2018 AID Summer
志工感言 (Reflection) >> Los Angeles
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Duan, William (段茂元)
The AIDS program has been an unforgettable way to spend my summer. It really opened my eyes to the struggles of children trying to get an education in a developing country, and made me rethink what I prioritized in life. Overall, it was a great experience; our mentors and hosts at Shan Ding Elementary School were very welcoming and made us feel at home there. During our time at the school, I learned a lot about what it means to be a teacher. I realized how important a healthy dynamic between students and teachers are to an effective learning environment. It was difficult at first because we didn’t know the students well, but as we learned more about each other and built our relationships, we became much more efficient teachers and grew very close to our students. The two weeks I spent with the kids have helped me grow a lot as a person, helping hone my communication and time management skills (among others). I hope that the brief 10 days we spent with the students have made a positive, lasting impact, and I’m very grateful to the AIDS program for giving me the opportunity to come to Taiwan for this experience.
Lin, Stella (林育璿)
Because of AID Summer, this has been one of the best and most memorable summers that I have ever experienced. Throughout the program, I have met many new friends and created incomparable bonds. I've met amazing children from Houbi District in Tainan. However, aside from these relationships, I have also had the opportunity to learn life changing lessons.

AID has greatly impacted me and shaped me into a better person. By experiencing the life of an elementary school teacher for just two short weeks, I've gained so much respect for my own teachers. Preparing lesson plans, teaching a class, and being strict with my students has been an extremely challenging and tiring process. As a result, I am inspired by my own teachers who have to teach for longer than just two weeks, and still manage to teach their students efficiently and effectively.

I've become more grateful for not just my teachers, but also for the environment that I was blessed enough to be raised in. One of my students, Cherry, is only 10 years old. However, she spends her nights making steak for the little night market stand that her family relies on for a living. Her peers ride their bikes, having fun, and eating the steak for only 100 NT. Cherry is very playful and mischievous, but often doesn't have a chance to just be a kid. I am so glad to have been able to teach her about the importance of education and learning English. It is such a great experience to impact your students' lives in a positive way. I taught them English, and in return, I received gratitude for my own life.
Lin, Jubilee (林喜信)
Jubilee Lin

This summer has been enjoyable and I am glad to have spent it with the AID program. Through this program I was able to give back and learn from others while being able to experience Taiwan from being a teacher. Although it seemed challenging in the beginning, the days went well and it was cool to be able to be a teacher and see more of Taiwan than I could before if I didn't join this program. The first week was not too bad and I got to meet new people that were not from my group because we were roommates. That was cool because I got to meet other people from other states and also discuss with them their experiences teaching at a middle school rather than elementary after teaching at our respective schools. I am thankful to my teammates and others who guided us along the way. The counselors were also very fun to be around and helpful. There were many fun times our group had with the kids. The school our group taught at was also very supportive of us and helped us in whatever we needed. With the school's help, our group was able to have an enjoyable time and successful activities that we planned for the kids like Taco Tuesday or water balloon fights. The school also took us on trips outside of school, so that was a bonus. The tour week was also fun but also compact. Thank you to all that made this experience happen and hope that others would get to come to Taiwan to experience it themselves.
Yu, Mia (于可歆)
This program has been such a great experience for me. I had never been on a month long journey without my parents comfort before and this has been the best first chance. After teaching for so long here in america, I really enjoyed experiencing the differences in Taiwan compared to the American way of teaching. The students treated us differently and also acted differently in class. The lesson plans and teaching technique also changed depending on who the students were and how well they handled situations. I really enjoyed the people I got to go with and I am so lucky to have been chosen to participate in this program. The photos I added consist of one from the last week trip of the tour and also one from the school I taught at in Dapu, Chia-yi. There were many hardships and problems like fleas and scars from the bikes however, the experience that I gained from this opportunity has proven to be worth all the pain. I am very thankful to all the counselors as well for the awarding experience they helped support. I am also beyond thankful for the counselors that helped us at Dapu itself and how much she helped our group of 8 students in our journeys around Dapu and every night dinner and breakfast. I will forever remember this amazing experience and never forget how meaningful teaching these students have been. Thank you!
Gong, Steven (江耀宏)
I would say the AID summer program has been one of the best experiences of my life. To a graduating high school senior, the idea of spending 4 weeks in the HUMID weather of Taiwan and teaching in a rural area where there may not be air conditioning may not sound like their ideal last summer before college. I was one of these people; however, by the end of the program, I felt that my time in Taiwan was too short.

The program began with a week long training in the Chientan Youth Center where you meet your teaching partners and teaching advisor. Most groups ranged from 4-8 people and each group had 1 advisor. Personally, my group had 4 members In my opinion, the week at Chientan was the most painful and longest week during the program. The whole week is spent practically locked up in the youth center, though they do take you out a few times and there is time for family visits. The accommodations and food in Chientan were not too bad; however, the expectation for every group to plan out teaching plans for the next two weeks without knowing the level of the students they would be teaching was very tough for many groups, including mine.

When we left for our assigned school, I felt very intimidated and did not know what to expect. When we arrived at the school, my group and I were warmly welcomed by the staff of the school and our host family. Everyone was so kind and treated us as if we were VIP guests. On the first day for school, all of my students were a bit shy and afraid to use English. However, this dynamic totally changed by the end of the program. The kids were getting a bit out of hand by the end of the first week and it was difficult to manage them. In addition, it was a bit challenging to go "full immersion" to teach English because personally, I wanted to connect with the students and become like a friend to them and the only way to do that was to communicate in Mandarin. Though, as the program went by, I began to use less and less Mandarin in an effort to immerse my students in English. The time with my students passed by so fast and we were all devastated to say goodbye at a time when our friendship was just starting to blossom.

