2018 AID Summer
志工感言 (Reflection) >> SF-Milpitas
# Center
1 Houston
2 SF-Milpitas
3 New York
4 Toronto
5 Orange
6 Chicago
7 Maryland
8 Seattle
9 Vancouver
10 Los Angeles
11 Boston
12 Atlanta
13 Denver
14 Miami
15 London
16 Cape Town
17 Sydney
18 Hawaii
19 Queensland
Lawrence, Evelyn (羅婷)

This summer spent in Taiwan was truly memorable. Overall, I developed a great love for Taiwan, met some incredible people, and was rewarded, challenged, and humbled by the ordeal of teaching.
Training week in Chientan was an experience. While the lectures were honestly unhelpful and draining, in them I formed surprisingly strong bonds with those assigned to teach at the same school as me in our mutual boredom. I understand and appreciate that the lecturers came, but to be blunt, their teaching methods and the actual material presented did not aid me whatsoever when it came to actually teaching. Most of that had to be developed on one’s own. The sessions with our individual groups were very productive and necessary, however. Next, the lack of freedom granted to the volunteers that week only inhibited our effectiveness. It was quite frustrating to have the city of Taipei, an expansive source of valuable cultural education, at our fingertips, yet be forbidden to leave what some volunteers called the “prison” of Chientan (albeit the amenities were lovely and I am grateful for them) for fear that we may have “gotten lost” or “encountered danger” despite the fact that most of us were over 18 and had traveled across the planet on our own. The dress code during training week was also unnecessarily strict and limited a sense of self-expression which in my opinion could have been helpful for volunteers to form bonds with each other. Having to wear the same thing as everyone else was both inconvenient and pointless. These minor details aside, I had fun during training week and overall I learned a lot, perhaps not in the way the program intended, but still.
The actual time spent on location was incredible. I was so lucky to be assigned to teach in JinMen, off of the mainland, and the cultural immersion I experienced was incredible. Teaching was incredibly difficult and intimidating. It really is a test of one’s patience, strategy and care, but it is so rewarding to feel yourself helping children learn. While living conditions were very different than what we were used to (there were a lot of big bugs!!!!), I really enjoyed the experience. The people I met on the island were so good and willing to help us. Spending two weeks with the children there was something truly inexplicable and I will cherish those memories forever.
The last tour week was fun. The counselors are overworked. Their tireless obedience was honestly too virtuous- the program made them do such unnecessary bureaucratic work. Fortunately, we were able to see a lot of places in a short amount of time, and the amenities were very nice. There was much more freedom this week than training week, which was appreciated. It was so nice of them to include interactive activities: I will never forget the aboriginal dance I did at Sun Moon Lake. I really enjoyed seeing Ye Lin nature park. The talent show rehearsals were a pain, but the show ended up being, ironically, such a highlight in that it fostered strong bonds between volunteers.
Overall, I had an incredible experience and I really furthered myself this summer in many ways. More importantly, however, I was humbled by others. There was such a constant sense throughout the summer of excitement to help others. Despite occasional obstacles and inconveniences, I truly was grateful for everything I was given and the willingness of people to give it to me- whether that be experiences, meals, conversations, advice, cultural tidbits, chinese language practice, or just the pleasure of their company and getting to know them. Mostly what I feel looking back on the summer is gratitude.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ibay, Stephanie (徐依人)
Before AID summer, I never really knew what it was like to be a teacher. Some of us probably thought it was easy. However, it's really not. Being a teacher this summer, it opened my eyes about what they actually do. Although we worked with them for only two weeks, I developed a special bond with my students. I can't imagine what it would be like, if I taught them even longer because I would miss them even more, and I don't know if that's even possible. The children were so eager to learn, it motivated me everyday to try my best and teach them. We got a glimpse of what school is like in Taiwan and it gave me insight on their lives. I miss my students so much and also the new friends I made through this program. We come from different parts of the world so hopefully one day we visit each other or go back to Taiwan again together. I learned so much about the Taiwanese culture and the lifestyle. I also learned in this trip how to be independent and to live on my own. I will continue to use these life skills. I'm very thankful for the opportunity to both teach and learn in Taiwan.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wong, Jesse (王耀光)
It is safe to say that 2017 AID Summer has been the most valuable experience ever. Throughout this trip, I have made numerous bonds and great memories with friends, teachers, and children that I will cherish for a lifetime.

During my first week at Yong Le Elementary School, I learned many techniques of how to handle different classroom situations, such as when kids don't cooperate. I learned that sometimes you need to adapt your communication techniques to get the children to listen to you. For example, when the kids were arguing over cheating on one of our class games, I had to step into their shoes and think like them in order to help resolve the situation. From this, I learned that thinking from someone else's perspective is an extremely useful way of resolving altercations such as the children's argument.

I also got a lot of mosquito bites. I was always very sensitive to mosquito bites ever since I was a baby. I visit Taiwan at least once a year and whenever I got bites, the bite would always swell up and create a large red patch surrounding the bite wound. I would have to make visits to the dermatologist every year to treat them due to the severe allergic reaction. This year, during my first week at Yong Le, I got bitten by black midget mosquitoes so many times that eventually, my body developed the antibodies for it. I eventually stopped using bug spray and didn't need medicine for my bites and they healed within a day. In my opinion, this resistance to mosquito toxins was one of the most useful benefits I received from the volunteering trip.

