Moving America Forward

This Online School Could Transform the Way Latin Americans Learn English

July 29, 2014
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This Online School Could Transform the Way Latin Americans Learn English
Language classes from Open English are affordable and available to students day and night.

Going to school doesn’t have to entail boring lectures and multiple choice tests. In fact, using humor can be a great way for people to learn.

In the 30 second clip below, a man follows a beautiful woman on the beach. He, with his dark eyes and chiseled features, stares at the woman and tells her seductively, “Persueychon.” No response. He repeats “Persueychon” again and again. Finally, she asks him, “Did you mean, ‘Persuasion?'”

The ad is one of the many humorous videos from Open English, a 24/7 online platform that teaches Latin speakers how to speak English fluently. The online school, which has its headquarters in Miami, launched in 2008 and has already amassed 100,000 students worldwide — including 5,000 in America. While there is already a sea of computer-based language classes such as Rosetta Stone and Babbel, Open English just focuses on one language: English. It’s also more affordable than other programs. For about $80 a month, Open English students listen in on live lectures in small classrooms with native English speakers around the clock.

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“We wanted to create something that was monthly and cheap and allowed you to get started,” Open English CEO Andres Moreno said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “That has been the niche Open English has filled.”

The school has certainly cornered the market — especially since it’s been pegged as something that could help Latin Americans step up the career ladder.  The Journal reports that Open English is now valued at $350 million after recently raising $120 million in venture capital. Investors apparently saw the potential of an increasingly tech-savvy Latin American middle class.

According to Education News, half of Latin Americans (around 300 million people) use the Internet. And in the past year, there has been a 17 percent increase of Internet-use within that population.

“The demographics are there,” Cate Ambrose, president of the Latin American Private Equity & Venture Capital Association told the WSJ. “You have a growing middle class and a young demographic with a climbing increase in the consumption of technology.”

If this creates more Latin American success stories, we are all for it.

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