2017 AID Winter
志工感言 (Reflection) >> SF-Miltipas
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Wei, William (魏慶文)
Going into the program, I expected it to be a lot more intense similar to the English classes that I had in school and so I spent the last week before the trip preparing and worrying. Last minute packing and planning did not help with my anxiety, and thankfully what I expected turned out to be false.
The first thing that hit me when I landed was the heat and stifling humidity, but luckily I would be staying at LiShan junior and elementary school, the highest elevation elementary school in Taiwan. This meant no mosquitoes and cool weather where it would rain at least once everyday. My first experience with my team was at 2am when he came late due to his flight. I believe that I might've hit or rolled onto him multiple times that night which made for amusing breakfast conversation in the morning.
The first day of teaching was surprisingly hectic despite it only being a half day. At first I thought the kids would be sweet, innocent, and adorable, but I soon realized that only the adorableness applied to everyone. The younger kids were much harder to keep quiet while the older ones would not participate. By the end of this day, I was incredibly exhausted, much more than I had expected to be. Being a teacher was by no means easy, as each daily lesson would have to be different as kids would become easily bored of the same activities, but at the same time, being a teacher was a rewarding experience. I saw the kids that I taught, develop and correctly answer the questions that they weren't able to before, and significant improvements day by day.
By the end of the two weeks of teaching, I had gotten very close to the kids and they even treated us to ice cream on the last day as well as exchanging social media and contact information. Even now, my kids still keep in touch and ask us how we're doing. I was so lucky yo be involved with this program as it was a once in a lifetime experience.
Wu, Didi (吳迪)
I'm glad that I had this experience. I applied to be in this program without any particular passion for it, but the two weeks I've spent teaching the children at Daguan and resolving interpersonal team issues have been very valuable.

The tour was rather unsatisfying in the beginning, but there were redeeming portions that mostly came from the museums. I wished we had gone to more museums, even if some of them had barely any English translations, the culture is honestly much more fascinating than places like Ri Ye Tang.
Siy, Miles Austin (吳晉煌)
This teaching experience has been an eventful time in my life. This program has opened my eyes to teaching as a possible career later in life. It has also made me realize how to assess children on skills and attitude levels. However, these kids have also shown me how they can problem solve and cooperate with each other. I've seen them problem solve as I spoke strictly English to them and they would have to try and express their needs in either actions or English. They would also cooperate as some of the more advanced students would help the other students in English. This program has also facilitated new friendships with the students and other aid members. These new friendships will last a long time because of the long exposure to each aid member. Furthermore, I have met people from throughout the United States because of this program. With the help of the other aid members, teaching became a very fun and impactful experience in my life. The fulfilling experience of teaching these Taiwanese students English has encouraged me to explore other programs that offer help to children in foreign countries. Therefore, this summer aid program has benefitted my experience and knowledge of teaching.
Hsieh, Ariel (謝伃涵)
Leaving the Chientan Activity Center, I didn't have a clear expectation of how life would be at my elementary school. I obviously had the expectation of rural, but the only visions or "rural" I had were either a countryside with grassy plains and no store in sight or a village that wasn't really developed yet. I had forgotten some of the lifestyle in Taiwan since my last visit three years ago. Upon entering the city and arriving at the school, I was relieved that "rural" was just a small area with less stores and less distinct roads. There were three boba stores and a Seven-Eleven. The school looked very nice and the area my group lived, which was the library, was decent. However, my inital reaction to the bathroom was negative because there was simply a showerhead next to the toilet without any stall separating them and eight girls had to share it. The perk was that there were several mini sinks outside. Furthermore, at night, the outside air smelled like poop and many critters, such as cockroaches, bats, and geckos, came out. Despite this vastly different environment from what I was accustomed to, I eventually became used to it. The first few days were rough, but looking back at the past two weeks, I can honestly say this lifestyle was easy to adjust to with a little time. Other differences in lifestyle I noticed were that the students washed the bathrooms every morning and they brought their own bowls and utensils for lunch. What I found hilarious the first few times was that while the other teachers and I were using the sinks outside in the morning, the students washing the bathroom could see us in our pajamas, brushing our teeth and washing out faces.
Teaching the students was another concern for me besides lifestyle. I worried that the students wouldn't listen to me and my partner, or they would either be really awkwardly quiet or really loud and energetic. My class was very loud and energetic. The students' interest in the teacher surprised me because I didn't expect them to be so curious about us, constantly asking us questions. However, I realize that it wasn't weird of them to ask so many questions because we were clearly foreigners. From my experience in teaching the students, I learned that having some sort of routine is very useful in controlling the students. I did have some problems controlling them at certain times. The boys were very talkative and rowdy, and the girls were very sassy. I felt bad for having to "discipline" them by speaking harshly, but I realized that I needed to do that for them to respect me and my teaching partner. Regardless of their occasional naughty behavior, they were fun to teach and and I enjoyed awarding them with stickers and prizes.
The people at Hou Bi elementary school were so incredibly nice and helpful. They would always offer suggestions for improving our classes. They were also constantly taking pictures of us which I really appreciated because my parents could see what was going on and the pictures served as future memories. Our teacher, Cloudia, was incredible as well, helping us fight off bugs, making sure we had bug medication on our wounds, making sure we had snacks, and doing so much more.
Overall, the AID program really let me exercise and practice leadership skills. I was able to experience a different way of living, connect more with my heritage, and expand my view of the world as a whole.
Tai, Cassandra (戴岑安)
When I first arrived at the school on Saturday, I wanted to cry. First was carrying all my stuff up stairs to the school, and then realizing after reaching the school I needed to go up to the second floor to where me and my group mates were staying for the next two weeks. Next were all those many many mosquitoes and spiders and other bugs that were HUGE. Then there were all the renovations going on that often made the electricity go out for several hours and let these big bugs into the classrooms and where we were sleeping. However, the kids made up for everything. They were all very cute, had a ton of energy, and were mostly very well behaved (I taught 3rd graders). Even though I was tired everyday, I had a lot of fun teaching and playing with the kids. They were willing to learn and loved to play games and complete word searches. The two weeks flew by really fast, especially the second week. Before I knew it, we were all saying goodbyes.