In all, I will never forget the memories I've made while participating in this program. It was definitely one of the best and most rewarding times of my life so far.
Doumaux, Laura (杜中安)
AID was a memorable experience which not only changed my mentality towards life, but also my personality and awareness of others. I went to Chiao-Yi Elementary School, and I miss the kids still, despite having left them last month. The kids there are some of the sweetest and most unique kids I have ever met. They are all so special and it broke my heart to leave them and see them cry on the last day. I bonded with all my group members and cried when they left. My friends that I met there have made a lasting effect on my life and we all still talk to this day. I was so sad to see them all leave because they made this the best month ever. The teaching process was long and tough. Making the plans were pretty difficult because despite how much time I put into them, they had to be changed once I got to the school to tailor it to what the kids liked. My students taught me so much about myself as I taught them English and encouraged them to push past the words "I can't." I am so thankful for this opportunity to be able to teach English to these kids and to meet the amazing people who joined AID.
Huang, William (黄雲天)
When I first heard of the program, I was a little hesitant to join this because of how long it would take. It basically meant half of my summer break was gone. But then I gave it a thought. I didn’t plan too much for summer break, and the last week of the program was a tour, so I decided that I would try it out. Eventually, I entered and our groups were given to us. We made a group chat and had a group call, but even then, our relations were still iffy. Only when we met each other in Chientan we started to know and grow used to each other. This group became one where I would have lots of fun in. one thing I learned from the program is that being a teacher is very different than being a student. We had to constantly change our plans for the next day, and even change plans for the next period sometimes. Teaching the kids was a great experience though, and now I know how hard it is to be a teacher. I hope that our time at the schools will inspire the children to take English as a useful language more seriously.
Lee, Joyce (李得琳)
During my time at AID, I learned a lot about life. I learned how to live on my own without the help of my parents and how to survive in areas far from the city. It helped me realize what things I should actually pack and what things I don't really need to pack when I go on a long trip. At the beginning, I really didn't want to do this camp because I didn't want to be so far from home for so long and meeting new people AND living with them seemed weird, but now I don't regret joining at all because it was definitely one of the highlights of my entire summer. When I first got to Dapu, I was really worried because I wasn't sure how I was going to survive the two weeks because we were in the middle of no where and the only thing there that reminded me of home was 7-Eleven. However, being with my group and being taken to fun and beautiful places on the weekends made everything so much better! I have made so many new friends here that I will never forget and so many wonderful pictures to show my family and friends back home. I gained so much more experience and knowledge through this camp and I definitely don't regret joining AID because I went from wanting to go home early to staying until the last day happily and on my own free will.
Lee, Caroline (李若琳)
This trip really was not what I expected at all. I taught at Nan Shi Elementary School in Taoyuan, and I was very surprised to learn how many of the students were so advanced in English at their age. In addition, I have also learned to improvise as things don't always go as planned. We expected our students to only know the alphabet and just several word, but it turns out that they knew quite a few vocabulary words and expressions. It was also extremely touching to see that the students really wanted to learn as they took he imitative to take notes and ask more questions. Gradually, as we repeat the same routine with the classroom English, the students began to understand basic English. In addition, it was exciting to get to know each student personally because some were very interesting. The host family is amazing! They made me feel like I was at home and treated us very well as if we were part of their family. The tour was a little exhausting though because majority of the time, we spent on the bus. In addition, some of the hotel accommodations were a little bad as there were no shower curtains or any barrier between the shower and the sink. The food during the tour was also disappointing as we did not really have a choice of what to eat. Perhaps, maybe we could have been let out on our own and pick our own restaurant to eat at sometimes with our own money. Regarding free time, I think we could have had more free time, so we could actually bond with our group mates instead of always just meeting them to prepare for the classes. Overall, I felt that this trip was very interesting and new as I have learned a lot during this period of time.
Lin, Matthew (林暘)
Joining AID was an unforgettable way to spend the summer of 2017. During the first week of the program, all the volunteers met in Taipei to meet each other and take training classes. We got to design teaching plans and activities for the students while connecting with our teaching groups.
My group and I were assigned to Shan Ting Elementary where my partner Eric and I taught third and fourth graders. The school was surprisingly comfortable and convenient contrary to rumors posted by prior volunteers. As soon as we arrived, we were met by the principle, teachers, and other staff members who welcomed us. They were kind and made sure our stay would be comfortable, providing us with luxuries including air conditioning and wifi.
Teaching the kids was easier than expected. The children were more advanced than we anticipated, which forced us to change our lesson plans. Fortunately, most of the children in our class, Class A were very cooperative and were willing to learn. It was a delight to watch the third and fourth graders learn and grow. Even though it was difficult to grab the children’s attention at times, we pulled through by immersing them in various activities.
Working with the other volunteers really taught me how to work well with others to achieve a goal. The children and staff members gave me a new view on Taiwan’s culture and people. Looking back, this was an experience that I will remember.

Tsai, Shauna (蔡怡妏)
This experience was truly an once in a life time opportunity a lot of people do not have a chance to have. After this service, I developed a whole new respect for teachers. Teaching is not an easy task. In the US, a lot of students do not respect teachers the way the students in Taiwan respect their teachers. And the fact that a lot of the kids in the US are more privileged than the kids in Taiwan and still take a lot of things for granted, it really made me look at things differently. Am I one of those who are just ignorant and stupidly annoying in the classroom environment? Am I one of those who are just flat out rude to elders who are trying to provide us education so we can have a better future?
One important lesson I learned from my kids is that to not care about what other people think about you or anything you do. As long as you love what you are doing, and believe in what you are doing, who really cares about what other people think.. Only you care about what they're thinking. You are holding yourself back. With this new mindset, I returned about to the States with a much clearer idea of what I am striving to achieve and who I am striving to become. The goals I had in life had become much clearer and I could start my journey with a clear mind.
Hu, Yong-Yi (胡永儀)
Wow. The four weeks spent at AID Summer formed the fastest, most fulfilling month I have ever lived through, and I would not trade this experience for the world. During the span of this program, I have seen so much, experienced so much, learned so much; it has changed my life for the better.

The first week at Chientan Youth Activity Center may not have been the most exciting, but it was fairly informative and kept us from feeling completely unprepared. The second and third week, however, was absolutely amazing. Teaching was far more difficult than I thought it would be, as I did not know how much English my students knew and some students were on drastically different skill levels, but as time went on and we got to know our students, the teaching process became smoother and smoother. It was also interesting to see how students in Taiwan acted differently than students in America; they would take off their shoes before entering the classroom and their waste sorting was impeccable. Furthermore, our group of six became incredibly close. Although we were stuck at school all day, we were able to find ways to entertain ourselves that allowed us to bond immensely, and there is no other group of people I'd rather hang out with 24/7. My only gripe is that two weeks of teaching felt far too short, and I can only hope their English improved more than my Mandarin. Although I had expected the tour week to be the most fun, it was not so, not because the tour was badly arranged (in fact, I was quite impressed by the amount of planning and organization required), but because the middle two weeks were so wonderful. Nonetheless, our accommodations were surprisingly good and it was nice to see a bit of Taiwan outside Chientan or Renwu Elementary School.

The friendships I forged, the new insight I gained, the respect I now have for teachers and the people of Taiwan leave a lasting impression on me and will forever change the way I view the world. Thank you to everyone who made it possible; it was an unforgettable trip.
Kan, Jacquelyn (簡佳儀)
I must say, from the moment I entered the 2nd Grade Classroom in Dapu Elementary School, I really didn't know what to expect. My fellow teachers and I had developed an extensive lesson plan for each day, which in the end we didn't exactly follow through with. It was probably during the end of the first period, that it made me realize how hard it was being on schedule as a teacher. There was so much that the students needed to learn in such a small amount of time. It honestly freaked me out on the 2nd Day, when the children were accustomed to our teaching style, and began acting like themselves. By that I mean they began giving attitude and trying to disobey every instruction given to them. Luckily after getting to know each and every one of my students, I was really able to get them to understand that I was there to help them. There were times when I straight up didn’t know when the students didn’t understand because they didn’t want to show their fellow classmates that they didn’t understand. So my fellow teachers and I encouraged the students who caught on quickly to help those around them.
Two weeks of teaching here at Dapu passed too quickly. I’m truly going to miss all the students, teachers, parents, and practically just about everyone I met. I’m really just truly thankful for being given this opportunity to experience teaching as well as learning about the various cultures in Taiwan.

Chang, Edward (張富華)
Participating in the AID 2017 Summer program was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. Despite being of Taiwanese descent, this was my first time visiting Taiwan. When I first joined this program, I had expected flowers and roses, however experiencing this program first hand made me realize that teaching isn’t an easy job. Even though I had thoughts like this, I tried my best to get through the teaching period and the torturous hours spent at 劍潭. Before I arrived at my school, I expected a horrid environment, but after seeing it, it was much better even without air conditioning in every room.
Teaching was sort of hard for my class because I was assigned class c, so many of the students were very young and obedient. I even ran into problems such as fighting between the students. After spending some time with them, their behavior had improved and such I enjoyed teaching somewhat.
The tour, the final week, was perhaps the best week of the program, however the constant rush was just like our experiences at 劍潭. I really enjoyed this program overall despite some of the shortcomings I had encountered and felt it was unique, rewarding, and satisfying.

