE and IELTS exams. With Croatian as her second language, her approach in the classroom focuses on the key differences between English and Croatian, namely identifying problem areas and coming up with relevant ways to address the more confusing aspects. In her free time, Suzana loves outdoor events – sports, concerts, festivals, markets – and luckily, Zagreb always has plenty to offer.   

Paul McCaffrey

Paul hails from County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland. He earned his bachelor's degree in Business Information Systems with Spanish at De Monfort University in Leicester (UK). Shortly thereafter, he became TESOL certified at Oxford House College, London and went on to teach every imaginable general ESL course. Over the years, he became specialized in examination preparation for FCE, CAE, IELTS, and TEOFL. Paul's career has taken him to Ireland, England, Scotland, Slovakia, Italy, and Spain. This is Paul's second stint in Croatia. He first came in 1997, after having met a group of Croatian students at a summer school in England. He liked it so much that he stayed for seven years. When not teaching, Paul enjoys music, reading, the cinema, travelling, and eating delicious foods.

Samantha Matthews

Samantha was born and raised in San Francisco, California. While visiting Zagreb during vacation, she fell in love and decided to move her indefinitely. She has taught ESL courses for nine years in such far flung places as Turkey, Italy, the United States, and Poland. Samantha is also the founder and owner of Let's Speak English Cafe Izmir and Let's Speak English Cafe Warsaw. When she's not teaching, Samantha likes to travel, socialize, stay fit, and explore bars and restaurants around Zagreb. She's currently looking forward to exploring every nook and cranny on the Croatian seaside.

Michael Dalton

A native of Sheffield, UK, Michael graduated from the University of Plymouth, where he earned a bachelor's degree in International Relations & Spanish. He is CELTA certified and has worked as a volunteer PR manager for the Erasmus student organization. Prior to his arrival in Croatia, Michael worked for several years as an ESL instructor in Spain, Norway, and Finland.  He prides himself of making the classroom experience both fun and challenging. In his free time, Michael is an adventurous young man and works as a freelance photographer and filmmaker.

Trixee Buckingham

Trixxie is a CELTA certified English language teacher from Salt Lake City, Utah. She earned a bachelor's degree in Russian at the University of Utah, where she also earned minors in Linguistics and Middle Eastern Studies. In 1994, she spent one year teaching English to children at public schools and orphanages in Russia, which marked the beginning of her career as an ESL teacher. Over the years, she has taught individuals and groups of all ages and levels, from all backgrounds and cultures. Alongside teaching, Trixee has 22 years' experience working in the arts, with international exchange students, and with assisting international guests during their stay in the United States. Each of these posts has helped cultivate a deep appreciation of culture, and more importantly, cultural differences. Trixee teaches intuitively, and simply listens for the needs of each student. In addition, she specializes in speech pathology, accent reduction, and as well, working with individuals with special needs.