Being a teacher was a lot more difficult than I thought. A PowerPoint that we spent 2 hours making only filled up at most forty minutes of class time. We had many unexpected obstacles such as rain and thunderstorms when we planned outdoor activities, so we had a lot of instances where we had to make up activities for a class period on the spot. Furthermore, there was a lot of level differences within a class of 16. While a few student could recognize and spell the colors of the rainbow, some other students didn't know their alphabet, so it was very difficult to keep all the students interested and entertained. Despite all the hardships, I had a lot of fun and will never forget this experience.
Chien, Ashley (簡嘉蓉)
This experience in AID has been one of the most interesting experiences of my life. I originally did not want to come to this program because I wanted to enjoy my last summer with my friends before we all went off to college, but I do not regret coming to teach these kids. They were all super cute, fun to be around, and intellectually curious.
Being a teacher was a lot more difficult than I thought, because you could never plan the lesson plan perfectly. If the kids learned too quickly, you could run out of activities and not have anything planned for a few periods. On the other hand, if the material was too difficult for the kids, you could have to completely change what you were teaching so that they would not feel too frustrated. Furthermore, it was difficult to plan activities that were both engaging and didactic. Our kids were easily bored, so we had to constantly create new twists on old games or completely new activities to allow them to review the vocabulary.
The kids were honestly the best part of this experience because they were all excited to learn. They tried their hardest to learn the vocabulary words or the sentence patterns. They brought their enthusiasm even when I felt tired. I formed connections with many, many students as I learned about their backstories, parents, and their personal lives. I was even able to become friends with students from other classes because they were friendly and came to visit me.
Overall, I will never forget this experience in Taiwan. I have come to Taiwan several times, but no other trip has been as exciting and new for me. Thank you AID!

Lui, Nick (雷柏丁)
It was a great program and I really enjoyed the experience to grow and learn as a person and a teacher. Throughout the program, I learned a variety of different perspectives, and it was different being in the role of the teacher than being in the role of the student. I met a lot of great friends during the tour, which allowed me to gain different perspectives from people all over the United States- some people I still keep in touch with!

The only bad thing about the tour was that my computer got waterlogged- but it's ok, accidents do happen and my counselors were very helpful in trying to assist me. Throughout the tour, I enjoyed the places we went (although it was very hot). Maybe it was just me, but the Dream Mall was so impressive! It was very different from the malls near my place, and the closest I've seen to that mall was Santa Monica's mall in LA.

Coming in late from FBLA nationals, I wasn't able to meet with many people during icebreakers, but it was ok- the sheer number of people made it easy for me to socialize.

All in all, it was a great program and the tour was great. From going to Tamsui to going to make fans at a paper factory, the activities were varied and one of a kind.

For next year, maybe try to give kids better expectations of what to set up for teaching? Some home preparation would have gone a long way for me.
Chow, Julie (曹于婷)
AID Summer 2016 is definitely one of the most unbelievable memories I have ever experienced in my life so far. As someone that just graduated from high school, this program was like the beginning of the next chapter in my life. I have been exposed to many new things that I would not have encountered back home in the San Francisco Bay Area. My connections have expanded as I have now made new friends from different states and different countries. Teaching the children as well as being around them opened my eyes to the world of teachers and parents as I began to realize the difficulties they go through in caring for them. It was so nice being able to play with the kids because they reminded me so much of myself, being such an energetic kid back then. Seeing them run up and smile up at me encouraged me to be a better role model to them. The teaching weeks have definitely changed me into an effective leader as well as a cooperative follower. Also, my Chinese has improved immensely through conversations with the locals, the teachers, and the counselors. I want to take the time to thank OCAC for creating an awesome program where students are not only contributing to disadvantaged parts of the community. Thank you for making my stay in Taiwan an unforgettable moment. I made so many new friends, who are now like my second family. This will always hold a special place in my heart as Taiwan is now my second home.
Hwang, Fan (黃凡)
During the precious 4 weeks I attended AID summer, I feel more willing to be patient in hard situations. This ability developed when I had to face Unexpected teaching problems, such as lack of explanation and also being unable to change the course of nature. Once I planned a class to be outside for physical activity it started to rain; the north west rain, it usually last for an hour, so my teaching group reacted by taking out few rules that applies to the field and modified it to fit indoors. Even though the first time proved painful but as we almost gave up on the activity and watch a movie instead, we saw the kids waiting patiently on the side, this really spoke to me because if the kids can react to the situation that way, then so can the teachers. Overall, I feel AID created oppertunities that can challenge my weakness and in addition to learning it created a positive -anxious feeling to see the students again. It places the students in a special place in my heart.
Rickard, Quinn (雷兆崴)
The first week was long and arduous work. While most of the talks and presentations were helpful, the time dedicated to lesson planning was a waste. I was not able to truly prepare a good lesson plan for my kids because I have never met them. There is no way to judge their skill levels in English.

My two weeks teaching was the best part of the trip. I taught at Heping Elementary. The teachers and aides were helpful and kind, and we had decent accommodations. Also, we were treated well on the weekends. Most of my lesson plans I made up that day or on the spot. This worked very well, because I could tailor make my lessons based on how the kids were feeling that day. I think they learned more English because of this.

The tour was exhausting and generally not enjoyable. The outdoor activities were hot, and we spent too much time waiting around and taking pictures. I never had enough time to sleep at night because I had to stay up late for the night calls. If we did less in a day or just had more time to freely roam and relax, I think the tour could be better. Also, the talent show should be optional and individual.
Wu, Stephanie (吳佩霖)
In the very beginning of the program, I was really excited and energetic about teaching kids. Training week for me, personally, was very boring and tiring. Each day was filled with presentations that I didn't find very helpful during the two weeks of teaching. I found that the scheduled time for creating our teaching plan during training week was the most helpful. That time allowed us to ask the teacher from our school any questions we had concerning the kids and the teaching plan. It was really helpful to have a teacher from that school there because it allowed us to get a feel for the kids' level of English before we even started teaching them. It allowed us to create a more fitting teaching plan for the kids that was both interesting and challenging. Besides the scheduled activities, the free time we had was very fun. I got to meet lots of new people from all over the world and actually become really close friends with some of them.
The teaching weeks for me were very, very difficult. There were a lot of times where we were ahead of schedule. For example, I planned to be teaching them new vocabulary for one period, but the students would be done learning the new vocabulary during half the period, so I would have to come up with games and other activities on the spot. Also, the kids in my class were all very shy. Only a couple of the students would actually participate in class, while the others just sat there. Even if all the kids had to say one sentence, some would refuse to say it because they were too shy. Honestly, teaching kids for eight hours a day for two weeks was exhausting. There was also definitely a language barrier. We were supposed to pretend that we didn't understand any Chinese, but it was really difficult to teach in only English. Even giving simple instructions with lots of hand gestures was hard for the kids to understand. Most of the time the TA's had to translate what I was saying into Chinese for the kids. All in all, I think these two weeks were the most tiring two weeks of my life. All the kids were very nice and cute though, so talking with them during breaks and lunch was a nice reward to being a teacher. At the end of the two weeks, I was both relieved and sad. I was relieved that I would no longer need to lecture kids in English and stay up late making sure everything for the next day was ready. I was sad though to leave all the kids knowing that I would never see them all together ever again in the same way.
Tour week was by far the highlight of my summer. It was super fun getting to explore the beautiful island and go to so many cool places everyday. It was also really awesome to connect with the other volunteers on our bus and listen to their stories and experience teaching at their school. By the end of this program, all of us became such good friends and had such strong connections. If I could do this program again, I would in a heartbeat :)
Yeh, Benjamin (葉盛翔)
The first time I heard about this program was when I was on a flight back to America. Summer was ending and I was leaving Taiwan to start college. The person sitting next to me just happened to have finished participating in AID Summer. He told me about the great opportunities that this program provides and the cultural aspects you get to experience. My parents were from Taiwan, however I never really understood the culture of Taiwan. I decided to apply for this program as soon as I was 17 years old.

