Membus Tour: a 10,000 mile trip to collect videos of European languages

This Summer, Memrise is embarking upon an epic multilingual road trip aboard an iconic 70s double decker bus. Travelling around 9 European countries, the goal is to record 10,000 micro-videos of local people and to integrate them into our iOS and Android apps.

A European roadtrip is undoubtedly the most ridiculously fun way to create a language video catalogue, fun being the operative word: in the span of 5 months we’re visiting the likes of an Andalucian festival, a Bordeaux vineyard, and a Portuguese surf school, all places with just the right atmosphere to record the words and phrases that native speakers really use in daily life.

Founded by Memory Grandmaster Ed Cooke, Memrise has become one of the fastest growing learning apps, regularly featured in Google Play and the App Store. Over 10 million users are now learning faster and more effectively thanks to our innovative use of cutting edge science and technology, which has recently earned us a nomination for Google Play’s Best Global app.

The bus tour, endearingly nicknamed “The Membus”, was successfully launched and funded through a Kickstarter campaign back in November, reaching its initial goal in only five days. And although trotting around Europe for almost half a year seems more like a wanderluster’s life goal, this double-deckered quest is very much a steadfast attempt to fundamentally change the way people learn languages.

Having closely collaborated with world-renowned universities like UCL, Cambridge and MIT, we are embracing two pedagogical theories that put the natural use of language at the front and center of the learning experience. Recording videos of people in the places they live, using language as we all do in our everyday lives, was the obvious next step in this process. The micro-sized nuggets of culture immersion will provide people with a new, natural, super fun and effortless way to learn.

The bright-blue vintage bus departed from the UK in May and will be cruising the motorways of the Old Continent until late September, packed with videographers, coders and scientists on a magical mission to bottle up the sights and sounds of Europe to put them at the fingertips of language learners everywhere, for free. Ah, what a dream!

For regular updates on the Membus Tour, check out our blog posts. We’re also on Instagram.