We are a team of language and technology enthusiasts building the best language course search site.

Our aim is to take the agony out of planning your language immersion experience. We designed our site to help you easily compare thousands of courses at once. If you want to spend hours searching every language school site yourself, that’s one option. If you prefer an easier way to find a good deal, we can help. Our site presents course results in a way that allows you to choose the best course for you at one glance.

At Language International, we want to make your experience better and put the fun back into planning your language course.

Meet our founders

Karen Ong
Karen Ong

Founder and co-CEO

Her passion for languages and different cultures led her to start Language International. Karen is a language and travel enthusiast, speaks 6 languages (and currently learning German, her seventh), and has traveled to over 100 cities in 6 continents.

Language International is a continuation of her interest in facilitating language and cultural exchange. Before starting Language International, she founded MyHappyPlanet.com, a peer-to-peer language exchange site. Karen holds an MBA from Harvard Business School where she received the Robert F. Jasse Award.

Michael Reich
Michael Reich

Co-CEO and CFO

Michael speaks English, German, and French fluently, and is now learning Chinese. He was born in Germany and studied in France, Germany, and the United States. He now oversees our sales and finance functions at Language International.

Before Language International, he foundedUpDown.com, a virtual investing site, and was an owner ofSpirit Link GmbH, an IT consulting firm. Michael holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Reutlingen in Germany and the Reims Management School in France.

Our team leaders

Simone Reich
Simone Reich email Simone »

Team leader and student advisor (German, Spanish, French, English)

Simone leads our student advising team and also advises our German, French, and Spanish-speaking students. She was born in Germany but has lived in Colombia for a year and in Egypt for 4 years.

She holds a masters degree in anthropology, Latin American studies, and psychology from University of Hamburg. She is also a certified translator, interpreter, and foreign language correspondent for Spanish and French. Before joining Language International, she worked as a PADI Staff Instructor in Dahab, Egypt.

Mathis Pedersen
Mathis Pedersen email Mathis »

Team leader (Danish, Swedish, English, German, French and some Italian)

Mathis leads our student advising team and also is responsible for recruiting new student advisors for our team. Originally from Denmark, Mathis has been living in Berlin for 12 years after some time in Paris where he learned French. He has been learning languages for many years, and is improving on French, Italian, and learning better Spanish.

He holds a master's degree in Social Sciences and cultural geography from Roskilde University Denmark, and also studied at Potsdam University , Germany. Mathis has been working for many years in customer service and customer satisfaction as a team leader or projectmanager.

Our student advisors

Fabio Reverdosa Cruz
Fabio Reverdosa Cruz email Fabio »

Student advisor (Portuguese and English)

Fabio advises our Portuguese- and English-speaking students. He was born in Rio de Janeiro and has taught English for more than 10 years.

He holds a bachelor’s degree (with honours) in Law, has long years of experience in dealing with different kinds of official English tests and right now wants to improve his German skills.

Francine Kloeckner
Francine Kloeckner email Francine »

Student advisor (Portuguese, Italian, English)

Francine advises our Portuguese-, Italian- and English-speaking students. She grew up in Porto Alegre, Brazil and also lived and worked in Grenoble, France, and in Rome, Italy. In addition to Portuguese and Italian, she speaks French and a little bit of Spanish and German.

She holds a bachelor's degree in Art History (with honors) from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul . Before joining Language International, she worked in Porto Alegre and in Rome, in the areas of Culture, Museology, Art and also Translations and Tourism.

Giorgio Piccirillo
Giorgio Piccirillo email Giorgio »

Student advisor (Italian, Spanish, English)

Giorgio advises our Italian-, Spanish and English-speaking students. He grew up in Palermo before living and working in Vienna, Bristol, Seville and various cities in Norway. He also speaks German and a little bit of French.

He holds a Bachelor in International Relations and completed his Master in International Security at the University of Bristol, UK. Before joining Language International, he worked in the political and anti-corruption field as project assistant and liaison officer among other roles.

Iliana Pistoli
Iliana Pistoli email Iliana »

Student advisor (French, Greek, Turkish, English)

Iliana advises our English-, French-, Greek-, and Turkish-speaking students. She grew up in Athens and is a native Greek speaker. She studied International Relations and Turkish in Athens, Istanbul and Paris.

She holds a bachelor's degree in Turkish from the Kapodistrian University of Athens and Mimar Sinan University of Istanbul and a Master's degree in International Relations and Turkish from Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales-Langues O’ in Paris. She previously worked for Migreurop, Greek Council for Refugees, and Amnesty International.

