About Us


Hi, my name is Rowan Brickell and I'm the Founder of Samespeak. My background is in English teaching - MA Applied Linguistics, First Class Honours

Waikato University, DipTchg (Secondary) Auckland, BA English, Waikato University. Samespeak won the NZ Start-UP TV competition held 2008 - 2009 for the most promising globally focused online platform. During the 6 months of filming, as the underdogs of the competition having pitched with only a concept, we funded, developed and got the site operational to a world class standard to take out the final against 6 other short-listed companies. We have students and coaches from all around the world!

I have taught for many years as an English teacher beginning in 1986 in Auckland at a secondary school but I really learned how to teach English as a second language in Japan where I spent 6 wonderful years teaching English.

I taught at Japanese High Schools in Hyogo Prefecture for 3 years and met some wonderful students and teachers. I then worked for a British owned language company called Language Resources Ltd based in Kobe where I taught in places like Kobe Seiko (Kobe Steel Company) and Port Island Hotel and to members of the Japanese Rugby team. This was an innovative and cutting edge company that also trained teachers in CELTA and developed some amazing English Language Resources including a fun text called "On the Ball". I also really enjoyed teaching Japanese housewives in my neighbourhood and Japanese friends.

I did of course, learn Japanese and paid for private lessons with a university student who taught me a lot but I must admit that my Japanese really accelerated through being able to use it everyday in a number of authentic situations. Learning from a textbook and speaking in real life are quite different! My daughter was born in Japan and learned to speak Japanese at her school and I also taught English to the children at her Hoikuen (pre-school). I also began my teacher training career in Japan as I taught courses to young university graduates who wanted to teach English in Japan.

When I arrived back in New Zealand I spent more years teaching and managing English and ESOL Departments in small and large secondary schools before joining the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. It was here that I expanded my teacher training background as I facilitated training courses for teachers in the country and developed teaching and learning resources for national publication.

I then became a Director of an English Language School and then became one of two Academic Managers overseeing the New Zealand and Chinese, Japanese and Korean campuses. I loved this work as I got to manage teachers, develop teacher training courses and facilitate the development of teaching packages and assessments.

In between more teaching and managing English language departments and Language Faculties in Secondary schools, I joined the Ministry of Education to manage a large portfolio focused on raising achievement for Maori students at Regional and National levels. It was during this time that I got the idea for a business concept where I could put all of my experience and passion for teaching and languages through a site that I founded called samespeak.com.

Samespeak is all about world communication, real conversations with real people and helping people to communicate naturally. You can call native speakers of English (Samespeak coaches) from your computer or phone and talk to them in real time on a range of interesting topics based on natural conversational lessons, make friends from around the world and really accelerate your spoken English.

Learning should be fun, innovative and a real experience. “I hear I forget, I see I remember, I do and I understand”. If we could connect with people around the world easily and without prejudice, imagine the world we would have?