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The Dish

Glovico: Fair-trade Online Language Learning

Glovico = Fair-trade online language courses with native speakers from developing countries as an answer to the increasing demand for low-priced and flexible language courses.


After studying linguistics and completing his PhD in Social Entrepreneurship, Dr. Tobias Lorenz worked at a small non-profit in Germany and was inspired to start something himself. Remembering how he had successfully learned Spanish through a private teacher in Guatemala years ago, he came up with the idea behind Glovico: having people from developing countries teach their mother tongues via Skype.

Since his epiphany two years ago, Tobias has been pushing this idea forward despite a small budget. Glovico has grown into a team of four that manages 35 teachers for more than 30 languages. The Glovico Team is currently working on a highly visual online textbook tailored to one-on-one learning via Skype. After finalizing the Spanish version, they plan to adapt it for all their featured languages.

What’s next for Tobias? He says he is excited to develop an Android app to reinforce students’ vocabulary lessons so that students can practice the words that their teacher taught them during their online lessons on the go with their smart phone.

"We have a broad understanding of what design is, and this understanding is an integral part of our venture,” Tobias said. From the design of a button or of the workflow of the website to the design of the interaction between a teacher and student, Glovico aims to keep these designs “minimalistic yet functional and visually intriguing.”

How can you get involved with Glovico? Try a free trial lesson on a language you’ve always wanted to learn! Glovico is always scouting for new teachers for lesser known languages, and the team is currently looking for anyone who would be interested in helping the team with coding, designing, or blogging.