By the end of the second week, I had developed a strong bond with each of my students, as well as students from other classes. I also grew close to the teachers, principals, and other staff members, including the security guard. We spent lots of time together, which made it very difficult to part with them during the closing ceremony. Not only did the kids learn a lot of English from us, but we also learned a lot of Chinese from them, and gained lots of knowledge about their lifestyle and culture. Overall, I feel deeply humbled by these children and how we have made such a huge difference in their lives and I plan to return over New Years to visit them.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hui, Timothy (許庭曦)
Teachers have the hardest job in the world. My experience with AID 2017 has only served to reinforce this sentiment. I used to think that anyone could easily fill the role of a teacher, and do a good job teaching as long as they tried. However, after trying to teach English for two weeks, my perception has drastically changed. This teaching experience has showed me that being a teacher doesn't just mean being able to prepare lesson plans the night before. A teacher needs to be very flexible and teach according to their students needs. They need to think carefully of what they want to teach and achieve. It was a real struggle for me because a teacher needs to focus not only on the academic side of things but also classroom management and more personal aspects in regard to the students. Honestly, I have a newfound respect for teachers. I really didn't appreciate the amount of effort they put in and I can understand where the stress and pressure comes from now. However, it was an awesome experience that I will never forget! The students were so fun to get to know and the memories that we made will always be remembered. This experience has changed my life for the better, and I hope it has also done so for my fellow volunteers and students.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wong, Chloee (黄偉婷)
AID has been one of the most rewarding and memorable program I have ever attended and would recommend it for everyone. Although there were a lot of mosquitoes, geckos, and cockroaches; I would give anything to do it all over again.
The very first week, the training period, was really tiresome at first, but it allowed me to bond with all of my group mates. We had to attend 3 classes, each three hours long, which basically told us a couple of new activities we could do with the students, but nothing new. The lesson plans were a bore to complete, but they helped a lot in the long run when we needed to teach the students.
I was assigned to Beiye Elementary School in Pingtung. On the very first day of teaching, my students were extremely quiet and were really awkward with us, but by the end of the second day they wouldn't stop talking about they did on the weekend or what they wanted to do when the program was over. Our students were extremely smart and were able to get the lesson down pretty quickly. We usually spent the first half hour reviewing, another hour teaching, another hour doing a worksheet, and an hour of an activity. For the rest of the day, we would prepare our students for the closing ceremony, which was extremely difficult because everyday there would be different students absent so many of the students were on different parts of the dance. By the end of the program, our students were able to introduce themselves and was even able to talk to an American that happened to pass by our school. Our students were all very talented in their own ways and I encourage all future AID participants to try to get close to your students so you are able to figure out what they are interested in and use their interest to teach them different topics. Our students weren't as sad as some other schools at the end of the program, but my teammates still keep in contact with many of their students.
My group mates and I had to live in an apartment like house in the school. On our very first day, we were surprised at the vast number of mosquitoes and geckos we saw (it was a lot). There weren't as many cockroaches, but it was still more than we wanted to see. The living accommodations weren't as nice as we wanted it to be (we disinfected the whole house on the first day), but we got used to it and even missed the house after we left. Our team made so many unforgettable memories from watching movies late at night to playing volleyball or basketball after school.
I highly recommend taking the tour if you have the time. Most of my team went on the tour and it allowed us to not only spend more time together, but also visit new places in central Taiwan that even I didn't know about. We went to a lot of nature places and shopping places, but spent a lot more time in the shopping areas than the nature places, which I wish wasn't the case. The tour also gave me a way to get back in touch with people I had met during the training period.
I highly recommend this program and am for sure that it ended in tears for everyone that attended it.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chiang, Candace (江竟淳)
It sounds really cheesy typing this out, but A.I.D. truly was a life-changing experience. If I were to be honest, despite my brother's and friend's comments on how much they enjoyed it all, I hadn't expected much at first. It was a 4 week volunteer program; I had grown accustomed to 6 week math programs. I wondered if I could get along with my teammates, if the students I was supposed to teach would laugh at my heavily-accented Chinese, and, most importantly of all, if the school would have toilet seats. These questions plagued me up until move-in day and continued to haunt me throughout the first, anxiety-ridden week at Chientan, during which I had trouble interacting with many of my teammates due to my shyness; but almost immediately after we got to our school, Chungder, I somehow managed to overcome my nerves and finally began getting comfortable with them (perhaps it was due to the realization that there would be no one else to talk to for the next two weeks). I'd like to say that's when my life kind of changed. I grew so close with some of the members--closer, I think, than many of my school friends, who I've known for years and years--and, maybe for the first time of my life, truly appreciated: group C2-4 became my family, people whom I felt 100% comfortable in my own skin. For the first time, my birthday felt like my birthday (complete with gifts, a card, singing, and humiliating moments), I bought and wanted (and continued) to wear matching outfits, and I tried on a nose mask; for the first time, I opened up some. That kind of feeling is indescribable--I cried for maybe 7 hours straight after sending off my friends, and for maybe 2-3 suddenly lonely, empty weeks on-and-off. And while I might not see some of them in person (video chats are a blessing) for a long while, the warm memories and the impact of my experience in Taiwan remain in me: I'm more confident in myself and my personality; I've realized how much of a blessing I have to live in America, how comfortable my lifestyle is; I've learned how hard teaching is, how hard it is to accommodate such a vast array of ability, how valuable participation is to a teacher's confidence; and I've discovered how beautifully rich Taiwan and its culture is. A.I.D. 2017 was amazing, and I'm grateful to have had the opportunity: I'm in college now, but I want nothing more than to return to Huwei and live in a sketchy dorm I mock all the time and teach the most humble and hardworking kids I've ever encountered and stay up late discussing deep topics with my teammates. It's sad to think I'll never experience this again, but I think it's amazing I got to even experience it in the first place, so thank you.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kong, Deborah (鄺美約)
This summer was an amazing experience for me and far from anything I could have imagined. I had the opportunity to make new life-long friends and interact with students that I have grown to love. Even though we had learned in Jiantan that the children don't need to learn that much vocabulary or grammar, I still went into the two weeks at my school thinking that I would teach them a lot. However, I found out as I started teaching that these children are all very smart and have the ability to memorize words and sentences. The only problem I found was that some of them weren't motivated enough to learn English. A lot of them only know the world confined in their own village and have no idea why learning English is important. I have come to learn from these children that what they needed was a window to the world outside of what they know - a glimpse of what someone from another continent is like and how our culture differs from theirs. I realized that I wasn't there to teach them a lot but rather spark their interest in learning English and let them have good memories from learning English. Although it was a challenge just speaking English to them, since their English was rather limited, we learned to communicate with each other without needing much Chinese translation. It was a great experience and I will never forget this experience.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kao, Daniel (高吳晟佑)
Overall, I really enjoyed the experience to work with kids with disadvantages. Even though at first it was a bit of a struggle to understand how each student learns, it was a successful outcome by the end of the two weeks, and the students really bonded with us teachers, even the ones from different classes. I thought the training week really helped me learn how to be an effective English Second Language teacher, and it was good practice for me, especially for someone who intends to go into an education major. To me, the most memorable moments are during the two weeks at the school I taught at, because I met new students, and I was able to connect with my teammates better, during the school day and the weekend tours. In addition to my teammates, I am very happy to have teamed up with Tung Hai University students to make the two teaching weeks even more memorable, from the after school meetings to the late night do your laundry competitions to watching dramas to playing badminton and basketball and much more. It was more free than it was at ChienTan, because our teacher didn't really mind what we do, as long as we communicate the more important parts of the schooldays to her.