This program gave me a lot of fun and positive memories that I will never forget. One of the moments I clearly remembered, was when Steven, our instructor, told us the students in Taiwan have a designated periods of time where they are suppose to take a nap! From elementary school to college, I have never taken a nap in school. My group members were all surprised when we heard of this. Another unique experience was seeing students separating the garbage at lunch. In my middle school, students will never do that! Usually the janitor or some less fortunate faculty is responsible for the garbage disposal.

This was my first time actually teaching a group of students, so, when I heard from Steven that our students are so shy that they won’t even ask questions in class, I was nervous of how I was going to get them engaged with the material. When I first met my group of students, Team B, I recognized, immediately, that they were a group of shy students. They are smart, but they won’t show you what they know. They won’t tell you what they want; they will only agree with you. However after the first week, I finally felt like they opened up to us and were willing to talk to us during our lunch break. Some of our students were seeking us out and asking us questions of what it’s like to live in America. Even though it was only a short two weeks, we were all already really great friends and it was really sad when we had to go. I hope that each and every one of them continue to improve on their English!

I really want to thank AID for providing me with this opportunity to learn about what it’s like to live in Taiwan. Even though it was really hot and sweaty, not to mention that it was also typhoon season, this summer was definitely an unforgettable one. I hope this program continues to provide opportunities to people like me and create connections between the students in Taiwan and volunteers around the world.
Lin, Yu-Hsin (林宇歆)
Prior to participating in the AID program, I have never left my family and the comfort of my home for more than a week. Prior to this program, I have never experienced living with seven strangers in every waking hour in another country. Prior to this program, I have not known what it was like to teach a class as a legitimate teacher. However, I have gained such experiences, as well as some valuable lessons, in these past three weeks.
In the Chientan Youth Activity Center, we eight girls aiming to teach at Shi Hu Elementary school were united after months of messaging on Facebook. Strangers at first, we quickly became comfortable with each other and tried our best to adapt to each other’s lifestyles. In this first week at Taiwan for the AID summer program, I learned many, many things. From finding out that some of us girls are lactose intolerant to learning how to apply correct teaching strategies in our classroom management plans; from creating educational posters from scratch and presenting them in front of our fellow teachers-in-training to strolling through the Shilin Night Market, my first week of this program was tiring yet exhilarating. Although some parts of the long presentations were informative, I felt that I could have retained more information if the presentations were in shorter chunks. Overall, there could have been clearer instructions from the AID counselors in this week so that we know exactly what was going to happen each day. Despite these setbacks, however, my first week of the program was still filled with happy memories. One such memory is that a peer lost her AID uniform after washing it, but because a friend from another teaching group happened to be talking with us at the moment the peer explained her situation, the latter’s shirt was eventually returned to her. Through this experience, I realized that AID is not just a congregation of strangers, but that it is a real family.
The first week of the program passed by, and before I knew it, we were on our way to the Shi Hu elementary school. As soon as I stepped into the school, I fell in love with it and its bright and colorful decor. We were warmly welcomed by the school’s staff, were settled into a classroom, and tried to accept that this would be our home for the next two weeks. And so began the two weeks of an unforgettable chapter in my life. In these two weeks, I immediately became attached to my students and quickly realized that teamwork is necessary to successful teaching. I learned that in order to effectively teach the kids, both teachers of the class must be able to work in harmony. There were certain moments of pure frustration in which I had a completely different goal in mind from the goal that is in my partner’s mind. On such school days, I would take time to discuss the issue with my partner and try to find a resolution that would most benefit the students. On the better school days, the whole day would go by smoothly in a comfortable rhythm as I engage the kids in the curriculum and my partner and I would teach in a complementary manner. One of the funniest memories I have of the teaching weeks is the day when my partner and I were playing a review game with the students. It was an intense round as students competed furiously to smack the correct English word that I described to them in Chinese. Finally, because I wanted to end the game so as to continue on with the rest of that day’s teaching plan, I asked the students from both team A and B to send up their best person to the front to compete in the final round. As the teachers, my partner and I already predicted who would be sent to the front. However, we still found it hilarious when our predictions were correct and when each team proudly sent up their best person to represent them in the last battle for victory.
Tomorrow is the last day of the teaching program, and I still cannot quite accept this reality. In these past two weeks, I have grown so close to each of the students that I know each one’s personality and preferences. One of my students loves to eat yogurt, another loves to take pictures on my phone, and another admires Stephen Curry with a passion. Each and every one of my students have left such a strong impression on my heart that I just know that I will visit Shi Hu elementary school again in the future. The memories that I have made with my students and my fellow teachers at this school are ingrained into my soul. Like the chorus of a song one of my student loves to sing, I wish that each kid’s future would not just be a dream, but that each would become a reality. And I hope that teaching them English in these past weeks has brought each student closer to achieving his or her own dream.
Tai, Christine ( 戴岑如)
Coming into this program, I was really excited to come back to Taiwan because it had been seven years since I had been to Taiwan. I did not expect all the work I had to put in. One main thing that I learned through this program is that teaching is hard. Like really hard. I had taught middle schoolers before, but teaching elementary schoolers was such a different experienced. I had to teach the group with the lowest level of English, so we ended up not doing many things that I planned. The levels and age of the students within my class varied a lot so there were a lot of fights… And the school hours were very very long. School did not end until 4, with a class meeting for about 5 minutes, and after that, there was a staff meeting for around an hour. Then we had to write our reflections for that day, complete the working journals, and prepare the class materials. I would always end the day very tired and wake up still tired. I could barely wake up on time, and when I got to school, my students were already mostly seated. It was really hard to keep all the students entertained the whole class period. However, we had a long lunch break which helped a lot. And all the places we were able to go made it seem like we were on vacation, and everybody treated us very politely and nicely.

One thing to be careful of is mosquitoes. Mosquitoes seriously made everything worse. Standing became really uncomfortable when I had mosquito bites all over my legs. I found that mosquito repellent doesn’t really work so I ended up wearing long pants most of the time, even though I still ended up with bites….