Chen, Cathy (陳愷欣)
I really wish that this program could just go on a little longer. I made so many new friends and created so many new relationships with people that I really wanted to keep just a while longer. To me, one month was way too short. A blink of an eye and it was over.

At first, I was really nervous to come to the AID summer program because not only was it the first time where I will be in another country alone, but also be surrounded with people I don't know. As time went by though, my and my group, b3-3, which was bound to go to Beiye Elementary school, got to know each other a lot more and got a lot more closer. To me, this group is like my second family. They took care of me a lot and also created countless amounts of unforgettable memories with me.

Although the first week was very stressful and the following two weeks due to the continuously changing schedules and bed check and preparing for next day class, it was also fun because among all of those stress, my group still found some way to relax and play games and watch movies together.

Lai, Wan-Yu (賴琬諭)
After my three weeks of the program (I did not attend the tour), it is difficult to find words to speak for the reflection. Not because the I don't remember the contents, but simply because there are too many fond memories I have to write about.

I applied to the program not knowing what to expect, and I thought it was going to be just another activity that I have to do before college applications. Boy, was I wrong. It turned out to be one of the most memorable times of my life, and I would definitely want to return to the program.

Of course, the best part was getting to know my teammates and spending our days together; although we only had a few short weeks, we bonded and became inseparable. I'm so glad to have had this opportunity to meet amazing people from all around the world.

This program also allowed me to build my character, and although I was the one doing the teaching, I felt as if the kids I taught had given me life lessons as well. Their smiles always shined upon me at the start of each day, and their cheerful "see you tomorrow!"s always made me excited to plan for next day's lessons. It was such a privilege to meet them.

All the experiences I've garnered from this program well be treasured. From the late nights rushing to finish the lesson plans to the nerve-wrecking moment of delivering a speech in front of the 400+ audience, these are instances that will forever be engraved into my heart.

Thank you for the memories!
Hon, Ryan (洪晟皓)
The month I spent in AID has been an extraordinary experience with many unforgettable memories and friends created during that time, from meeting new people in the first week of training, to getting closer to my group during teaching, not to mention the great time I had instructing the elementary school children, as well as the fun during tour week. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to go to Taiwan for a month and to teach and inspire students for an education in English. It really let me see how fortunate most of us are and to see new perspectives other than American ones.

Teaching in Changhua was a memorable experience and I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again. It was really fun getting to know the kids and to see how they developed over the course of 2 weeks, from being really shy and not willing to participate, to becoming more outgoing and wanting to learn, as well as wanting to hang with us during free time. It was really satisfying to see their growth as well, as while I wasn’t able to teach them a lot of English, it was good to see them interested and I hope it inspired them to continue learning.

Wray, Daniel (瑞祥)
A.I.D. was an incredible experience and I am not going to forget it anytime soon. What I liked most about the trip would probably be seeing the different culture and foods in Taiwan. This was probably the first time in my life where I have eaten rice for 30 days in a row. It was also cool to meet my teammates, the counselors, and my amazing teacher for the next three weeks. When the counselors performed the “Happy and I Know It” song, it was pretty funny in a cute way.

Then we went to our school. The countryside was lovely. When we got there, there was a distinct smell of manure. Luckily, it either faded, or I got used to it. At our lodgings, the beds were hard and the place was frankly, a little dingy, but I didn’t mind.

When we worked on our revised lesson plans,I had trouble thinking of games and activities for our kids to do, but I got a lot of help from my group and my teacher. It was interesting seeing from the perspective of a teacher. It is a lot harder than it seems; getting attention from students, keeping it, and then using it to teach them is difficult, especially when they can barely speak a lick of English! My Chinese was not good enough to communicate, but luckily my teammates could speak enough to help me get by. I have a much fuller sense of appreciation for teachers because of this. I noticed that the original teachers at the school had much more control over the students than us, but that may be influenced from us volunteers being younger.

It was quite a scene when we had to leave. A lot of the children and even some of the volunteers cried a lot. Many children asked to add the teachers on Facebook, which was endearing. It was great getting to know the students. A kid even got me a fidget spinner as a farewell gift!

The tour was nice. I saw a lot of things I didn’t see the last time I have been in Taiwan, and got to do some cool things, such as getting an imprint of a snake brushing his teeth on a cheap paper fan. The talent show was embarrassing but in a good way. Definitely a highlight of the trip.

Leaving was heartbreaking. It is sad knowing that it will be unlikely that you will ever see some of the people you bonded with again. This goes doubly for some counselors, as you can’t even check them out on social media. This may just be me being sentimental though.

Overall, it is a great experience, even though there are hot weather, inefficient planning, mosquitos, stupid sentimentality, and pollution.
Tsai, Sophia (蔡欣君)
The entire experience was definitely not what I had expected it to be but it turned out the way I needed it to be. Teaching the kids the English language was a challenge but also really fun. Somehow within the two weeks that we were given with them I grew attached them. In the whole month of AID I made a number of friends that I probably would not have become acquainted with under other circumstances and learned a number of lessons from them. I am grateful for having had this chance to become immersed in Taiwanese culture and teach children English. Living with I feel like during these past few weeks my Chinese has definitely improved a lot and it has become more natural to speak in a mix of Chinese and English. I wish I had treasured the time I had with my group, the children, and everyone in the program more. We had suffered together through the heat, the humidity, the bugs, the rain, the teaching struggles and so much more. There are not enough words to describe the entire experience. It is definitely something that I would want for my friends and younger siblings to experience as well.

Tzan, Kenneth (詹勳豪)
AID Summer was one of the best decisions I've made. Through this program, I've made so many friends, created so many cherished memories, and learned so many valuable lessons. AID’s mission was to assist individuals that are disadvantaged, but its secondary mission was to bring the world closer together by allowing people like me to bring my culture and experiences to the children in Taiwan. However, after the program, I realized that AID brought the world closer together in other ways as well. During my time there, I met someone from my birth town of Stony Brook, someone whose best friend lives in my previous house in Houston, and someone who is now best friends with my high school friend at New York University. Through AID, I learned to open my heart up more to children, and to appreciate the unique personalities of each student and use the class dynamic to make learning more engaging and efficient. Through AID, I learned to work with and even enjoy the company of a friend with opposing personalities to mine. Through AID, I learned how to explore my own artistic abilities, taking photos of the scenic landscape on Kinmen and Taiwan as well as dancing and singing for the talent show. Though AID, I learned more about myself, how I fit into today’s society, and how I can use my talents to better the world.

Schluper, Julia ( 羅亞莉)
My time at WuFeng was amazing because I learned so much in such a short amount of time. I learned how to grab and maintain the attention of a class of young children, I learned how to project my voice and make sure the entire class could hear me, and I learned how to make lesson plans and then follow them through and improvise if necessary. My experience was for the most part positive, but if I had to make a complaint it would be that a few of the kids were just completely uninterested in learning English. No matter how many games we played or different approaches we tried, some kids just wanted to speak Chinese and go outside to play sports instead. Other than that, I had a great time learning with the kids and meeting new friends.

