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Community Language School

Who we are

Meet the Community Language School team.

Indu Meddegama

Dr Indu Vibha Meddegama

Community Language School Lead

I am a Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics and TESOL in the School of Education, Language, and Psychology. I grew up in a multilingual home, using Sinhala as the primary language and English as the second. Prior to moving to the UK, I worked as a language tutor and lecturer, teaching English to University students and French to both children and adults in Sri Lanka. I also have a basic understanding of Mandarin, Pali, and Sanskrit.

My research interests fall into the area of transnational migrant families, their language ideologies, and practices. My ethnographic research on the language practices of a South Indian multilingual community in Yorkshire can be found on my staff profile.

My former experiences of working with migrant multilingual communities include an English language programme for Turkish women in Yorkshire which I hosted via York St John University.

Maja Skender Lizatovic

Dr Maja Skender-Lizatovic

Community Language School Co-Lead

I am a Lecturer in Japanese and Linguistics within the School of Education, Language, and Psychology. I am a language lover and lifelong language learner, fluent in Croatian, English, Japanese and German, with some basic knowledge of Hindi and Sanskrit. Prior to coming to York St John University, I taught Japanese at universities in Croatia and Japan.

Whilst in Japan, I also volunteered in "Kodomo LAMP (Language Acquisition and Maintenance Project)" NPO which provided learning support for primary and middle school migrant children in Japan.

My main research interest is in the field of discourse analysis, pragmatics and conversation analysis and their application in foreign language education which you can read more about on my staff profile.

Volunteers

Ellie Parkin

Ellie Parkin

Intern

I am an undergraduate student at York St John studying Japanese, TESOL & Linguistics. Originally from Nottingham, I completed my A-Levels, a qualification in Hair & Media Makeup, and training in the culinary arts from Nottingham College. My intern role at the community language school involves assisting the school leads and language volunteers with administrative tasks which include ensuring that safeguarding measures are followed for children that join us.

Leyah Belfon-Charles

Leyah Belfon-Charles

Spanish Volunteer

Hi! I’m Leyah and I have studied Spanish for 7 years from GCSE up to A-Levels. I have previously worked with the Otermans Institute to develop English soft skills of students in schools and universities in Asia and the Middle East. I joined York St John University in 2021 and am studying for a BA in Korean, TESOL and Linguistics.

Staff profile image of Akasha Perera

Akasha Perera

Italian Volunteer

As a Sri Lankan-Italian linguist, I bring a unique blend of cultural diversity and linguistic proficiency to the world of languages. Holding a bachelor’s degree in French and Spanish from the University of Manchester, I have honed my language skills with a deep passion and commitment. Fluent in five languages - English, Italian, French, Spanish, and Sinhala - I possess a multifaceted linguistic repertoire. My academic journey at the University of Manchester not only equipped me with a solid foundation in French and Spanish but also instilled in me a love for exploring diverse linguistic landscapes. With a solid academic foundation, practical teaching experience, and a passion for continuous learning, I am eager to contribute my linguistic expertise to diverse professional settings.

Profile image of Laura Martínez Urtiaga

Laura Martínez Urtiaga

Spanish Volunteer

I am a postgraduate student at York St John studying TESOL & Korean with an undergraduate degree in English and German Translation and Interpreting from the University of Salamanca (Spain). I am originally from Galicia, northwest Spain, I have been in touch with languages since a young age and have always found myself mesmerized by the linguistics and languages field. Throughout my studies and extracurricular lessons, I have been able to develop a wide range of language knowledge, being fluent in three languages – Spanish, English, and Galician – and with an intermediate knowledge of two others – Korean and German. I have now joined the Community Language School to pass on my knowledge and love for languages to all of the students who are passionate and keen on learning Spanish, as well as helping them learn about and, in some cases, reconnect with Spanish culture through a wide range of activities.

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