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!

Marie Shuman, Program Coordinator Email:

Office hours: January-April 2017, Tuesdays from 4:00-5:00pm, Fridays from 1:00-3:00

Marie is an undergraduate student, studying Linguistics and French. She first participated in tandem during a Go Global exchange at the Université libre de Bruxelles. Returning home, she had dreams of creating a similar program at UBC – only to discover that it already existed. She joined tandem in 2014 as a volunteer facilitator, and is now so in love with the program that she is writing an Honours thesis about it! Marie speaks English and French, and is learning American Sign Language and Arabic. She loves avocados, Americanos, cross-country cycling, and travel.

Franny Varty, Assistant Coordinator Email:

Office hours: January-April 2017, Wednesdays from 3:00-6:00pm

Franny is an undergraduate student completing a double major in Geography – Environment and Sustainability and International Relations. She has been learning French on and off for almost 14 years and recently returned from a year in Istanbul on exchange. While learning Turkish there, Franny saw the importance of face-to-face conversation in language learning and how it can help with cultural engagement and understanding. In her free time she enjoys hiking, hanging out with friends, and making Turkish breakfast.

We also have 12 Volunteer Facilitators.

This fantastic team leads our group sessions and hosts events throughout the semester!

UBC tandem team 2017

Monday Sessions: 5:30-7:00pm
Irene, Facilitator

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!

Irene Zheng

Irene is an undergraduate student studying Biology. Besides being interested in plant identifications and entomology classifications, she enjoys communicating and interacting with people, as well as volunteering in the community.

In her spare time, she likes playing badminton, hiking, watching movies, and reading. She speaks English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. By joining the tandem program, she hopes that she will learn some Korean and Japanese and gain a better cross-cultural understanding. She feels very excited being a tandem facilitator and supporting others to enhance intercultural communication on campus.

Tuesday Sessions: 3:30-5:00pm

Nafeel Ahmed

Nafeel is a returning facilitator, and an undergraduate student studying Honours Physiological and Cellular Sciences. He is originally from South Africa, a country with eleven official languages, and he grew up in a household where Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Marati were spoken on a regular basis. He was also taught to read Arabic at a young age.

Interestingly, the second language he first came to speak with relative fluency was French as he had spent a significant amount of time in a French immersion program. Very recently, he began learning Spanish. This exposure paired with his passion for teaching is what drew him to the tandem Program. Feel free to chat with him about any questions you may have!

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 founder of Learn Chinese Here, 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: 3:30-5:00pm

Mhicaella Lopez

Mhicaella 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 order to understand the semantics 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 can speak English, Tagalog, French (with a bad accent), conversational Japanese, barely enough Italian, even less Mandarin, and she is currently taking classes with Queer ASL. If you literally want to talk about anything, Mhicaella would be more than happy to.

Dimitri Prica

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.

Thursday Sessions: 12:30-2:00pm

Anderson Li

Anderson is a returning facilitator, and an undergraduate student studying microbiology. In the past, he has visited different parts of Asia and Europe interacting with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. He enjoys learning more about other languages, and above all, wishes to meet others who share a similar passion. He speaks Chinese and hopes to pick up a few basic, useful phrases in another language through this program!

Ean Henninger

Ean is a graduate student pursuing a Master of Library and Information Studies with focuses on public librarianship and multilingual issues. He speaks English and Spanish, is learning French, has dabbled in Old English, Latin, and Icelandic, and tries to pick up a few phrases in other languages whenever he travels.

Teaching English in Spain, tutoring for the UBC FHIS department, and doing tandem as a participant have been just some of his favorite linguistic experiences, and he is excited to encourage language learning with tandem this year.

Friday Sessions: 1:00-2:30pm

Dylan Campbell

Dylan is a returning facilitator and is fluent in English and working on French. He is a graduate student from the University of Leicester. Currently, Dylan is a visiting international research student in the Classical, Near Eastern, Religious Studies Department at UBC. Since his focus is ancient history, he is more familiar with ancient languages. He believes tandem is a great program and is excited for another successful term. When Dylan is not working on his academics, he enjoys athletics, reading, traveling, and enjoying his stay in BC.

Eleanor Hoskins

Eleanor is a returning facilitator who is very excited to be coming back to tandem this semester. She is a fifth year English and French student who loves linguistics and learning new things. She speaks English and French fluently, a bit of Spanish, and a smattering of Mandarin, Latin and hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓. Eleanor is also a Residence Advisor in Marine Drive and the president of UBC’s English Students’ Association. When she’s not doing her readings, she enjoys cooking, board games, painting, and bringing people together.

Friday Sessions: 3:00-4:30pm
tandem_profile tandem-pic

Natsumi 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.

Ashley Raposo

Ashley is in her final semester of her undergraduate degree in psychology. She was born and raised in Montréal allowing her be fluent in English and French. She attended an English speaking high school, but had most of her core classes in French. Ashley obtained her first degree from the U.S. and picked up a little Spanish and ASL. This will be her first time facilitating for tandem and she is incredibly eager to begin! Ashley believes the community created by tandem is very unique, and is excited for the future of the program. When Ashley is not busy with school, she enjoys finding all the delicious vegan restaurants Vancouver has to offer.