I must say, the living condition I had was a lot different than I was used to, but it was bearable. Overall, I had an amazing time exploring Taiwan, and I also learned how hard it is to teach, but if I had the choice to, I would definitely do it again.
Wu, Isabel (吳佩蓉)
Isabel Wu
Dashe Elementary School, Kaohsiung

After finding out that I was admitted to Taiwan’s AID program, I could not wait to get started. From April through June I would constantly ask my older sister, who had been in the AID program the summer of 2014, what to expect and what to prepare; physically in my luggage and mentally. When I finally arrived at Chein Tan for check-in, I was nervous and worried. A whole 4 weeks; a full month with complete strangers. It turned out that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Donatella, Daniel, Jonah, Justin, Amily, and Mindy made the best squad I could ever ask for. Not only could we have fun together, we made working and teaching fun too.
Despite a rocky start with the scheduling of the classes, we worked like a well oiled machine. Ashley, our teaching adviser from Dashe, gave us all the help we needed. She went way beyond the call of being our adviser; she become our friend and part of our squad. The second we stepped foot into Kaohsiung, Ashley took charge and never led us astray. Dashe Elementary became our second home. Although we had 94 kids in total, with about 31 students separated into Class A, B, and C, all of us teachers become fast friends with the kids. It was hard to control the children at times, but overall the kids were helpful, respectful and eager to learn. (It was a culture shock to see the kids offer to clean the classroom for us.)
The reality of the 2 weeks of teaching was actually 2 weeks of complete fun. It went by too quickly. From 9:00am to 4:00pm we taught, played, napped, and wrangled with the kids, but the fun didn't end there. We got to explore the night market of Dashe and many exciting places in Kaohsiung. It was really sad when we finally had to leave. I miss the kids and Dashe very much and hope to visit again in the near future. I would definitely love to come back and teach for AID again!
Pilcher, Lisa (王麗莎)
I am really thankful that I had this amazing opportunity to teach in Taiwan. It has been a tiring yet fun and rewarding two weeks. My amazing teammates and the incredibly smart and cheerful students made the whole trip worthwhile.

Before AID started, I was so nervous to be going on a trip for an entire month without my parents and with people that I hardly knew. However, when I met my teammates and we got to know each other, I realized that this would be the most amazing experience I had ever experienced. We became extremely close at 宣信國小 through bonding experiences, such as shopping at night markets, working on Powerpoints together, biking through the city, and hiking on Alishan. I'm so glad that I was able to experience this amazing journey with my teammates who I've formed such close relationships with.

The other amazing part of this trip were my students. At first, I was unsure of whether I would be a good teacher and if the kids would like me. Those fears quickly dissipated as my students eagerly volunteered to answer questions and hung out with me during breaks and lunch. I could not have asked for better, smarter, more hardworking group of students. They say that time flies when you're having fun. The two weeks spent teaching my students truly went past in a blur. Everyday my students came into class ready to learn and participate. Of course there were challenging times where the students would become rowdy, not participate, or disobey my orders. But I loved them all the same. I will miss all of them so, so much.

Thank you so much AID for this wonderful opportunity to volunteer and to influence children to enjoy learning English!

Jan, Tzu Yi (詹子毅)
Three weeks ago and drenched in rain, I hauled my luggage into my room in Chientan with no real expectations in mind. But after a week of training, two weeks of teaching, and three days of touring southern Taiwan, I am sure that this experience has been more than I could ever imagine. Although I was born in Taiwan, my parents and I immigrated when I was five and we only had a few opportunities to come back. Thus to have the chance of fully experiencing this small island in exchange of teaching English, I can’t be any more grateful. Forced in a new and constantly changing environment, I learned to be more independent and mature with my decisions and thinking, as well as learned to work more efficiently in groups and communicate easier with others. Having a group of close friends around me at all times has really made what I believe is the best part about AID. The process of getting to know one another over these past weeks formed strong bonds over jokes, excitement, and joy. I would have never gotten to know as many people, from my group mates to the staff from Da-Keng elementary, as I did in such a short period of time by myself. Even without all the awesome travelling and food, the experience is defined to me by all individuals I had the great chance of meeting and spending time together.
Huang, Lisa (黃筱雯)
Through this joyous trip starting from the beginning of the training week to the last day of teaching with my students, I had an incredible eye opening opportunity as I travelled to the urban center of Taiwan, Taipei, and the countryside of Taiwan. I am glad to have met the other teachers and bonded with them through this unique experience.
On our training days in ChienTan Activity Center, my fellow teachers and I were able to bond together as we slept in the same room and discussed about future lesson plans. We bonded as we stuck together 24 hours, 7 days a week. We went to a hot pot place to eat dinner one day, and I was going to crack open my third egg that I received from a friend. Since the previous yolk was not intact, I hoped that it was a good egg. To my demise, the egg was actually a rotten egg. The smell permeated throughout the room and everyone was disgusted by the smell. Instead of being a bad encounter that happened during our trip, it became a story that everyone could laugh at and became one of our funniest memories of the trip. Sometimes the most unexpected or unfortunate occurrences become entertaining stories to think back about.
One specific moment that is deeply engraved in my memory is the last day when we had our closing ceremony. During the closing ceremony, I was able to see the hard work that each class has done. The performances incorporated the vocabulary that was learned throughout the two weeks. For example, the beginner class sang a song about sweet potatoes which connects to the day we went sweet potato farming and planted the sweet potatoes. My class also had a shark song which incorporated our family terms such as mother, father, sister, brother, etc. I was happy to see that our hard work throughout the two weeks had payed off. The students sang and did the movements properly while smiling. At the end of the closing ceremony, everyone was very emotional as the kids gave cards to each of their teachers and as the teachers gave their speeches to the kids. Both teachers and students began tearing up as they reminisced the two weeks that we spent together. I will miss all the students and the room that I used. I will miss everything about shihu elementary, except for the bugs here.
The memories made during the training week and at shihu elementary will be unforgettable, and I am very thankful for this opportunity to go out and not only teach the students English, but also learn about Taiwanese culture and of the Hakka culture. It was lit.

Chen, Julie (陳永真)
My first week teaching at DaNanGuoXiao was my first teaching experience I would ever have. I did not know what to expect, and that was the first challenge I had to face. What if the students don’t understand what I am saying? What if the students are too rowdy? What if the students don’t like me? The first day we taught, the class was all very silent and I tried my best to keep the energy up. My expectations were far from reality. Although they seemed okay with me, I did not expect them to understand as little English as they did seeing the assessment and the way they responded to simple instructions. Thus, my teaching partner and I had to revise our entire teaching plan, as the words and sentences we provided were far too challenging to realistically teach. Day by day, class by class, we tackled challenge by challenge and worked to ensure that they could learn the most within the two week time we had with them. Little did I know that I would learn more from them then I would learn from myself. I learned to love the little simple things in life, like being able to experience cultures unlike my own. I was able to appreciate my family and their support of me. I was able to appreciate so much, I wrote a list in my notebook. In America, I was always caught up with what the future had in store for me, I never had time to reflect on my current situation and appreciate what I had in the moment. I did not use to like kids so much, but being able to teach students and see the way their eyes light up at every little thing, it made me want to be around them more. There is a saying that you can learn a lot from looking at everything through a child’s eyes. Why? Because they look at everything and appreciate it as if they are seeing it for the first time, and often times it is their first time. After getting accustomed to what we have in our lives, it’s too easy to take it all for granted. Thus, I learned so much. From the tour, I found myself interacting with people from not only different places, but also with different personalities. It was hard with some people, and it was easy with others. Yet, I learned to appreciate every individual because they taught me about myself and trained me to accept others as being different, being raised and having ideas formed from each of their individual unique upbringings. I got a small taste of Taiwan and it has inspired me to want to come back to learn even more, especially about the Aboriginal history and lifestyle. Before I came to participate in the AID program, I never ate white rice, and I never ate with chopsticks. Yet, I grew a liking for tea and Taiwanese cuisine, and it helped me appreciate the lifestyle that my parents and grandparents are a part of. I also learned to respect relatives I had long never been in contact with. Coming to Taiwan and participating in the AID program has helped me grow in the aspect of self reflection, cultural appreciation, and maturity.

