The UBC tandem Language Learning Program started off with a one-person team back in 2011, and has since grown and expanded in many different ways. The program would not be possible without the awesome people that are part of it!

We also have 13 Volunteer Facilitators.This fantastic team leads our group sessions and hosts events throughout the semester!UBC tandem team 2017

​Winter 2017 Session Times






Mhicaella Lopez, Program Coordinator
tandem.program@ubc.caMhicaella is a Filipino-Canadian studying International Relations and Romance Studies. She is interested in intergenerational texts in different cultures and was drawn to tandem Language Exchange Program to build on her facilitation skills, to make friends, and to build up her lexicon in  different languages. She is also a youth facilitator for Check Your Head’s Anti-racism and Inclusion Program and a previous playwright in the Arts Club’s LEAP program. In her spare time, she plays video games a little too seriously (when she really should be focusing on this semester’s workload), gets emotionally swept into conversations about food, and tries to make music. She knows French, Tagalog, Italian and is learning Portuguese, ASL, Mandarin. If you know any good horror movies, let her know!


Dimitri Prica, Program Coordinator

Dimitri is a third year undergraduate student in the linguistics honours program. He grew up in France, between books and treehouses and moved to Canada shortly before turning fifteen. Inspired by his father’s towering fluent knowledge of seven different languages, Dimitri has made it his goal to surpass him, and tandem is one way to do just that! He is now proficient in French and English, could get by if air-dropped in Mexico or Japan, and has some rudiments of German. When he isn’t learning (about) languages, Dimitri enjoys novels, and Tim Burton movies.

Monday Sessions: 3:30-5:00pm

Winnie Huang:

Winnie is an undergraduate student majoring in Food, Nutrition, and Health. She speaks English, Cantonese, broken Mandarin and is currently learning Korean. She is also teaching Cantonese with UBC ClubHK, hoping that more people can speak the daunting language with 9 tones that even most native speakers cannot distinguish. In her spare time, she enjoys biking along the seawall and going on late night ice cream runs. Through her previous experience as a tandem participant, she was able to develop her Korean and form lasting friendships. As a facilitator, she hopes to provide all the tandem participants with an amazing language learning experience and a fun year ahead.


Anabella Forte:


Anabella is a Visiting Research Student at the Sociology Department and a new tandem facilitator. She was born and grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She speaks Spanish, English and a bit of French. She also teaches Spanish to people who want to travel to Latin America or Spain. Especially, she likes to promote intercultural exchange and learning about different cultures. In her spare time she enjoys watching good movies, meeting new people and travelling. Before coming to Canada, she has been living in Australia and New Zealand.


Tuesday Sessions: 1:00-2:30pm

Viyan Petekkaya:

Viyan is a 4th year undergraduate student studying International Economics. She loves losing herself in the magic world of the words. She gets very excited whenever she gains an insight into a culture through its untranslatable words. She is passionate about literature, and she enjoys writing (ask her about that one poem she wrote about her slippers at the age of 7!). She speaks English, Turkish, and a little bit of French. Even though the list of the languages she wants to learn goes to infinity; first, she wants to become fluent both in French and also in her mother tongue, Kurdish. Share a unique word in any language with her, and you’ll become her favorite person (bonus points for sharing a poem)!


Miao Dong (Mason)

Miao is an undergraduate student majoring in French. He is learning Japanese and teaches Chinese students spoken English to help them fit in with western culture and teaches Mandarin to spread his culture and language. He is the co-founder of  Pandarin, where Mandarin is taught in his unique and creative way. By joining UBC tandem program, he wishes to find out how people usually learn a new language and what the most effective way to learn a new language is, especially for Westerners to learn an Asian language.

Wednesday Sessions: 4:30-6:00pm
Eric Lee:

Eric is a junior undergraduate majoring in Microbiology and Immunology and Computer Science. Aside from spending most of his school time in labs doing tasks ranging from bacterial culturing to software debugging, he enjoys taking out a few hours to explore languages and culture in Tandem. He speaks Mandarin-Chinese, Taiwanese, and is improving on his Japanese to communicate with his relatives. Being passionate in video filming, he spends lots of time finding new places to discover grand views, especially in Taiwan. This has led him to explore many North American and East Asian countries. He is now looking for suggestions on fun destinations!

