2017 AID Winter
志工感言 (Reflection) >> Vancouver
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Wu , Vivian (吳怡安)
From the day one culture shock, unfamiliar faces and environment to waking up at 7:44 everyday in the morning, getting delicious breakfast, seeing the lovely children in the morning and spending around six hours a day with them, I can say that I have learned a lot from this whole experience and it surely have impacted me in numerous ways. From feeling skeptical to comfortable actually took less time than I expected, I guess it was because of the people in this little village, especially the students. They are all so outgoing and kind therefore, it really warmed up my heart making me feel more at ease. Seeing what the locals are doing here, and the completely different lifestyles and living conditions, it really opened my eyes and it taught me that I should focus on the positive things in life, and also appreciate the little things in life. Although the living condition is not ideal, but I did become a lot braver due to the weird creepy crawlies I have encountered for the past two weeks. I also learned that sometimes you just have to utilize and work with what you have, for example, not being able to go to a gym was a struggle but I learned that even without a gym it is definitely possible to stay active by playing outdoor sports with the local kids in the burning weather and forming a bond with them. Being away from the big cities is indeed the most difficult part, there is really no where to go but I did learn to cope with the boringness by seeking my own entertainment, one of them is going to 7-11 after dinner with my group . Having this opportunity to teach actually made me reminisce about my younger self wanting to become an English teacher when I grow up. Now here I am, being able to experience a little bit of that and I can say that I am pretty fond of it. Who knows, maybe one day if I decide to change my career path I might come back to Taiwan to teach. I just want to thank everyone here in Taitung Dawu for the great hospitality, warm welcomes, memorable meals and of course the love and support. Last but not least, a deep thank you to my beloved pupils for being such an exciting and energetic bunch to teach. I will forever cherish this unforgettable experience, so long, Taitung! You will be missed.
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Hung, Jasper (洪貫瑀)
Patience is the key to success! My first impression about this camp is one that is not worth reminiscing. However, through ice breaking games and many embarrassing truth or dare that our pingtung squad plays, we develop a special bond. During this trip, my knowledge on aboriginals and Taiwanese Americans drastically increases. I am proud to say that this camp is worth it and it is a milestone and a once in a life time experience that we will never forget. After one month of blood and sweat, my hard work paid off and I have become an expert teacher. Although there are bumpy roads and arguments along this unforgettable journey with my fellow AID members, I am grateful to meet seven wonderful people from around Canada and the United States. They enlighten and amaze me with their own bizarre stories and talents; furthermore, they keep me sane through the two weeks of teaching while making me happy. I learn useful techniques about teaching and experience people’s life up in the mountains in Timur Elementary School in Pingtung. The people in the school help me realize the importance of the English language and impress me with their determination and enthusiasm on learning English. My patience through this one month journey grant me the rite of passage into the real world as I am headed to university with all these new profound knowledge that I have gained during my time here. I believe this trip has prepared me well and my patience will assist me to succeed in the future.
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Wu , MIndy (吳蒂)
First of all, I would like to thank the Aid Program coordinator for giving me this one in a life time experience. When I first applied for this program, I didn't know what to expect and didn't know what I was getting into.
The first day of teaching, my partner and I was extremely nervous in that we had minimal experiences in managing and teaching a class of 31 students. Moreover, unfamiliar faces, the language barrier between us and the students brought upon more obstacles that we had to face. However, as time went by, the students started to open up to us and we slowly created a special bond. During break time, the students would run up to me and tell me about their lives at school and home. After, they would pull me outside and I would play on the playground with them laughing and smiling. When it was time to say good bye, we all cried. It was hard leaving the students after all the fun and memories that we created.
Although I was the teacher, I first treated them as students than friends than they were like family to me. Needless to say, being a part of this wonderful journey surley changed my life and brought on a new experience for my students.
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Tsai, Lilian (蔡妮諺)
The 2016 Aid Summer Program in Taiwan was really memorable as it exposed me to so many different aspects of teaching as well as the environment of meeting so many people and having the cooperate and come up with something good for the students. Although the first week at Chientan was a little scary since everyone was strangers, as our group grew closer, so did the ability of giving advice and forming a stronger bond. The two weeks at our school, Xin-Gang, was definitely the best part of the program. We were thrown out there not knowing what to expect and were pleasantly surprised at the joy of seeing the students everyday and playing with them during break times. Being able to say the students improved even a little bit by the end of the two weeks is a proud moment and every day was filled with something new and exciting. I think the students were a huge role in making our teaching days packed with happiness and exhilaration! At the end of the day, the students were the most important and seeing them happy was worth staying up late to prepare the lesson or having to keep them under control and listen during class. The bond that formed between our group was also something that was really special and it was amazing that we lived with one another for a whole month! The tour at the end was a good way to let the stress out and even though we got roughly 6-7 or even less hours of sleep every day, having the energetic counsellors on the bus made it seem a little less tiring. Overall, this program has taught a lot to me and it really is once in a lifetime opportunity so I am glad that I was able to participate in it. Also I'd like to thank all the counsellors, teachers, and organizers for making all this happen! It really was one of the best summers I've ever experienced.
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Chang, Betty (張靜如)
As the slideshow of photos began and the song “See You Again” blasted through the speakers, emotions overcame me and my eyes started to well up; soon enough, all eight of us volunteers were crying uncontrollably. We were going to miss these naughty yet loving children.