Soloniuk, Alexander (蘇亞理)
I had a great experience teaching the wonderful and interesting kids at my amazing school, Jhongyun Junior High. I made amazing connections and thoroughly enjoyed mentoring the young English learners placed under my care. The host family we stayed wit was far more than generous and became close to family as the two weeks passed. I loved coming to Taiwan and I loved teaching at the school, I had an unforgettable experience. The bond between my fellow teacher, the students, and myself was the most important part of this program for me. On the first day of class, we were met with a sheer wall of blank faces, unwilling to take any action that might put them in the spotlight. I relished gradually breaking down that barrier until our students interacted with me on a level close to that of friendship. Games of ninja where all the students would band together to defeat us teachers, and dictionary where the students would cover the board in crazy drawings are some of my favorite memories of teaching. They marked points of breakthrough, where we grew closer to our students, and they grew closer to us. Finally, at the end of two weeks, we parted. It has been sad, I’m going to miss every single student from our school. But I know that it was just another great experience that AID provided me with. Ultimately, as 1 ok back, it is the relationships that mattered. More than the classes. More than the English. It was all about us, the kids, the staff, the teachers, the locals, and the whole of Taiwan. People are what matter, and that the most important lesson any teacher can learn.
Su, Andrew (蘇奕翔)
On this trip, I was randomly paired up with five of some of the most amazing people I have ever met in my entire life. Throughout the many years of schooling I have undergone in my academic career, I have never been a part of such a strong and cohesive group dynamic as I have in my C2-3 group here at AID. These five people offered me an endless amount of support, entertainment, and happiness, and I can’t even express in words how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to meet such incredible people. Part of the reason that we were able to work so well together is the fact that we all represented different facets of the entire team - a healthy consortium of extroverts and introverts, thinkers and feelers. C2-3 fully embodied the Chinese philosophical ideal of yin and yang - the fact that opposing characteristics are, in actuality, complementary rather than opposing. It is because of our differences that we were able to come together and successfully instruct our students.

The trip down to Ligang in Pingtung County was long and somewhat tense as we were attempting to travel down in the midst of a very heavy typhoon. We made it without too much trouble, and we were welcomed into our new home for the next several weeks - a modest church, inhabited by the pastor, his wife, and their children. The entire group was admittedly very skeptical when we first heard about our living arrangements, but in truth, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have it any other way. To say that the church members were generous would be an understatement. They went so far out of their way to ensure that every need or desire we had was met. My experience with the church family helped me understand just how far Taiwanese people are willing to go to show their hospitality. They were willing to take in six young foreigners who were complete strangers, and put a roof over their heads for two weeks while bending over backwards for them. I will always be eternally grateful for everything that they did for us.

Teaching the students was not quite as simple as I had hoped it would be. I was co-teaching with my partner, Quincy, and we had been assigned our class - the young students, those who were just transitioning from elementary school to junior high school. After the very first day of class, talking to the entire C2-3 group, we all realized our classes were very different from one another. The students in my class, being the youngest, were most unwilling to participate and were generally quite a bit more reserved and shy than the other classes. It was quite commonplace to receive blank stares and twiddling thumbs to any question directed towards the class. On the other hand, Lihan and Ethan’s class was the opposite - they had the older students, who were overly boisterous and loud. If you walked into their classroom at any given time, you would be welcomed with the sight of students chasing each other around, throwing objects around the classroom, and generally being difficult. Justin and Shannon, however, were right in the middle with their class - their class was very well-behaved, but also very willing to learn and participate.

Despite my students’ reserved states, I could tell that most were actually very bright students who were willing to hear what I had to say. It’s not often that they came across a foreigner in Ligang, let alone six very accessible individuals teaching at their school. As a result, I found that it was worth emphasizing teaching American culture and customs rather than long lists of vocabulary. Any teacher could teach these students how to memorize (which they were already quite proficient at), but how many Taiwanese teachers could offer these students first-hand experiences from an English-speaking country in perfectly spoken conversational English? Not many, especially here in rural Ligang. So, I based my lesson plans less so around terms, grammar, and sentence structure, and more so about improving speaking and listening abilities, appreciation of English and other foreign languages. Simply, I wanted to teach my students to take advantage of the very rare opportunity to soak up as much as they could from these six foreigners visiting their school.

After the two weeks of teaching, we were off to the tour week, which began in Kaohsiung and slowly worked its way up back towards Chientan. The tour was more than a little bit frustrating due to the obvious disorganization of some of the activities planned. Often times, it seemed as though the counselors knew just as little about the following day’s activities as the volunteers themselves. It was not uncommon for the itinerary of the day to be changed, and some days of the tour were entirely different than those written in the original plan. Additionally, many of the activities were allocated nowhere near enough time to sufficiently experience them. If I had known earlier that the tour was going to be so disorderly, I would have likely changed my mind about staying for it. Nevertheless, despite the problems, the good-natured behavior of all our fantastic counselors as well as the close bond within my C2-3 group made the week bearable and mostly enjoyable. I was able to see many sights around Taiwan, and despite the rushed nature of the tour, learn more about the aboriginal culture of Taiwan that I did not know about before.

All in all, I am very glad that I took part in the AID summer program. I believe that this program was very valuable towards opening up my eyes about more rural places around the world. As a future healthcare worker, I hope to have my sights set on reaching out to less fortunate communities, as it is in those locations that you experience the most generosity and genuineness from those around you. Thank you to all those who made this program possible, and I sincerely hope to see this program continue to prosper and improve.

Lai, Jenning (賴珍穎)
These past 4 weeks have been an truly unforgettable experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my teaching group, my students, and my fellow AID teachers. The first day of class was probably the worse day of the camp, my partner and I were completely unprepared, we were still trying to get a feel for the students levels and personalities, but we had came vastly underprepared and we made the mistake of overestimating our students. The varying levels of English in the class became a challenge for the entirety of the 2 weeks. The opportunity to teach my 5th graders has given me new insight as to my career path, I feel that even though teaching my kids were challenging, I have the abilities to become a teacher. The feeling of euphoria when my kids had fun during class is indescribable, I felt achieved that they were able to learn and have fun at the same time. I only regret not being able to learn how to handle the troublemaker in my class *cough cough* Alleo, and entice him to apply himself to English, I know that if he tried harder he could have been and above average student. If I had the chance to, I would definitely come back to visit and teach my Meinong kiddies English!!!
Villafuerte, Justin (韋嘉德)
AID Summer has been an interesting experience. It was somehow fun, exciting, stressful, and nerve-racking all at the same time.

