Meet Our 2022-23 Language Teaching Assistants

Ghofrane Essaied ~ Arabic

Where  do you live?
I used to live and work in Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia. However, I would go back to my hometown Kelibia almost every weekend to see my family.

What is your academic background?
I have a Bachelor of Arts and a Master’s degree in English Language, Literature, and Culture from the University of Tunis and the University of Manouba. I currently have a permanent position as an Associate professor of English at the University of Carthage. I teach ESP to Data Analysis Engineering students. In high school, I was a science major, but I decided to change to an English major for my higher education.

What do you want people to know about your country?
Tunisia is a small, yet very diverse, country. It is rich in culture, tradition, and history. Our identity is a mixture of Arab, Mediterranean, North African, and Amazigh. This diversity is also reflected in the country’s architecture, landscape, food, clothes, and language. We speak Tunisian dialect, Modern Standard Arabic, French, and English. I also added Italian and German to my list. Many people usually know Tunisia for its beautiful beaches, but it also has some fascinating desert which is part of the African Sahara. For anthropology and history fans, Tunisia is a great destination, as it bears traces of the Carthaginian, Roman, and Islamic heritage. The people are very friendly and welcoming, so if you want to practice your Arabic or French, you should visit soon. Don’t forget to try as many Tunisian dishes as you can. Couscous, kaftaji, and brick would be my top three recommendations.

Three fun facts about myself?

  • My name, “Ghofrane”, means “remission”, “absolution”, or “pardon” in English.
  • I was offered my teaching job at the university as soon as I turned 24. I was younger than some of my first students.
  • Being born and raised in a coastal town made me very attached to the sea. Saltwater runs through my veins!

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Shu-Chien Yang~ Chinese

Where do you live?
My home is in New Taipei City, Taiwan. I also lived in the UK (5 years), Japan (1 year), Italy (1year) and Nicaragua (3 years) previously. Before coming to Allegheny College, I was teaching Mandarin in South Carolina. It was my second time in South Carolina because back in 2017, I also taught at another university there.

What is your academic background?

I graduated from The University of Leeds in the UK in 2010. My major was in Italian and Japanese. After returning to Taiwan, I worked in international trading companies and exported products ranging from petrochemical supplies, motor bike parts to medical thermometers.

In 2017, I started pursuing my second career in teaching Mandarin as a Second Language. I was enrolled in a six-week intensive teacher training course at Washington University in St. Louis. Shortly after that, I began to teach Mandarin at Claflin University in South Carolina for one year.

I spent the next three years teaching at a private language center in Managua, Nicaragua after leaving Claflin University. In August 2021, through a cooperative program between Ministry of Education in Taiwan and American higher education institutes, I was recruited as a teaching Associate in Chinese to teach at Coastal Carolina University.

Now, I am entering my sixth year teaching Mandarin and I am very happy to be here at Allegheny College to help students learn this language and get to know Taiwanese culture.

What do you want people to know about your country?

1. Taiwan is the only democratic country in Mandarin speaking regions.

2. Same-sex marriage in Taiwan became legal on 24 May 2019, making Taiwan the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

3. Religions in Taiwan are very diverse and people are free to practice Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and many more.

Three fun facts about me: 

  • I speak five languages: Mandarin, English, Japanese, Italian and Spanish
  • I like to walk/hike
  • I love eating

Loïc Filipe-Hémery ~ French


Where do you live?
Nantes, France

What is your academic background?
I studied English, Spanish and Law for three years at the university in France and graduated with a double degree in Law and Foreign Languages. After this year here in Allegheny I will have to go back to my studies. The future is still uncertain, but I will probably continue with a Master’s degree with a focus on education.

What do you want people to know about your country?

Baguettes, croissants, coffees, and Paris are probably the first things coming to your mind when you think about France, but this country is about so much more than that. Yes, the food especially is amazing, but wait until you hear someone from the south speak with their lilting accent and experience the fall season on the west coast. Paris is great, but Nantes can also be very cute and full of surprises: believe it or not there is a life-size mechanical elephant walking around the city there!

What are some fun facts about me?

  • I love astrology (if I am having a bad day it is probably because the stars did not align).
  • I really enjoy learning languages but for some reason I cannot be consistent. However, I can introduce myself and talk about what I had for breakfast in Portuguese, Romanian, German, Spanish, and English (which I studied back home in school…) (and in French!!).
  • When I arrived in the US I was still 20 and I can tell you that not being an adult anymore (even for 2 months) was not the best feeling…

Jana Bömer ~ German

Where do you live?
I’m living and studying in Cologne but during the weekends and breaks I’m quite often at home at my parents’ house. My hometown is called Heek, and it is in the northwest of Germany, very close to the boarder of the Netherlands.

What is your academic background?
I’m studying to become a teacher for special needs education. My main focuses are emotional development, social development and learning. I’m also studying Math and English. I already have a bachelor’s degree from the University of Paderborn, and I’m currently enrolled in the master’s program of the University of Cologne.

What do you want people to know about your country?

Germany is very diverse and has more to offer than ‘Oktoberfest’ and beer. There’s also a huge difference between the north and the south of Germany. So, there’s a lot to explore – both culturally and geographically. We have amazing cities like Berlin, Munich and Cologne (of course!) but there are also a lot of mountains, lakes, castles and cute small villages in age-old traditions to explore.

What are some fun facts about me?

  • You usually see me walking around with a coffee cup cause I probably drink more coffee than water.
  • I’m like our German train system: trying to be punctual and on time but that doesn’t always work out.
  • Whenever I’m procrastinating, I start to bake – that’s why I make the perfect banana bread.

José Álvarez García ~ Spanish

Where do you live?
Extremadura, Spain

What is your academic background?
I finished my Spanish Philology degree and then I did a Master’s Degree in ELE (teaching Spanish to foreign students).

What do you want people to know about your country?

Spain is home to almost 50 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. They include all types of landmarks from Moorish palaces and historic centers to national parks and pre-historic caves.

Although Spain is a Christian country, there had been times when it was ruled by the Moors and times when it was home to a thriving Jewish community. Many Islamic and Jewish monuments are well-preserved.

Amongst the Moorish landmarks are the Alhambra complex and the neighborhood of Albarracín in Granada and Jewish landmarks can be found in cities like Córdoba, Toledo, and Girona. Of course, you can also visit many Christian monuments such as the cathedrals in Santiago de Compostela and Sevilla.

If you love art and culture, Spain is your country.

Three  fun facts about me:

  • I am struggling to find fun facts about me, so maybe I’m not that fun.
  • I can’t pronounce the Spanish “rr” and Spaniards find it hilarious. Well, there’s a medical explanation (nothing to worry about).
  • I have one eye closer than the other. There’s no medical explanation to that, I guess.