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Oregon firm offers lecciones de español via Skype video

Skype Blog, April 13, 2009
by Howard Wolinsky

Back in 1998, Clay Cooper took an immersion Spanish class in Antigua, Guatemala.  He was impressed with the effectiveness of the method.

But he told me he was stunned to discover that his tutor, a university-educated man, lived in poverty. He told me that the tutors were paid low wages and had few students in the off-season.

Cooper told the Miami Herald: “I felt that the only thing preventing him from earning more money was just not enough [year-round] demand for his services.”

Cooper and his wife Cindy, of Portland, Ore., decided to set up an Internet-based business that would link tutors with students year-round and that would pay them a fair wage. Their company is called Speak Shop.

He said that Skype proved to be an effective method to deliver lessons on video or audio. He said even tutors in Guatemala and Nicaragua who had not previously used computers found Skype to be easy.

Students go to the Speak Shop website to pick a tutor and schedule a class. They pay tutors $7 to $10 per hour–about twice the going rate locally. Plus, students pay Speak Shop a monthly stipend based on how many lessons are taken per month.

Over the years, I’ve taken Spanish, but feel stuck. I’ll see if my tutor, Osberto, can move me along with a little help from Skype. I’ll let you know it goes, amigos.