The tour was also a great experience because I got to see so much more of Taiwan than I ever had before. I had never been farther south than Taichung, but I got to go all the way down to Kenting! The night markets were a lot of fun because I got to buy cheap clothes and try a lot of really great food too. My favorite tour destination was probably the rock formation monument by the ocean because we got to see some beautiful views and experience the beauty of Taiwanese oceans.
Wu, Thomas (伍至信)
I genuinely enjoyed the experience I had in this program. Teaching young students was truly a joy. I also felt like I was lucky and went to the right school. There were many people there to accompany us. The parents of the students were also extremely kind. They often treated us and gave us many different treats. I was so blessed to be a part of 和平國小. The principal as well as the superintendent gave us many freedoms, allowing us to be creative in our teaching and fully enjoy a rural lifestyle in Taiwan. Although the living situation at school may not have been the most ideal, we were able to work things out and it only brought our group closer together. I was blessed to find that many military guys as well as friendly TAs were to be with us and guide us at our stay. The sightseeing that we were able to experience with our school was also unique. We were allowed plenty of time to visit and explore some beautiful places in Taiwan. Even when the weather was constantly beating down on us, I had a memorable time because of the people I could share this experience with.
Chen, Phyllis (陳慧理)
For the past 6 years, I was reluctant to go back to Taiwan. I was scarred, mentally and physically by the heat and mosquitoes. Initially I was only going to Taiwan this year because I really missed oyster pancakes and all the street food that never seemed to rob you of your wallet. But my parents didn't want me to do absolutely nothing while in Taiwan, so I applied for the AID Summer program under strong recommendation by a close friend.

This month was exhausting, but I learned so much and had so much fun. We were up from 6 am and we often fell asleep the minute we hit the beds. I was so happy to be around so many people, meeting my teammates and making a new friend every time you were waiting for the only elevator that went to the 3rd floor. I received many lessons-- from "How to have a showering schedule when there are 6 girls in your room" to "Fun games to play with students" and most importantly, "How to use a squat toilet".

Dalin Elementary was so nice and welcoming, I loved every minute of teaching and meeting the kids. They were really sweet and open to learning. I was bitten by a bug and had an allergic reaction that caused me to miss some days of teaching-- I love the hospital so much, I visited it 5 times. (I'm never going to stop talking about this and blowing it out of proportion.) I'm thankful for my teaching partner, Kevin, who was able to take care of the students by himself.

I'm really grateful to have been given this opportunity. Would do it again in a heartbeat.
Peng, Jonathan (彭奕滔)
Although the first few days were slow, the two weeks of teaching passed too fast. I went into AID expecting a painful month. Although there were hardships, I believe the experience and opportunity that AID provides, far outlives the negative parts. For many people like me, teaching in AID is probably their first time teaching. Often people say that you can’t know something until you do it yourself. In the case of teaching I believe that is true because although I already had some idea that teaching is not easy, the difficulty of keeping the kids entertained, being able to speak out loud in the class, and incorporating English teaching in the classroom is no easy task. After careful observation, late nights of planning, and many meetings with my teaching partner, I found how to create a balanced class. Being able to keep the kids entertained and happy, but also concentrated and always absorbing knowledge is the ultimate goal of teaching. It also made me reflect on many things in the past. Things that teachers I had did, but I never really thought too much about it. Not only did I make many fond memories, but I think it gave me experiences that I will always remember.
Luu, Amy (劉麗禎)
Being in AID really surpassed my expectations. I didn't expect for this program to have as big of an impact as it did. Sure, I got bit over 200 times by little black mosquitoes (I'm not exaggerating), but I would relive all of it again to experience the training, teaching, and tour again. Seeing all the students in my class intimidated me a little, mainly because I knew their Chinese level was so much better than mine. But I soon learned that this program taught me to overcome language barrier and learn to accommodate each student's learning skills. At first I felt a little pressure of how much English would be enough? But then I realized that there was more to this than simply teaching English. The two weeks I spent with the kids are insanely special to me, I learned so much about myself that I wouldn't have otherwise. The tour was incredible to say the least. Sure we didn't get to spend a lot of time in each area, but it was nice to be able to see it even for a short moment. The food was always great, and the counselors were amazing. I definitely wish I could do AID again for a second time.
Chang, Spencer (張耀煇)
AID Summer was truly a memorable experience for me. The first week of training was off to a slow start because my group was still getting to know each other, but as time passed, our friendship was fostered. Teaching students with disadvantages has made me greater appreciate my life in America and has made me realize the difficulties of being a teacher. Outside of teaching, my teammates were a unique crowd full of fun and unforgettable. Although, our school was a bit stricter than most, as we were barely allowed to leave it, we still managed to have plenty of fun. There are very few moments that I regret during the program; everyday there was a new joke to be told and a new story for us all to tell when we get back home. By tour, 2 members of my group had left and the teacher had left as well and made our group feel as empty as ever. Even so, it was still full of laughs and giggles and the only sad thing was when it all came to an end too soon. Overall, AID Summer is a program that I have enjoyed so much and a program that I would not hesitate to reapply for if it was allowed.
Gallegos, Andrew (安德綸)
AID is a unique program because it not only allows Taiwanese students to understand more about English and other countries’ cultures, but it also allows students from all over the world better understand Taiwanese culture and the languages of Taiwan. Students from other countries are given the opportunity to see a side of Taiwan that most tourists do not see: the remote areas of Taiwan. But what many do not realize is that it is in these remote areas that you can find some of the nicest and most caring Taiwanese people. The children that I worked with had a willingness to learn that I was not expecting. I was pleasantly surprised that they were so excited and so enthusiastic to learn English. I thought, at first, that this would be a challenging task. But the children’s enthusiasm and excitement made teaching them so much easier and so much more fun. I would highly recommend this AID Summer to anyone that is interested in participating in a program where the results of their hard work will be immediately evident. Through this program, you will have the chance to meet so many amazing people from around the world and make connections and friendships in just a month’s time, and the opportunity to make a lifelong impact on Taiwanese children’s lives.

Yeap, Crystal (葉晶瑩)
It was definitely an one of a kind experience joining AID Summer.

Specifically only pertaining to teaching at MaiLiao Senior High School in YunLin. I had a wonderful time teaching Class B. The kids that my partner, Avery Cheng, and I had were amazing. Almost they started off the first and second day kind of shy. They were willing to learn and participate in all the activities that we had planned that day, unlike the Class A, C, and D (which they had trouble entertaining the kids). Not only were they smart, they were also athletic (beating out all the other classes in any games) and they were artistic as well. They also were extremely well in participating in creating the closing ceremony performance/dance and video as a class. I would most definitely go back and teach these kids again if I ever get the chance to.

However, on the other hand, the thing I am most dissatisfied with AID Summer is the planning of all the other programs for us student teachers. Firstly, the rules were unreasonably strict. We understand the limits of allowing us to do things due to liability. However, Jiantan Activity Center literally felt like a prison. We were not allowed to do anything. There is also no reason to make us have bed check as early as 10:30 pm. We are not 10 years old children. Majority of us are more than capable of manage our own bedtimes. Jiantan also continued to feel like a prison also due to the lack of communication that was allowed to us. The wifi sucked. Many of us do not have the leisure to have unlimited data. This led us to all try to find people who have unlimited data to hook up to their hotspot. YOU MUST FIX THIS! Secondly, the training classes that you guys have planned for us were utterly useless, especially for all those who were teaching older kids. Everything you guys taught were literally things that everyone already knew. Finally, the last time that I was dissatisfied with is the planning of the tours. You took us all the way to Kenting, but only to sleep there. Kenting is one of the most famous places in Taiwan, yet you did not allow us explore there. In other words, it is basically like we never went to Kenting at all. Also, during Sun Moon Lake, you would take us places only to go down and take a picture for 5 minutes and hop back onto the bus. The places that you should have given us the most amount of time at, you only gave us a couple minutes. While the places that you should have only given us a couple minutes, you gave us hours there. There needs to be better planning on the tour. The only thing that made the tour bearable was the counselors. Despite always being yelled at by their authorities, the counselors made the tour a lot more fun.

