Teachers

Full name:
Gracia Lino

What do you like to be called?
Gracia

Where are you from?
I was born in San Diego, but I was raised in Tijuana, Mexico. I then moved to San Diego, which is where my coming of age story began.

When did you move to the USA?
July 2004.

How long have you been teaching @ PBO?
Since March 2015.

What do you enjoy about teaching @ PBO?
I enjoy the atmosphere; students learn in a place where they can learn and have fun at the same time. Also, I love the fact that I get to learn something new everyday, since all of the students have different occupations, dreams, perspectives. It’s very interesting and exciting!

Describe your teaching style:
The most important thing to me is to make my students feel comfortable, because I know learning a foreign language can be quite stressful sometimes. Once students get rid of their anxieties, I like to challenge them little by little. I love humor and I tend to be very playful with words (this is very Mexican, by the way!).

Which classes do you teach?
I teach intermediate, advanced and bilingual classes.

What was your college major?
M.A. in Spanish Literature and Linguistics.

Tell us a little but about your family:
I would say my family is big, but not huge. Most of my family members live in Tijuana and Durango, and we see each other every once in a while. I am closest to my mom and little sister (little sister sounds funny, since people usually think she’s either the eldest or my twin!).

How would you describe your personality?
I’m an introvert (not to be confused with shy). I’m friendly, always hungry, a good listener, and I tend to remember the weirdest things about people. I’m also very curious; I particularly enjoy meeting people with different perspectives and experiences.

What do you like to do with your free time?
I like reading, meeting interesting people, watching movies, people watching, and exploring new places.

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Full name:
Sara Barahona

What do you like to be called?
Sara

Where are you from?
I was born in Brussels, Belgium. I lived there for a total of 8 years, but also moved around the world while I was growing up. My parents and entire family are from Spain, and every summer we vacationed there, hence my Spanish accent. Because I lived in so many places, I am also fluent in French and English, and also know a little bit of Swahili!

When did you move to the USA?
I moved to the US in May 2013 and have loved and lived in San Diego ever since.

How long have you been teaching @ PBO?
Since October 2018.

What do you enjoy about teaching @ PBO?
What I love the most about teaching at PBO is a combination of factors. I appreciate the feeling of community that tries to help students embrace the Hispanic culture. I see the value in students learning through conversations, just like in the real world. PBO is not just a learning space for the students, but also for the teachers. The educational atmosphere at PBO is unique to all other schools where I have worked before. I am very excited to continue my teaching journey with this incredible organization.

Describe your teaching style:
I understand that learning a new language can seem extraordinarily difficult, especially as an adult. Therefore, I want my class to be a safe space where students can feel comfortable if they make a mistake. No one is perfect and learning from mistakes is natural. I am very motivated to help guide you through difficult and overwhelming moments that challenge you as a new language student. Because I have lived in many places around the world I recognize the importance of diversity in learning. I aim to mold each class to the level of the students’ needs.

Which classes do you teach?
I teach beginner, intermediate and advanced classes.

What was your college major?
My major in college was International Business and a minor in Art History. I also have Masters degrees in Design and Marketing. I am currently pursuing a Certification in Interpretation and Translation in Spanish and English at UCSD.

Tell us a little but about your family:
I have a small immediate family, who mostly all live in Madrid. My dad travels a lot for work, especially around Africa, but we try to all get together at least once a year in Spain.

How would you describe your personality?
Both friends and strangers describe me as someone who loves conversation. Being around people makes me happy, but like most people I sometimes enjoy being alone in my own thoughts. I love animals, especially my cat Rufio.

What do you like to do with your free time?
In my free time with my boyfriend, we enjoy cooking and hosting dinners just as much as trying new restaurants in our neighborhood and when we travel.

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Full Name: 
Adriana Brunner

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What do you like to be called?
Adri

Where are you from?
I was born in Medellin, Colombia and raised in Cali, Colombia.

When did you move to the USA?
December, 2001.

How long have you been teaching @ PBO?
Since October, 2013.

