Julia Martensson, Swedish Instructor

Julia was born in Umeå (umee-yo), known as the capital of northern Sweden and the City of Birches. She studied human resource management at Uppsala University in Sweden and the University of New South Wales in Australia, and knows first hand the cultural norms in the field of business. She taught Swedish for international professionals in Sweden with a focus on facilitating successful integration into various industries and parts of society. Now established in Toronto, she leads an active lifestyle and loves the diversity, progressive nature and cultural dynamics the city offers. With a natural curiosity and passion for exploring and learning about different cultures, languages and ways of thinking, Julia is nothing but excited to get to know each student and maximize the learning opportunity based on individual interests and learning styles.  Check out our Swedish Courses!

Eva Wisstling, Swedish Instructor

Eva is a native Swede who still calls Stockholm her home, even though Toronto is her second home for more than two years. She has left a previous IT career in order to fully focus on her passion for literature and languages. She currently combines studies at University of Toronto with writing and editing for numerous publications both in English and Swedish as well as teaches creative writing. She knows first-hand through her interest in Spanish and German what it’s like to learn a new language as an adult. Check out our Swedish Courses!

axelAxel Van Goud, Swedish Instructor

A master of linguistics, Axel is known as the “person who knows the MOST languages in North America”. He is what’s called a hyperpolyglot; that is a person who can speak more than 8 languages. But Axel knows an amazing 22+ world languages fluently, including all the Nordic languages! A certified interpreter in 18 languages and an EAP (English for Academic Purposes)/TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) professor at George Brown college in downtown Toronto, Axel is eager to teach you his methodology so you can get to speaking Swedish quickly and efficiently. Watch him featured in a GlobalNews documentary “Word Play: Hyperpolyglots speak so many languages”  Check out our Swedish Courses!

Haroona Ijaz, Norwegian Instructor

Haroona grew up in Oslo, Norway and now lives and works in Toronto. She studied Pedagogy from the University of Oslo. After moving to Canada, the entrepreneur in her kicked-in so she took a few business courses at Harvard Business School. She now runs her business in Canada and the U.S. Haroona also worked as a teacher at an international school and knows the intricacies of teaching a new language. She is super excited to share her passion for the Norwegian language and introducing the Norwegian culture (with tips and tricks she recommends!).  Check out our Norwegian Courses!

Sini Maury, Finnish Instructor

Sini moved to Canada 10 years ago from her hometown of Helsinki, Finland. She has a Master’s degree in Psychology, and in her former life, she taught and researched cognitive psychology, verbal memory and second language learning at the University of Helsinki. Now she is in Canada and has a typical Torontonian family with three members, three different languages and pretty chaotic dinnertime conversations. Sini has studied a whopping 11 foreign languages and completely understands the pain and excitement of learning a new language. She enjoys history, society and classical music, as well as loves coffee, reading books and having long conversations with people. She can’t wait to meet her students and to discuss with them various topics like why Finnish words are so long, why Finland can be called “Candyland” and why you should take a nap after studying Finnish.  Check out our Finnish Courses!

Johannes Remy, Finnish Instructor

Johannes was born and grew up in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. He studied history, philosophy and Russian at University of Helsinki, where he defended his doctoral dissertation in 2000. Johannes moved to Canada in 2009, and after Saskatoon, SK and Fredericton, NB, settled in Toronto. He has authored three books in Ukrainian and Polish history and taught at York University, Carleton University and Columbia University. History is his passion, which he also brings into his language teaching by including topics from the history of Finnish culture. In addition to occasional teaching at universities and Finnish teaching with Nordic Languages Initiative, Johannes also works as a Finnish-English interpreter. Johannes knows eight languages, English and Russian being the strongest ones after Finnish. Check out our Finnish Courses!

