Shansi House Welcomes Nesren Hefnawy and Hengyu Zhang

Elaine Vukov, Assistant Director with Hengyu Zhang and Nesren Hefnawy

This year Shansi House will be home to Nesren Mohamed abd el Mohsen Hefnawy, Fulbright Arabic Language Teaching Assistant, who is teaching all three levels of Arabic: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. She’s originally from Cairo and graduated from Cairo University in 2011 with a degree in Egyptology from the Department of Archeology.

Although she is deeply interested in archeology, she found herself drawn to teaching English after graduation. With this passion as her guide, she worked at several companies as an English Instructor, New Horizons in Alexandria being her final stop before applying for a Fulbright.

In addition to her passion for teaching English, she loves running, swimming, yoga, and Zumba. She ran a half marathon with the Cairo Runners organization. Traveling, dogs, and spending leisure time in gardens and parks are other activities she relishes.

Her impression of Oberlin is that it has a lovely “vintage” feel, unlike other universities with which she is familiar. She finds Oberlin people friendly and supportive, and appreciates that she has the freedom to be herself and the respect from the community as a minority veiled woman.

Hengyu Zhang is this year’s Teaching Assistant in Chinese for the East Asian Studies Program. Hengyu hails from Chuzhou in Anhui Province, a city with a rich culture and a long history in the eastern part of China. She felt right at home in Oberlin because it is quiet and filled with trees and birds; Tappan Square reminds her of the parks in Chuzhou.

She is currently in the MA graduate program for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language at Beijing Normal University, and was a teaching assistant at the university. Last summer Hengyu was an instructor in the Princeton in Asia summer school in Beijing. According to Hengyu, “I love to teach Chinese, and my Oberlin students are very diligent.”

One of the many things she enjoyed so far in Oberlin was her visit to The Feve. She had heard that everyone knows about this place, and she found the atmosphere very lively and the food delicious. Living in comfortable Shansi House with its large kitchen at her disposal, she’s thinking of learning how to cook Chinese food and hopes to invite her students and colleagues over for a meal one day soon.

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