What do you enjoy about teaching @ PBO?
I truly enjoy interacting with others and having the opportunity to get to know new and interesting people.  I am a people’s person and sharing my language and culture is a privilege and my passion.

Describe your teaching style?
I like to teach in a fun environment with creative concepts. My goal for my students is to learn something new during each class which will help them in improving their conversation skills.

Which class do you teach?
I teach the B3 (Intermediate 3) and the rotating advanced/bilingual classes.

What was your College Major?
I have a B.S in Economic Sciences.  A Masters degree in Strategic Management with a minor in International Finances.  As well as a Master in Business Administration (MBA).

Tell us a little bit about your family?
I live in North County with my husband, daughter, dog and hamster.

How would you describe your personality?
I am an energetic, outgoing and fun person.  I believe in the power of smiling!

What do you like to do with your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my family, visiting parks, museums and attractions in beautiful San Diego County.

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Full name:
Vanessa Suárez CelyVanessa Suárez Cely bio photo

What do you like to be called?
Vane

Where are you from?
Bogotá, Colombia

When did you move to the US?
April 2016.

How long have you been teaching @PBO?
Since November 2017.

What do you enjoy about teaching @ PBO?
I love to see how motivated and excited students are about learning Spanish, the warm and inclusive environment helps them to feel comfortable enough to overcome the fear of making mistakes and interact. I also enjoy learning new things from students and teachers. I feel lucky to be surrounded by such friendly and interesting people!

Describe your teaching style:
For me teaching and learning languages is an empathetic experience, I aim to guarantee a welcoming and supportive atmosphere to build understanding and confidence among the members of the class. My goal is to encourage and help students to develop their communicative skills and cross-cultural competence and in this way, contribute to their personal growth.

Which classes do you teach?
I teach intermediate, advanced, and fluent levels.

What was your college major?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Philology and Languages (major in French Language) and a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics.

Tell us a little bit about your family:
I have a big family: lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins (about 40 people), they live in different cities across Colombia but mostly in Bogotá. I am very close to my mother and siblings, I miss them a lot that is why I try to visit them once a year. Here in San Diego, I live with my husband.

How would you describe your personality?
I am a calm, curious and resilient person. I always try to understand the feelings and perspectives of other people, I think this helps me to make better decisions.

What do you like to do with your free time?
I enjoy going to the movies, plays, concerts, and museums. I also like to explore new places, dancing and trying different foods.

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Full Name:
Daniela M. Aguila

What do you like to be called?
Daniela

Where are you from?
Mexico City

When did you move to the US?
February 2016

How long have you been teaching @ PBO?
Since March 2017

What do you enjoy about teaching @ PBO?
I love the collaborative environment and vibe. Since my first day at PBO I felt so welcomed. I enjoy every moment with my students and coworkers but what I love the most is to have the opportunity to help my students to achieve their goal of learning a new language.

Describe your teaching style:
I am patient and I like to be sure that my students are enjoying the learning experience. My principal goal is to make my students to speak. I know how difficult could be to speak another with confidence and that is why making my students to feel comfortable is vital at my classes.

Which classes do you teach?
I teach all levels: beginner, intermediate, advanced, and fluent levels.

What was your college major?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology and I have been always interested in Sociology and History.

Tell us a little bit about your family:
Most all my family members live in Mexico and I miss them everyday. I am especially close to my dad; he is one of my best friends. Here in San Diego I live with my significant other and a very talkative African gray parrot.

How would you describe your personality?
I am more to a listener than a talker, spontaneous, grounded, a little clumsy and I love adrenaline!

What do you like to do with your free time?
Since I moved to San Diego I have been discovering my love for hiking. I enjoy nature but I also enjoy staying at home and watching movies (drama and suspense are my favorites) and reading books (paper books, I hate e-books). I always appreciate time with friends and family, good food, good wine and coffee.

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Full name:
Susanna Llop-JoverIMG_2246 - Version 2 (1)

What do you like to be called?
Susanna

Where are you from?
Barcelona, Spain

When did you move to the US?
In October of 1992.

How long have you been teaching at PBO?
Since February of 2014.

