My Language Exchange is the effort of Helene Cormier
and Dan Yuen to help people all over the world learn, practice and become
fluent in a foreign language.
The two founders met in early 2000 when Dan was a registered
student in Helene’s Language Exchange Workshops in Montreal, Canada. Dan was
trying to become fluent in French and found Helene’s workshops to be more
useful than anything else he had tried before. This experience convinced Dan of
two things. One, language classes and immersion alone are not sufficient to
become fluent in a foreign language. Two, language exchange practice with a
teacher is probably the most effective way to bridge the gap between language
classes and communicating in the real world.
Together, they decided to use the Internet to bring the
benefits of language exchange practice to people all over the world. In October
2000, MyLanguageExchange.com was launched. This was an online community that
has since helped thousands of people find language exchange partners and
improve their second language. In the summer of 2001, Helene conducted probably
the world’s first successful language exchange workshops online, connecting a
student in South Carolina, USA with a native of Switzerland living in Montreal.
In the fall of 2001, the online language school was added to the
community, offering online teacher services for French, English and Spanish.
This service was later discontinued.
MyLanguageExchange.com was featured in the January 2001 issue of
Yahoo! Internet Life magazine.
In August 2003, PC World magazine named
MyLanguageExchange.com among the "Top 101" Internet sites of the world.
In September 2003, Dan Yuen launched
a site that allows language teachers and schools to find students.
This was prompted by numerous requests Dan received from MyLanguageExchange.com users
looking for language teachers and schools in their area.
Helene is not involved in MyLanguageExchange.com anymore.
About Helene Cormier
Helene was educated at McGill University in Montreal,
Quebec, Canada. She earned her B.A. First Class Honours in French translations
in 1993 and is an M.A. candidate in Creative writing. Helene is passionate
about helping people learn and communicate in a foreign language. She has
taught ESL at the YBM Sisa language school in Korea and has co-founded the
Club d’échange linguistique (CELM) language school in Montreal in 1998.
Helene is not involved in MyLanguageExchange.com anymore, having decided to
dedicate herself to her teaching career.
About Dan Yuen
Dan was educated as a chemical engineer at the University of
Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where he earned his B.A.Sc. and
M.A.Sc. degrees. In his engineering career,
Dan has specialized in applying new technologies in
the area of automatic process control. As an employee or as a consultant, Dan
has helped companies such as Honeywell, Petro-Canada, Dow Chemicals, Imperial
Oil, Invensys, Aspen Technologies and Millenium Chemicals. In 2000, Dan took a
leave of absence to learn web page programming and to launch My Language
Exchange. He currently offers
web programming and process control engineering services
as an independant contractor.
Dan is passionate about helping others achieve and finding innovative uses of new technologies
to solve existing problems and improving his French.