CIRCA5000 | Duolingo
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Duolingo

By CIRCA5000 TeamBack to Mission Control

Impact in brief • 3 min read 

Duolingo

Not long ago, analysts at Duolingo made an intriguing discovery:

By far the most popular language to learn in any given country is that country’s native language.

In Sweden, Swedish tops the charts, for example, whereas in parts of the United States, English soars ahead.

It didn’t take them long to understand why: It turns out most of these users are immigrants or refugees. For them, learning the native language of their new home is a way to connect with others and put down roots.

With this new understanding in hand, DuoLingo decided to partner with the International Rescue Committee and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

This strategic partnership allowed the company to support quality educational opportunities for refugees while helping them assimilate into their new homes.

THE STORY OF NOOR

Meet Noor, a 36-year-old Iraqi-born Syrian woman who was forced to flee to Iraq and later Turkey after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. 

While Noor felt safe in Turkey, she didn’t speak any Turkish. This made it hard to communicate with locals and to forge any real connections. 

Noor was determined to understand more about Turkey and so she harnessed the power of DuoLingo to learn Turkish. Now, much more settled, she works as a computer programmer and software engineer and speaks five languages.

“It’s near to our countries, and their culture is very similar to others. You feel something like home. It’s ok, it’s not home – but it’s something like home,” Noor says. 

Noor is just one of many refugees and displaced people DuoLingo has helped by freely offering courses that can help them settle into their new homes.

Luis von Ahn and Severin Hacker conceived of DuoLingo as a way for language learning to become accessible to more people. They launched the company in 2012 and today, it has 40 million registered users. 

DUOLINGO QUICK FACTS

  • 96% of its users are learning a language for free, subsidised by the 4% who pay for the premium level.
  • Duolingo has around 37 million monthly active users.
  • They use data from 500 million exercises users complete every day to improve learning experiences.

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