Let's start with training week. The hotel we stayed in was rather nice. Even though there were six people in the room, there was enough space for all of us. The number of outlets was a little bit of an annoyance as there were six outlets for six people. If we brought a power strip it would have saved us from a few inconveniences. Also the hotel has the three prong outlet like in the US, but not everywhere does. That made it hard for my roommate to charge his laptop, but I was not affected. The wifi at the hotel is really bad when people are active. At random times, when people are not awake (ex. 5 AM), the wifi starts to work properly and is actually pretty good. The food is pretty bad and some isn't hot when it should be. It was okay for me cause all I did was eat enough and then right before bed check I had an instant ramen. The classes are a little boring, but useful when I was planning my own classes. Some teachers were much more interesting than others.

Moving on, it's as a little scary for me when I heard that I was staying with a host family because I didn't want to inconvenience them. Honestly, I thought I was unlucky to be staying in the home of someone I didn't know. I changed my tune, the second I met them. Their home was very nice and clean. They were really nice to my roommate and me. They were very nice to us and helped us out. The kids of the host family were really cute and fun to be around. It was fun to play with them and interesting to see them at school. My teaching partner and I did not have any of the host families kids in our class and I feel there were pros and cons. Pro: if the kids misbehaved we would not hear it at home. Con: we went into class not knowing any of the kids and we had to learn 15 new names. They took us out to eat almost every single night and we had an activity planned almost every night. From badminton to night markets to just hanging out at home, there was never really a dull moment.

Now in the classroom, it becomes a very different place when you are the one teaching. I had som experience with teaching, but it was never in a formal classroom environment. The first day was probably the hardest. Neither my partner nor I knew how to lead a class and the students were unresponsive as they were also very nervous. However, as time went on they opened up more and more and class became smoother. Whenever, the kids got too far out of line our TAs were a great help. They yelled at the kids so we didn't need to. All the TAs were really nice to us and could control the kids. One TA was so effective she sometimes scared me, and I knew she wasn't yelling at me. She was able to get the kids behaving again very quickly. When it came to class time, nothing got the kids more excited than games. It was fairly easy to review content through random games. They particularly enjoyed the flyswatter game (the teacher says a vocabulary word and the students would compete in teams of two to see who could hit the right picture first) and bingo. It was also good that we had some mainly for-fun games, ones that had an English aspect but were mainly just played for fun. We played Find the Leader--one student leaves the room and a leader is selected from the remaining students seated in a circle, the student comes back and has to guess which students the leader based on a series of actions that the leader must start and change--and Heads Up Seven Up. They seemed to enjoy watching Zootopia. Our school had a copy of the movie that was dubbed in English, but also had Chinese subtitles.

King, Cassandra (金景田)
Some students were more energetic than others so had to get all students involved and active in the activities.
When reviewing names from the previous day several of the students were shy but other students helped them overcome it without needing prompts from teachers.
Students were more open and energetic the third day even though they came nervous to learn.
Students really enjoyed the friendly competition during games and became more lively during them. The games also provided a reprieve from static learning.
The songs we danced had instructions as the lyrics but they went too fast for the students so we had to teach them the dance separately then dance it with the music after multiple practices.
Students were much more comfortable with the dance and song since they had done it multiple times. The students also enjoyed musical chairs with English music.
Students liked simple songs with hand movements and funny actions - made them more confident in what they were learning and doing.
Students had easily learned the new dance but after each time we practiced the dance, students quickly took the opportunity to take a break and goof off so it was a bit challenging to keep them in line and focused.
Students much more confident and comfortable with us and the material and English.
Had to energize them before the closing ceremony and encourage them to smile and have fun.

Chen, Jason (陳捷笙)
As a Fulbright scholar, medical student, and Taiwanese American, I participated in the 2016 AID program to further understand Taiwanese culture and contribute to the local community. My curiosity in my heritage gradually increased since my last visit to Taiwan six years ago, leading to my participation in the Princeton in Beijing Chinese language program last year. Even though my Mandarin improved, I felt like I still lacked much cultural knowledge about Taiwan. Hence, throughout the AID program, I sought opportunties to understand Taiwanese culture. On my first day at 柑園國中in 新北市, I was surprised as how respectful students were to the teachers. For example, they help us set up lunch everyday. I also learned about the 替代役system of alternative military service for young men. However, one of the most insightful lessons I learned was how to reconciliate and be proud of my Taiwanese American identity. I was blessed for the opportunity to be surrounded by individuals who valued understanding both Western and Eastern cultures. I would like to thank OCAC for providing this opportunity to 培養我的臺灣華僑身份. As I progress in my medical career I will continue to apply the lessons of outreach, education, and respect that I have learned throughout
this program.
Wang, Amber (王怡荃)
When my mother and family friend pestered me continuously throughout my junior year, telling me that I should apply for the AID Summer program to teach English to Taiwanese kids, I was unwilling to do so. I was worried about many things that came with getting accepted into this program such as: living conditions, getting used to Taiwan’s humid weather, the food, and just simply not seeing my family for a whole month. I tried to put off the whole process of applying until I finally realized that the deadline was approaching very quickly. I realized that if I didn’t apply now, I would probably be missing out on something that could be life-altering.
When I found out that I got into the program, I was super excited yet nervous at the same time. I was curious as to what school I would be assigned to and I didn’t necessarily want to complete the two weeks worth of lesson plan outlines. Fast-foward to a week before the program. I already found out that I would be going to Yunlin’s Wen Chang Elementary School and the website said that I would be living in a homestay that has a toilet seat, air conditioning, and a washing machine. I was unbelievably grateful for having these amenities, because my friend who did this program before me lived in the school library and had spiders the size of dinner plates in the school yard. I was just completing another summer camp program and d-day(the day I fly to Taiwan alone) was looming over me.
Arriving in Taiwan by myself was tiring and terrifying. But when I got to Chientan everything seemed to click. I became fast friends with my 3 other roommates who are all in the same teaching group as I am. The first week of training was super fun and I got to know many people. The first week was very rewarding because I got to meet so many people who are of Taiwanese descent from all over the world. My teaching group had 8 people total; 4 guys and 4 girls. The first week we were still awkward with the guys but soon after we all got along very well.
The school that I went to is Wen Chang Elementary School in Yunlin. When I first saw the children, I was intimidated because our teacher had one very important rule that all the teachers needed to follow, “Don’t speak English to the the children at all.” If I couldn’t speak to the children in Chinese to explain, how can I help them understand and learn English. But surprisingly, the children that I taught were all very smart and they were also very adorable. My children were very fast learners and my teaching partner and I also made sure that they had fun during the learning process.
Whatever insecurities and fears that I felt before the program disappeared during the two weeks of teaching. My life revolved around the kids, whether or not they were actually learning, making lesson plans, etc. It was definitely tiring, but seeing the children everyday and knowing that they are actually gaining knowledge was the best thing I’ve experienced in life. Everyday was a new adventure and I fell in love with Wen Chang Elementary School, all of the students, the school faculty, all my other fellow teachers, and especially the AID counselors.
The last week of tour was also super fun, although you sit on the bus for the majority of the time and they only let you tour at each site for a short period of time. But being able to just hang out with all my friends that I made through the program and seeing the beauty of Taiwan, made the super long bus rides worth it. The AID counselors were also super nice and by the end of the program I was bawling my eyes out because I didn’t want to leave anyone behind.
I am so happy that I listened to my mom and applied to be in this program because that one month has been so exhilarating. It’s a time where you can grow up and become someone better. Teaching someone something and knowing that they’ve benefitted from the hark work, effort, and time you’ve put into them is beyond rewarding. I know I keep repeating the same thing, but it’s all true. Once you go through this month yourself, you will realize that words cannot describe how AID will change your life.
Leung, Matthew (梁智恩)
This has been a great opportunity to give. Back home in America many of us are very privileged, with educational resources and programs. I learned that many of these kids did not have the same opportunities that we did in America, and I was glad to be able to broaden their knowledge in English as well as spark an interest in continuing study. When I arrived at the school I was not surprised to find little amenities and limited essentials. Although we did not live in luxury or even comfort, many of us had high hopes for the first day of class. We were surprised to find that there was a very big disparity in English levels, with some kids not knowing the alphabet and some being able to read and write paragraphs. Throughout the teaching weeks I learned to think on my feet and be very patient. I adapted and came up with activities for children who finished early and sat with others who needed additional assistance. I was happy to know that the kids had a great time learning and playing by the end of the camp and I was encouraged that they would continue to study English and put as much energy as they showed into all their studies.

