Interview with Entrepreneur and Buenos Aires Former Intern, Will Liney!
By Katie Arango
Will Liney, former Buenos Aires Intern, has co-founded a fantastic app aimed at language learners. So if you’re looking for ways to keep that Spanish from getting rusty – read our interview with him and check out Immerse!
You interned with us in Buenos Aires last year; tell us a bit about your internship.
I had an absolutely awesome year! I worked for an international film festival based in Buenos Aires. I was the assistant programmer at the festival, which basically meant that I would negotiate with film makers, producers and embassies about screening fees and compensation for being in our festival. I also presented and held questions and answers with the directors and producers of various films in front of live audiences all in Spanish!
I lived in Palermo with 11 other people, a perfect mix of 6 Argentines and 6 expats. We would have asados on the terrace every week and had awesome parties. Living with Argentines greatly helped my Spanish speaking and I now have some great Argentine friends.
What are some of your favorite memories of your trip?
I went travelling quite a bit, to Patagonia, Mendoza, Iguazu, Uruguay and at the end all over South America with my friend Lauren. Iguazu was probably my favourite weekend trip. There is so much to do over there and we stayed in an awesome hostel with Caipirinhas on tap! Saying all this is making me want to take a flight straight back out there!! I loved the general day to day life out in Buenos Aires and had a great group of friends, so I can’t really whittle it down to a few memories but as the experience as a whole.
What impact did your Buenos Aires trip have on your current project?
There is quite a big start-up scene in Buenos Aires and I did some part time work for the blog, The Bubble, where I got to interview different start-ups in Buenos Aires and write about them. Interviewing and writing about them gave me much more of an insight into what it is like to start up a company – a lot of hustling!
Tell us about your start-up!
Immerse is a language-learning website and soon to be a mobile app that immerses its users in authentic, fresh and exciting content. It adapts to each individual user. The user chooses the language(s) they are learning, we have English, Spanish, French and German at the moment. Once they have chosen their languages they choose their interests which range from food to sport to current affairs, film and music etc. The user is then presented with their personalised hub where they will have access to all the content (videos, articles and radio) and they can read, watch and listen to their hearts content. I really must stress the personalised nature of the website – it has been made to adapt to the user. If you do not like a particular source on your hub you can delete it, if you want to add a language you can add it, if you want to save an article for later you can favourite it. We are trying to create a multilingual Flipboard.
Who is the product mainly for?
The product is mainly for people that have already gained a basic knowledge of the language they are learning. Whereas Duolingo and Busuu help language students start from scratch we provide the next stage in their development.
How did you come up with the idea for Immerse?
I came up with the idea when revising for my exams about a year and a half ago, extremely bored with the grammar exercises I was supposed to be doing, I started to watch films, then interviews with the actors, then I read about the film and about technology, basically anything that interested me, all in Spanish. I found that I improved hugely, solely by doing this. However, I had to look through quite a few websites and youtube channels to find exactly what I wanted, and then came the idea for Immerse.
What’s it like being an entrepreneur before you’ve even graduated university?
Well there is not as much pressure as I am still at university so in a way that makes it a lot more fun. As an arts student I also have a LOT of free time so this keeps me busy!
Any advice for someone considering an international internship?
Just do it! If you have the money do it! Best experience of my life, could not recommend it more.
Join immerse here: immerse-app.com. And stay tuned for more great things from them by checking out their blog: http://blog.immerse-app.com and follow them on Twitter at @app_immerse and Facebook at Immerse App.