During the Southern tour, I was able to connect to more AID volunteers from different parts of central Taiwan. I made a lot of new friends and had a really fun experience during the month of July. Though we had a brief time at each touring location, the spots we visited were very historic and scenic.

July 2017 is one to remember for life. I am really glad to have been part of 2017 Summer AID.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Day, Celina (戴苡庭)
Aid was an unforgettable experience. Not only was I able to teach students English but at the same time I was able to have fun and truly experience the culture of Taiwan. Upon arriving at Chientan the lesson than I had taken were helpful in coming up with ideas to teach including games and lesson plans. Teaching the children was also quite an experience as I had to not only deal with emotional kids but the fact that my school was in a mountain. Nonetheless, it was a learning experience as I learned to control a classroom but was able to learn lots from the children themselves too. The children had taken me back to a time when there were no worries in life and everyday was a carefree day. Another rewarding part of this trip was working with a team. Originally I was worried about working with a team that included people from all of the States. However after going through one week of training, we were able to grow significantly closer allowing our teamwork to grow stronger. It was especially sad for our team on the last day as it was a possibility that our team wouldn't be able to reunite again because everyone lived so far away from each other. But I still appreciated that fact because I was able to learn a lot about where they lived and difference in our lives. Thank you AID for giving me the most memorable summer of my life and allowing me to make friends that I will for sure stay friends with for the rest of my life.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kong, Joseph (鄺永約)
After these two weeks, my respect and admiration for teachers has increased by so much. I looked forward to spending time with middle school students, but I didn’t know what to expect from a teaching perspective. As the week progressed, I found myself wondering how teachers manage to do this full-time. I learned that there is so much work that goes into just one day of teaching. Not only do you have to collect your own materials, but you also have to teach in a way that would keep the students engaged. To me, the greatest challenge was to provide an environment where they would not only learn more English but also be stimulated to want to learn more English in the future. Preparing lesson plans where we just teach is easy, but the hard part is creating a plan which would also keep the students engaged throughout. The biggest challenge we faced was the first day, when the students were unresponsive, extremely shy, and in an unfamiliar environment. Although we had a detailed lesson plan for the first day, we ended up underpreparing and veering off from our lesson plan. After the first day, our group decided we had to reinvent our teaching style and provide an environment where the students would be comfortable with each other and the teachers.

Although at first we dreaded teaching, by the end of the two weeks we felt like the time we had was not enough. The reason teaching became so enjoyable is because all the teachers formed different bonds with different students, causing the students to respond with their own affection and give us their maximum effort. Although making lesson plans which would stimulate the children’s interest and enthusiasm was still a challenge, as the week went on it was much easier to come up with activities to stimulate the children’s interest. This was because all the volunteer teachers got a feel for the class, and as a collective team we could provide input on the strengths of weaknesses of the students we formed friendships with. By working together as a group, we could put together a balanced and enjoyable lesson plan which would also stimulate the children’s interest. Although there were many highlights during these two weeks, there is nothing that can beat the joy of befriending a student. It’s so rewarding to just be with the students because they show their appreciation and respect for the teachers without even realizing it. By befriending the students, we connected with the students on a human level and introduce ourselves to them as someone they could talk to. Through this, we introduced our culture to the students, and hopefully stimulated their interest in learning English or learning about different cultures.

All in all, I had an amazing two weeks teaching, and although it wasn’t always easy, the bonds I formed with the children and the experiences I gained from teaching will be very hard to forget and definitely made my summer amazing.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chen , Annie (陳定安)
This program has easily become one of the best summers of my life. I have met so many incredible people not only from my wonderful and talented group, but also from the whole entire group of 440 volunteers. Sometimes we would find some connection or similarity between each of us and realize that this world is so large yet so small.

Furthermore, the training in lesson planning gave me a taste of what I may be doing in the future, as I want to become a kindergarten teacher and had originally joined the program to explore a future career. I got to connect with so many of the junior high students we taught and as a result, my future seems so much more opened now that I have experience working with both younger and older school children, both of which have their special quirks. We learned how to time manage and were all forced into leadership positions in a fun, engaging, and supportive way so that it was not scary, since I am someone who leans on the more shy side.