Gong, April (江婉螢)
AID summer program, including the two weeks of teaching kids and exploring Taiwan on the last week,  was one of the best experiences I have ever had. It was a new path for me. Since I have actually never travelled alone before,  especially to a faraway country, this program helped me experience what it is like to live independently -- doing laundry,  spending money,  planning out my schedule according to the program,  and multiple other tasks. The two weeks of teaching kids was also a great experience for me as a teacher.  I had to learn how to deal with different students in a single class, and I also had to learn how to make learning interesting for the kids. Adjusting to the likes of every kid was difficult though,  but getting to know what each of them was like was nice. Not only that,  but also team bonding with my friends was the best.  Because our school was located in the mountains, our group bonded over two weeks of ping pong,  cards,  and monopoly deal. By helping each other and teaching kids together,  I've made many friends on this trip and laughed a million times at dozens of jokes. Tour week was an awesome experience, too.  I got to explore the different cultures and food they serve here. The aboriginal dancing and their costumes,  the temples we visited,  the Taiwanese food we ate, and the busy night markets we visited were all amazing. This whole trip is one I can't wait to tell my family and friends when I get back,  and it is also one that I'll never be able to forget. 
Lyang, Nora (粱珍甄)
I taught at ShuanShin Elementary school in Chia-Yi city. Before going to the school, I was worried as I wasn't sure how the students would welcome my teaching partner and I since we were both students as well and thought that our students wouldn't see us as teachers but as peers. Starting teaching, there were definitely some difficulties-- I was surprised by how little English my students knew. I thought that it was imperative for the students to know as much English as possible because it is one of the most spoken languages in the world. As the teaching weeks went on, my partner and I learned to adapt and change plans as needed, and to be flexible with our lessons. We also got to know each of our students on a personal level; which would help us with tailoring our teaching style from lecturing to interactive lessons. Overall, those two weeks spent at ShuanShin Elementary School were an unforgettable experience and I will never forget the memories and smiles shared there.
Vang, Phalen (王華玲)
AID Personal Reflection by Phalen Vang
The AID Summer Program has made a significant impact on my life in which not only was it my first time going out and experiencing the world, but it was also the first time my heart has been moved by the kind-hearted and motivated staff, students, and fellow AID partners in my region when I thought I was alone in a foreign country. Furthermore, the AID Summer Program has allowed me to further broaden my perspective on the world and understand how important this program is to children with disadvantages.
Reflecting on my experience from AID, one memorable moment from this program would be when I found a family within my AID group when I had believed that I had none. My Chinese teacher in my high school foreign language class had recommended this program to me with the reassurance that my level of Chinese was good enough to apply. With that mindset, I began to think that there were other kids like myself who weren't fluent in Chinese and had only learned in school. This assurance gave me the push I needed to apply for AID. What I learned, however, was that the AID volunteers that were accepted were in fact of Chinese descent or already fluent in Chinese. This realization had intimidated me as I began to question my ability to speak Chinese (I would break a sweat from just ordering apple juice in Chinese on the airplane). Even so, this program is the reason I was able to leave small town Fresno for the first time and explore the world. The fact that I myself am not Chinese, therefore a non-native speaker who relied on foreign language classes in school, played a key role in the language barrier towards my students and peers which heavily reminded me of how isolated I was from the program. Witnessing countless numbers of families coming to our school campus to drop off food and clothing reminded me of the hundreds of thousands of miles away my own family was from me, and the lack of Chinese I had compared to my fellow AID partners made me feel overwhelmed and embarrassed for not being able to learn more. The feeling of being lost in translation definitely impacted the confidence I had in speaking to my peers, and the feeling of being homesick further questioned the reason why I had been selected for this program. However, as the days passed and I had submerged myself in the language I found it easier to understand and speak a bit more each day, even if it was a simple phrase such as “see you tomorrow”. I am especially thankful towards the children were patient with me and accepting despite my limited vocabulary, which lessened the pressure of not being able to speak fluent Chinese.
During the program, I had caught a cold from a mixture of AC in our dorm, new environmental surroundings, and germs my first grade students had attracted from playing outside during break. Upon telling my school counselors about my symptoms, they had not only taken me to the doctors for a proper examination, but provided herbal remedies to soothe the soreness of my throat and ache in my head. While they pulled me from one of my lectures, a few students asked me why I was gone and when I had told them I caught a cold, the expression on their faces were filled with so much worry and concern that I could feel my heart grow ten times bigger knowing they were worried about me. That same day, my instructor, Anne Hsieh, had asked all of us where our family lived in Taiwan. Upon hearing that I had no relatives here, she assured me that I did have a family in Taiwan: the whole MiaoLi Shihu community along with my AID partners. She had told me that I was not alone in the program, but that I had acquired a larger circle of friends and family who share the same experiences in a foreign land to assist those in need. Understanding this message was important because I now understand how much this program has impacted my life.
Upon further reflection, this program has made me appreciate the advantages and privileges I acquire back at home while finding out humility and a newfound respect for the people around me. The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” most certainly fits the circumstances where I was situated as I witnessed elders around the neighborhood come early before school to clean the campus so that the kids will have a better environment to learn in, as well as children of all ages who play together with no problem at all. Students would come to school an hour early because they were eager to learn, while back in the states we would prefer to sleep in and ditch school. This program has allowed me to not only appreciate the opportunity to learn about another culture but to create another home in Taiwan filled with precious memories of love, respect, and humility. The picture collage that I have attached to this reflection is one with me and two of my students, Sheila and Ellen. On the left, Sheila and I are doing our class cheer. The whole class was too embarrassed to come up and dance with me, however Sheila raised her hand and was excited to try. This picture describes the usual feelings I had while in AID-giggling and laughing while we danced our class cheer and tried our best. On the left is a picture of Ellen and me on the last day of school. Our classroom had done a reward system and by the end of the two weeks she had won a tiny blue stuffed penguin keychain. She had played with the toy the whole day, and when I went up to her and asked what the toy's name was, she smiled and whispered, "You!" There are no words to describe the happiness in this picture that being in AID has given to me.
Lee, Monica (李亨菲)
The past month is AID Summer has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I first found out about this program back in 2013 and this year I was finally old enough to go. The first training week at Chien Tan was a little bit more tiresome because of being in classes all day and then having to prepare lesson plans at night. I got to meet so many new people and make new friends that week though. Even though the classes and training can get boring at time, I learned a lot about teaching the students and different strategies that could be used.
Since I was a incoming second year in college, I taught at a middle school. I was assigned to 大湖國中 in 苗栗. I didn’t really know what to expect from these students because the classes were not sorted by level, so we had a mix of all levels in every class. 大湖國中 was in a beautiful area and the weather was amazing; I thought it would be humid like Taipei, but it felt cool all of time even without AC. We did sleep in classrooms and we had to do a lot of adjusting to all the bugs and insects. The classroom that we slept in had a computer and projector as well as AC so we quickly adjusted. The shower was a long distance away so all the girls would walk to the shower together at night and wait for one another. As for our actual classrooms, they were only a couple rooms away from our bedrooms. There was no AC in the classrooms but there were fans and the weather was good enough that it was never too uncomfortable.
As for the teaching part, I never found it too difficult. We were not allowed to speak Chinese to them until the closing ceremony, so at time a language barrier was an issue but we would always find ways to communicate with them. Since I taught at a middle school the level was a bit higher. I often found myself having to make my lesson plans even more difficult because the students were getting answers and completing assignments too quickly. The kids will grow on you really fast and you will form amazing bonds with them through everyday conversations and interactions. Some students will be very shy and not participate, but you just have to make some fun activities that gets everyone participating. At大湖國中, not all of my students were actually students of大湖國中 and a lot of them were from other schools in苗栗. It was a bit difficult because some students would be left out and then some were very cliquey. If you play some games and put them in small groups during class they will quickly become friends.
My group was amazing, even though we only had seven people we always made the best of every situation. We would all help each other will lessons plans and power points everyday after school. While we were teaching we would always get along with each others students and we were always willing to help each other out. We shared so much laughter and tears, but I am so glad that they were in my group and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Saying goodbye to them was hard but I know we will talk all the time and see each other again. AID Summer 2016 is one of the best experiences I have ever had. Getting the opportunity to meet people all over Taiwan and making so many memories was unforgettable. Being able to teach students in Taiwan who may not have the chance to learn English from a young age made it so worthwhile knowing that I was able to help them and make an impact on their lives.

