An Interview with Mr Barlien

Marymount Economics Teacher


Tell us a bit about yourself. 

I was born in Norway, and then when I was five my family moved to New Zealand where I grew up and studied and went to university. I lived in Australia for a few years (where I met my wife-to-be), and then we moved back to New Zealand where we taught together and had our three kids. We decided that we wanted to move and live overseas, so we first moved to the Philippines, followed by China, and then we moved to Prague, and then went back to Norway for a few months, and now I’m in London.

What interested you to want to learn and pursue economics, and now teach it?

So, I studied both Economics and Psychology at University. And in both of those subjects what attracted me most was their social impact. For example, in Psychology, I was interested in Social and Behavioural Psychology and similarly, in Economics, I enjoyed behavioural and political economics. I even did a minor in sociology. Mainly, the question of how societies, individuals and groups were affected by government policies and changes in economies was what made me interested in these subjects.

Well, I wasn’t always a teacher. Initially, I worked under the government department of a company. And I immediately realised that there was a lot of night work during the weekends, and the job required a lot of time away from home. Since we had small children at the time, we decided that it was not worth having to spend less time with our family and so my wife and I decided to become teachers, which was convenient as we had similar holidays and had weekends off so we could spend more time with our kids.

What made you want to come and teach here at Marymount?

To be honest, the primary reason would be the geography, as we wanted to work in this particular area of London. We shortlisted schools that were not too far from where we lived and that narrowed down my options. What made Marymount stand out as the school I wanted to work in was the differences in philosophy I saw here compared to other schools. During my interview, one of the questions I asked to find out more about the school was about the school philosophy and what they saw as the underlying principle that they wanted students and staff to take away with. Different to all of the responses I got in the various schools I applied to, what I heard here was that they wanted people to feel like they were in a community and at the same time grow as individuals, and that was the most important aspect of life at Marymount. That response made me feel that this was the right school to be a part of.

During your time here what has been the most memorable moment/favourite event?

Walking into the campus and into the gardens every morning has to be my favourite aspect of Marymount. It is so beautiful and extraordinary, and I feel very lucky to be in an environment that the gardeners have maintained in such a lovely manner.

If you were not a teacher, what do you think you would have been?

That’s a hard question, but I would have probably been a Psychologist. I studied both Economics and Psychology and I choose to further pursue Economics, but if I hadn’t, I definitely would have enjoyed pursuing Psychology and becoming a Psychologist as well.

If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?

Optimistic, pragmatic and passionate.

What are your extracurricular interests and passions outside of teaching?

I have a deep love for reading and theatre. Living in London now, one of the things my wife and I do is that we book a theatre production or show to watch together once a month. My favourite one I’ve seen till now has to be Julius Caesar at the British Theatre – the theatre itself is so wonderful, I highly recommend watching any play there!

Do you have a favourite book/movie/TV show? If so, which one?

It is so hard to choose one book; I love reading so much. Before moving to London, we somehow managed to cut down our collection of books to around 1400 books! But my favourite TV show has to be ‘The Expense’, which is a science fiction show.

What is your favourite quote?

My favourite quote has to be ‘this too will pass’ and I think it’s so meaningful because it applies to any situation in your life. For example, if something very good is happening we must remember that it may not be permanent and we need to savour the moment while it lasts, and something bad happening reminds us that whatever it is, it’s not permanent and it will get better.

Give a fun fact about yourself.

I was knocked over by a tiger cub (which was the size of a very large dog) when I was in the Philippines at a tiger safari park.