The cultural attachment I had to the Hakka group was very enlightening, as the places we went to at Beipu taught a side of Taiwan I've always known but never truly explored. Everything from making an underground oven to bake potatoes and hand grinding the ingredients to make thunder tea, to water guns and straw woven daggers and lantern folding—I loved it all. Best of all, I got to share these experiences with my wonderful group of friends that I have gotten to know so well in such a short amount of time.

Lastly, after the 2 intensive weeks of hard work and hard play, we got to relax and go on tour through my home country and nothing will ever be able to replace the memories I've made here with these golden people I get to call friends. I am so thankful for this experience and summer 2017 will always hold a very special place in my heart.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Zhong, Queena (鍾子娜)
Upon my arrival to Taiwan, I went on Youtube and watched a great amount of former AID volunteers' videos about their time in Taiwan for AID. Experiencing it myself was really interesting and eye opening. The first week at Chientan, my group and I bonded together a lot. We played a lot of ice breakers within ourselves and closer by playing mafia and never have I ever, which was good. The first few days of teaching was a bit difficult. The kids were not used to having us and fooled around a lot. Sometimes the kids would be mad at us or disagree on things and would be very rude to us. It was frustrating at times. Later on, they started respecting us a bit more and emotions fell deeper. The kids would always tickle me everyday. One time, one of my kids tried scaring me by chasing me with a big bug. I was scared that I ran faster than I do for my PE tests. Despite some little devil children, I love them all and I truly miss every single one of them. Taiwan kids love playing dodgeball. One shocking thing I learned was that the kids were not afraid of bugs. They treat the bugs like they're pets or toys. It was eye opening.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chen, Eric (陳柏瀚)
It has been a great experience teaching the kids to enjoy English where they will be interested in continuing to learn English. Although there were many challenges along the way, we managed to find a way to make it work, allowing the kids to enjoy the activites that were planned out for them. One of the biggest challenges was choosing the topic and content to teach the kids. After the second day, we realized that the students remembered a lot of the basi words from last year's teachings, so we had to add more to their vocabulary without choosing words that were too difficult to use. We kept in mind of the pratical use that they would be using in their own lives either to present to an audience or to conversate with other people. The kids were very enthusiastic to learn new vocabulary while playing games that correspond with it. This has been one of the most memorable and most enjoyable experience I've had over summer. Thank you for this opportunity to have fun while teaching in my favorite country.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chen, Brandon (陳慶俞)
Participating in AID 2017 was a truly rewarding experience for me, and I left it with some newfound skills - ranging from social skills to leading skills - as well as many valuable memories. From the training at Chientan to our final ceremony there as well, I felt as if time passed by slowly, yet rushed through like the blink of an eye. I wanted it to end, and yet I didn't at the same time. In my opinion, the training week was not very helpful, because the constant presentations and note-taking didn't prepare us at all for the sudden introduction of our student's English levels. Some teachers had students with far better English than we thought, whereas others like me had students with lower English levels than I anticipated. However, it was a good chance for team members to get to know each other better, and mentally prepare for vastly different living conditions.

The two teaching weeks were the most tiring weeks of the program, because every night was spent preparing the next day's lesson plans, and so we slept late and woke early. My partner and I quickly connected to the students well, and they came to class everyday with enthusiasm that greatly aided our progression of teaching objectives. I am eternally grateful for my home-stay family, who were extremely nice and welcoming to Jonathan and I. They even took us to the first floor to play ping-pong and took us to night markets. Although I tried my best to return the favor in the form of a gift and trying to help out in the apartment, I certainly know that their kindness was akin of a family accepting a new child.

Finally, the tour week was alright; the previous warnings that we would spend most of the time on the tour bus were true. However, the counselors did great work managing us throughout the training and tour, and we did get to see some beautiful sights such as Sun Moon Lake and Dream Era Mall. Overall, I give my thanks to many people: the organizations that worked together to make this possible, the counselors and teachers aiding us in our teaching, my parents for allowing me to participate, and the government of Taiwan for sponsoring us and fostering cultural connections from across the globe.




----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lu, Andrew (盧柏恩)
Initially, I wasn't sure if I wanted to participate, mostly because I was never good at teaching and English is one of my worst subjects. I don't regret going though, and I'm actually kind of glad I did. The heat wasn't as big of a problem as I thought it would be, because almost everything you do in the first week is inside the AC filled buildings. The food was pretty meh though.

The teaching weeks were actually pretty decent as well. Although the school I got (and the housing) didn't have AC, we did have a lot of fans (like 6 fans) in the classrooms. The kids were very nice; it's pretty easy to make them smile and laugh. In my class we had a game where they had three chances to get a suction cup ball thing to stick on the board, and all the kids would laugh (presumably not at the one who threw) if the person missed. I always said "one more try" once they missed twice, and eventually most of the kids started saying it as well. The kids' English knowledge varies a lot. Although my class was just third and fourth graders, I had some students who would get most of the questions right while others not much. My class had one student who would get pretty much everything right and one student who the adults described as "special." The kids' way of showing affection is not something I expected, however. During our time outside, some of them would cling onto my hands and arms, and a few even hit me (it actually hurt a bit) but I'm sure they don't have bad intentions. Just note, don't draw an animal then write your name on it. Me and my partner were teaching animals and my partner knew some song to remember how to draw pigs. I drew a pig, wrote my name on it, then they started calling me pig and wouldn't stop. They take us places over the weekend so don't worry about that.

As for the teaching location, I would assume most of the schools are around the countryside. Where I went rained almost every afternoon and bugs were a serious problem. Within the first five days I had like eight bug bites on one foot. Still, we had a chaperone like person who our group called "mom" (even though he was like a 25 year old male) who made sure we had what we needed.