Wan, Evelyn (萬淳)
The AID Summer Program was extremely memorable and enjoyably and even now feels incredibly surreal. While the camp itself was but an extremely short-lived two weeks, looking back, it feels as it I had taught the kids for months. This experience was one that not only opened my eyes but also shed light on the different circumstances and environments of these kids who, while were not blessed with the most ideal conditions, had hearts bigger than any one of us. This opportunity gave me the chance to reevaluate myself and place myself in another's perspective. The people I've met both within and outside of my group helped make this experience unforgettable as well as undeniably fun. The last day of teaching proved to be incredibly emotional especially after having created the bond with the kids over the past two weeks. After a reluctant exchanging of LINE ID's, cards, and tears, our whole team headed on a bus to the tour. The two weeks albeit difficult and hard at times, has entirely redefined my perspective on children who are living in harsh conditions. It has taught me that if the kid forced to live in an orphanage due to his abusive mother can endure and approach every day with a smile and a happy attitude, then their is nothing in life that I should fear.
Pan, Francis (潘永行)
AID is without a doubt the most memorable and enjoyable month of my life so far. I've learned so many new things and made countless new close friends whom I will never forget. The first week was full of meeting new people and slowly getting closer to your small teaching group. The seminars are intensive and very tiring, and you have to work fast with your group but it's also very fun. Enjoy your free time during teaching weeks while you can, as there is less later on. After training week, everyone separates to their respective schools until tour week. The two weeks of training are an amazing experience but also very tiring. You get so close with your group and especially your room mates and teaching partners. The kids also become like your younger brothers and sisters. The work load makes you appreciate teachers much more, and the kids makes you see why the work is worth it. No day is boring or unexciting, however about three days in everyone will be exhausted during breaks and pass out very quickly. The two weeks will pass very very quickly and at the end you won't want to leave even though it's very tiring. However, tour week will most likely be even more fun. The tour itself is ok, not particularly special. They bus you around everywhere and don't give much time at each stop. However, you will get even closer to your group as well as your bus, and I can guarantee that it will be the most fun you've had in your life so far. Being able to spend the whole day with your friends having fun for the whole day is an amazing experience. The last two days will also be spent with everyone back together (central and southern tour) living at Jiantan again, but these few days will be much more fun than before (but also less free time). Check out will be full of counselors and volunteers crying and laughing together. To me, this one month experience has been so wonderful and memorable that it almost seems like a dream. It made me so happy that it seems unbelievable, so cherish it!
Hou, Po-jen (侯博仁)
One year ago, I did not even know that the AID Summer Program existed; but this year, I was glad to have attended this once in a life time experience. The goal of this AID Summer program had been to allow students ranging from high school seniors to college graduates experience first-handedly what teaching kids at suburban areas feel like. From this program, I myself was not only able to obtain precious teaching experience, but I also learned a lot about Taiwan's culture, improved my Mandarin by a little, and was given the chance to interact with children many years younger than myself.
A few months before summer break began for this year, I had gone to the Taiwan Cultural Center of Los Angeles and was informed of the AID program to teach English overseas. Immediately, I realized that this was a great opportunity to gain real-life teaching experience that could benefit me later in life; and also allow me to go back to Taiwan, since it had been many years since I had last gone back to Taiwan to see my relatives. But the program was actually much, much better than I had hoped for. During the first week of the program, professional teachers from each of the schools we were to attend specifically came to where all of us volunteer teachers lived to mentor us on the do's and don'ts of teaching. Additionally, a tour was provided at the end of the program that took the student volunteers all over Taiwan for sight-seeing and mainly for fun. Overall, I believe that this program was very beneficial to my future life and I would definitely recommend this program to others.

Hsu, Frank (許家誠)
The four weeks of AID volunteer service has been an amazing experience. Although the schedule for the first week at Jiantan was quite packed, I was able to create a special bond with my group during our given free time. Living conditions at Jiantan was decent for the most part; however, laundry was difficult to do due to the amount of people having to wash their clothes. I did not find the teaching workshops significantly helpful, but building the connection between our team helped immensely toward the second and third week of teaching. When we arrived at our school, He-Ping Elementary School, the teachers and staff welcomed us with open arms. The classroom exceeded my expectations and the room we stayed at was suitable. One thing I would’ve preferred though, would be warm showers. At the beginning of teaching, the students were a bit uncomfortable, but as the days went on, my partner and I bonded with the students. On the weekends, the teachers and staff took us kayaking and hiking, which helped our group connect even more. After the two teaching weeks, we proceeded onto the tour, which I felt was a bit underwhelming. Some tour locations felt lack luster, and when we did visit an interesting tour location, we had little free roam time. However, it was still a great time because we spent it with our group. Overall, the AID volunteer service was an unforgettable experience because of the incredible people that have been brought together.

Chen, Connie (陳康妮)
This program is one I'll never forget, that's for sure. 10/10 would recommend, if only to gain an incredible amount of experience in teaching, making new friends, and surviving in a foreign country.
Making friends is really the most important aspect of AID survival and generally having a good time- especially with the other members in your group, since you'll be spending a lot of time with them. I had no friends coming into the program, but I'm glad to say that my group became pretty close and I had an unforgettable time with them.
Training week was fine- it takes a lot of getting used to, especially since they jump right into a busy schedule on day 1. But with fantastic roommates and group members, it wasn't a total misery. Communication with AID sucked though, and most of the time we were unsure about what we were supposed to do and what was due.
The next two weeks at the school were an incredible experience, to say the least. I was a teacher at Dong Rong Elementary in Yunlin County, and while the kids were cute and good students most of the time (I don't think I can say the same for all students though), teaching is exhausting and a lot of work (We came up with a lot of activites on the spot, and also combined with the other classes to lighten our workload), and I have a newfound respect for teachers. We (8 of us) slept in the library, and it was actually better than I expected- we had a lot of space, AC, and amazingly kind people from the school who helped make the two weeks more bearable. Some of my favorite memories from the program came from these two weeks when the 8 of us lived together, so look forward to it as a time to bond extremely well with your groupmates- in addition to teaching cute kids.
Tour week is tiring due to the packed schedule and early wake up call, but the places we visited were interesting enough. We spent a lot of time on the bus, which was fine because I needed the naptime. It's a great week to have some fun with friends, though. By the end of tour week, I was exhausted and ready to go home, although I did not want to leave my new friends. AID is something I will never forget, and I don't regret participating in.
Wu, Tiffany (吳宗瑾)
This past month training, teaching at Wufeng Elementary School, and touring Taiwan has been an extremely memorable experience. Though I enjoyed all aspects of the program, the most rewarding was definitely the teaching experience. I had the honor of teaching the advanced A class with the help of my two groupmates, Vincent and Joyce. After just one day of being with the kids and getting acquainted with each other, we quickly realized that this bright class of students was much more advanced at English than we expected. Our whole lesson plan schedule was turned around as we had to modify each day’s lesson, and in some cases completely scrap them, to challenge the students. For example, we added lesson topics such as space and natural disasters, which are more unconventional topics that the students would be much less exposed to. Every afternoon, we would go downstairs to play a variety of outdoor games with them, such as Capture the Flag, Sharks and Minnows, and baseball. This was not only fun for the students, but also fun for us teachers as well. It was really hard to say good bye to the class, including our wonderful TAs. I’d like to thank all of the staff at Wufeng Elementary School, especially Ellen for guiding us and Principal Lai for being a wonderful host. It truly was an eye-opening experience and I learned a lot about working together while immersing myself within Taiwanese culture and its education system.
Chao, Alexander (趙思惟)
Coming into this program, I had no idea what I would expect. Would it be something like babysitting, or would it be more like teaching highly advanced students? I never would have imagined what I experienced over this past month. The students that I met were so heartwarming and held their arms extremely wide open to embrace me. Pulling me from place to place and grabbing me and dragging me around with them was such an encouraging experience. It meant a lot for these local students to see an American teacher around them. However, it meant even more for me. Flying across the ocean to teach these kids English, allowed me the opportunity to not only open my eyes to the world, but also allowed me to meet all these interesting little children from Hu Pu Elementary on Kinmen. The experience on Kinmen was also one that I am pleased to have. It was like nothing I have ever gone through; the people, the environment, and the students were all so welcoming to me and the three other teacher. Everyone should visit Kinmen and experience its' beauty and uniqueness with their own eyes at least once. Thank you to AID and everyone who contributed their time for this to happen.

