Journey to Taiwan
Born in Guatemala, but with a vision to make herself a global person, Camila Sáenz 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 became fascinated with Chinese culture. “Every day I woke up, it was like there was always something exciting waiting for me, from trying to use 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. “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.
An English teacher everyone dreams of having
With the language advantages of speaking Chinese and English fluently, Camila had lots of tutees while in Taiwan. She believes that language should be a tool to help people explore the world instead of just passing countless tests or a TOFEL exam.
In Camila’s class, she emphasized teaching 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 finish 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 her pupils to some of her friends that also were teaching languages so the students could have the proper resources to continue learning. “But not every foreign tutor can speak Chinese; sometimes I became a 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 mind.
A foreign teacher-friendly tutor platform - TUTEEMI
“After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I wanted to learn new things and chose to study for an MBA degree. I also took a global marketing course at 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 on our platform,” she added.
Applicants go through a strict selection process to make sure their teaching skills are sufficient and their teaching style matches TUTEEMI’s philosophy. Once they get selected, TUTEEMI will help match them with students. One cool thing about being a TUTEEMI 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 could become global citizens,” said Camila. TUTEEMI targets 3-10-year-old children that need to improve their speaking skills and confidence as well as adults aged 30 and up who need to improve their speaking skills to get a better job or become more confident when having a conversation with foreigners.
Wins favor from AppWorks and 500 Global
Recognizing the challenges TUTEEMI wants to solve and their market potential, the global accelerator AppWorks and 500 Global both accepted their application to join. The startup's good performance also attracted 104 Corporation, Taiwan’s biggest recruiting website, to invite them 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 their 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.