On the fourth week we had the tours. Pretty much all of it is riding on an AC filled bus for half an hour to two hours, checking out a place for an hour or two, getting back on the bus, repeat. We switch hotels every night. I got bronchitis during the tour week but somehow it turned out okay.

Overall the program was pretty good. The food isn't that good though. Bring laundry detergent (the washing machines at Chientan don't have them. You need to buy it from the convenience store if you forget). I'd also recommend bringing an ethernet cable for your laptop and/or get a sim card or other hotspot thing. The wifi connection at Chientan is absolutely atrocious and some rooms don't even have ethernet ports. It was quite painful because I didn't get a sim card and my room for the last few days didn't have an ethernet port.

oh btw i don't smile for photos mu ch anymore so if you see my pictures and i don't look happy that's probably why
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chour, Claire (仇苡潔)
This past month was definitely an unforgettable experience. On the first day of the program, I felt overwhelmed. There were so many people gathered in one building and I did not know where to go; everyone was talking at once so it was hard to hear the counselors. At first, I was anxious and nervous because I did not know many of the people going to this program, but I was able to meet so many different and unique people from all over the world over the course of the trip. The first week of the program was simply repetitive. Every day, we had to wake up very early, eat, and then go to our classes; the best part of this week was probably sleeping or going to the night market. The two weeks of teaching at YongLe Elementary School was truly tiring and each day felt like a year. The students were noisy and hard to control, and my teaching partner and I had to teach the youngest class, which was difficult. However, they were all very adorable and always tried their best. Although the food and living accommodation was not the best, the kids made up for everything and were a blessing.
Tour week was very busy and everything was rushed. I wish that we had more leisure time to go out to explore. However, I was thankful to see the beautiful scenery in Taiwan. I would like to thank AID for giving me this amazing opportunity to both meet great friends and allow me to have so many eye-opening experiences!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lin, Derek (林立凱)
Having taught English in Taiwan twice before in Taipei, I came into AID Summer with a mindset of having "been there, done that" and thought that although there would be a lot of work to be done there wouldn't be anything too different or much for me to take back from the program. But in the two weeks of teaching I felt that I learned much more than could be possible in two weeks through the many different challenges and obstacles we faced teaching in a rural area. Although not completely novel to me the responsibility of preparing for and giving lessons to a classroom of students was altogether different as the students held varying levels of English that required many lessons to be modified on the fly as they were too easy or too difficult. The student's levels of engagement also varied much more considerably and required more activities to break up the their learning and keep it more manageable. Also several times classes had to be replanned as materials were unable to be obtained for them or from the lack of a projector or cooking classroom. Overall AID Summer was an eye opening experience for me as it allowed me to understand the difficulties and challenges of teaching away from the comforts and conveniences provided from a more urban environment. It pushed me to learn from and adapt to my students in order to ensure that they would be able to effectively learn even with shortages of materials or facilities.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tse, Michelle (謝玉婷)
AID made my first experience in Taiwan amazing. I never thought I would miss this place so much. When I was accepted into this program, my first thought was, "Will I fit in?" "Will I be judged?" "Will I teach the kids well?". I didn't know if I was going to enjoy my trip because it was it a summer camp and I have never been to one before. But when I step foot in Taiwan, everyone was kind hearted. The first counselors I met were a bit awkward but after our bus ride to Chien Tan, they warmed up to us pretty fast. Even though, I didn't get my shirts on the first day they tried their best to take care of us. All the counselors worked so hard and were so kind to us. Now for my group. When I met the girls in my group, they were all pretty friendly and as time went by I realized how much we had in common. They helped me so much with informing about Taiwan's culture and language. The boys were awkward at first, but after getting to know all of them, they are one of the best guys I have ever met. Everyone that I had became friends with on this trip, has made such a big impact in my life. They inspired to be a better person and gave me a new impression to the outside world. I never thought it would be so hard to say goodbye to them and Taiwan. Because of this I will encourage more people to go to this program and to visit Taiwan. In the future I will be visiting this beautiful country again!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chen, Yvonne (陳鳳屏)
The heavy thought of teaching children English felt immense at first but it all went well in the end. First days are always the hardest and scariest, from silencing the kids to actually getting them to write, takes notes, recite English, and the latter. Let me tell you, kids are eager to learn in the morning but later in the afternoon they become restless. Because of this, my partner and I planned so many outside activities to help curb their liveliness. After the two weeks of teaching, I quickly discovered why elementary teachers have so many art activities, it was a form of therapy or break after teaching the kids for a while. Our security guard saved our lives from cockroaches and plugged toilets. I thank him so much for his service.
Although those students are a bit energetic at times, they are cute. Some of them may be hard to deal with, but after learning them for a week, you'll know how to push their buttons to the right directions.
This volunteer experience really helped me pushed my limits in life. Usually don't yell, but I have discovered my Asian yelling voice. Certainly I have learned so much and respect my teachers a lot for what they go through every school day.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lin, Katrina (林佳琦)
Before the month started, I had no idea what to expect, and I definitely didn’t expect to get so attached to my new friends and the school. The first day I walked into the activity center, I felt intimidated being surrounded by so many unfamiliar faces. But there were also some people that I recognized from the Facebook group, and it was great to be able to finally meet them in person.

I thought the first week was tedious and boring - I’m sure many others felt the same way. Chien Tan became kind of like a prison. We had to be back in bed by 10:30 and weren’t allowed to leave the grounds. Shilin night market was so close by but we weren’t allowed to go whenever we wanted. The classes seemed unnecessary and excessive. (Later you realize that they actually helped a lot when you’re coming up with lesson plans)

I had a great time at my school. The two weeks couldn’t have passed any quicker. I had already gotten to know the other volunteers at my school from my week in Chien Tan, so there was never a time where I was uncomfortable with those around me.