What do you enjoy about teaching at PBO?
I am enjoying everything really, our students are wonderful people, friendly, interesting, they come from a variety of places in the country, many have interesting jobs, they like learning and challenge, they are fun and of course they like and appreciate our culture, which is very nice. My teaching colleagues are also great. There is a very good work environment.

Describe your teaching style:
I know first-hand how difficult it is learning a foreign language as an adult, so I always try to be in the student’s shoes, do to that, I am patient but at the same time I like to challenge the students and help them learn as much as possible. I try to be personable and make the classes fun and create a good environment, so students feel comfortable and safe in class.

Which classes do you teach?
At PBO I teach all levels. I have some classes with the beginner classes and I work rotation classes with more advanced students.

What was your college major?
My major was Socio-Cultural Work.

Tell us a bit about your family:
My family is a big one. My mother, my aunt, four brothers and a sister, their significant ones, their children, their dogs (kidding, but not) We are a total of twenty four people now, just from immediate family, unfortunately they all live in Catalonia and Basque Country, Spain but on the other hand we are fortunate because we are able to go to Spain every summer for a month and spend a lot of time with them.  They are good, hardworking people. I am especially close to my mom and I live with my beautiful 15 year old daughter, Victoria.

How would you describe your personality?
Generally speaking I am a calm person, patient, social, adventurous, curious and a good listener because I care about people, everybody is important.

What do you like to do with free time?
I like spending time with my daughter and friends; I like going to the movies, walking, cooking, traveling when possible and meeting new people.

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Full name:
Lorena Verduzco
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What do you like to be called?
Lorena

Where are you from?
I was born in Colima, Mexico.

When did you move to the US?
In late 2001.

How long have you been teaching @PBO?
Since November, 2016.

What do you enjoy about teaching @ PBO?
What I enjoy the most is to be around interesting people. I love to listen to the stories and life experiences that students share with us.

Describe your teaching style:
I love my students to learn something new every day. I am patient and my goal is to make students feel comfortable in class while speaking Spanish. I also love to help my students to improve their diction and pronunciation skills.

Which classes do you teach?
From beginner to fluent.

What was your college major?
I graduated summa cum laude from SDSU with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design.

Tell us a little bit about your family:
I love my family. I live in San Diego with my husband and our two wonderful children.

How would you describe your personality?
I love to talk and enjoy being around people. I am patient and a bit of a perfectionist!

What do you like to do with your free time?
I love to spend time with my family. I always have new projects in mind… I never get bored 🙂

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Full Name: 
Octavi Sanchez
Octavi

What do you like to be called?
Octavi (the O is pronounced like a Spanish U)

Where are you from?
I was born in Palma de Mallorca, but moved to a city 20 minutes away from Barcelona when I was only one year old.

When did you move to the USA?
The 27th of August of 2015.

How long have you been teaching @ PBO?
Since December of 2015.

What do you enjoy about teaching @ PBO?
I love being able to do what I really like, which is teaching Spanish, in a great environment with great colleagues and amazing students who are motivated to learn. I really enjoy the fact that it feels more like a community rather than a language school, and that students usually study in PBO for years.

Describe your teaching style?
My goal is to make people speak, and speak about everything. It can be the smallest thing or an important matter. What really counts is to speak because I believe that speaking is the best way to really learn and keep a language. I also enjoy taking part in the conversation to make it more interesting and fun. However, I also like to refresh some grammar points from time to time because it is the foundation of any language.

Which class do you teach?
I teach all levels.

What was your College Major?
I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Translation and Interpreting French and German to Spanish and Catalan.

Tell us a little bit about your family?
My whole family lives in Spain, mainly in Catalonia and Barcelona. I’m the only one away. I’m married to my spouse and we live in North Park.

How would you describe your personality?
I’m easygoing, talkative, and open. I like to meet people and to spend time with friends.

What do you like to do with your free time?
I like to go out and meet friends or see a movie, but I also enjoy staying at home and reading books or watching TV in other languages. Languages are my real passion. I love learning them, using them and enjoying them!

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