Website brings students and tutors together
Kristen Thompson/for Metro Vancouver
Jenny Yu is a firm believer is continuous learning.
“You grow old when you stop learning,” says Yu, a Vancouver entrepreneur who last month launched a new website, MeetTutors.com, an online community that connects tutors with potential students.
Yu, a second-generation Korean-Canadian, wanted to create a practical solution to the problem of ethnic division in Vancouver by encouraging people of diverse backgrounds and interests to meet, share information and learn from each other.
Visible minority newcomers, she said, tend to socialize and live in groups where they feel comfortable, and, as a result, can feel disconnected from the rest of the city.
What she has created through her website is a venue for Vancouverites, young and old, and from any background, to come together, act as mentors, and even make new friends.
Yu graduated from Simon Fraser University in 1997 and did a masters degree in international relations in South Korea.
Since childhood she had always wanted to find a way to unite the East with the West, in part because she felt her identity was half eastern and half western.
When she returned to Canada from South Korea in 2005, she decided to create a community to help Vancouverites meet people they would not normally meet, while improving a system for finding students and tutors that she felt was inefficient. Thus, MeetTutors.com was born.
“I tutored a lot in university,” said Yu, 32. “It’s such a daunting job to find a student you’d like to teach.” This, she said, is a new concept.
Tutors pay a fee to join and post their profiles on the site. Students can browse the site and connect with potential tutors instantly.
Similar sites, she said, don’t allow tutors and students to chat. Here, people can communicate instantly, and discuss wages, meeting times and curriculum. And unlike paper postings, it’s confidential and much more convenient.
Many current users are parents seeking academic assistance for school-aged children.
There are categories for post-secondary level academic tutoring, English as a second language tutoring, and extracurricular subjects like music or sports.
Yu said she’d like to see new Canadians, stay-at-home moms or retired Vancouverites signing on as tutors to teach subjects like piano to children or Mandarin to local business owners. She said the possibilities are endless.
“I strongly believe diversity is one of Canada’s biggest strengths,” said Yu, adding that Vancouverites need to take advantage of their own city’s incredible cultural diversity.
“This site becomes a site that facilitates education and cultural exchange, and provides services that would benefit and enlighten all residents of Vancouver.”