My school also had other high school and college students from Taiwan that helped us teach and took photos for us. Since they were mostly our age or close to our age, we all got along well and hung out after class, along with some students that lived nearby. Over the weekend, we hung out and we were taken to many interesting, fun places around the area.

Tour week was fun because I got to hang out with my new friends in a non-teaching environment. We didn’t need to be responsible for any students; we could just relax and have fun. You also get to reunite with your friends that went to different schools. By the end of the week we made it back to Chien Tan. Walking through the front entrance again after so long really makes you nostalgic of the first time you walked past the large 劍潭 sign, unsure what the month ahead would bring.

I’m so glad I got this chance to go to another country, teach, and make new friends. A.I.D. was truly an experience of a lifetime, and I won’t forget the time I spent there or the friends I made.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Pang, Emily (彭琬菁)
This past month is one that I will never forget. Starting from July 1 and up until July 29, I have made tons of new friends and countless new memories. Ever since the first day, the other volunteers and I all found something to bond over, whether it was over a realization that the two of us both came from the Bay Area or a common love for traveling. And on the last day, saying goodbye to everyone that I spent the last month with was difficult because we knew that we would possibly never see each other again.

Everyday was an adventure that I will always smile about. On the first day, I vividly remember walking into the auditorium and having a million thoughts rush at me. Growing up in a city that was predominately white and having close friends that were Caucasian, my first thought was: “How will I be able to fit in with all of these Chinese people from all around the world?” After dinner, I knew that that would not be a problem. Even though it had only been a few short hours, I had met a large number of people that I was excited to spend the rest of my summer with. Over the course of the first week, my group mates and I bonded over our favorite restaurants and places to go in the Bay Area and played numerous icebreakers which caused us to laugh for hours. I also met people through our training classes and mealtimes which made the slow hours go by a lot quicker.

When my group and I arrived at Yong Le Elementary School after a week of training, we were a little nervous about what to expect. Looking at Google Maps the week before, we saw that our school was right in the middle of a green expanse. Immediately, we thought to ourselves: “How will we survive if there’s no wifi? How many bugs will we encounter?” Getting off the bus, we were greeted by college volunteers from a different program. They helped us get settled in really quickly and we soon grew extremely close, forming a relationship through killing cockroaches and laughing at our minuscule language barrier.

Teaching was a whole other experience. It made me so happy to see my little kids learn simple English words that they had not known before. My partner and I taught the youngest kids, so everyday was a long, tiresome adventure. Our day was full of kids running around and laughing. They were so excited when we first gave them candy that it took us a while to comprehend the excitement of one small piece of candy. By the last day, my partner and I couldn’t believe it was over. We had learned so much ourselves, learning how to be more patient and more adaptable to a life that was so different than our own. It’s so sad knowing that I will probably never see them again and I won’t be able to see their successes and see them grow up to be our age and their life.

The last tour week was extremely enjoyable and full of late night gossip sessions and laughing fits. Every single day was something different and even going to places that I had already been before was a different experience due to being around my new friends. I had met people from England to Australia, from New York to Texas, leaning about different cultures and making countless memories. In the end, the whole experience went by so fast and I constantly wish that I could go back with the same people again.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chiem, Carmen (詹其敏)
I met the most amazing individuals and had the best time of my life on this adventure. I met people I didn't know I would meet. A 100% Latino fluent in Chinese? WHAT?!? Little did I know, he became one of my closest friends. Whenever I would feel left out by my group, I found refuge in his. I quietly wished I was part of his group. Nonetheless, my own group was still the people I grew the closest to. We laughed at ugly photos together, cried together when a group member had to go home, sang karaoke together on a bus, and ate meals together. We befriended counselors like Chris, Jason and Joshua, and coordinated in buying ugly shark key chains together. I look back at the memories created on this journey and shed a tear. The one time at Bed Check when Chris saw us, turned around, and cursed; I think he is still horrified by that moment. When Bus D broke down and we were all stranded in the middle of the road, but A3-1 still sang Happy Birthday to Jacey. When we went to Shilin Night Market for hours. The last week on tour. Trying to candidly take a picture of the counselors because we were not allowed to take pictures of them. Trying to guess the counselors age and find out that some counselors were just a couple years older than us. Following counselors on social media and them following back, breaking their rules. I can truly say my first time in Taiwan will not be forgotten.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vo, Kaitlyn (武愷琳)
I never knew that one summer could be so life-changing. At first I was hesitant about spending a whole month with a group of people I didn’t know in a foreign country, but after getting to know everyone in my group, I became reluctant to leave instead especially since I was missing the tour.

Our school Beiye Elementary School in Pingtung gave me a new perspective on my students’ lifestyle in remote areas. Although their school is not the most modern, the kids make great use of their resources and made it like a home for us. My third grade students and I became really close in the short time we had together and it was really hard to leave them behind. I’ll miss them and all the memories we made while we were there. I’ll also definitely miss all the great snacks the school provided that I shared with the kids.

