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Juan Carlos Alvarez is from Madrid, Spain, and currently lives in Chicago. He attended Complutense University of Madrid and he earned a diploma from Fuerteventura 2000, a vocational training school in Puerto Rosario, Spain, as a Technical Specialist in Counseling and Family Therapy.
Juan Carlos has taught Spanish to students across the globe for more than 10 years from African refugees in a refugee camp in southern Algeria to Latin American immigrants in the adult education program at the Centro Romero on Chicago’s North Side. He also launched his own tutoring practice, Spanish Online, in 2013, and has taught students from the U.S.A., Great Britain, Singapore, and elsewhere.
Before settling in Chicago, Juan Carlos had lived previously for many years on the island of Fuerteventura, one of the seven islands that comprise Spain’s Canary Islands. He has also lived in Madrid (where he grew up), London, and Banjul, Gambia.
Besides teaching, Juan Carlos’s passion is for Yoga, historical fiction, and American coffee. Cooking Spanish paella every Sunday is almost a routine. He lives on Chicago’s Northwest Side with his Jack Russell Terrier, Flamenco, who followed him to the U.S. from Spain.
Andres Lopez is originally from Quito, Ecuador. He holds a Master’s degree in Music Performance, a B.A. in Contemporary Music and a B.A. in Communications. He has lived in Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, and the U.S.
Andres is very passionate about education. Before moving to Chicago in 2017, he worked for 4 years at Universidad de las Américas as a faculty member in the music department. He has also worked as a Spanish teacher both in Ecuador and the U.S. for several years, teaching people of all ages and backgrounds.
In his free time, Andres enjoys playing soccer, reading, and playing chess. His favorite openings are the Queen’s Gambit and the Fried Liver Attack.
Silvana Ordonez is originally from Colombia. She holds a B.A. in Business Administration from the Pontifical Xavierian University (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana) in Cali. She has lived in Chicago for twelve years. During her time in Chicago, Silvana has worked as an Admissions Counselor at a bilingual college, where her position allowed her to help students navigate their academic experience as well as the financial aid process. Now, as an instructor at Berges Institute, teaching her native language is an immeasurably rewarding experience as she shares her culture with her students. In spite of the weather, Silvana loves Chicago for various reasons, including its diversity, cuisine, and liveliness. As a mother of two, she loves to spend time with her husband and her daughters, and going on walks by the lake with her dog, Ginger. When at home, she loves to wind down with a good book from Gabriel Garcia Marquez or anything that resembles Magical Realism.
Sofía was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. At the age of thirteen she moved to Doha, Qatar, where she learned English and got an introduction to French and many other languages, cultures, religions, and traditions from all over the globe. Once she graduated high school in Qatar, she moved back to Colombia to study Modern Languages and Business Translation at Universidad EAN; there she reinforced her Spanish and English grammar and language skills, and learned French and Italian.
She has lived in Chicago for almost 4 years, during which she has worked as a healthcare interpreter in multiple hospitals of the city and its suburbs, an educational interpreter, a translator, and a Spanish teacher assistant.
Sofia highly believes that as you become fluent in another language, you find qualities and personality traits about yourself that you did not know you have; to some extent, like having another personality in that other language. Additionally she is proof that learning other languages helps improve concentration and memory.
Besides her passion for languages, she describes herself as an environmentalist and has an immense love for animals, dancing and acting. She is learning how to play the bass guitar and loves to watch true crime shows and anything related to the cosmos.
Dennis Uribe was born in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Since she was a child she wanted to be a teacher. She holds a degree in Spanish Education, and she also holds a BA in English Literature from Hunter College. In 2011 Dennis moved to NYC, where she has worked as an elementary school teacher and as a Spanish instructor for several years. She is very proud to teach her language and culture. Currently, she is studying her Master’s degree in Bilingual Education at Hunter College.
Outside of teaching, Dennis enjoys spending time with friends eating Mexican food, and she also loves reading, visiting museums and traveling.
Nick García was born in Madrid to a Spanish father and an American mother and grew up speaking both Spanish and English at home. He has lived in the United States since 2014, first in Boston and since 2017 in New York City. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in History from the Complutense University of Madrid, and he has worked as a writer, editor and translator.
Outside of teaching, he enjoys reading and writing, watching movies and sports (he’s a fan of Atlético de Madrid, not Real), and he has a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Nicolás Zuluaga holds a bachelor’s degree in Filosofía y Letras and in Spanish, French, and English Languages from Universidad de La Salle, and a Master’s Degree in Literature from Universidad Javeriana. Nicolás grew up in Bogotá, a metropolis with over 6.5 million people, which he loves for being the largest city in Colombia, the cradle of Pan-American arts and thought, and for being the place where he grew up and learned how to interact with people from different backgrounds, stories, and points of view. When he is not teaching, he is most likely to be reading, spending time with his wife, or playing fútbol.
Rolando González comes from Guadalajara, Mexico, known among other things for its Mariachi, its tequila, and its world-famous Feria Internacional del Libro. He has been teaching Spanish in New York City since 2011. In addition to knowing his own language through and through, he is also fluent in Italian and English.
He holds a degree in Science of Communication from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente, Guadalajara, Mexico, and has worked as a journalist, Spanish-Italian interpreter, and teacher of both Spanish and Italian before moving to New York. More recently, he served as coordinator of the English program for Latin American immigrants at the Asociación Tepeyac of New York, with the sponsorship of New York Cares. In 2013, he co-authored and co-taught the Spanish program developed for The New York Public Library employees.
