Jenny Zhu (BA ’04)
Co-founder, ChinesePod and OpenLanguage
“My work is about helping people learn new languages and share the deeply satisfying and enriching cultural and intellectual experiences that come along with it,” says Jenny Zhu, a Shanghai-based Arts graduate from the University of Sydney and co-founder of two extremely popular online language learning programs.
Created in 2005, ChinesePod became the world’s largest online Chinese learning service. As one of its lead hosts, Zhu hosted over 2,000 lessons, and taught almost one million users to speak Chinese, “making me on the most prolific language teachers in the world”, she says.
Last year, Zhu co-founded OpenLanguage, the company’s flagship product EnglishPod Zhongguo is now the top language program on iTunes China. In 2009, she was the recipient of the Australia China Alumni Award for New Media and ICT.
Born in Shanghai, Zhu was convinced by a friend that Sydney offered great lifestyle and education options, so in 2001, she enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts degree. “I was immediately drawn to the diversity, energy and openness of the University of Sydney,” she says. “It also had one of the leading Liberal Arts programs in the region, which was what I wanted to pursue. Plus, the weather and food in Sydney were simply gorgeous.”
“The deep-rooted diversity of the Faculty and student body and the School’s truly embracing attitude to what it means to be global,” Zhu adds. “My personal experience and tremendous growth during my years at the University of Sydney played a huge part in shaping my view of spreading languages and cultural understanding to create personal and professional opportunities for people.”
Zhu credits Australia as being one of the most vibrant and robust countries in the world, and says in order to continue strengthening its engagement with the Asia-Pacific region, needs to “keep its open and enlightened immigration policy in order to keep attracting the best and brightest talents”.