"Education is all a matter of building bridges"
Tai Cho Mesches is a Chinese American from New York City with over 15 years of experience in international youth programs and pedagogy. After graduating from Wheaton College, Tai spent 6 years living in China and Taiwan working with IES Abroad programs. While there, he became fluent in Mandarin and Classical Chinese at the National Taiwan University. After returning to New York, Tai worked at Leman Manhattan Preparatory School in the International Boarding Program. Here he witnessed the cross-cultural challenges that Chinese youth struggle with as they try to integrate into life in the United States. Tai realized that the real issue lies in the socio-cultural context, where Chinese students’ lack of cross-cultural competence, social etiquette skills, and confidence in their English language abilities directly impact their experiences and development. XY Bridges LLC was founded with the goal of bridging the cross-cultural divide and easing the transition for Chinese students coming to study at U.S. educational institutions. Tai holds an M.A. in Intercultural Services, Leadership, and Management from The School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont, and a B.A. in East Asian Studies with a focus on China from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts.
Kirra Hughes has over 10 years of experience in management and operations in both corporate and nonprofit sectors. She has spearheaded new initiatives in study abroad recruitment, handled operations for multi-million dollar programs, and managed a portfolio of dozens of organizations while running a digital platform. To date, her work has taken her to 43 countries. Kirra believes that cultural exchange and the opportunity to explore new places are vital to today’s youth. In an ever increasingly globalized world, it’s critical for young people to be equipped with the skills and tools to adapt and thrive in an unfamiliar culture. From her time at SIT Study Abroad, she saw first-hand the difference that proper orientation and deeper cross-cultural knowledge can make: leading a student to be more eager to engage in a foreign culture and more willing to venture outside of their comfort zones. Kirra holds her M.A. degree in Conflict Transformation and International Peacebuilding from The School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. She graduated with two B.A. degrees in Anthropology and Comparative Religions from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida.
Together, we handle the pedagogy, curriculum design, logistics, and operations of XY Bridges.