Peter Avalon Northstar, Danish Instructor

Peter was born in Aarhus, Denmark and moved to Toronto in 2010. He holds a BA in History of Ideas from Aarhus University with a focus on European philosophy, history and religion. Born with an entrepreneurial spirit, Peter started his first business in Toronto coaching people on lifestyle and mindset. Peter advocates and desires to connect with other budding entrepreneurs. He specializes in leadership and helping business owners grow their businesses by become more efficient leaders. Peter loves music, working out, martial arts and sharing his love for Denmark, Danish values and, of course, Danish food.  Check out our Danish Courses!

Anita NallaDanish Instructor 

Anita was born in Denmark and moved to Toronto several years ago with her family. She has studied Biomedical  Sciences for her PhD in England and in Copenhagen, and decided to do her internship in Toronto. Anita is very immersed in the Danish culture and involved in many activities that Toronto has to offer. She enjoys photography and writing and is an active member of the Neighbourhood Arts Network.  She believes that in order to truly understand a culture and the people of the country, it is important to learn the language. She looks forward to teaching Torontonians the Danish language. Check out our Danish Courses!

Kara Billey Thordarson, Icelandic Literature Instructor

Kara is an Icelandic-Ukrainian Canadian poet, translator, and educator from rural Alberta. Her father immigrated to Canada from Iceland and many of her close family members still live there. A new Torontonian, she is thrilled to be back in Canada and excited to explore the city. She is fascinated by the ways language and literature reveal and shape human personality—she can’t wait to dig into Icelandic myths and sagas! Her translation of Stormviðvörun by Icelandic poet Kristín Svava Tómasdóttir won the American Scandinavian Foundation’s Leif and Inger Sjöberg Prize—a bilingual edition of the book will be published by Phoneme Media in 2018. Her essays on Icelandic literature have appeared in The Harvard Review, Columbia’s Council for European Studies EuropeNow Journal, and Guernica. Check out our Icelandic Courses!

Student Testimonials

“Susan is always bright and eager and she seems to get a huge satisfaction out of teaching, which is hugely rewarding for her students. As Susan is actually a teacher and principal in Finland, when I started with the course I was hoping to see some of the world-renowned Finnish teaching methods on display in our class, and I have not been disappointed. We adult learners have been treated to fun games, even physical games, we’ve listened to music, we have sung songs, we eat Finnish treats and we’ve learned about a variety of things Finnish. On top of it all, our pace of learning is quick, the material we’re covering is dense. ” – Michelle, Finnish Level II

“I found the way you (Axel) connected Swedish not just with other Scandinavian languages but also with German, Latin, French, and so on was not only a great way to learn more about the language, but also a means to bring it to life historically and etymologically. I’ve never been taught in that way before and I found it hugely enjoyable and instructive… ” – Simon, Swedish Level III

“Pehr is extremely patient and eager to meet student needs. He intuitively adjusts the pace and content to the skill levels of the students. I’d already studied some Swedish on my own and hoped that this course would allow me to ask questions and review linguistic concepts and vocabulary. Pehr did exactly that!” – Martin, Swedish Level I

“Aleksander is always very well prepared. He is very patient and well suited to handle the needs of the students given that we have different levels of knowledge of the language. His enthusiasm and knowledge made this course very enjoyable.” – Student, Norwegian Level I

“I always felt safe. There was total respect for each individual learner’s needs in the class. As a result, there is a natural level that is met by each student…” – Linda, Swedish Level I

“[Your Swedish teacher] is wonderful! She has a broad knowledge and knows how to connect with people. We all loved her and her funny stories about Swedish culture and history – and food!” – Student, Swedish Level I

“[Your Swedish teacher] has a warm personality and a vast knowledge about the language and culture – and she knows how to make it interesting and fun.” – Student, Swedish Level I



  1. I would like a quick refresher course in an afternoon before heading to Sweden for a vacation in the fall. Is such a thing offered? Was fairly fluent 30 years ago as a Rotary stipendiat.

    Liked by 1 person

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