Spring Break Mexico 137.jpeg

My Story

When I was very young, I saw a harpist dressed in a beautiful flower garland performing in a competition for young musicians. I was mesmerized and convinced my mom to sign me up for lessons. The passion I felt that very first day carried me all the way through college where I attended a prestigious music school. It was through that experience that I learned the power of passion and how it can carry you through learning any new skill.

Through a tragic turn of events, I developed a repetitive stress injury while practicing and had to give up the harp. I was devastated and I didn’t know what was next. I signed up to teach English in Seoul, South Korea. I needed to get out of the rut that I was in, and I was not disappointed. With neon signs, busy nightlife, and a mix of ancient history and modernization, I was fascinated by Seoul. But I also felt lonely because I didn’t know the language and couldn’t connect to people.

In an attempt to make friends, I signed up for a swing dance class. That old feeling I had while watching that harpist play for the first time came rushing back. I had found a new passion! My limited Korean did not stop me from having fun and connecting with the other dancers. They invited me to join them for late night food, and this is where I started to learn some Korean. That taught me the true value of immersive language learning. 


At the conclusion of my stay in Seoul, I decided to enroll in a master's program in teaching English as a second language at the University of San Francisco.

Career Experience

For seven years, I taught international students at a private language school in Berkeley. My favorite program involved taking Japanese students to volunteer in the community. It reminded me of taking swing dancing classes in Seoul and joining friends for late night food. The students were not focused on their mistakes in English, and I noticed that their English improved quickly through their social interactions with others.


As an online teacher, I replicate the same environment as it's proven to advance the student's skills more rapidly. For example, one of my students is passionate about mindfulness and meditation. Her dream was to take mindfulness courses in English, but she was worried about having to speak in class. I told her it would be a great way to learn by doing and that I could coach her along the way and give feedback on her speaking. As she participated in her group class each week, her confidence grew and she reached her goal.

IMG_0249 2.JPG
Calbal2017.jpg

More About Me

I enjoy listening to beginning Spanish podcasts, taking care of my plants, dancing, and Pilates classes.


I love transcribing speech into phonetic symbols because it reminds me of my ear training classes in music. I’m a certified accent modification instructor from the Institute of Language & Phonology in San Francisco.