Entrepreneurs around the world: Sue (Hanoi, Vietnam)

Entrepreneurs around the world: Sue (Hanoi, Vietnam)

Sue spreads positive energy wherever she goes. Her smile arouses passions, and her eyes shine when she speaks of her English students.

At 23 years old, Sue has set up her own English Lessons and is the coolest English teacher in town. Her methods are not the typical old tricks that everybody knows and that strategy is giving her very positive results on her students.

We met her by chance. One day before our trip to Vietnam, we were without accommodation. In our desperate search to find one, a girl who resulted in being an English teacher contacted and invited us to her place. Her profile on Couchsurfing looked interesting, so we accepted.

When we got there, we found a very different flat to what we are used to. On the third floor in a building of 25 floors and about nine neighbours per landing, Sue lived with her brother Harry and her 3 or 4 roommates. The door was almost open all day. In addition, she also had a room that has been reconditioned and turned into English classroom. We would share space with a couple from France who are travelling around the world for four years. They had also just arrived. We would sleep in bunk beds on a corner of the dining room, the same space in which our host Sue sleeps. In total, we were going to be about 9 or 10 at home, plus children entering and leaving the flat all the time.

Although it might seem like the French movie “The Spanish Apartment” with a bunch of people coming in and out we were very comfortable. Especially for the love with which Sue hosted us. She’s a very humble person who gave us everything she could, and we appreciate her efforts to make us feel comfortable.

Sue studied Business, although her passion is to be an English teacher. A few months ago she obtained the TESOL certificate (English title for English teachers). The aim in all her classes is that the children can speak in English and communicate with everyone. Therefore, the first thing she encourages them is to have continuous contact with English-speaking people. To do this, she uses the Couchsurfing APP, where she contacts people from all over the world who visit Hanoi and invites them to her home. In return, she only asks them to spend two hours in the afternoon talking with their students.

On the other hand, she uses Facebook Groups to contact the families to become involved in the whole process. During the days we stayed with her, she proposed “The 20 Days of Reading” challenge to her students. Parents should record them reading in English each day to and share at the Facebook Group. She wants to create the habit of reading in all children.

Every day she posts a message on Facebook, encouraging them to share their videos to show how they’re making progress on it.

What I liked the most about her is her constant desire for improvement. She is a walking whirlwind that is always asking you for opinion and advice on how she can improve her teaching, what she could do to keep the students motivated. She has the same doubts as any other teacher who wants the best for their students. The best of all is that she never stops looking for new resources. 

We’ve made a good tandem, and nowadays, I could say that I’m part of her team of advisors. My training and experience as a Pedagogue allows me to walk aside her in the learning process.

Her dream is to move on from a small room at home to an English Academy. Although her resources are limited, she gives everything to her students. She has even promised them to go to the cinema when they finish The Reading Challenge. All the little ones are excited about the idea!

Nowadays she’s on the making of a festival at the end of the quarter in which parents of her pupils will come, and the little ones will teach what they have learned. 

I hope you can make your dream come true!

Entrepreneurs around the world: Ainu

Entrepreneurs around the world: Ainu

AINU is in her 30s, and she lives in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). Meeting she was an inspiration and a reunion with the altruistic value of volunteering. 

If I had to define her, I would say that she is a person with a big heart and delivered by education. Also, she is a born entrepreneur. 

When she finished her studies in ADE, she decided travelling through different European countries working and collaborating in various NGOs. After that, she studied to be an English teacher, and nowadays, she becomes a social entrepreneur. In that moment, she is setting up her volunteer organization called VOLT (Volunteer to Teach). 

This initiative comes from her experience as an English teacher in the villages of northern Malaysia. During that time, she realized that children had no particular interest in learning a new language. Their vision of the future was minimal. They knew that when they finished school (or before), they would work in the same town continuing the family tradition. They don’t even consider the existence of other professions or, also going out of their village to know the world and continue studying. 

Ainu, in her English classes, opened a little door to the world. Also, she saw an opportunity to expand their borders. Her experience as a volunteer permitted her to believe that if she invited volunteers from other countries to schools in Malaysia to teach English, and also culture, these children could have a better future. Or, at least, they could have the opportunity to choose what they wanted to be when they grew up. 

This is how she decided to start VOLT. Its principal objective is to contact people from all over the world, including also from Kuala Lumpur who want to be volunteer in the schools of the villages of northern Malaysia. At the same time, they teach English also they explain, to children, the diversity of ways of living and working. 

Ainu has a lot to do. She is starting to establish the basis of VOLT and thinking about the role of volunteering. She is connecting with different schools and explaining her project to companies in the area so they can participate thought their Corporate Social Reason. 

I hope this project is a success and we can see it going very soon. 

If you want to get more information or collaborate on the Ainu project, you can contact me through my email: hola@elaguilamiope.com