Dr. Sophie Hsia

Dr. Sophie Hsia

5.0 (3)

About this pro

I am Dr. Sophie Hsia. I've  taught at universities in four countries during the past 30 years or so. The countries are French Belgium , Hong Kong, Singapore and this country.  The working languages have been English , French and Chinese (both Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese). I was trained in American and French linguistics at Georgetown University (MS) and in psychology at  Harvard University (Ed.D.). I'm a native speaker of both English (British, sort of) and Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese and Shanghai even). I'm also very fluent in French. I have had  years of experience teaching French-speaking students Business English in Belgium and Chinese and American students English and  research paper writing at universities in the Boston area , in Hong Kong and Singapore. I'll hope to be able to help you at a one-on-one comfortable level of contact that will allow you to learn at your own pace and ease.


I love languages and have never stopped learning them. I pass  my enthusiasm on to my students. I'm also a stickler for grammatical accuracy. I've had excellent training at Georgetown University with professors on language structures of  English and French.  I contributed my own painstaking analysis of the Chinese language structure, and voila, my professors loved what I did! So, if you're ready, I'd like to teach you the Chinese structure (you'll have great fun and learn why many Chinese produce English structures like the way they do) and the French structure and pronunciation in particular (you'll have great fun mimicking the French and find out why many  speak English they way they do).  

During my years of teaching in Belgium and Hong Kong, I was considered one of the best English language teachers in Belgium both at the EU (European Union), then known as EEC (European Economic Commission) and at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles where I was highly rated by the linguistics professor Dr. Prof Hugo Batens-Beardsmore as well as  by the Director of Institut de Phonetique, Mr. Max Majskop.  In Hong Kong, I was highly rated by my students, many of whom ended up coming to the USA to complete their doctoral degrees. Some of them are professors at distinguished universities in this country: the closest being one at U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and another at SUNY.

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Chicago, IL 60614
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3 Reviews


  • Stephen Chan

    Dr. Sophie Hsia impressed me as an expert in teaching English as a second language. I was in Grade 9 when our teacher-student relationship started. She successfully transformed me, within 3 years, from a "hopeless pupil," in the words of my Grade 6 English teacher, to a principal actor in more than one school/college drama. Dr. Hsia taught me the effectiveness of direct and simple language. I think that was the most important key to learning a foreign language. It helped me to be admitted to and graduate from the Chinese University of Hong Kong with a B.A. degree in English Language and Literature. I owe very much to Dr. Hsia for my ability to communicate well in the English speaking world of commerce. And understanding breeds trust, I guess. Only 10 years after graduation, a major U.S. chemicals manufacturer had enough confidence to award me exclusive rights to distribute one of their lines of products in Hong Kong. All this was possible only because of Dr. Hsia, who prepared me well to embrace opportunities. I have absolutely no reservations to recommend Dr. Hsia to anyone who may be interested to learn either English, Chinese (her mother-tounge) and French, the language she used while teaching university level students in France and Belgium for about 10 years.

  • Ching W Tang

    Review of Dr. Sophie Hsia by Dr. Ching W. Tang, Bank of East Asia Professor, Institute for Advanced Study, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, and Professor of Chemical Engineering, Emeritus, University of Rochester More than a review of her teaching ability, this is a personal testimonial of appreciation about Dr. Sophie Hsia. Ms. Hsia -as she is known to me and her former students- was my high school English teacher. I have known her for several decades and we have kept up with each other over the years. Although she was my teacher for only two years, her influence in shaping my education and future career was immense. In addition to being an English teacher, she was the “principal” of our class – a teacher/counsel the students looked to for help and guidance in and out of the classroom. She also marked our grades. Our school was in the rural area of Hong Kong, where most of the students were from the surrounding villages and the parents, even the wealthier ones, were illiterate or among the least educated in that generation. As students, we looked to our teachers as our model for learning and inspiration, and our school education as a way of gaining a foothold in the new world awaiting us. Ms. Hsia taught not only English, she taught us critical thinking and against biased judgement, independence and yet inclusiveness; she inspired her students and helped shape their characters. I am deeply grateful I was one of her many students and beneficiaries. Dr. Hsia’s language skill is extraordinary. She is a linguist with in-depth professional training. Her English is perfect. Chinese is her native language and she is perfectly fluent in both Cantonese and Putonghua. I understood that she is also fluent in French from her years of residence in France and Belgium. Being a linguist with an extensive credential, she has a deep understanding of the usage of specific languages and an appreciation of the beauty and nuance that come with their various tones and dialects. Throughout her career, Dr. Hsia has proved herself to be a highly accomplished teacher with extensive experience in teaching students of diverse background and educational levels. I personally bear witness to her remarkable success in methodically drilling into a class of stubbornly unruly Chinese teenagers English as a second language. She did it with skill, discipline and passion, and we all can speak and write English today, even if imperfectly, because of the rigorous early training we had from her. There is no doubt Dr. Hsia has carried on her teaching to the more mature students at the university levels in recent years with the same seriousness and dedication she had given us in the years past. Dr. Hsia is a tireless individual always in search of engagements that are both meaningful and fulfilling. To me, she is a lifelong teacher.