I especially have to thank the people in my B3-3 group, my teacher, and counselor as well because they were the ones who made the trip so unforgettable. We never had a boring day in the entire month and I’ll miss all the great inside jokes we had with each other. It was because of them that I didn’t feel homesick at all. They became my second family and I’m extremely grateful to have met them. This experience has made me more open and I wish I could’ve had more time to spend with all these new friends I’ve made over the summer. I hope I can visit the students in Pingtung one day with the rest of my group.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ma, Winston (馬天元)
The AID program was really amazing in many ways. Through the program, I was able to develop many of the necessary skills and learn many of the techniques needed to teach children a foreign language. Teaching the students was really fun, but at the same time super exhausting, which made me appreciate my teachers back in America. I realized that being a teacher is not easy at all, having to prepare for the next class everyday is tiring. I also was able to strengthen my Chinese speaking, listening, and reading skills by conversing with the local people and students in rural Taiwan, as well as learn more about Chinese culture. Additionally, I also gained a huge appreciation for what I usually take for granted in America while living in rural Taiwan. In America, I had really advanced showers, sit-down toilets, washing machines, dryers, and other technology; on the other hand, in rural Taiwan, the facilities were relatively old and run down. Overall, the AID program has taught me many things and has really opened my eyes to the world outside of America, but most importantly, is that the program helped me make new friends and meet new people. I met people from all over the United States who I would have never known about without AID, and we bonded together and created connections that will last a a lifetime.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wang, Joy (汪家怡)
This program may be one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Before going to the program, I was skeptical about it, I wasn't as excited as I thought it would be and, if being honest, I didn't want to go. I thought time would be spent much better if I had stayed home with my grandparents instead of joining the program. However, my parents pushed me into doing this and promised me that I would have a good time. And I did. This might just be one of the best month I have ever had in my life. I have met people from the United States that I had become best friends with, as well as people from Taiwan that I would never in my life forget about. And, of course, the children that I taught became people that I was way too attached to and did not know how to separate. Leaving was hard, and when the eight of us left, we all cried so much and even the last week of touring was not as fun as it should've been because of how upset and sad we were to leave the elementary school that we were teaching. Though this reflection is way too late, and I am not even sure if anyone is still willing to read these, that month has really been something that I would never be able to forget. Shout out to my 7 other volunteers that spent time with me 24/7 in Houbi Elementary school, as well as the teachers, principle, 替代役s, the most adorable kids, and the Taiwanese volunteers. You guys are seriously the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Thank you so much. I am so thankful of everything.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ju, Caitlin (朱品寧)
The past month has truly been a memorable experience. As I’m heading back to Yunlin tomorrow to visit my students again, I can’t help but reflect on all the memories I’ve created and the new person I’ve become. My group of eight has become so close over the past four weeks, and even as we know we will be split across the country for college in less than a month, we also know that we were a perfect match. We would stay up until 3 am preparing for lesson plans, scream while our designated bug killer struck another enormous cockroach, and order pearl milk tea in one too many times. I’ve learned that teaching is so much more difficult than I thought it was, and as long as you open your heart, you really can make a difference. In the beginning, I was not sure spending such a long time away from home and my friends who were about to leave for college was a good idea. Now, I could not imagine having spent my summer any other way. I am truly grateful for the friends I have made, the opportunity to explore so much more of Taiwan, and the memories to come.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lyu, Joshua (呂征南)
AID, for me, was truly an unforgettable experience. From teaching our kids at 永樂國小 to seeing the beauty of 日月潭), I’ll never forget a moment of it. I first found out about AID when my sister attended it about five years ago. The reason that I chose to attend this program is that Taiwan has always been one of my favorite places to go. Besides the intense heat and humidity here, it’s beautiful. The culture, the food, especially, and the people all are absolutely amazing.

My experience in this program was very well lived. The first week of the program, at Chien Tan, was tiring but fun. I was able to make friends with seven other amazing individuals. I had so much fun and I learned so much about teaching and education in general. The second and third week of the program, we were at Yong Le Elementary school. The kids were so sweet and we had so much fun with them.

The tour was very tiring but, even through the heat, it was an amazing way to explore and see the beauty of Taiwan. I would come again given the opportunity.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chen, Arie (陳忻履)
The AID summer program was probably the highlight of my 18 years of life to date. In 4 weeks that seemed to grow increasingly shorter as time went on, I got to know my 5 other school volunteers to practically family, and build strong bonds with the school children. I played with them, taught them a little English, and hopefully left them with just a little bit more knowledge, or hopefully the drive to continue to learn. The first week crawled by, the lectures were long and the classes generally quite boring, so I had low hopes for my individual school. Renwu Elementary far surpassed any of my admittedly low expectations, and I grew to love teaching in a span of days. Even the naughty and sometimes annoying kids in class couldn't dampen my mood. Together, my teaching partner and I tackled lessons with ease, thought up of interesting sports to play and devised fun games the children would enjoy (mostly hitting the teachers with objects-- water balloons, dodgeballs...etc). And though the last week of touring was fun, I still ended up missing my school and the bonds I had formed there with the staff, my partner and friends, and my kids.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hsieh, Matthew (謝樂之)
Dapu Elementary and Junior High School
Grade: 1

In all honesty, I did not know what to expect when I signed up to participate in the AID summer program. All I really knew was that I would have the opportunity to teach English in a place I was foreign to: Taiwan. After a long and cramped airplane flight, I was greeted by the hot, humid climate of Taiwan. In no time, I met my teaching group who I would spend a month of my life with at Chientan Youth Activity Center. For the first week of my trip to Taiwan, my group and I meticulously crafted a teaching plan which we would use to teach the kids at our school. Towards the end of the first week, our AID coordinator informed us that we would be teaching in the mountains of Dapu at a remote elementary school. Without thinking much of this, our group quickly complied and we endured the 6-hour long bus ride to Dapu County. The next two weeks of teaching in Dapu was challenging to say the least. Aside from the restless children who were more eager to play with us than learn English, our living area became infested with insects which left many bug bites on our bodies. Nevertheless, our group endured the challenges and executed our teaching plan like we had designed. In the first week, my team taught the first graders the ABC’s and numbers. While they were very good at reciting the terms, the students were also very forgetful. After two weeks of repetition and worksheets, the students were able to recite basic sentence structures. Our two weeks of teaching in Dapu were filled with challenges, but by overcoming the roadblocks, it left my group and I with vivid memories and a greater appreciation for the resources we had access to in America. The final week of our summer program was a tour of Taiwan, in which we sat aboard a tour bus and visited places such as Sun Moon Lake and Xitou. All in all, the program allowed me to have a deeper appreciation for Chinese culture and showed me the different experiences children encounter in foreign educational environments.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Wang, Rita (王力真)
Personally, I feel like the best part of this trip is that each small team is just that: small. We really get to bond and work together. Although some of us do have our differences, it still does not affect how close we became as a team. I was chosen as the team leader this time, and this trip taught me how to be a real leader. At first, it was really stressful and tiring, trying to work both as a teacher and a leader. I became really frustrated with myself and my work.
It took me some time to realize this, but then I realized, everyone has a job, and it is based on their ability. People with the good ability to cope with responsibility gets to cope with responsibility. They get used to it, and it is like an upgrade, I will grow to be used to being a leader, and at last, it will no longer feel like a burden, instead, something I was born to do. At the end of camp, one of the adult supervisors told me a Chinese saying, “More capable people do more things.” She was trying to tell me that I shouldn’t feel that the burden of being the leader is unfair. To be a leader is to take the responsibility because leaders are stronger and more capable. So they endure more stress and more responsibility. Because I was able to handle the group and the stress that came with ensuring that everyone did their job, I accomplished more. Of course, I learned that being a leader is to take the blame when something goes wrong and to share the glory when something goes right.

