M: Christine Melia, you're currently Country Director Italy. Where are you originally from in the UK?
C: I'm originally from a place called The Wirral, spelt W-I-double-R-A-L.
M: And that's in the north-west of England isn't it?
C: That's right.
M: Opposite Wales.
C: Right opposite Wales, on the River Dee.
M: OK. And how did you decide to work for the British Council?
C: I was teaching English, in Italy actually, over thirty-three years ago, and ... walked into the British Council in Milan; the staff and everyone I met there were so nice that I decided to make a few enquiries about the British Council, and made an application straight away.
M: And how many countries [have you worked in]?
C: I've worked in Romania, and Brazil, and West Africa, and Jamaica, and Spain, and now in Italy, and of course I've also worked in the UK, in London, but also in Oxford and in Manchester, for the British Council.
M: Very nice! Erm.. which country have you enjoyed the most?
C: That's a very difficult question. I love all the countries I work in as I get to know the people there. But the one that stays, I suppose, in my mind, for all the most fond memories must be Brazil.
M: What expectations did you have of Rome before you came here?
C: Well, as I said, I have lived in Italy before, but I lived right down in the south and in Milan so I'd only visited Rome once before ... I hadn't really any idea - everyone thinks they know Rome before they come here because they've seen so many pictures of it - I have to say I found it different from my expectations, um, quite a bit different.
M: [In] any particular way that you can think of?
C: Well, much richer in history than it appears in the tourist guides. There's much more beneath the surface of Rome than any tourist sees, and I'm enjoying exploring that at the moment.
M: What do you like best about your job?
C: I work in Italy and I manage the British Council in Italy, but I also have a responsibility for Slovenia, Malta, Croatia and Greece and Cyprus, so what's great about my job at the moment is that I can visit those places too.
M: OK. Is there anything you don't like about your job, perhaps I should say, like a bit less about your job?
C: Well, the same as I've just said, really: the travel's great but it's quite tiring and it keeps you away from families and friends rather too much at times.
M: And what would you like to achieve while you're here?
C: Well, I'd like to achieve a Christine Melia legacy in the British Council in Italy whereby we have a prosperous, peaceful, comfortable place for everyone to work in.
M: Thank you very much indeed.