At SCNU, there is a group of teachers who speak various languages and come from various cultural backgrounds. They cultivate talents, focus on research, and devote themselves to the development of SCNU. Let's take a look at their lives at SCNU. 


Ali Haghighi from Canada has been a teacher at the School of Foreign Studies of SCNU since 2018.

Ali Haghighi from Canada has been teaching at the School of Foreign Studies of SCNU since 2018. Ali is fascinated by traditional Chinese culture. He also loves travelling and has been to many places in China over the past six years.

The language barrier has been the biggest problem that Ali encountered when teaching at SCNU. Almost everything in his daily life required the use of Chinese. "Learning Chinese is not an easy task", Ali admits. To learn Chinese well, Ali spends lots of time learning it on his own. However, Ali says that learning Chinese still amazes and delights him because it helps him to learn more about Chinese culture. Nowadays Ali can speak Chinese fluently.

Ali says his greatest reward at SCNU is the feedback receives from his students. He is quite glad to witness his students become confident and improve their English. His classes are always full of fun, and well-received by the students. During one of Ali's last classes at the end of the semester, he received a special gift – a notebook filled with good wishes. He recalls that every student wrote their wishes in the notebook, which was special and touched him a lot.


Kevin Oger from France has been at SCNU for six years. 

Kevin Oger, who is from France, has been at SCNU for six years. He first connected with SCNU due to his experience of learning Chinese here. Then, he got the opportunity to reconnect with SCNU as a teacher. 

During his classes, Kevin patiently helps the students solve problems. He also applies some special teaching skills, like simulation and role-play, to assist them in better understanding the teaching content. Thus, Kevin’s teaching ability is highly praised by the students. In addition, Kevin says that the students here are very friendly. They prepare some small gifts for him on holidays, making him overwhelmed with joy when studying and living with them.

Regarding the difference in diet, Kevin is now well-adjusted. "When I studied at the Confucius Institute in Paris, I went to an Asian restaurant every Saturday after class. Thus, I fit into SCNU very quickly with hardly any barriers." He also enjoys cooking and often shares his handmade food with his friends in his spare time.

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Hayward Jun from Japan has been in Guangzhou for fourteen years. 

Hayward Jun from Japan has been in Guangzhou for fourteen years. She has worked as a magazine editor and TV reporter here. She believes that she improved herself a lot and broadened her horizons through her work in Guangzhou. Even though she doesn’t speak Chinese, she’s already integrated into the life here.

Jun teaches courses related to Japanese writing and conversation. Her teaching goal was to teach students the Japanese language and experience the actual Japanese culture. She had been invited to participate in some school Japanese activities as an instructor, such as speech and dubbing contests organized by the students'clubs. She was happy to see the integration of Japanese culture into language learning in various forms at SCNU.

She also hopes to change the passive learning style of her students and focus on developing their abilities of independent thinking and active learning. Therefore, she organizes a special chat event after classes, discussing everything in Japanese. Through the talk, both she and her students can get lots of reflections on Japanese learning and culture.

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Laurens Theobald de Haan from the Netherlands came to the South China Academy of Advanced Optoelectronics in 2015. 

Laurens Theobald de Haan, from the Netherlands, came to the South China Academy of Advanced Optoelectronics in 2015. Three years later, he joined SCNU as a distinguished associate researcher. In 2019, he was selected for the recruitment program of global experts, becoming a full-time professor in the academy.

"SCNU is a great university attaching great importance to research." According to Laurens, SCNU impressed him with a strong, rigorous and inclusive academic atmosphere. Due to the language barrier, the Chinese professors and students on the team often assist him with some of his daily work.

"I can't get away from my research, and more importantly, I can't get away from my students." Laurens always responds positively to students’ achievements. In his spare time, he also helps students solve their problems in thesis writing. In addition, Laurens often goes out to have meals with his students. One Christmas, Laurens and his students went out for a barbecue and played an interesting game - whoever had the most leftovers would pay the bill. Later, a few students got plastic bags from the store owner to hide the uneaten kebabs, which made him laugh a lot.

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Nadeem Akhtar from Pakistan came to teach at SCNU in 2020. 

Nadeem Akhtar is from Pakistan, and he came to teach at SCNU in 2020. He is a member of the international advisory board of the Bahawalpur Journal of Media and Communication (BJMC), a global research journal on media and social sciences.

Inevitably differences in living habits exist between Pakistan and China, such as food culture. When he misses the food of his hometown, not only can he head for the Pakistani restaurants in Guangzhou, but also makes his hometown food by himself. Now Nadeem's family has moved to the nearby city of Foshan, and SCNU has become his genuine home.

In his classes, he often introduces some light topics to liven up the atmosphere and encourage students to express their opinions and attitudes. "Every student is very nice," he said, adding that he enjoys communicating with his students and is often surprised by their unique ideas. He has always hoped to meet students with a variety of personalities and people from different countries. Now he is looking forward to working at SCNU in the coming months and hopes to train more excellent students.

Source from SCNU News Center

Translated by Zeng Wenting, Xiao Ruiyi

Proofread by Edwin Baak

Edited by Li Jianru

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