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Julie Meierdirks

French and Spanish

Hi! My name is Julie Meierdirks and I live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I have my
Bachelor’s degree in Education with a major in Spanish and a minor in French from
Northwestern University and a Master’s in Spanish Language and Culture from the University of
California, Santa Barbara. I have been teaching Spanish and French for over 20 years and I also
volunteer to tutor adult English language learners through our community education center.
I’ve taught at both the high school and middle school/junior high levels and I really enjoy all
ages! My love for languages and cultures is what drives my passion for teaching! I truly enjoy
watching students open their minds by learning a new language to communicate in the world!
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Veronika Kalinouskaya


Veronica is a native speaker of Russian language. Being in love with different cultures and their history from a childhood, she has decided to devote all the energy to “living through” new mentalities and learning new languages by travelling and teaching children over three continents.

Veronica obtained a B.A. in International Law from the Belarus State University and then did postgraduate work in linguistics: both in English and Spanish.

Veronica has been teaching Russian for over 2 years in Belarus; and also volunteered to tutor the language to children with disabilities in the U.S.A.; in addition to that, she spent the last year in China giving English classes to the students between 4-5 years of age.

As a teacher, Veronica believes that parents are the best teachers and role models for their child, therefore, positive communications between parents and teachers is a key method in her work. She looks forward to be the best teacher for You or Your child!

-Veronica teaches all levels of Russian
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Sara Boi


Ciao. My name is Sara and I am here to use my 10 years of teaching experience to help you succeed in your dream. For the last 4 years I have been teaching Italian language to students in a top 3 Pontifical University in Rome, Italy. I was born in Rome, Italy and graduated with honors from the University of Rome, La Sapienza, with a degree in Asian Studies and Cultures. I hold a master in Teaching Italian Language. In 2006 I moved to Japan where I worked as an Italian teacher for two years. I also have Ditals II, Teaching Italian as a Foreign language Certification. I am proud of my culture and love to share my language and upbringing with my students.  I’m a passionate Italian food and art lover so whether you’re reading biographical information about the brilliant painter Caravaggio or figuring out how to cook some of your favorite Italian dishes, learning Italian with me is simply essential!

Viviana Ardesia

Viviana Ardesia

Italian and Latin

Ciao e benvenuti a BonVoyage!
I’mViviana and I was born in Pescara, a tiny city on the Adriatic Sea, where I attended high school in Classical Studies. I
have a Master degree in Literature and Philosophy from the University of Bologna, the oldest university in the world, and I
hold a PhD in Italian History from the University of Udine. I lived in Pisa, Milan and Turin teaching Italian Grammar and
Literature in Middle schools and History at university for more than 15 years. I moved to Florida recently with my family
and I can’t wait to share my language and my culture with all of you!

Viviana teaches all levels of Italian


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Cristian Calvo-García 

Spanish and French

Hola a todos! Bonjour a tous! My name is Cristian Calvo-García and I am originally from Spain. I have been working as a language teacher in the UK for the last 14 years. I am passionate about languages for many reasons, they develop your cognitive abilities, discipline and resilience but most importantly they are the real passport to discover the world. That is why I have never stopped learning languages and nowadays I speak Spanish, French, English, German and I have just started learning Arabic. The experience of learning languages has allowed me to feel confident to discover the world, meet new people and basically live news lives and that is what I want my students to achieve. I truly believe that you live a new life for every new language you speak. If you know only one language, you live only once (Czech proverb).
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Esther Kim



Hi, my name is Esther Kim.
I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. When I was 15, my family moved to the state, and I had to learn English as my second language. So, I understand the challenges when it comes to learning a new language. I’ve been teaching Korean since 2012. I have taught in private and school settings, and I have taught all ages and levels. I have three children of my own, and I’ve been teaching them Korean ever since they were born. They can all speak and read Korean fluently.
I love Korean culture and history. I am ready to share my knowledge with all my students. I am a red belt in Taekwondo and planning on getting a black belt one day. I also play a Korean instrument Kayagum. I am interested in K-pop, K-drama, K-beauty, and K-food. So, if you are into any of the K-culture, let’s talk!
I have undergraduate degrees in teaching Korean as a second language and American sign language. I am fluent in Korean Sign Language as well. Currently, I am working on my Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education at CU Denver.
Study shows that Korean is one of the most challenging languages to learn, but l am here to help. I can’t wait to meet all my students.

Esther teaches all levels of Korean.

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Meriam Lahlou


Bonjour! My name is Meriam Lahlou and I will be teaching from Lafayette, Louisiana. I was born in Rabat, Morocco and moved to the U.S many years ago, to go to college. I am a native French speaker with an M.A in Foreign languages and literature. I am also a certified French teacher and have taught French in Illinois public schools grades K through 12th. I have also taught French and ESL in private settings. Although my initial career was in international business, I have been teaching for over 20 years. I am passionate about world languages and teaching. I speak French, Arabic, Italian and English. I have learned English and Italian in high school and college so I can relate firsthand to the challenges and the joys, students experience when learning a new language. I can also attest to the many benefits of knowing more than one language. I know it has opened for me and my children, many international professional opportunities and, gave me the chance to develop some life lasting friendships in different continents. My goal is to instigate in my students a passion for learning World Languages and to mentor them to grow and fully embrace their language learning experience.
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Hiroko Hunter


