Language Blog

Strommen Teacher Spotlight – Fernando

Fernando is a Soccer Fan, Bibliophile, and an Amazing Spanish Teacher with Strommen.

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Fernando horse riding in the Argentinian countryside with cowboys on his annual trip to Argentina with students. The excursion to the countryside ends with a traditional Argentinian BBQ.

Our teachers are the best and they deserve to be highlighted. In our new section, Strommen Teacher Spotlights, we will ask our best teachers a few fun questions and  let them take it away from there.

Where are you from and where have you lived? What do you miss most about your home-town?

Fernando: I’m from Buenos Aires, but I lived in Patagonia and Amsterdam before coming to Los Angeles

You are one of Strommen’s most popular Language teachers. Students tell us how awesome you are all the time. Why do you think that is?

Fernando: They probably say it because they don’t know me well! Seriously, I have had students (and still have them) for 3, 4, 5 and even 6 years and it’s still a bit of a mystery why they decide to continue to study with me. I think you don’t just teach but also build a relationship with your students in the process of teaching, and probably part of the secret lies in how good you are building those relationships.

What languages do you speak? What languages do you teach?

Fernando: I teach the only language I know well: Spanish. I still remember a handful of Dutch words and phrases and I have managed to make people believe I could speak some English.

 Where is your home-town? What do you miss most about it?

Fernando: In Buenos Aires. I miss family and friends, but also those little routines and pleasures, like walk those streets you’ve walked so many times, go to that bakery where you can get your favorite pastries, go to that neighborhood where you’ll find no less than 20 bookstores (and other good 15 theaters) in 7 blocks, go out for dinner at 10 or even 11 pm on a Saturday night, or just watch the rain from your window (something that basic but hard to find in LA).

What is your favorite word in your language and why?

Fernando: There are too many. One of them is “Lunfardo” (from the Italian “Lumbardo”, inhabitant of Lombardy). Lunfardo is a slang originally used by criminals and lower classes mostly in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Later this language became essential in tango lyrics and of common usage in middle and even upper classes. You can even find Lunfardo dictionaries.

Amapola FIlmWhat is the coolest job you had with Strommen? 

Fernando: I’ve had quite a few, like one I had as Argentine Dialect Coaching for the movie Amapola (Fox Studios), but the best of them are always those which start with 1 lesson, that suddenly become 10, and 20, and 40, and go on and on and on.

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Fernando on his student immersion trip to Buenos Aires Argentina

What are your interests outside of teaching at Strommen?

Fernando: Reading and writing, soccer, movies, music, arts in general, travel and a nice glass of red wine.

What is the best restaurant from your home country in LA? What should we order?

Fernando: Malbec. There are 3 or 4, all of them great. I would recommend Entraña (Skirt Steak).

How do you stay connected to your home country in LA?

Fernando: Mostly through Internet, but there are many activities, restaurants, bakeries and supermarkets where I can feel a little at home.

Any advice for beginners to your language?

Fernando: Please read about the side effects.

Why did you start teaching? 

Fernando: I started teaching because I worked with my language (I’m a Journalist and a humble writer) and I always liked to explain things, look for information in books or check the dictionary and read a bit of everything, at a certain moment in my life I found out teaching was something I really wanted to do.

What did you do before teaching?

Fernando03Fernando: I was a photographer.

Do you like working with Strommen? Why?

Fernando: Two of the things I most value is freedom and trust. And I find them both at Strommen.

What is your favorite thing about teaching your language specifically?

Fernando: Going back to Lunfardo, one of the things I like the most is to explain and teach things like that. It’s good to learn irregular verbs but it’s also good to learn some stuff that you won’t find in textbooks.