Meet Our 2021-22 Language Teaching Assistants

Dina Dalloul ~ Arabic                                                                                  

Where do you live?
Hi!  I am the Arabic TA.  I am from Gaza, Palestine.

What is your academic background?
 I did my BA in English in Palestine and my MA in Linguistics in the UK.

What do you want people to know about your country?
Palestine is a small country with a great culture and incredibly hospitable and generous people.  In Palestine, you would be invited to a meal by someone you’ve just met. We make the best falafel and hummus in the world. Yes, believe me! Food is a big part of our culture and it’s there in almost all our occasions, happy and sad. Some of our best foods include maqlouba, fattah, musakhan, maftool and the most delicious and cheesy Palestinian dessert, kunafeh. Our traditional Palestinian scarf – Koofiyyeh – is a symbol of our struggle and nationalism. It’s the first thing we pack when we leave home to study/ live abroad. One of the most important cultural forms of Palestinian art is Dabke (folk dance). Almost every Palestinian (including my 4-year old niece) knows how to dance Dabke. Dabke is not just a dance. It’s an expression of identity!

Three fun facts about me:
Some of my favorite things to do are cooking, hiking and traveling. I am also in love with penguins and turtles. I have once had a turtle that I named Scooter! I also like listening to people speaking Portuguese with a Brazilian accent. It’s like music to me. I just love it, even though I don’t understand it!

 


Tianle Wang ~ Chinese

Where do you live?
Nanjing, China; however, I have also lived in Suzhou and Jinan.  Outside of China, I have lived in Amherst, MA, and have recently moved to Meadville, Pennsylvania.

What is your academic background?
My higher education career began at Soochow University, where I majored in Teaching Chinese as a second language and earned my undergraduate degree.  I continue my education at Shandong University, earning my first M.A. degree in Comparative Literature.  Finally, in the summer of 2021, I earned my second M.A. degree through the East Asian Languages and Cultures Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

What do you want people to know about your country?
China was once a prosperous empire in ancient times but is now known as a mysterious socialist country in the modern age.  When it comes to China, people may think of Alibaba and TikTok, or the beautiful natural scenery and delicious foods…and perhaps now COVID-19.  However, China is more than these contemporary issues, and I would love to introduce the other aspect of China, which is not “colonized” by the global context to you.  Furthermore, many Chinese concepts and moral codes are not translatable, and therefore the Chinese language is a pivotal tool that is needed to fully understand these “untranslatable” concepts and moral codes.

Three fun facts about me: 

  • I served as the teaching assistant for the advanced-level of the language courses at UMass Amherst’s Chinese Department for two years.
  • I learned French and Italian but forgot them shortly after passing the TCF B2 and CILS A2 exams.
  • Although I am Chinese, I am not good at mathematics, do not know Kung Fu, and dislike eating dumplings.  However, I do like pandas:).

 


Emy Chevalier ~ French


Where do you live?
I am from Nantes, a beautiful city on the West Coast of France.

What is your academic background?
I have just graduated from a double joint degree in Law and Languages and next year I am starting a master degree in English in order to become an English teacher in France.

What do you want to see or learn about in the U.S.?
Even though France is mostly known for the beautiful city of Paris, France is a very diverse country in terms of cultures, dialect, accents, gastronomy, landscapes, etc.  Every aspect of France is beautiful and I can’t wait to share all of my love for French culture and French people with the students.

Three fun facts about me:

  • I love food!! Of course,  I am in love with French gastronomy but I also like to enjoy other countries’ gastronomy.
  • Traveling is one of my favorite things to do!  Discovering new places and new cultures.
  • I work as a lifeguard in France.

 


Tobias Teckhaus ~ German

Where do you live?
Hello Folks!  I’m from Cologne in Germany.

What is your academic background?
Currently I am studying special education teaching for motorical and emotional development.  As a teacher in Germany you usually teach two subjects. I am also studying the arts and mathematics.

What do you want people to know about your country?
Beer, sausages and leather pants may be the first things which appear in your mind when you think about Germany.  But this country has so much more to offer.  Germany is a melting pot of cultures.  People with roots from all over the world live there.  Everywhere you go, you will find different food and different people.  Germany is also a country of many different accents and traditions.  There is the famous Oktoberfest in Bavaria or the big colorful Carnival in Cologne.  But Germany also has a great pop culture, from hip hop to indie, you can find everything.  You see, Germany is a diverse country.

I am looking forward to speak with you about cultural differences, music, art, and many more things around Germany, the US and around the world.

Since I love exploring nature, I really want to see the landscape and beautiful places of the United States, but want to get to know the people.  Every culture has its own traditions, music, art, food and way of living.  I am excited to learn more about this and I hope to make many new friends.  Also teaching German as a foreign language is something I never did before,  I am very excited about that and I am looking forward to it.

Three fun facts about me:

  • I love making art, be it drawing, painting, or filmmaking.  I try everything, but my biggest passion is linocut.
  • One word:  Adventure! I really love to explore nature and see new places.  For this I take a bike, a car or just my two feet.
  • I am very, very, very…veeery clumsy.

Valerie Mogollon ~ Spanish

Where do you live?
I am from Quito, Ecuador and I have lived there my whole life, until now.

What is your academic background?
I have a BA in Liberal Arts with a minor in Visual Arts.  I studied in Universidad San Francisco de Quito.  My career focused in Humanities, both Literature and Philosophy, but along the way discovered my love for Art History.

What do you want people to know about your country?
My country is mainly known for the Galapagos Islands, but there is so much more than that.  My country is really small but it has four different regions.  Galapagos is one of them, but there is the Coastal region, the Andean region and the Amazonas region.  I was born and raised in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, in the Andean region, and we live surrounded by mountains.  Each region is so diverse, both in people and nature.

Three  fun facts about me:

  • I recently learned to ride a bike (and I’m 21!)
  • I do Arabic dances
  • I love animals, especially cats