Lu, Emily (陸宜嫻)
This whole experience with AID was very humbling. I’ve met many new faces, and have made friends that I will always remember. Even though I’ve had to sleep very late preparing and not being able to fall asleep, teaching kids in the rural areas of Taiwan in Chang Hua is something that will be in my memories for a long time. The tour was great and I loved being able to see lots of places that I usually never go to when I go with my family to Taiwan. Living at Chien=tan was quite interesting also because I got to hang out with people in different rooms. The counselors were also people I would never forget. The counselors in charge of my bus are unforgettable and they are essentially parents to us and I will miss them a lot. But, so glad that I got the chance to help them out with translations and other fun stuff. The kids and teachers I got to teach were also a handful, but I miss them and will want to go visit them again when I go back to Taiwan. Overall, this trip was worth it and getting to be able to realize the handwork didn’t go to waste was amazing.
Chen, Natalie (陳珊珊)
As someone who travels to Taiwan annually, I was accustomed to the bustling streets and night markets, roaring with the voices of natives and foreigners alike. That was my previous experience in the lovely island called Formosa, but I was introduced to a whole different world through the new lens I acquired from AID Summer 2017.
The first week of training at Jiantan proved to be extremely informative as we honed our teaching skills. The educators imparted their valuable knowledge and interactive methods of teaching. To engage the students, we played educational games unique to those in America.
By far the best portion of the program, the second and third weeks at HouBi Elementary School were composed of laughter, tears, and self-discovery. The variety classroom activities challenged the fourth and fifth graders to learn via a new means, one that included participation and discussion. Community circles were included to encourage bonding and friendships. Given the opportunity to bring an aspect of American culture to the classroom, I coordinated a gender equality seminar and empowerment quilt, inspiring the students to do what they love and what’s right. What I did not expect was the wave of welcome, love, and warmth from the children, teachers, assistants, and soldiers- A Bing Ges. I never knew that saying goodbye could be so hard.
Needless to say, the fourth and final week were infused with adventure and tourism. Everyday had a new surprise awaiting us- a varied hotel, peculiar tourist locations, and quality food. We had a blast with an interesting group of AID participants who came from diverse backgrounds.
All things weighed, this summer experience opened up my eyes and in turn my world. By volunteering to teach English to the students, I also gained knowledge about the Taiwanese culture, such as Diabolo- Chinese Yoyo- and Bian Lian, or Face Mask Changing. I sincerely thank all the organizations, counselors, teachers, soldiers, assistants, and students who made the experience as joyous as it was. I envision a bright future for our pure and creative students. These treasured memories have compelled me to proudly say, without a doubt, that AID Summer 2017 has changed my life.
Chien, Michael (簡邁克)
AID summer was a wonderful experience that I would've never imagined. It taught me patience, appreciation, and how to be a leader. The many memories I made here I will probably carry with me for a lifetime. There were numerous people I met that I established such memorable relationships that I would of never dreamed of. The teaching experience was a challenging yet fun one. Being the teacher of so many kids that depended on you for guidance was a task that seemed daunting at first. However, patience payed off as the kids resonated with me and we were able to forge a strong student teacher relationship. The AID summer camp was also carried out exceptionally well as the counselors made sure each volunteer was satisfied and overall happy. The food was exceptional, housing was great, and the environment was a very warm and community like. The tour was probably the highlight of the whole trip as AID brought us to obscure locations that people would probably never imagine going to, whether it was exploring the many museums or simply taking a walk in the beautiful nature of Taiwan. Finally, I want to extend a special thanks to every counselor, volunteer, and all of the behind the scenes developers of AID that each contributed together in creating a very special unforgettable summer experience. Thank You!
Liu, Felicia (劉洧辰)
AID marks the first time I have ever been away from my parents and family for so long. As an introvert, I remember wondering to myself days before the program if I'd get along with my group and also if I'd make new friends from across the country. When I got to Chientan the morning of July 1st, I was still in doubt - yet writing this reflection a month later, I can say that my time in AID this summer was definitely one of the best experiences that I have ever had.

The first week at Chientan was good and bad at the same time. Good in the way that we were always indoors - so we did not have to deal with the Taiwan heat during the summer at least for a short time :-). Lectures were boring and hours long but they also really gave me the opportunity to bond with my group mates, the 7 strangers that I would be seeing every day for the entire month of July.

As a volunteer teacher at Wu-Feng Elementary in Changhua, I learned not only how to interact with younger children, but also the difficulties and exhaustion that comes along with teaching. On the first day of the summer camp, the students were already sitting in their seats waiting for me and my teaching partner to arrive. The beginning was rough; after roll call, we realized that we were not well-prepared at all and did not really understand how to undertake this challenge that faced us. After careful reflections and working with our teacher, however, class began to run smoothly and I began forming bonds with my students.
However, I wish I had gotten the chance to become closer to my students. Our teacher from AID heavily emphasized that if we got too close while playing with these Taiwanese kids, they would start treating us as older siblings and the line distinguishing the amount of respect to treat a teacher versus an older sister/brother would become fuzzy. For that reason, we were limited to only giving our students high-fives at the end of the day each day. From running on the track with my students to practicing the closing ceremony dance with the kids to eating lunch with them in the classroom every day, I made memories with a group of 16 kids who I would have never been able to meet if it wasn't for this opportunity AID gave us.

Tour week was not the best but still fun, probably because I was in the southern tour and time was really rushed. I was hoping we would see more of southern Taiwan, especially the Kenting areas, but we ended up driving down there to stay a night in Kenting and leave the next morning for Kaohsiung. However, getting to see so many places in Taiwan with my group mates and new friends from the AID program was one of the best memories of the summer that I will never forget. Tour was rushed, but friends made me forget about all of that.

AID has changed my perspective of the world since it gave me a window to see and meet less fortunate kids who want to learn a new language just like any of the rest of us. I am extremely glad that I got to make an impact and participate in a part of these kids' lives. Thank you to everyone who was a part of this journey for making it so memorable for me.

