Sara Couture

Sara Couture was in Shiga Prefecture for two years, from 2013 to 2015. During that time, she worked as an English Language Teacher in Nagahama and taught grades 1, 2, 5 & 6 in two elementary schools as well as special needs classes. She fell in love with Japanese cuisine, onsen and Urasenke tea ceremony. She participated in many cultural events and enjoyed many camping-biking trips around Japan. Since coming back to Canada, she is an active member of the Montreal Association of Chado Urasenke Tankokai & practices tea every week.

Violaine Roussel-Bongiovanni
Vice-President, Membership and Events

Violaine Roussel-Bongiovanni was an ALT for two years and lived in Kagoshima Prefecture with her husband and son from 2015 to 2017.  She taught all school levels and went to more than 13 schools! During her free time, Violaine drew her intercultural experience threw Manga. She loved being part of the Japanese community and going camping all around Japan.

Monica Phan

Monica spent two years (2016-2018) in the smallest prefecture of Japan, Kagawa. She worked as an English Language Teacher at both elementary school and junior high school. During her time there, she enjoyed countless cultural experiences such as making strawberry daifuku, going to various festivals and attending Nippon Professional Baseball games. Since coming back to Canada, she teaches French to elementary school students (classe d’accueil) and loves to share memories about Japan with them.

Bianca Granato
Mental Health and Wellness Advisor

Bianca worked as an English Language Teacher in Nagahama, Shiga for 3 years (2012-2015). She taught at two elementary schools (grades 1 to 6 as well as special needs classes). During her stay in Japan, Bianca travelled to many different places, from Aomori to Okinawa. She also had a wonderful time taking Japanese Sign Language classes and participating in cultural events such as Kimono Matsuri.

Francesca Abbondanza-Bergeron

Francesca Abbondanza-Bergeron was an ALT in Niigata Prefecture for two years, from 2016 to 2018. During this time, she taught at elementary and junior high school levels, she gave a class on French Canadian cooking, took part in the Niigata AJET Musical for the promotion of English through the arts, and worked with her town of Tokamachi to create a promotional video for their International Basketball Tournament. During her free time, Francesca loved to explore her area and enjoy local festivals such as the Kimono Matsuri and Snow Festival.

Thomas Commerford

Thomas Commerford was an ALT in Gifu prefecture for 2 years, from 2016 to 2018. During that time, he worked at two elementary schools and one junior high school. He taught many cultural lessons about Canada both in the schools and in the community. During his free time, Thomas enjoyed skiing in the Japanese Alps, enjoying local festivals and biking around the countryside.

Jessica Shepherd
Senior Advisor

Jessica Shepherd was an ALT in Ehime Prefecture for 4 years, from 2011 to 2015. During that time, she worked in 8 different senior high schools, as well as special education schools. In her free time, she enjoys practicing Ikebana, Iaido, Togei, running, hiking, as well as learning about the subtleties of Japanese sake. She is happy to talk more about this over a nice Junmai Ginjo!

Atlantic Provinces

Atlantic Subchapter Vice-Representative

Emma was an ALT in Hyogo Prefecture from 2015 to 2016. There she worked at a “Super Science” high school where she taught grammar classes, as well as English-based research and presentation skills classes to the advanced science classes. During her time there, Emma enjoyed hiking, rafting, and other outdoor activities, visiting temples and shrines, practicing tea ceremony with the school club, and fawning over the deer in Nara and Miyajima. Since returning, she now works in enrollment services at a Halifax university.

Atlantic Subchapter Secretary

Erika was a CIR in Mie Prefecture between 2015 and 2017 for the Diversity Promotion Division. She went to
schools to teach lessons in diversity and multiculturalism for human rights education. During her free time,
Erika traveled within Mie Prefecture to become a tourism brochure translation expert. She harvested bamboo,
ate oysters, planted rice, and hiked in the beautiful inaka of Mie.

Atlantic Subchapter Support

Sarah was an ALT in Matsue City, Shimane Prefecture, for five years (2010-2015). She taught Oral Communication and English Expression at an academic high school and a commercial high school, and started her Masters in TESOL while teaching there. In Matsue, Sarah joined a community drum group and studied shigin, a form of traditional Japanese singing. She was also a member of a winning rowing team, the World Wide Wonders, which was made up of ALTs and local community members. She enjoyed photographing the Japanese countryside and the cultural treasures of Shimane. Since returning home and completing her Masters, she has been an English for Academic Purposes instructor at Dalhousie University.

Atlantic Subchapter Wildcard

Riley was an ALT from 2011 to 2014 in the small fishing village of Furubira in Hokkaido Prefecture. Riley taught at all levels, but primarily spent time at Junior High School. During their time in Hokaido, Riley did a lot of camping in the beautiful wilderness of Edo and hosted a podcast called Hokkaibros. They also spent time studying the use of Japanese Naginata. Riley’s favourite foods are Katsukare and Seicomart spaghetti.

Atlantic Subchapter Representative

Gina was an ALT from 2010 to 2012 in the small coastal town of Sanpoku in northern Niigata prefecture. There she taught at a junior high school, two elementary schools and two kindergartens. She spent the majority of her weekends traveling up and down Niigata rehearsing and performing with an ALT-led charity musical group that raised money to build schools in Papua New Guinea and for the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. Other likes included: mastering the art of okonomiyaki, doing Yosakoi, and rice harvesting.

Honourary Members

Frédérick Canuel – Weekend Orientation Advisor

Sylvie Cornibert – Matsuri Advisor

2018 Executive Committee