Kristele Auer
Kristele Auer email Kristele »

Student advisor (English and Spanish)

Kristele advises our English- and Spanish-speaking students. She was born in USA, grew up in El Salvador, studied in the Netherlands, worked in France and Bali, and now lives in Berlin. In addition to English and Spanish, she also speaks some French and is learning German.

She holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration in Tourism from Saxion University, the Netherlands. Before joining Language International, she worked in Bali at a Destination Management Company.

Maria Luisa Malheiros
Maria Luisa Malheiros email Malu »

Student advisor (Portuguese, Spanish and English)

Malu advises our Portuguese-, Spanish- and English-speaking students. She grew up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and has also lived in Canada, the United Kingdom and currently lives in Berlin.

She has learned how to speak English by playing videogames as a child, and has worked as an English teacher during the World Cup and the Olympics in Brazil.

Before joining Language International, she worked with videogame localization, making games accessible for Brazilian users.

Matthew Niebes
Matthew Niebes email Matthew »

Student advisor (English)

Matthew advises our English-speaking students from the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. He grew up in Peach Tree, Georgia, in the United States and completed his master's degree in Germany.

He holds a master's degree in American studies from Universität Heidelberg and a bachelor's degree in history and English (with a minor in German) from Emory University in Atlanta.

Michele Bianchini
Michele Bianchini email Michele »

Trainer and senior student advisor (Italian, French, Danish, English)

Michele trains our student advisor team. He also advises our Italian-, French- and Danish-speaking students. He grew up in Sardinia, studied in Dijon, went to university in Pisa, worked in Copenhagen and Malta, and now lives in Berlin. In addition to Italian, he speaks French and Danish.

He holds master's degrees in European Literary Cultures from University of Bologna, University of Thessaloniki and University of Haute Alsace. He also holds a bachelor's degree in European literatures and modern languages from University of Pisa.

Milda Mal
Milda Malcyte email Milda »

Student advisor (French, Italian, Lithuanian, English)

Milda advises our French-, Italian-, Lithuanian-, and English-speaking students. She grew up in Vilnius, Lithuania, but lived and studied in Brussels and in Italy.

She studied philisophy in Vilnius University for a while and holds bachelor's degree in directing and audio visual arts from Lietuvos Muzikos ir Teatro akademija in Vilnius. She also studied directing at Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, Italy. Before joining Language International, she worked on film sets as director, AD, production assistant and video editor. In her spare time, she still directs and produces documentary and fiction films as well as music videos and other promotional content for businesses and private clients.

Nicole Arevalo
Nicole Arevalo email Nicole »

Student advisor (Spanish, German, English)

Nicole advises our Spanish-, German-, and English-speaking students. She grew up in Chile but has studied and lived in Germany for years.

She is a professional translator and interpreter from Universidad de Concepción in Chile. She also received the ISAP-DAAD Scholarship for an academic exchange in Leipzig, Germany. She is currently doing her Master's degree in Linguistics in Foreign Languages at the Universität Potsdam. Before joining Language International, she worked for 6 years in the International Relationships Office at her University. She also worked in sales in Alcorp S.A., a property company in Chile.

Omar Barahona
Omar Barahona email Omar »

Student advisor (English and Spanish)

Omar advises our Spanish-speaking students of Latin America and Spain. He grew up in Spain, studied in the Netherlands, worked in the United States and now lives in Berlin. In addition to English and Spanish, he also speaks French and Italian and he is learning German.

He holds a Bachelor's degree in Classics from the University of Salamanca, a M.A. in Comparative Indo-European Linguistics from Leiden University and a M.A. in Spanish literature and linguistics from the West Virginia University. Before joining Language International, he was a Teaching Assistant of Spanish at West Virginia University.

Selin Oezen
Selin Oezen email Selin »

Student advisor (English, German and Turkish)

Selin advises our English-, German- and Turkish speaking students. She grew up in Germany but lived and studied in th UK and Australia. Selin holds a bachelor's degree in Music from the University of Chichester and a master's degreee in Solo Performance from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London.

Before joining Language International, Selin was working as a musician and teacher. She is still teaching the Violin and Viola in her spare time.

Sem Hoogstrate
Sem Hoogstrate email Sem »

Student advisor (French, English, Dutch)

Sem advises our French- English- and Dutch-speaking students. He was born in Utrecht in the Netherlands, but grew up in the south west of France. In addition to French and Dutch he also understands and speaks some German.

He holds a master's degree (with honours) in English studies from Limoges University, France, and also studied at Coventry University, UK. Before moving to Berlin and joining Language International, he was an English teacher in France and had had various jobs in the fields of culture, translation and tourism.