Felicia Liu

Walker, Megan (梅根)
Returning home from this trip made me supremely grateful for the wonderful opportunity I got to experience this summer through the A.I.D program and the unforgettable memories I was able to create. Considering I had never flown to Taiwan by myself before, I didn't know Chinese, and I knew I was probably going to a really rural area with seven other people I had never met before, I was pretty nervous about the program. While it was pretty hectic moving into the center with 400+ others and getting adjusted to the counselors bed-checks and other rules, the accommodations were nice (although I do regret not bringing a power strip). Throughout the week I learned new teaching tactics, made new friends, and became closer with my group members which made me feel pretty hopeful about the teaching weeks, despite still being nervous about not knowing Chinese.

My school, 建新國小, was definitely on the rural side- which is to say the closest 7-11 was about 7km (a little over 4 miles). Despite that, the principal and teachers were wonderful and accommodating, and the dorms weren't as bad as I was envisioning in my head. While there were four girls squeezed into a pretty small room with two beds and a bathroom- resulting in not that much room- it was comfortable and clean (if you disregard the few bugs expected of Taiwan). The two weeks were both too long and too short. While the teaching could get pretty tiring at times, I had a great time both with the kids, my teaching group, and my school group. While I wish we had been able to go out more, when the school personnel did take us out, we had an excellent time!

As for the tour week, I had quite a lot of fun overall. The places we visited were pretty cool (except of course, the places outside that were super hot and humid) but I wish we had been able to get more time at several places. There was also a lot of driving which was great for naps, but also took a lot of some days.

Overall, this was a really great experience for me. It for sure had it's ups and downs but I definitely wouldn't change it for anything in the world. If you're reading this because you were chosen for AID 2018, if you go in with an open mind, you'll have a super good time!
Chung, Hsin Ting (鍾欣庭 )
I believe that the AID Summer program has been a phenomenal experience and will leave a lasting impact on me. Our group and our counselor instantly bonded when we met each other during our first week of training at Chientan. We were all from California, had similar interests, and were willing to open up to one another and rely on each other when times were difficult. The program was also a great way to experience Taiwanese lifestyle and culture. Our group was assigned to teach at Beiye in a remote part of Pingtung. The children we taught were very respectful to their teachers and lacked the resources that we had as children in our elementary school. It was challenging to prepare our lesson plans every day and make class engaging for the students. At Beiye, we were fortunate enough to try the 鼻笛 or nose flute, become familiar with the indigenous Taiwanese culture, and watch the indigenous people’s dance. I hope we encouraged our students to continue their English learning through middle and high school by making learning fun. In our last week on the tour, we had fun traveling through Taiwan and visiting their famous cultural sites. I believe the tour can improve by giving us more time to peruse through museums and natural/scenic areas. Overall, I really enjoyed this trip, and I hope the connections made during this trip will never be broken even when we start our new chapter in college.
Chow, Jocelyn (周妍微)
Since this AID trip marked my first time to Taiwan in eight years, I was extremely excited to be immersed in Taiwanese culture and food again, as well as make new friends and take a break from school before college apps season started. A.I.D. provided me an experience like no other, and I truly believe that it will be an unforgettable experience. There are many stories I could go on about my A.I.D journey, but one of my favorites was during the first week when after bed check, my groupmates and I started talking about a variety of topics, jumping from social problems to boys, and drama that was happening at our school. We ended up talking until about 1:30 am that day, but it was worth being tired the next day because I got to bond and grow closer to my group mates that I could now call some of my close friends. This story is very resemblant of many events that happened on my trip in that I was able to get to know so many people and hear about their backgrounds. I think that one of the unique things about A.I.D is that this program hosts 434 people from all across the globe, and brings them together for one purpose: to teach kids English. Even though only several of them went with you to teach, you were able to meet everyone else through dinner, bonding games, tour bus trips, etc. and hear about people's different opinions on issues depending on where they lived. In addition, even if there was nothing to talk about, you could always talk about what school you were teaching at to your new friend. This kind of community was very special in that I knew that everyone who was volunteering chose to volunteer, which meant that they were all really friendly and wanted to be there. Speaking of volunteering, the elementary school that I volunteered at, Wufeng Elementary, was definetely a learning experience for myself. Some of the kids that we taught were rough around the edges and it would take quite a while for myself and my co-teachers, Evelyn and Edward, to calm them down. At times, I did feel like just sitting down and letting the kids do whatever they wanted, but I knew that that was not the way that they would be able to learn. I had to be patient and kind with them in order to gain their respect, but when I finally did, boy was it worth it. It wasn't until the last day when I knew that Edward, Evelyn, and I had truly made an impact on the kids. During the whole day, they were asking us if we would ever forget them, if we were coming back to Taiwan soon, and if we would visit them, and they were all acting really cute. In those moments, I finally realized how these kids saw us as big sisters and brothers that they could look up to and count on to take care of them. Because of this, leaving the school was definetly a bittersweet experience. Although this reflection was kind of all over the place, I hope that it shows how A.I.D has really shaped my summer to be an amazing one, and I will never forget all the memories I made. Thank you to the coordinators, the Taiwanese government, the counselors, the teachers, and everyone who made this trip possible. Shout out to WuFeng Squad!!!
Wang, Teresa (王李嘉)
Overall I thought the program was a very good experience. It has helped me appreciate teachers and professors a lot more. I do hope that our time in the classroom has helped our students want to engage more in learning English. I think the program could have been made better by having stable and fast internet at the training site in chientan. Because we did not have internet, I felt like the after dinner sessions were a waste of time because we could not look up things like activities or Google pictures to put on our PowerPoint presentations. I felt like instead of having more time devoted to the lectures, the volunteer teachers should have more time preparing their lesson plans with their partners. I also feel like it was kind of difficult to prepare the lesson plan ahead of time because we had no idea what our student's English levels were. It was also a little challenging teaching because the students English levels were so different within the same grade. I really enjoyed the tour after the teaching portion of the program. I thought learning about Taiwanese culture was very interesting. I especially loved going to the night markets and trying different kinds of food. My only suggestion is to give the volunteers more free time at the sites. I felt very rushed most of the time and I think that took away from enjoying the experience.
Tsai, Katherine (蔡佩璇)
Overall the trip to taiwan was very fun. Although the first week was definitely a bore for me, I was glad to experience meeting new people from around the world and making new friends. The weeks that I taught were definitely the best part of this whole experience. I was able to get close with my group and make a lot of memories due to our school taking us out on fun weekend trips or fun after-school trips. The kids also definitely made the experience unforgettable, from playing with them at school to having dinner at their houses. Even the military guys that were in charge of us played a huge role in making this a great summer overall. Every time I look back on the memories that I made at the school, I smile to myself. Tour week was also definitely a plus. Maybe not as fun as the times at school, but still a great experience overall. From going to night markets to going to tourist attractions, it was definitely unforgettable.Although the whole trip could’ve been a little more organized, it's understandable since the workers are basically dealing with 460 rowdy, smelly kids. I think that AID did us all a favor for giving us this opportunity; it really was a great experience and I am glad that my summer was filled with adorable kids and newfound friends.