  • Anna L Lau

    Review of Dr. Sophie Hsia I am a former student of Dr. Hsia. I was most recently a financial analyst with a major telecommunications company. I earned my B.Sc. degree from the University of Hong Kong and did some graduate studies in the US. Dr. Hsia was my English teacher for three years, from 9th to 11th grade. Ms. Hsia was the best teacher among all my teachers. She taught us English grammar and introduced us to English literature. We were required to read English Classics followed by discussions. This helped us develop an interest in English literature and a better understanding of the language. The discussions also helped us develop oral presentation skills in English. Not only was she good at teaching, she was caring and treated everyone fairly. She did not put any student down even if the person was slow in learning; instead, she provided encouragement. She paid attention to her students outside the classroom. She knew what her students were like as individuals and tried to improve us. She was highly respected and loved by her students. When I first arrived in the US, I took an English grammar test, a requirement for enrolling in graduate courses. The examiner was amazed that I got a perfect score. This attests to the solid education in English I received under Dr. Hsia. I have had the opportunity over the years to get to know some of the younger generation, here in the US and abroad. I am troubled by how poor their English is, both written and oral. I feel very lucky to have Dr. Hsia as my English teacher during my formative years.


What is your typical process for working with a new student?

I'll get the most basic info about the student such as the level at which s/he begins, their  background in other languages, what goals s/he wishes to pursue and what results  s/he expects to achieve. A brief test of sorts will also be helpful for me to determine their level. Getting to know the student at a personal level: their interests, hobbies, other studies, likes and dislikes, etc.

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I have been trained in educational and cognitive psychology and in language acquisition so I'm very familiar with the principles of language learning and learning behavior. I hold a diploma in the teaching of languages from Edinburgh, an MS in applied American linguistics and French (Georgetown University), and an Ed.D. in human development and psychology (Harvard University).

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

No, I don't. It'll depend on the level of the student. I'll not charge anything for the first lesson. The price will be determined after the first lesson with their agreement.

How did you get started teaching?

I received a scholarship to teach English and so was naturally sent to teach English at colleges following my training, after which I felt confident enough to be able to teach in Belgium (because of my family's move) at the French university. I was considered a native speaker of English by the Belgian professors and was hired under the assumption that I am a native speaker of English.

What types of students have you worked with?

In French Belgium, I'd taught mostly French-speaking undergraduates. I'd also taught many "foreign" students during their first two years at the university. They were French-speaking Africans from mostly French parts of Africa. I'd also taught many Nigerian students. In Hong Kong and Singapore, my students were all Chinese, either Mandarin Chinese speaking in Singapore or Cantonese speaking in Hong Kong. In the USA, in the Boston area, I'd taught mostly Caucasian students at Northeastern U., Lesley College, Harvard ESL programs where the students were mainly from Korea and Japan, some from Spain, Israel, Brazil and Argentina, Venezuela and other parts of South America.  At the University of Phoenix Online where I taught in the doctoral programs, many of my advanced students are African American, some from the First Nations in Canada, and others from the Alleghenies and Pittsburgh areas. Most others are Caucasian adult woking students..

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

I love young students. Here in Chicago, you see them everyday on public transportation. Many of them are enrolled at Loyola, some at Northwestern, some at the U of Chicago. I love to talk to the Chinese students from PRC who are here to do their degrees. I always ask them what they are studying and we usually end up having very interesting conversations about their aspirations and their future plans.  I like to serve as their adviser through casual conversations. Many of them need an older reliable person to guide them through their academic career in the US.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

It depends on their level and what they hope to achieve. It is important to check out their goals and help them reach them through the best means possible. I will plan the lessons according to their goals.

As far as my area of expertise is concerned, I'd give them a friendly short test of some sort that will help determine where they are so that we can establish a baseline to work from.

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

About their goals and what they hope to achieve. If it's something related to language proficiency, their goals may surpass reality, in some situations. I'll be happy to direct them along but I'll have to let them know what is attainable and what may not be attainable. For example, if a student insists on being able to speak Chinese perfectly without a trace of accent within a matter of months, or to be able to speak English like a native, I can give them a lot of helpful advice but it will not be possible to achieve that through the tutorials I give them unless they immerse themselves in a language lab and listen  to dialogues etc. all day long.

Lessons offered