Nelson Navarrete is originally from Bogotá, Colombia. He has been teaching Spanish since 2006. Nelson’s teaching experience ranges from standard private and group lessons to career-focused technical programs including Business Spanish (BBVA, ZARA, Young and Rubicam and Philip Morris) and Medical Spanish (Albert Einstein Medical School and Mount Sinai Medical School). When he is not teaching, he is usually playing electric guitar, writing music, or being involved in some environmental or animal rights cause. Nelson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Film-Scoring from Berklee College of Music and a Master’s degree in Classical Composition from Lynn University.
Edgardo Salgado was born in Barranquilla, Colombia and raised not far from there in the northern part of the country where he acquired a bilingual education since an early age. While still in his childhood he developed a passion for drawing and other visual arts; and later also for language, specifically Spanish. At age 19 he moved to the U.S to pursue his studies in graphic arts in Florida and in 2014 he came to NYC looking for an environment to harness his career and creativity. He is currently finishing his studies in Linguistics after his passion for the science of language grew beyond Spanish alone. Edgardo loves explaining and helping anybody who shows interests in learning Spanish or asks questions about the language; he can go on about it if prompted to. He has been working as a freelance illustrator, translator, interpreter and Spanish tutor since he moved to NYC.
When he's not drawing, reading about linguistics or learning a language (currently French and trying to start with Greek), he’s most likely enjoying a book, a movie, a concert, an art show or a new food spot; or simply playing soccer and cruising around on a skateboard.
Born in the Canary Islands, Spain, Jennifer Guedes holds a bachelor’s degree in Translation and Interpretation in Spanish and English languages from Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Passionate about traveling and languages, she has lived in different countries around the world and met people from every culture.
Jennifer also loves fashion, music and sports. She enjoys cooking and trying delicious food from different countries. She loves living in New York, where, in her own words, “you can find everything you want.”
In addition to her deep knowledge of the Spanish language, Jennifer’s outgoing personality always keeps students engaged and motivated in all her classes.
Alejandro Navarro hails from the sunny, tropical city of Cali, Colombia. It is said that in a previous life he studied law and also wrote for a couple of magazines, but that’s unconfirmed. He has taught Spanish and English in Bogotá and in Washington, DC, and one of his short stories was published in a Colombian magazine. In this current life he holds a B.A. in English from the University of Maryland and is also a web developer.
A combination of analytical and creative, Alejandro has a strong interest in using code to solve problems and improve processes. He is a devoted home cook who enjoys every aspect of food, from reading menus and reviews to shopping, prepping and cooking and even washing the dishes. His favorite book is whatever he’ll read next, but if you need a title, these days it’s Roberto Bolaño’s 2666.
When he is not teaching he’s probably dog or cat sitting for friends or out for a walk that will eventually end up at The Strand and most likely will involve a book purchase. He’s fine with that.
María Chanamé was born in Lima, Peru. She studied in an Italian high school and came to the US in 2009. She has a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Spanish with a concentration in Literature from City College of New York, where she has also been a Spanish tutor. Additionally, she has participated in research at Stanford University in Peruvian poetry. She’s practiced ballet for 7 years and loves books and classic Colombian coffee. She’s also a big fan of Real Madrid soccer team, and she can cook amazing Peruvian food. Her favorite writers are José de Espronceda and Alfonsina Storni.
Alexandra Valencia grew up in Colombia, where she studied Business Administration and obtained a Specialization in Innovation. She moved to New York in 2008, where she’s worked for Avianca Airlines and Bancolombia. She joined Berges Institute in 2018.
Alexandra is a big soccer fan, and she loves to travel. She also loves Colombian coffee (obviously), and drinks it every day. She spends her free time reading, watching movies or walking around the city. Her favorite country in the world is Spain.
On the weekends, Alexandra loves going to see live music and spending time with her friends.
Alan Zuluaga holds a bachelor’s degree in video arts and technology from Unilatina, in Colombia, and a bachelor’s degree in drama from The City College of New York. He is also in the process of obtaining his master's in education at New Jersey City University. He has taught Spanish for over 10 years, both to kids in bilingual families that don't want their children to lose their Spanish and adults in general.
Alan has traveled widely around South America, learning, among other things, the different Spanish accents and dialects from varied countries that use Spanish as its primary language. Besides traveling, he likes to attend Broadway and off-Broadway plays, write drama, and produce theater, film and video.
Diana Niampira was born in Pasca, Cundinamarca, a little town located in the Colombian mountains. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, and she is a Specialist in Environment and Local Development. In 2011 Diana arrived in New York City to study English, and she fell in love with the language and culture. Diana is also a certified Community Health Worker and Health Educator who focuses on mental health and community issues. She has taught Spanish for 6+ years. Recently she earned her dual certification as an Interpreter and Translator from Hunter College. Diana loves teaching, reading, walking, painting, dancing, and exploring different cultures.
Gloria Alveal was born in Chile, famous for its wines, the beautiful Andes mountains, and Chilean Patagonia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English-Spanish translation from Universidad de Concepción and a graduate degree in education. In Chile, Gloria worked as a translator and an interpreter for many big national and international corporations. She was also an academic coordinator and taught English and Spanish for over 20 years before moving to the US in 2015. Once in NYC, she started teaching Spanish for private students as well as corporate programs.
On the weekends, Gloria’s happy place is the roller-skating rink when the weather is nice. She is also an animal lover; she is a volunteer with the ACC animal care center in NYC to foster dogs and cats before they find their forever home.