Dasha White, The White Apple Company founder
I founded “The White Apple” out of my passion for the English language and a personal understanding of the joy and challenges of learning it. The story of my own learning journey is part and parcel of the Company, and the reason why we have such high standards and are so committed to our students.
I was brought up and educated in Belarus with a Siberian father and Belarussian mother. My family have always worked hard to make the best of themselves, making the most of the gold rush in the 1800s before starting anew after the Soviet Revolution. My great-grandfather became a renowned surgeon and has a museum dedicated to his life and achievements. One of my grandfathers was the youngest director of Uranium Mines and later the first director of Belaruskali, now one of the world’s largest producers of potash, the other grew up in a small village in Belarus and worked his way up to become a Deputy Finance Minister. My parents both inherited this drive and ambition building their own successful careers and passing their work ethic on to me.
Straight from primary school through to university I have always loved learning English. I initially followed in my family’s footsteps, starting my own business as a Financial Advisor and Independent Auditor, whilst carrying on studying English with a private tutor. As I enjoyed spending time developing my English skills, little did I know how much my life would change and how important my English studies would one day become!
In 2000 I moved to England with my eight year old daughter Julia. I was determined to integrate into this new culture and become a part of it. Julia couldn’t speak English at all and I taught her through a crash course of very intensive lessons. It wasn’t easy for an eight year old to ditch her toys for textbooks all day long, but she worked hard and after only three months, she was confident enough to start school and enjoy all her school activities. Her success story even featured in a local newspaper which praised her dedication and hard work.
When we moved to England I assumed that my level of English would be good enough for day to day communication, but I soon found that having only learnt and communicated in English with non-native speakers my language skills were still lacking. I found it hard to keep up with the pace at which native speakers spoke, and even though my new home was in Stratford-upon-Avon, the beautiful hometown of William Shakespeare, I still didn’t feel comfortable in my new surroundings.
I had so many worries and doubts: Would Julia and I ever be fluent in English? Would our accent fade away? Would we be accepted in the local community? Would I ever have true close friends? Would I be able to understand how things were run or the British culture and traditions? Now all these years later I have embraced this great country of England as my own. I am happy, settled, confident, and surrounded by family and friends.
I have been running my own business in the UK for fifteen years, and the memories of my first few years in England and my personal journey are the driving force behind everything we do. I started the company to help my friends and family back home in Belarus and Russia to improve their English, and am thrilled to see how much The White Apple has grown over the years. We are now an official Cambridge English Exam Preparation Centre, and the only Online English Language School in the UK with live online English courses accredited by the Continuing Professional Development CPD Standards office.
Our speciality is live online English language tuition with CELTA qualified native British teachers, most of whom are Cambridge and IELTS examiners. The loyalty of our first clients really touched me and gave me the drive to spread our help and expertise further. We now have clients from Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, Brazil, Malaysia, Japan and Saudi Arabia and are fully dedicated to expanding further.
We have a comprehensive digital library of various teaching materials and Cambridge University Press/Oxford University Press book sets to help students get the most out of their studies. We also use our own Lesson Bank with over 600 lesson plans written by our online teachers and suitable for every learning style whether visual, auditory or kinaesthetic.
We are particularly happy to be working with young learners – our youngest student Guilherme is only 3 y.o. and he’s absolutely adorable! We find our work with young learners and overseas schools very rewarding, and next year we’re planning to launch a Social Enterprise Initiative to be able to do more for children… watch this space!
We always go a step further: we don’t limit ourselves to Speaking Practice and Exam Preparation lessons. The White Apple helps businesses to maintain a skilled workforce by providing over 30 specialised industry-related English language courses including English for Business Management, English for Banking and Finance, Human Recourses, Marketing, Sales, Legal English, Medical, Pharmaceutical, Technical, English for Hospitality and Tourism, Oil and Gas, Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Energy Industry, IT and Telecom, Customer Service and many more.
It really helps that based on my own experience, I can relate to our students’ needs, whether they are a business professional needing to improve their English with limited time available for study, a job seeker looking to work in an English speaking country, a shy young learner needing conversational practice to pass an English exam, or an anxious parent considering sending their child to England to study. I know how important the personal touch is when you are learning a foreign language, and our personal approach to supporting students is truly second to none. We pride ourselves on the fact that the majority of our learners stay with us for over 2 years and that 97% of those who experience our free Demo class, sign up to a full course.
In 2000 I made a huge change in my life. I learned a great deal in the process and founded The White Apple because of my own experiences. I am extremely proud that we now help other people change their lives and feel more confident about their English. I’m also proud and privileged to work with a team of experienced, passionate and dedicated colleagues. They are true professionals, putting the quality of our services above everything else, and constantly inspiring me to move forward and set new goals. No job is too big or too small. We look after every client personally and we love new challenges. We know our learners can and do trust us and talk to us.
It may be a long way from Siberia and Belarus but I’m every bit as passionate and committed to The White Apple as my family were to their personal journeys. I love helping other people achieve their own dreams and ambitions by empowering them with their English, and that I can do this based in the beautiful and historic English town I now call home.
“Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going.” ~ Rita Mae Brown ~