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Our New Partnership with Ren-Ai in Taipei

Our New Partnership with Ren-Ai in Taipei
Sophie Shulman

Mark Day School’s global partnerships are an integral part of our cross-cultural literacy program—one that has also helped to define who we are as a community. When our students and families travel to visit our partners and when they visit us on campus, it is always a joyous reunion filled with shared cultural experiences, deepened friendships, and an ever-increasing dedication to both teaching and learning alongside one another.

In addition to our existing partnerships with Kliptown Youth Program (KYP) and eSibonisweni in South Africa and Er Xiao in Beijing, we are thrilled to share our exciting new partnership with Ren-Ai (“ren-eye”), a K-6 public school in Taipei, Taiwan. In early 2023, Fernanda Pernambuco, Director of Partnerships, Equity & Inclusion, in collaboration with Mandarin Teacher Joyce Chen, Head of School Joe Harvey, and Chief Financial Officer Bella Chang, began exploring the possibility of beginning a new partnership that would complement our Mandarin program. During the research phase, Ren-Ai emerged as an exciting possibility. They had previously partnered with Chinese American International School, a Mandarin immersion school in San Francisco, for 10 years and had considerable experience building a long-term, reciprocal partnership that also involved homestays. Over the summer, Joyce was able to visit Ren-Ai in person while visiting family in Taipei. “It’s an exciting new step for the Mandarin program,” says Fernanda. “We are in no way taking away from our existing partnership with Er Xiao in China, which is still active; we are just adding a new opportunity to the program.”

A group of Mark Day School 8th grade Mandarin students will visit Ren-Ai for the first time over our April spring break. Each will stay with a Ren-Ai family for the full week, attend classes with their buddies, participate in special cultural activities like martial arts and brush painting, and go sightseeing. Later this spring, we plan to welcome a delegation of Ren-Ai 5th graders and faculty members to Mark Day, where they will also participate in homestays, learn alongside students, and participate in field trips outside of school.

“It’s incredible that in the first year of our partnership with Ren-Ai, we already get to experience both sending students there and getting to know them here as well,” says Fernanda. “This means our whole community can benefit from our new partnership, as we do with our other partnerships. We are looking forward to continuing to build a long-term relationship with Ren-Ai.

To learn more about our partnerships at Mark Day School, click here.