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Palo Alto mom creates Mandarin business for immersion kids

July 17, 2015

Entrepreneurial mom pairs Mandarin tutors with immersion students

Palo Altan finds business opportunity in daughters’ educational needs

Layla Al-Khafaji, 6, listens to PandaTree Mandarin tutor Hannuo Wu lead a game during a lesson via Skype at her Palo Alto home on July 14. Photo by Veronica Weber.

• Read Survey: Differing visions for world-language programs

• Read Palo Alto students, teachers give mixed opinions on foreign-language education

Kristina Klausen was looking for a way that her two daughters could get extra practice conversing in Mandarin outside of Ohlone Elementary School’s Mandarin immersion program, in which they were enrolled in. Klausen herself doesn’t speak any Mandarin, and though her children’s father is of Chinese heritage, he doesn’t speak much either.

So naturally, she turned to the Internet. She found a woman in Beijing willing to tutor her children via Skype. The woman had tutoring experience and was interested in moving to the United States, but other than that the arrangement was “completely random,” Klausen said.

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