Hsieh, Elaine (謝依蓮)
After staying in Taiwan for a month to do this program, I learned a lot about myself and Taiwan. This was a really eye opening experience. I made unforgettable friendships with many other volunteers that I would not have been able to make otherwise. While the first week in Chientan was tough since we were stuck in Chientan the whole week just learning how to teach, it helped my group bond more as we were forced to do things like play cards to order to pass the time. I was surprised by how energetic the kids were throughout the whole day because I often found myself very tired while I was teaching. The tour helped me learn more about Taiwan and its history. It was also a fun reward for teaching the children for two weeks, although it was very sad when we had to leave the school to go on tour. It was even sadder to leave my group because we had become so close to each other and made so many great memories together. I am definitely glad to have attended this program as it has allowed me to make many great memories and friendships.
Hsin, Peter (辛曉光)
After two tense weeks of non-stop teaching and a sight of teary red eyes from the children as they leave one by one, I felt like my heart was ready to burst. The 2016 AID Summer Volunteer Program was truly one of the most meaningful and fulfilling volunteer experiences to me. Being able to teach cute children in a rural area while learning about Taiwanese culture, what else could you ask for? Without the first week training at Chien Tan, there was no way that I would be prepared to teach. However, even though we learned many concepts about teaching children English from how to get their attention quickly to how to motivate them to learn, actually teaching during the 2nd and 3rd week of this program was a lot more difficult. Honestly, it can be so frustrating sometimes to not speak Chinese to my students when they do not understand what I am saying and I have to admit, I have given in numerous times. In addition, kids at this age with very limited attention span have gotten on my nerves countless times with their noisy affinity and misbehavior. However, as I got to know the kids better and vice versa, things got better and I mean a lot better. Classes became much more fun since we got to do more activities in the same time span and this means more time for games! At the start of first two weeks of teaching, there was no way I could have imagined my students crying about us teachers leaving. Same went for me, I never thought I would miss groups of kids who frustrated and caused me countless instances of trouble. Lastly, I would like to thank the Sponsors and Administrators of the 2016 AID Summer Volunteer Program for giving me such a wonderful and fulfilling Volunteer experience in Taiwan.
Lin, Hsiu (林修如)
The time I spent at AID was priceless. Not only was I able experience new cultures and meet different people, I was also able to truly understand how simple my troubles were compared to the troubles of my students. I learned during my time teaching that my life does not revolve around the internet or the television. At 山頂國小, I taught 5th and 6th grade students about American culture, the difference between American culture and Taiwan culture, and more. For example, we would ask students how much money, let’s say, a paper cup costs in America as compared to Taiwan.
The students at the school were fun to teach. They were smart to start off, curious to learn, and quick to catch on to vocabulary. With these three factors, teaching becomes fun. Even though there were times when I thought the kids were annoying, I love each of them dearly. They each have so much potential to learn about English. At first they did not know how to think creatively by themselves, but after giving them many “look at the picture and write a story” prompts, our students started to open up. From my students, I learned a lot of Taiwanese (a lot of swear words to add on, sadly).
AID was a fun experience in general. Teaching Taiwanese students taught me that all children are sweet and adorable. However, without a supportive education network and teachers, sweet children can turn into not-so sweet students. AID has taught me that schools are the safety umbrellas for students as they grow up and turn into adults, and it is up to the teachers to lead children to their desired road.