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Education Startup to Watch

“Languages are the portal to the world” Guatemalan falls in love with Taiwan, establishes a language learning platform to connect foreign tutors with Taiwanese students

Chi Ko 2021/11/17
 侯俊偉攝影
侯俊偉攝影

Camila Sáenz, studying for a Ph.D. degree at the National Taipei University of Technology, excels in four languages: Spanish, English, French, and Chinese, and has traveled to over 36 countries. Because knowing languages is the portal to the globe, she established Tuteemi, the language learning platform, to connect quality foreign teachers to Taiwanese. Tuteemi has won favor from global accelerators including AppWorks and 500 Global.

Journey to Taiwan

Born in Guatemala, to make herself a global person, Camila decided to go to France to pursue a college degree when she was 18. Before going to France, she got a chance to stay in China for six months and got fascinated by the Chinese culture. “Every day I woke up, it’s like there is always something exciting waiting for me, from trying to use the chopsticks to tasting different foods,” said Camila.

After returning from China, Camila wondered if maybe studying for a college degree in Asia would be a great choice too! Luckily, she found out that the Taiwanese government has a scholarship program to encourage Guatemalans to come to Taiwan to study college. “Actually I was not familiar with Taiwan, but I thought going to Taiwan would immerse me in a culture I had never experienced before,” said Camila. As a result, she decided to go to Ming Chuan University majoring in journalism and Mass Communication.

Camila Sáenz come to Taiwan to pursuit the college degree.

An English teacher everyone dreams of having

With the language advantages of speaking Chinese and English fluently, Camila got lots of tutees while studying college in Taiwan. She believes that language should be a tool to help people explore the world, instead of just countless tests or TOFEL exams.

In Camila’s class, she emphasized teaching people practical English and trying to boost students’ confidence to help them speak English and Spanish. “I used to teach a little girl that did not speak any words at first, but I tried to let her know that learning languages is not for tests and it can be really fun and useful. Now, every time I finished the class she would grab my leg and keep saying ‘don’t go’,” said Camila.

As Camila’s teaching style gained more and more popularity, she attracted lots of students and her schedule became packed. She started to introduce the students to some of her friends that also were teaching languages, so students can have the proper resources to continue learning. “But not every foreign tutors can speak Chinese, sometimes I became bridge to communicate between parents and teachers,” said Camila. She realized that there should be a platform to solve this problem for foreign tutors. The idea of TUTEEMI came to her mind.

A foreign teacher-friendly tutor platform - TUTEEMI

“After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I wanted to learn new things and chose to study an MBA degree, I also took a global marketing course in a university in London. Thanks to these choices, I was not totally new to the business world,” said Camila. She leveraged the idea of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and quickly launched a website designed by Wix. “The first day, we got over 50 people applying to be a tutor in our platform,” she added.

The applicants will go through a strict selection by Tuteemi, to make sure their teaching skills are sufficient and teaching style matches Tuteemi’s philosophy. Once they get selected, TUTEEMI will help match the students with the tutors. A cool thing about being Tuteemi’s tutor is that they get paid monthly and can focus on teaching instead of worrying about an unstable income.

“The purpose of TUTEEMI is to connect people easier and faster regardless of their nationality or background, and I wish more kids can become global citizens,” said Camila. Firstly, TUTEEMI targets 3-10-year-old children that need to improve their speaking skills and confidence. Additionally, TUTEEMI targets 30 years and above adults that need to improve their speaking skills to get a better job or become more confident when having a conversation with foreigners.

TUTEEMI’s tutor gets paid monthly and can focus on teaching instead of worrying about unstable income.

Wins favor from AppWorks and 500 Global

Recognizing the challenges TUTEEMI wants to solve and the market potential, the global accelerator AppWorks and 500 Global both accepted Tuteemi’s application to join. Their good performance also attracted 104 Corporation, Taiwan’s biggest recruiting website, to invite Tuteemi to join their job-matching program this June.

Now, Tuteemi focuses on serving students located in Taipei, but more and more students from other cities and counties are inquiring about TUTEEMI’s services. “My schedule is already so packed every day, but I will try my best to get some partners and let students outside Taipei learn the true beauty of languages,” said Camila.

About the Author
Chi Ko
Journalist 英文採訪編輯
Author >

Chi Ko is a journalist at Meet Global, a Taiwan-based startup community, where he reports ambitious Taiwanese startups to aim at going to the global market, as well as the latest news for the Taiwan startup ecosystem. Previously, he worked as a research assistant at Center for Condensed Matter Science from National Taiwan University and work as a guest editor at Academia Sinica to cover latest research breakthroughs. Within his career, he has interviewed various experts in their field, including Maw-Kuen Wu, former Minister of National Science Council; Bob Hung, general manager of Trend Micro Taiwan. He lives in Taipei.

If you know any Taiwanese startups aim to global market, feel free to leave a message at kochi@bnext.com.tw

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