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at first; in the first place; in a unique manner
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Interview with Jacob Cooke

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Introduction:
China is one of the fastest growing ESL markets. The Internet enables language service providers from North America and Europe to win Chinese clients and establish successful business relationships. In addition there are thousands of ESL professionals from the US and Canada working in China. Today were are talking to Jake Cooke, the leader of an ESL trainer team from Canada.

Torsten:
Jacob, you are running a team of Canadian ESL trainers who work in China. Could you please tell us more how and when you started your project?

Jake:
Our project started during some of our education tours to the poorer provinces in China. Since we noticed the quality level of education was far below other places in China we decided to set up free an online centre where students could simply log into a website to have access to the same teachers as in the cities.

Torsten:
When did you take your first trip to China?

Jake:
I first came to China in 2002 right before the SARS crisis. So it wasn't until 2003 when we really had the opportunity to tour the country with impunity. This opened our eyes, to at the time, what seemed like a different planet.

Torsten:
Could you please describe the impression you had of China when you first traveled through it in 2003 and how the country has changed over the time?

Jake:
We certainly could see the rapid developement in the cities but some places simply couldn't benefit from these educational and economic advances due to the lack of people willing to stay it out. Over the last three years we have all seen this trend continue and the brain drain in the countryside get worse.

Torsten:
So you are providing training and education to Chinese communities that are lacking behind in their developments? How do you achieve this?

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