Nico Starink:

Nico is an undergraduate student, studying Applied Biology faculty of land and food systems. His passion for traveling has taken him all around the world to experience different languages as cultures firsthand. Participating as a tandem facilitator allows him to bring his passion for learning about different cultures straight to UBC. He speaks English, Dutch, and Spanish and is excited to continue learning. He’s thrilled to be a facilitator and gain a broader range of experience by meeting everyone in his sessions.

Thursday Sessions: 5:30-7:00pm
tandem_profileNatsumi Ueda:

Natsumi is an undergraduate student studying Earth and Ocean Sciences. She was born and grown up in Japan. She traveled 40 prefectures out of 47 in Japan so far. However, she visited only a few foreign countries yet. She would like to know more about other cultures and languages through UBC tandem. She is trying to learn American Sign Language and hieroglyphs, which she has been interested in.


Hyunji (Jenny) is an undergraduate student and a new tandem facilitator. She was born and grew up on Jeju Island, South Korea, where she grew her passion for politics and culture. She is particularly interested in unpacking globalization in the context of the East, especially her home country Korea. As she used to be the youngest, yet a crucial, member of a local-based NGO in South Korea, she now looks forward to getting connected with the UBC community (and by extension Vancouver Community) through tandem. She speaks her hometown’s dialect, Korean, English, a bit of Chinese and is now learning Spanish.

Friday Sessions: 1:30-3:00pm
Jocelyn Ip:

Jocelyn is an undergraduate student studying nutritional sciences. She speaks fluent English, Cantonese, Mandarin and a little bit of Japanese (learned from anime). She enjoys conversing with people from different nationalities as she often gains valuable insights and knowledge from them. She is excited to serve as a volunteer facilitator this term and cannot wait to make some new friends around the globe! If you own a 3ds or Nintendo Switch, make sure you talk to her as she is always ready to connect on a personal (and digital) level.

Mojdeh Kamali:

Mojdeh is from Iran. She enjoys learning new culture, traveling places she has never been before and trying  foods from all over the world.Volunteering at tandem sessions gives her the opportunity to meet people from different countries and raise her knowledge about them.She thinks tandem is an amazing place not only because of its mission but also because it provides an opportunity to help her  become a better person. She speaks Farsi and English. Mojdeh hopes to learn speaking french one day and travels to Paris.

Friday Sessions: 4:00-4:00pm
Natalie Armendariz:

Natalie is an undergraduate student interested in International Relations and studying Arabic. She is adventurous, enjoys the outdoors, loves playing sports, baking/eating, and watching movies. She also enjoys interacting with people from diverse cultures and is ardent for learning multiple languages. At the present, she speaks English and Spanish, and hopes to eventually speak Arabic, Farsi, and Russian fluently. Given this, she believes the tandem program is a wonderful opportunity to bring together a community of diverse individuals! 
Serena Huang:

Serena is an undergraduate student studying French and Linguistics. She’s passionate for anything related to languages, linguistics, and traveling, and believes that tandem is an amazing opportunity to get to know more people and learn about their personal stories.
She speaks English, Mandarin Chinese, and French, and has also dabbled in Italian, Spanish, and German. She’s very excited to be a tandem facilitator this term, and looks forward to meeting everyone soon!

Kate Tyshchenko:

Kate is an undergraduate student studying Biochemistry. This is her first term as a tandem facilitator and she is looking forward to a great experience! Her passion for languages drew her to this program and she also hopes to learn more about different cultures through it. Kate speaks Russian, Ukrainian, English and French, and currently picking up some German and Italian. One day, she also wants to become fluent in Spanish and Norwegian! When Kate is not busy doing nerdy science things and learning languages, you can find her skating or enjoying a good book/movie with a cup of tea.