2017 AID Winter
志工感言 (Reflection) >> Denver
# Center
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1 Auckland
Yu, Alice (游舒淇)
More than once, my teachers, peers, and mentors told me the fruits of volunteering are impossible to measure, and after this program, I've never agreed more. I came in with a splash of what to expect, considering both my sisters were in the program, but I also knew that my experience would be vastly different than theirs and I was prepared. I've lived in Taiwan before so the heat has ceased to faze me, but the week of rain after the typhoon was something I wasn't expecting. I've prepared lesson plans before and I've even led a class of 28 for a full year at school, but teaching just 11 fifth graders was a whole new ballpark that overwhelmed me. I've volunteered before and lived away from my family, but this was the first time I've been away for more than a week. I expected to make new friends, but I didn't realize I'd find people to call family away from family.

While my teaching group could be better, there were moments when just being around them made me feel so happy and carefree; words can't even hope to capture the happiness I felt. We all have a toolbox of inside jokes and knowing soon, all eight of us will disperse and the inside jokes will cease to make sense is something the breaks my heart. Words also can't capture the sadness I felt when I realized there were two members who worked to exclude some of the other members and make fun of them behind their backs. These weeks were a journey with ups and downs - no doubt about it - but I gained more than just experience in teaching. I found ways to cope with the bullying happening inside my teaching group and enacted the practice of making the best of every situation. The teachers at my host school (Timur Elementary) showed me the beautiful and bountiful culture in Sandimen, Pingtung and Timur Elementary. The students at Timur helped me realize the depths of my patience and filled my heart of love and laughter.

When we entered the program, the counselors said we'd make memories to last a lifetime. I believed them when they said it, but now I can say with full confidence that I do have memories, experiences, and moments that I'll never forget and always cherish.
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Lin, Phillip (林宣仲)
I can confidently say that AID Summer was the summer that changed my life. I had no idea what to expect when I applied for this month long program in Taiwan. All I knew was that I would be teaching English to rural areas there. To be honest, I did not think that I would have as much fun as I did.
My experience started off with bonding with all of my fellow teachers. Together, we devised lesson plans, games, and activities for learning English, and we tried to make the experience as fun and educational as possible. Not only did AID teach me what it meant to be a teacher, but it also taught me a lot about my Taiwanese heritage. I did not know what Taiwanese kids liked to do or what kinds of sports they did. My time at Jenshin allowed me to get to know all of the kids and spend time with each and every one of them.
My most memorable moment of AID was when we had our massive water balloon fight. It was a hot and humid, as usual. We had just taught them about July 4th and other American holidays and thought it would be exciting to have a water balloon fight because that goes with July 4th. Almost all of the kids played and after an hour of rigorous fighting we were happy and soaked. The kids and the teachers loved it. Best of all, it was a nice way to end that day of class.

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Huang, Yu-Fang (黃郁芳)
These weeks was a wonderful experience to not only explore Taiwan’s culture and its beauty, but also to meet other people from different places and interact with kids of different ages to push them one more step in their English education. I’ll sure miss the kids very much and hope they gained knowledge from this camp. Although it was sad saying goodbyes, I’m sure there will be a special place in both our and their hearts for the time we’ve spent together.
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Yu, JiaJie (余家傑)
AID has truly been an experience for me to imagine in all of its wonderful experiences and fantastic opportunities. It will always stay in my heart. Although I was skeptical at first to come to AID, not only because I was afraid to leave my home, as well as my friends, for so long, but I was also scared that I was gonna have a miserable last month of my summer. However, AID has changed my mind and has proven to be one of the best experiences that I have been through in my whole life.

AID has helped me realize a whole world outside of my own, where learning English is such a blessing. I am so very happy to take part in that experience with new friends that I was able to make, but al with our volunteer teachers that helped us every step of the way. It has truly been an amazing roller coaster ride, as I began to experience the fun of laughing, joking, and working with a close group of teenagers around my age.

Teaching has also been such an amazing experience. Arriving in our separate school and seeing the bright faces of the children on the first day has opened my eyes of learning. I have learned how fun, yet exhausting it is to keep the children in check. In the end, it was always worth it to get a good nights rest rest and see their bright smiles the next day. I have been moved and touched by their enthusiasm and passion that they have towards English and I am so ecstatic to have been a part of their journey.

Throughout this camp, I was able to meet a close and tight knit group that has helped me through working, and has taught me the fun in having a great group in AID. Not only will I miss those dorks, but they will always be in my heart, as I remember the fun we had teaching together, and the jokes we shared on the final tour.

As our camp finally came to an end, I realized how much I really cherished this learning and teaching experience, as well as the amazing people I met on this adventure. I have learned to have fun while teaching and to have a positive attitude everyday for a new day of learning. I've had fun teaching the children how to dance, how to sing in English, and have fun while doing it. Seeing their smiles assures me that they are having fun and enjoy our efforts as we all strive for excellence in our teaching and learning.

In all, I guess all I want to say is that AID has been the best learning experience that I've had in my whole life. I've been able to make friends that I will always remember, and most importantly, I had so much fun in the four weeks of hard work and enjoyment. AID I will always remember you, and you will always be in my heart. I couldn't have asked for a better experience in Taiwan with such amazing people. Thanks so much!!!
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Lai, Ashley (賴美儒)
By the end of this program, I realized that I have learned many new lifelong lessons about myself and my goals for the future. While I was not the person that met and befriended everyone, I was the person who found eight people who I learned, cried, laughed, and taught with.

Going into the program, I was really nervous that I would not make close friends and would always have the awkward moments with everyone I met. I was incredibly happy to realize this was simply not true. Everyone I encountered from the counselor to teachers to volunteers were super friendly and welcoming. My own personal counselors Sharon, Blaire, and Tim were funny and treated us as their equals instead of children. While the rules at Chientan were very strict and at times annoying, I still enjoyed my stay there. It was amazing to meet new volunteers everyday who were dedicated and involved in all kinds of different activities from instruments to sports to the arts.

The two weeks I spent at Jen-Shin Elementary School not only taught me more about myself, but also about the life of the students. I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to teach my young class of first and second graders. My students were very well behaved and respectful (albeit a bit mischievous at times). This teaching part taught me that the best way to learn is by teaching. After the two weeks, I realized I learned many things on how to become a better problem solver especially between two people who might argue about the smallest things. Additionally, I learned how to have patients and deal with students who might learn slower. On the other hand, my teaching partner and I also had to learn how to challenge the students in our class who learned quickly.

When I had students who looked up to me as a teacher and a role model, I started to act differently. This meant that I had to learn how to always watch my actions and words around the children in order to become someone they will want to imitate. Now, I always try to think about the actions I am undertaking and trying to see whether my students would have approved of what I am doing.

Overall, I had a wonderful and unforgettable time during the four weeks with AID. It taught me many valuable life lessons and it gave me new lifelong friends.
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