Sophie Simon
Sophie Simon email Sophie »

Student advisor (German, English, Spanish)

Sophie advises our German and Spanish speaking students. She was born in Berlin, but became interested in Spanish and Latin American culture at an early age and lived in Colombia and Mexico for some time. There she worked, among other things, as a German teacher and educator and worked at the Museum of Popular Art in Mexico City.

She studied Cultural Studies and Latin American Studies and wrote her master's thesis on sustainable tourism in a Maya community in Mexico, for which she learned the Mayan language Ch´ol during her studies.

Before working at Language International, she worked at the FernUniversität in Hagen (Berlin location) and the Iberoamerican Institute and volunteered in the animal shelter. In her free time, she dances flamenco, often cooks with friends and enjoys being outdoors.

Tatiana Dubyanskaya
Tatiana Dubyanskaya email Tatiana »

Student advisor (Russian, Polish, English)

Tatiana advises our Russian-, Polish- and English-speaking students. Born in Moscow, Tatiana calls herself a traveler between cultures. She has taught Indian languages and literatures and has done research in the field of modern Indian culture in Moscow State University in Russia, Jagiellonian University in Poland and Jawaharlal Nehru University in India.

She is an experienced translator and a passionate teacher of Hindi and English. She also speaks some Urdu and Bangla, publishes research papers and blog-posts in English and Russian, and is hoping to become more fluent in German and Polish.

Valentina Uribe
Valentina Uribe email Valentina »

Student advisor (English and Spanish)

Valentina is a writer and advises our Latin American students. She greq up in between Colombia, India and Australia. She lives in Germany since 2009. She holds a degree in philosophy and a masters (summa cum laude) in comparative literature from the Freie Universität Berlin.

Before joining Language International she worked as a journalist and cultural analist for the ecuatorian newspaper El Telégrafo.

Yaroslav Akimov
Yaroslav Akimov email Yaroslav »

Student advisor (Chinese, Russian, German, English)

Yaroslav advises our Chinese-, Russian-, and English-speaking students. He grew up in Russia and speaks Chinese and German fluently. In his free time, he teaches Chinese to intermediate and advanced students.

He is a PhD candidate in Chinese linguistics at the University of Trier in Germany. He holds a master's degree (with honors) in East Asian studies from Freie Universität Berlin and a bachelor's degree (with honors) in Chinese philology from Moscow State University. He received scholarships from the Catholic Academic Exchange Service (KAAD) in 2013 and Peking University in 2010.

Our marketing team

Camila Onodera
Camila Onodera

Project Manager

Camila is responsible for the management of our team of software developers, as well as internal projects, content and external contractors. She is Brazilian, grew up in São Paulo and loves learning new languages: she studied English, Japanese, German, and a little of Spanish and Italian.

She holds a master's degree in fashion management from University of São Paulo and a bachelor's degree in advertising and marketing from Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie. Before joining Language International, she worked as Community Manager and Customer Care for Procter & Gamble and as Art Director for Editora Abril in Brazil.

Matthew Niebes
Matthew Niebes

School relationship manager

Matthew manages relationships with our network of language schools around the world. He grew up in Peach Tree, Georgia, in the United States and completed his master's degree in Germany.

He holds a master's degree in American studies from Universität Heidelberg and a bachelor's degree in history and English (with a minor in German) from Emory University in Atlanta.

Our finance and accounting team

Marcis Bokmanis
Marcis Bokmanis

Finance manager

Marcis manages Language International's accounts payable and receivable. He grew up in Riga, Latvia and recently moved to Berlin, Germany. He speaks English, Latvian, Russian, and also a little German.

In 2007, Marcis graduated from University of Latvia in Riga with a bachelor's degree in economics. Before joining Language International, he was a reporting analyst at AS DNB Banka in Riga and an accountant at Reverta, a distressed asset management company in Riga. In his spare time, Marcis enjoys long-distance running.

Siri Amanda Rääf
Siri Amanda Rääf

Junior Finance manager

Siri grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. She speaks Swedish, English and recently started learning German.

Prior to moving to Berlin in 2018 she lived in Melbourne, Australia, for seven years. In Melbourne she pursued a Bachelor of Business (Accountancy) and worked along her studies as an Accounts Payable Officer.

Before joining the team at Language International she was an Accounting Administrator at Audible GmbH . Now she manages Language International's accounts payable and receiveable together with Marcis.


Want to see your face here?

We're a fast-growing start-up and we're eager to connect with exceptional individuals who might be interested in joining our team.

If you are energized by our mission of changing the way people find and discover life-changing immersion programs, we'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line at [email protected].

Our office


Schönhauser Allee 6/7, 10119, Berlin, Germany