Ting, Terence (丁之珩)
This month that we spent in Taiwan has been one of the most memorable experiences in my life. Living together with my classmates has only added to that experience. I will always remember the fear of going outside in the dark or having to avoid large beetles that would fly into our classrooms. Other than that, the students we taught were relatively well behaved and listened to what we taught them. We had a lot of fun with them, doing activities that would help them reinforce their vocabulary and skill in English. The students always had fun while doing these activities and always insisted that we would speak to them in Chinese instead of English. Although the days were hot and humid, we were able to persevere. After the day was over, we'd all go to the third flood where we would go over that day's activities and begin planning for the next day.
I was really sad when the last day came and we had to say goodbye to our students. Although they were sometimes a handful, I still had a great time teaching them. I will always remember this experience and the people I had the opportunity to meet while I was in Taiwan.
Hwang, Debbie (黄亭瑄)
My experience this summer is an experience I will not forget. Before coming Taiwan, I was just planning on training for one week, teaching for two weeks, and touring Taiwan for another week. I did not expect to make life long memories and friends.
During the first week of training, I had the chance to get to know my volunteer partners. I definitely got to know them better because of the long hours we had to be with each other, learning about teaching. It was a great bonding experience. It was also very nice to have our teacher from the school with us. She was a great help in guiding us with the lesson plans we had to create.
The two weeks I was volunteering at Feisha Junior High School is something I will never forget. I was able to create so many friendships with my partners, school teachers, and students. I had so much fun teaching, playing games, and even just having conversations with the students. Even though I may not have been able to teach them a lot of English, I was able to make an impact somehow in the students’ lives. The school’s staff was super warmhearted in opening their schedules to help and guide us with whatever we needed.
I will never forget my time at Feisha Junior High School as this was one of the best summers ever!

Tong, Terence (唐仲欣)
Going into this program, I didn't expect to make much out of it. I thought I would just be teaching little students and meeting other teachers. But this program allows for so much more than that. It gives people the opportunity to form lifetime lasting friendships because that is what living with another person for a month does.

You will also be able to form friendships with the students despite how young they are. Although I wasn't a very good teacher, a few select students still really enjoyed my company. And that's pretty comforting knowing that some people will still you despite the difficulty to communicate.

Students in Taiwan are much more respectful of their teachers and to the school in general compared to Taiwan. They know that most of the problems that they create they will have to clean up for themselves. In some cases, literally. They have an allocated time during the day just to sweep the school up and to make it a cleaner place.

The rural environment provides for a tight knit community that all in all is very consistent. Once a teacher gets accustomed to the students, students will not do unexpected things. The class is just too small for that. I am glad that I was able to be given this oppurtunity to work with these small amounts of students because I know that I made an impact on just a few.
Chen, Ashley (陳新妮)
I am so grateful to have had this opportunity, presented by AID and the organizations that sponsor this program, to teach English to students in Taiping Elementary located in Chiayi County, Meishan Township. Coming into this program, I was expecting to see the students grow by learning a new language. Instead, I am confident when I say that the other 400 volunteers and I have grown from this experience even more so than the students themselves. This once in a lifetime opportunity brought wonderful friends and counselors into my life and teaching experience like no other. AID gave me a chance to teach elementary school students a foreign language, while exploring the culture and traditions of the rural Taiwanese citizens. Understanding how it is to live as a disadvantaged person in a rural area must be experienced first-hand in order to explore the possibilities and bright futures of the students that live there. I believe that AID has truly changed the lives of the thousands of disadvantaged students in Taiwan by providing an opportunity for students to explore the possibilities that English can bring them not only to their own lives, but to the city and world they themselves live in.

Chen, Susan (陳筱姍)
The past month at AID was super fun and exciting. Although sometimes we clashed with the other people in our group, overall working with the kids was really enjoyable. This program is memorable to me based off of the people that I met and the children that I worked with at Cheng Gong Guo Xiao (成功國小).

Since I worked at a tutoring center prior to this program, it was really different moving from a one on one setting to more of a class teaching style. However, the kids were really similar to the ones I taught during the school year. Many of them were alike and had me thinking about and missing the kids in America. The kids were really open to learning and I found myself really excited to teach them the entire day. Sometimes, it was hard to get kids to participate especially when the topic was harder and something that they had not learned before. The kids were truly the highlight of this program.

Although the accommodations were different and more rural than the ones in America, the staff members at the school were very welcoming and helpful. I really want to thank Teacher Leona and Director Lenny Chiu for always being there to aid us!
Lin, Christina (林芸)
Even though I am a college grad and (kind of) avid traveler, this summer was a unique, eye-opening, unforgettable experience. If I had been just traveling as a tourist, I would never have set foot in Yunlin, let alone interacted with locals there. Through AID, I came away with a sense of Taiwanese warmth and hospitality. I learned the joys of teaching and mentoring kids. I also met seven hilarious, resourceful, and kind new friends in my teaching group; everything was even better because we laughed, cried, and experienced it all together.

Our school, Ma Guang Junior High, made our teaching weeks comfortable and worry-free. In addition to our teacher, Peter, there were 17 Taiwan volunteers (local high schoolers, most of them students of previous AID summer camps), a handful of school admin, and an association of parents. They came together to form a community and our second family for two weeks. Outside of class, the parents/admin took us shrimping, bowling, and on a weekend trip to Chiayi. The Taiwan volunteers organized fun camp activities for the students in the afternoons, brought us shaved ice and water bottles throughout the day, and spent their free time talking and laughing with us.

Teaching was so rewarding. I had never taught a class before, or even had much experience leading groups, so it was all new to me. Our students were playful, energetic, and willing to learn. Sometimes they would breeze through slides that my teaching partner and I had spent hours designing, but an activity we improvised on the spot would engage them for an entire period. My favorite teaching memories were not necessarily the most perfectly executed lesson plans, but moments when the whole class was absorbed in an activity, working together and having fun. At the end of the two weeks, it became clear that we weren’t there to teach the students a few new vocabulary words, but rather to motivate them to continue learning English, whether through a fun summer camp experience or as ambassadors of intriguing foreign countries and cultures.

Thank you AID for this opportunity, and for being so well organized. It’s amazing that the 450 volunteers were not only fed, sheltered, and safely shuttled around the country, but that most of us also had life-changing experiences in different ways. And, thank you for my assigned teaching group and host school. I couldn’t have asked for better ones :)
Ito, Joyce (伊恬佳)
AID was probably the best program I have ever participated in. Going into it I was really wary and wondering if I was going to learn anything or even have fun. However, I quickly realized that that was not the case as I loved my group mates from the moment we met. Together, we sat through the training week, listening to lectures, eating at the restaurant, and preparing for teaching at Changhua. Teaching itself was wonderful. I loved my students, I loved the school, and I loved the area. While all of us had a little trouble getting accustomed to the way of life in Changhua (some of us had to shower with buckets for the first time in our lives), we all grew to really feel comfortable and not want to leave. I admit, I shed a few tears when saying goodbye to our students on the last day. The students tired us out every day, made us very frustrated, but I would not have any other students. They were all part of the experience and I believe they made it better. I still keep in touch with the ones that I can and miss them so much. I will definitely visit them the next time I go to Taiwan. The tour was also a very great experience. Being able to go all over Taiwan with the friends I made was something that I will always remember. While some of the places were not that fun on their own, being there with all the rest of the group is an experience I will never be able to experience again, and that made it so worthwhile. During the tour, I was able to see the beauty of Taiwan- the culture, the nature, and the liveliness of it all. AID has given me the opportunity to see a side of Taiwan I had never seen before. I found things that I appreciated and grew to love. Taiwan is beautiful and the atmosphere is so lively and calming at the same time. I was talking with a friend recently and reminiscing about the month in AID and we agreed that somehow, AID was able to make us fall in love with Taiwan, even going as far to say that Taiwan is our home.