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Ireland: Learn Chinese for free, offers entrepeneur

2009. 30 August

by Henry McDonald
( A Shanghai-based Irish entrepreneur is offering free Chinese language lessons online to every citizen of the Republic. Ken Carroll told the Observer that he decided to create a free online language learning pack because of Ireland's current economic difficulties.
Speaking ahead of the programme's official launch on Tuesday, he said: "Ireland, as a small country, has always benefited from looking to the wider world and so it makes sense to continue to do so. I don't have any illusions about solving the country's economic conundrum but the idea is to try to do our part. I hope it might prompt connections and business opportunities, and awareness."

The online language service will run until the Shanghai Expo in May 2010 and also has the support of China's foreign cultural relations body, the Han Institute.

Carroll, who runs a chain of English-language schools in Shanghai, said the service is designed for "absolute beginners". To use it, text "Chinesepod" to 57199 from an Irish mobile phone to receive a voucher code. Then visit The free offer ends 31 October.