Over the short span of two weeks, I became close friends with my students but it did not start out that way. On the very first day, both teachers and students were nervous. In particular, I was anxious because I was not sure how to communicate with the children. I am fluent in Chinese but Rita, our teacher, did not allow us to speak Chinese. She claimed that this English environment would allow the students to improve quicker. As my group members and I had predicted, the students would stare blankly at us as we struggled to explain everything. However, we adapted and persisted. We mostly used our hands and body language to explain with the occasional help of online resources such as google translate or images. Thus, we were able to overcome the language barrier.

In addition to the language barrier problem, the children could be very frustrating at times. Filled with energy, they always wanted to move. They begged to go outside and play and since they had short attention spans, they would digress from the main topic. Sometimes they refused to listen and revolted. Fortunately, the children were obedient if there were prizes and incentive involved. For instance, we would give them less homework if they practiced their closing ceremony performance really enthusiastically. In another case, we would give them candy or chocolate for raising their hands and participating.

If I were given the chance to participate in this program again, I would definitely sign up. I have learned so much through AID Summer 2016 and I have definitely matured. Through this program, I have learned how to be independent from my twin sister. My sister, whose name is Amy, and I are very close and we do everything together. The two weeks we were separated was the longest time we have ever been apart. I know now how to complete things on my own. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this experience and I am so grateful to have been a part of AID Summer 2016: I developed as a person, I built new relationships, I was given a chance to improve the lives of children, and I have learnt to appreciate the beauty of Taiwan!



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Chang, Daniel (張擎天 )
The AID program has been a wonderful blessing to my life in many ways. Not only has it taught me more about the Taiwan culture, it has also opened my eyes to the nature of young children. If anything, I have learned two things during my experience in AID. I learned problem solving, and confidence.

Firstly, I have never taught children as old as 4th grade and this alone has taught me so much that I could have never expected to learn before coming here. In the first few days of teaching, I was very shy and uncomfortable leading the kids. I felt that every time I said something, the children would judge what I said as I was lacking self confidence. As the week progressed, I slowly gained more and more experience and started to be a lot more confident in my teaching and leading. At the end of the two weeks, I felt completely confident in my leading abilities as I saw the reaction of the kids towards me. Overall, my confidence has grown farther than I could have imagined in the past few weeks.

Lastly, my problem solving skills have drastically increased. Near the beginning of teaching, I had a lot of trouble dealing with naughty children because I was too shy to discipline them. However, over time I learned that discipline is necessary for cooperation of children of this age. In conclusion, my class has taught me much about handling situations.