My name is Hiroko Hunter, and I am excited to teach Japanese at the Bon Voyage World Language
Academy. I was born and raised in Japan, and came to the U.S. to go to college. I graduated with a
Master’s degree in secondary education in Georgia. I have taught Japanese at the elementary, high
school, and college level for 19 years. I currently live in Lexington, Kentucky and I have two sons, a 23-
year old and a 17-year old. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, jogging, and playing piano.
Even though I have a busy life, I get pure joy from helping children learn. I believe a child learns best
when he /she is actively engaged in a meaningful activity and enthused by authentic materials. Children
will be able to make connections if the lessons are interesting and relevant to them. That is why I am so
excited to be a part of the Bon Voyage World Language Academy. Together, we can see your child grow
and exceed our expectations.
I know you are probably eager to begin this exciting school year. Please feel free to email me with any
questions or concerns. I am looking forward to working with you to make this year a wonderful learning
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Laura Pedroni


Laura first started learning German as a freshman in high school in 2000. Her high school had and still maintains a strong German program today. In deciding which path to pursue in post-secondary studies, she knew that she wanted to study abroad in Germany. She also had an admiration for her high school German teacher who inspired her to study German Education. Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois offers this unique major. Laura spent the 2007 spring semester at Universität Bonn in Bonn, Germany. She then graduated from ISU in May 2008 and had five full sections of German at a high school in Aurora, Illinois. Laura taught German levels 1, 2, 3, and 4 at the high school level for eleven years before resigning in May 2019 to be a stay-at-home mom. She would like to continue sharing her love for the German language and culture by teaching from home while taking care of her young children.
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Mahtab Rafiei


My name is Mahtab! I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. I have completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s in Persian Literature in Shahid Beheshti University in Iran, and started studying and researching on teaching Farsi language to non-Persian speakers. I co-operated with English Language department for teaching Farsi language in English, for elementary to advanced levels. I have published my first poem book, and designed and drew images for a book for children in at that time. This was a starting point for publishing more books, and also devoting my time to painting. I migrated to the United States in 2014, and worked as the educational assistant in Farsi language education department, and as Iranian studies researcher in Stanford University. At the same time, I was teaching Farsi, in person as well as remotely. I then started educating children and teaching in a school in California. The moments I am with children, are the best moments in the week for me. Now, I have children and grown-up friends around the world, and we have great time together spending on educating Farsi language. To me, Farsi is a language full of beauty and wonders. I try to make the education more entertaining using poems, painting, story-telling, playing games, and showing movies.

Midori Leaning


My name is Midori Leaning. I was born and raised in Japan. I came to the States to go to College here. I studied Psychology and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. I have taught 2nd, 5th and 7th grade at Utah Japanese Language School for 6 years. I also have been teaching piano with the Suzuki method for 7 years . I’ve lived in Utah for more than 15 years raising my children. I have 6 daughters from the ages 16 to 4 years old and they are all English/Japanese bilinguals. It’s been such a precious time to raise and help them grow. I like to cook, bake and eat good food, read Manga and travel with my family. It’s been so interesting to see how children learn so many things, but at the same time the way you teach makes differences on how much they can gain. That’s one of the reasons why I’m so excited to join Bon Voyage World Language Academy! I like how we teach languages using the 5 senses and I think it’s a very effective way to learn a new language. I’m looking forward to teaching and introducing you to Japanese and Japanese culture!
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Florence Giacalone


Bonjour! My name is Florence! I am French, I grew up in a small village near Nîmes, in the south of France. I taught French in Peru, Colombia and France. I speak Spanish, enflais and I am learning Portuguese! I just love learning languages, knowing more about culture. And I live teaching and sharing my passion! I did all my studies in France and my master degree Online with a French university . All these experiences help me a lot as a teacher ( I know exactly how it is to be an online student!) I can’t wait to meet you! À bientôt !
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Elizabeth (Libby) Deaton


Bonjour, je m’appelle Elizabeth (Libby) Deaton. I am a 2018 University of Missouri – St. Louis graduate where I received my Bachelors degrees in French and Education with K-12 teacher certification. After graduation I promptly took an assistant High School English teaching position in Montpellier, France where I lived one year to further develop my skills as a teacher and solidify my fluency in French. Now back in the United States, I am thrilled to continue my work in French education at Bon Voyage World Languages Academy! I have taught full time as a High School French teacher, and have internship experience with Elementary students in the immersion school setting. I love teaching French because I get to share Francophone language and culture with my students as well as teach them invaluable life skills that take them beyond the realm of academia. When I’m not teaching I love to read, cook, dance, travel (especially in the south of France) and spend time with my family which includes one very large, fluffy, gray cat. I have a deep passion for languages, the arts and nature and all of its living things. I look forward to seeing you in class, merci!

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Grazia di Dio

Spanish, Italian and Catalan

Ciao! My name is Grazia, I was born in Italy, but I moved to Spain in 2014 where I live. I have a Degree in Communication Sciences of the Trento University (Italy), in addition to that, I also got a Diploma of Spanish (C2) – Cervantes Institute – and a Master’s Degree in Spanish Teaching, (Excelent was my final evaluation) issued by the Valencian International University (VIU). My love for languages and accents motivated me in obtaining the Certification “Generalitat de Catalunya”, which is a C1 level proficiency in Catalan language and the “Diploma of Catalan Language” issued by the Govern d’Andorra. In the last three years I have been teaching Italian grammar and conversation in a Public Library nearby Barcelona. I have a leading personality and I strongly believe in this profession. My commitment is showed also in my final thesis of the master’s degree El componente socioafectivo en el aula ELE (The importance of the affective element in the ELE classroom). As teachers we have a huge role in our students’ lives, we are responsible for their behaviours, their growth, it is our duty to motivate them and stimulate their interest. I aspire to help students to enjoy the Spanish language, in my opinion, the more passion you can transmit to your audience the best results you will get.