Estella Chen’s drive to bridge cultural divides and enable worldwide access to high-quality education is truly remarkable.
Having received a Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and earned teaching credentials in English and Mandarin, Estella has maintained a passion for language and culture and has shared her knowledge with people around the world throughout her life.
Apart from being a language teacher in Los Angeles, California and Taiwan, Estella pursued her entrepreneurial goal of founding MandarinX, associated with edX (founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University), for providing free online Mandarin courses on a wide variety of subjects.
She did this mostly out of her own pocket and via a bank loan. Funding was very limited when she started this initiative to make Mandarin Chinese more accessible. She considered languages as soft skills: “although a foreign language is not necessary for a human being to survive, it does affect one’s development when it comes to being a whole person.”
As of April 2017, MandarinX has reached a high demand of more than 180,000 enrollments. People from technology-limited areas gathered in internet cafés for viewing well-structured instructional sessions. “If not me, who? If not now, when?” Estella genuinely desires to make a difference in people’s lives through education and to introduce them to a rich, compelling world of cultural and linguistic possibilities.
Estella just passed her dissertation defense, which illustrates why MandarinX has become enormously successful, and she is set to graduate in July 2017 from the USC Rossier School of Education’s Global Executive Ed.D. Program.
Listen to Estella sharing in this 3 minutes video story!