All in all, the AID summer camp has taught me more than I could have asked for. The skills that I've learned and the friends that I have met will last a lifetime.








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Pan, Ariel (潘敬)
I first heard of AID through some friends who have completed the program before. At the time, I wanted to sign up because I have always enjoyed teaching and would like to volunteer in Taiwan. Never did I expect AID to be not just a teaching and sightseeing camp, but also a month of learning from my students, teaching team, teachers, counsellors, and the places I visit.
I only truly experienced the kindness and compassion of Taiwanese people after I visited 建新國小 in 彰化. Everyone I met, including parents, teachers, and students, welcomed the group into their collective family with open arms. I have to admit that not everything I witnessed was perfect, though. Amongst the students who were fast learners and always happy to be in class, there were quite a few whose families could not provide them with supplemental education, and those who did not have many opportunities. I really enjoyed the teaching process, though, from preparing the lessons to delivering the lessons. So, the two teaching weeks were bittersweet in that I loved being around the students, but I was also unable to truly help some of the students beyond a couple of summer lessons.
Tour week was lots of fun as well, and it brought me to many places that I haven’t yet been to in Taiwan. The bus counsellors (Tim and Blair from bus A) did an awesome job keeping the energy up, and keeping the group on schedule. Some of my favourite places that we visited are華陶窯, 十鼓文化村 and 九族文化村. Both of those places had a welcoming atmosphere, and the staff members were all incredibly friendly and open to questions. I really liked seeing how some of the grounds were built solely by the people who saw potential in the land, and how these people put in so much creativity and emotion into their work. I loved learning about aboriginal culture and history as well, because all of that is a part of my own history even if I am not of indigenous background. The only part of the tour that I did like as much was the change in schedule. I completely understand that things cannot go as planned sometimes, and I would have been totally fine with going by a different schedule if the group was be notified or perhaps given a revised printout.
The part that I was the most apprehensive about coming to AID was connecting with my teaching partners, but I was very fortunate in that they are all friendly people who have so much to bring to the table. Each one of us had different teaching styles and topics we wanted to focus on, but we did really well in cooperating and reaching a balance. We still stayed together as a group of friends even after we left our assigned school for the tour, which I truly appreciate. One of the most memorable parts of being with my teaching group is possibly the water balloon fight we had with our students. Even though the activity wasn’t really a lesson, it brought the whole school together and, hopefully, closer.
Many, many thanks goes to the organizers of AID, the counsellors who dedicated their time and energy to making the camp possible, and all the volunteers who made up the program. 

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Chang, Amy (張靜芳)
Although this program lasted for a month, it felt as if it had happened in a blink of an eye. When I first arrived at Chientan, I was nervous as I did not know what to expect. The counsellors greeted everyone with warm smiles and made sure we knew exactly what we were supposed to do and where we were supposed to go. During the first night, I met the members of my group. They were all really friendly and we all became friends very quickly. The rest of the first week consisted of many lectures and group activities. My teaching group and I made sure to focus on our teaching plans and made sure to practice for the opening ceremony. At the end of the week, we packed our bags and made our way to Changhua, where we would be teaching for the next two weeks.
Meeting our students was a little bit scary at first, but as we started teaching we were able to get to know all of our students on a more personal level. All of our students had learned some english before so we gave them tests to assess each student’s strengths and weaknesses. During the two weeks of teaching, we focussed on a different topic each day (ex. food, animals) and tried to review what we had learned the previous day. We learned that each student learns differently and that it is important to slow down and review information instead of trying to teach too much at once. The students were focussed most of the time; however, there were moments when they did not behave as well as we would have liked them to. During these moments we made sure to encourage them with little incentives or we had to ask for our teacher’s help to calm the students down. The two weeks of teaching flew by and by the end of these two weeks we had grown very close to the students and did not want to leave them.
The last week of the program was spent touring Taiwan. I was able to learn so much about Taiwanese culture and was able to visit many different places. On the last day, many members of my group, A2-7, had tears in our eyes. We knew that the program was coming to an end. My group started out as eight strangers from different parts of North America to becoming a family. We share many memories that I will never forget. From inside jokes to bonding with students to playing cards at night, we made our time at the AID program truly unforgettable.
Thank you AID Summer 2016 for such an awesome opportunity.
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Pang, Wing Shun (彭穎淳)
I can’t believe these past few weeks of teaching have flown by so quickly! As I wrap up my time here with AID, I’m leaving as a changed woman. Not only have I overcome the initial shock of staying in a rural area, I've succeeded in dealing with the challenge of managing and engaging a classroom, without ever having had experience teaching or working with kids.

