Pehr Englén, Swedish Instructor
Pehr moved to Toronto a few years ago to be with his Canadian girlfriend. He is currently trying to finish a PhD in intellectual history but often finds himself distracted by what Toronto has to offer. He particularly enjoys all the film festivals and the diverse food scene. He studied French, literature, and the history of philosophy in Lund (Sweden), Paris and Montreal before pursuing graduate degrees in the UK and the US. He believes that learning the language is the best way to understand a culture. He looks forward to teaching Torontonians Swedish and contemporary Scandinavian culture!
Axel 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“
Aleksander Krogevoll, Norwegian Instructor
Aleksander grew up outside the beautiful town of Stavanger in Norway and moved to Toronto in the summer of 2013. Here, he continues to study theology at the University of Toronto. Aleksander tries to keep up with his passion for sports, and feels he fits right in here in Canada. As a student of new languages himself, he has a strong appreciation for the challenges that can be experienced in the midst of taking on a new language. He enjoys the fact that Toronto is so rich with different languages and a multi-cultural food scene. He wants to share his love for brown cheese, cross country skiing, and the Norwegian language with Torontonians and hopes to make this course a great introduction to the Norwegian culture.
Susan Porkka, Finnish Instructor
Susan moved to Canada in the Fall of 2016 with her family and is a PhD student from the University of Turku in Finland. She is a seasoned teacher of twenty years and worked as a school principal for ten of those years. She is well versed in the Finnish education system, which is world-renowned as being the best in the world. Susan loves to cook and bake, especially traditional Finnish food. Every now and then you can smell homemade karjalanpiirakka or pulla at her house. During the winters, she’s also a proud hockey mom. In the summertime, she believes that there is nothing more relaxing than boating and picking wild blueberries and strawberries. She hopes to see you in our Finnish classes. Opitaan yhdessä suomea!
Kara Billey Thordarson, Icelandic Literature, Myths & Sagas 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.
Philip Olsen, Danish Instructor
Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, Philip came to Canada to join his lovely wife and to make a fresh start of his life. He worked as a teacher specializing in Danish as a second language, special needs and math with primarily people with autism. He enjoys discussing politics, biking as transportation (like a true Dane would!) and playing sports, specifically soccer. His enthusiasm for sports made him venture into owning his own sports betting company, BetBuzz, where he is Co-Founder and CEO. With his knowledge and patience as a teacher, he is sure to make the Danish course an enriching and fulfilling experience!
“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