I was born in Dubrovnik, Croatia in 1977 and after completing my undergraduate studies in the capital city of Croatia in 2002, I came to Edmonton to pursue my Master's degree, love, and life overall.
I have always been drawn to foreign languages, learned English from TV, and picked up a bit of Spanish from telenovelas while studying at home for my Italian class and other subjects. Then I discovered Afro-Cuban music, became pretty obsessed with it, and when one year of studying economics at the University of Zagreb bored me to no end, I decided to redirect my BA studies to Spanish and Comparative literature, as languages and books were the best thing about school for me.
My academic studies ended with an MA in Spanish and Comparative Literature here at the U of A in early 2006, where, as part of my studies, I got to experience teaching Spanish to beginners. At first observing other instructors, then helping and independently teaching Spanish at MLCS was an important time for me as I realized I actually really loved teaching languages maybe even more than learning them. (maybe it was a natural transition?!) So I’ve been doing that ever since September 2003, both here at MLCS and at MacEwan University and I am very happy and grateful that I still have the gig(s)!
What is your favourite thing about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is interacting with students and participating in their excitement of learning how to express themselves in Spanish. I love the unpredictability of students’ responses and questions and the lightness that we often experience in quite the clumsy process of using a new language. I am always quite amazed that after one semester only the students are able to converse and write about their lives, families, food and travel preferences and plans in quite decent Spanish and it gives me a great pleasure to just take part of that process. I also think that our language classes provide a unique university environment where learning becomes quite a rudimentary process (learning literally word by word and how to put the words together in a coherent order) while, at the same time, it creates a very “human” atmosphere of getting to know each other through those very basics and topics we discuss.
What is the last book you read and loved?
The last book I read and really loved is called Breakfast with Buddha by Roland Merullo. It’s not a literary masterpiece per se, but the Buddha character and his role of a teacher of how to “enjoy life’s little miracles” and slowing down our consumerist lives really resonated with me. It was also quite funny, and I’ve learned to really appreciate funny in literature as I find it’s rare.
I am more in tune with music these days, and the artist I’ve stumbled upon and can’t get enough of is Juan Pablo Vega. He is a Colombian musician and so, so smooth and artistic in his approach to pop expression.
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
It would be a nice, long road trip through South America. I have never been to South America and would love to to feel, smell and taste all the different countries and cultures that have been an inspiration to me in my own Spanish learning experience.
What three words best describe your experience as a teacher?
Communication, flexibility and awareness.
What is your favourite word in Spanish?
My favorite word in Spanish…hmmm…anything with the sound of “ch”, “mucho, chocolate, noche, enchufe..” ….