I won’t lie; arriving at Da Wu Middle School in Da Wu Township (大武國中) right after Typhoon Nepartak had hit Taitung county was difficult. Whole tree branches, leaves, and water were everywhere when we stepped off the train. The school was a moist mess of debris.

Seeing our dorm for the first time was a shock too. To be frank, it was a dark, rundown building covered in dust and peeling paint. My room had 1-inch thick mattresses, a leaky toilet, duct-taped cracks in the rusty bathtub, no washroom mirror, and no Wi-Fi. The boys’ dorm was worse, due to flooding, leaking, and mold from the typhoon. For a while, we even shared our room with a mini ant infestation and a huge spider (until my roommates killed it!). Thankfully, our fan and air conditioning were our saving graces. I realize now that even I, a city girl through and through, was able to adjust to all of this. Alright, maybe not the creepy crawlies part, but it's amazing how much one can adapt.

I was exhausted each day after teaching, but my lovely students made all the sweat, tears, and late nights spent adjusting the lesson plan and making PowerPoints, so worth it. The greatest reward was observing how much more they dared to speak English at the end, compared to the first day, when almost no one spoke up or raised their hands to contribute. One of my favourite moments during teaching was whenever I asked them to make a sentence for me using what we learned in class and they did it, but also added their own structures or their own vocabulary.

Learning a language is all about experimenting, and I’m extremely happy that I’ve been able to encourage them not to be ashamed of trying and making mistakes. Every time they went beyond what I asked, whether they tried to create more complex sentences orally or in writing, my heart lit up with pride. Above all, the students are the ones who made Da Wu, this tiny unknown coastal town of a few hundred people, special for me. I love you guys!

Special shoutout to my teaching team with whom I suffered and overcame all the Da Wu challenges: May老師, Peter our military boy, Austin gym, Austin penguin, Vivian Ms.Eat-everything & my fellow Vancouverite, in-love-with-Louisiana LiAnne, and Megan my trusty roommate/seatmate! I will miss all of you. #notlikethis!

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Hsu, William (許崴)
In AID summer 2016 I not only gave back to my home country but I also gained much from this experience. Teaching in Meinong Elementary school in the Kauhsiung county allowed me to experience an entirely different culture that I never knew existed before the program. Making the hakka tea called Leicha, eating hakka dishes, donning hakka attire and painting paper umbrellas were only part of my experiences in the hakka town of Meinong. Teaching grade 4 in Meinong Elementary was by far the best part of my experiences in Meinong. Teaching, playing and talking to students that I myself have taught is unlike anything I have ever experienced. The best part was when my own students took my fellow teachers and myself to the Meinong night market; that was the last day I taught those kids and the best day of the trip. The supervisor and the staff of the school were also very hospitable and generous and I deeply thank them for what they have done for us. Another aspect of the trip that surprised me was the pure nature in Meinong. During my nightly excursions to the bathroom I would often come upon what us city dwellers would consider oddities whether it be owls, praying mantis, colonies of bats or giant snails, all amazing things that I have always wanted to see in the wild with my own eyes. I greatly enjoyed teaching in Meinong and deeply wish that I will be able to return to that town again one day.
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Tuan, Julie (段佳利)
The AID Summer program has been one that has provided me with one of the most unforgettable and valuable experiences of my life so far. As a newly-graduated high school senior that is headed off to university in the fall, this trip has given me many firsts: my first time flying alone, first time being in a foreign country alone, and first time living with roommates. The latter was an especially fulfilling experience, as I fortunately got along genuinely well with the group I was assigned to (shout-out to A2-6!). I did not realize how much I enjoyed living with my group with minimal adult supervision until I returned to Canada, and will never forget the nights that we spent together working on lesson plans or just hanging out in general, as well as the days spent teaching the children. The bonds that we formed were unusually close for such a short amount of time, but that is because the situation is unusual – in AID, you are basically isolated with your group for the closest two weeks you will ever experience, as you live together and have every meal together. I probably spent a minimum of ten hours a day with my group (more with the girls as we slept in the same dorm) and I loved every second of it – especially the after-school 7-11 runs. I still miss my group every day and will cherish the month I spent with them in Taiwan.
While AID is a wonderful program not only for the teaching aspect, I do recommend that if you are not willing to put in your full effort for the students, this is not a program for you. I myself love working with children and as I am planning to become an English teacher when I grow up, I greatly appreciated the hands-on experience and the things I learned during the teaching weeks. While the training week at Chientan had some useful lectures, I do believe that the majority of what you do during the actual teaching weeks does not utilize most of what is taught to you. Nonetheless, I left Taiwan with a new respect for all the teachers and mentors I’ve had in my life after going through my two sleep-deprived weeks (due to preparing lessons, games, activities, worksheets, and occasionally tests for the students). During the closing ceremony on the last day of teaching, I could not have been happier with the results of the past two weeks – some students were actually crying at our departure, and thanking us for having taught them.
The tour week during AID was fun mostly due to the people (shout-out to our amazing, funny, and energetic pink-shirt tour guides, Arissa, Polly, and Kelly!), not the locations. I enjoyed going to the night markets, parks, and museums but the tour itself was disorganized and poorly planned. I will never forget the hour and a half drive to a ceramics museum that we spent thirty minutes at. At some points, none of the counselors even knew exactly what the schedule was and were unable to tell us about where we were going. However, I do still recommend the tour to everyone as you get to have fun with your group and other people for a free week in Taiwan!
In closing, AID could have provided more interactive and engaging lectures during training and planned the tour better. I could not have asked for a better group and better experience in Taiwan and am not exaggerating when I say this has been one of the best summers I have had so far. If you love working with children, volunteering, don’t mind the hot and humid weather, and are looking for a fun trip, I would definitely recommend this program to you.
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Su, Josey (蘇加妤)
This is definitely an unforgettable summer. Through the AIDS program, I have learned a lot more about Taiwan’s culture and history. I got lots of culture shocks, met a lot of people, made new friends, and enjoyed tons of delicious foods. At the night markets, I would always hunt down winter melon juice, bubble tea, deep fried sweet potato balls, and takoyaki. The best part of this experience for me is definitely the two weeks that I spent teaching children English. It is an unforgettable memory that will be forever engraved into my memory. The children were a pleasure to teach, and I made a significant amount of memories with them that causes me to laugh every time I recall them. I am the teacher for the children, but I also learned a thing or two in Taiwanese and Chinese from them. I also thoroughly enjoyed teaching the kids how to play chess during the break times. And I was really surprised at their hunger to take the victory away from me. Even after I left Taiwan and came back home to Canada, the kids added me on Line chat, and we still keep in touch. And of course I message them in English- that way they are still keeping in contact with English and frantically using Google translate. I have become much more mature, and experienced with teaching and handling kids through the AIDS program, and I wish that this opportunity to volunteer to teach kids English in Taiwan wasn’t limited to once per person. I really wish that one day I can go back and visit the kids I taught.
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