This time I think I extended my full potential during the month, from doing a speech in front of everyone (including authorities) to being a leader for our team. Teaching became a secondary part of this trip, although important, turned out not what I learned the most from. But that is probably because I learned a lot from the past two years volunteer as student teachers to Taiwan for different programs. I am still glad I learned something this year.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chen, Celine (陳思寧)
AID Summer not only created an unforgettable experience for me, but also emphasized to me the values of community service and learning about my own culture. I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to work with such amazing kids and even though I was their teacher, they taught me as well. The group of 4 people I had was also perfect and I was so happy we were able to get along and bond so quickly. Although inspiring the kids to learn English was our main goal, communicating with them and getting to know them was definitely an added bonus. The faculty and staff of the school we taught at were so caring and took care of us so well. Thanks to them, the other teachers and I were able to have such an amazing two weeks of teaching. Even though there was no air conditioning, the weather was hot, and we had to deal with thousands of mosquitos, I was perfectly happy to stay and teach such wonderful children. I remember the day we had to leave for the tour was one of the saddest moments of my life, not just because we had to leave the kids, but also all of the adults and teachers who had cared for us and bonded with us. The next time I cried was when I had to leave AID in general and say goodbye to all of the people I met along with the counselors who led us. This program has inspired me to learn more about my culture and definitely motivates me to visit Taiwan as soon as possible. Thank you!
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chen, Victoria (陳天儀)
Coming into the Taiwan AID Summer Program, I was excited to meet to friends, explore Taiwan, improve my Chinese, but I was hesitant about teaching children. It wasn't that I just wanted to have fun and not do any work, but rather, from my past experiences tutoring children, I was under the impression that all children would be hard to deal with. In my mind, children were hyperactive and did not like to learn. However, since participating in Taiwan AID, my views have changed. The children that we taught, while energetic and fun, were also very well-mannered and were eager to learn. Though they had had minimal exposure to English previously, each and everyone of them was receptive to our teaching came into class every morning ready to learn. During break times, they would come up to us wanting to know more about us and begging us to join them in their games. I was honestly blown away by the curious and pure characters that couldn't be farther from the preconceptions I had ignorantly painted them as. At the end of the day, to my surprise, the children we had the fortune of teaching were my favorite part of this Taiwan AID experience. The lessons they taught me as a person far surpassed any amount of English we could have taught them, and for that I will be forever grateful for this opportunity. This experience taught me that not everything is about being book smart or being extremely personable - being receptive to things different from what you're accustomed to and being willing to be vulnerable and try new things will not only teach you a lot more, but also enhance your overall experience.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hsiao, Isabel (蕭貝兒)
Before coming to this program I had the experience of going to Taiwan to teach English to younger children, but this program was very different from the other program I went to.
The first week was a bit boring during some of the classes, but going to 士林 night market and time with our teacher was very exhilarating. During teaching weeks, I was very surprised when I first met my kindergarten students because they were very welcoming and outgoing which was different from previous students that I had. They were very cute, but very rambunctious at times. I am very glad that I got the chance to influence their lives and teach them what a dinosaur is. I really enjoyed hanging out and teaching with my teammates. They are hardworking and very talented people. Our teacher was a savage and very hilarious.The people at our school, 竹田國小, were very supportive and would help us buy materials even when we asked the day of teaching. On nights where we finished our work, we would play league with our security guard and he would help us kill cockroaches. Overall this experience was very fun and if I had the chance to join again I definitely would. My teammates, counselor, and teacher were all very enthusiastic and helpful.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ko, Anne (葛欣蓉)
Aid summer has been one of the most memorable experiences that I have experienced. I have never thought that working with children would be so much fun. Before joining AID I signed up for the program purely because I wanted to waste time during my three month stay in Taiwan over the summer. Although I liked kids I never thought of becoming a teacher. Since coming back from Taiwan, I would have to say that AID was the best memory during my three months in Taiwan. I now understand the connection a teacher has for their students. The relationships that I have forged with my students and with the friends that I have made on the program has made a very big impact on the confidence I now hold moving forward. Learning about the aboriginals in Taiwan has also opened my eyes. AID gave me a chance to learn about the aboriginals first hand by teaching them. It gave me a chance to perceive them in a different light than what others in Taiwan view them as. Their lifestyle and culture are what grounds the Taiwanese people. Living in a more rural place made me value the things that I have back at home. I will forever value the importance of air conditioning and no bugs.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tseng, Albert (曾威程)
The four weeks in Taiwan had been an once in a life time experience. At first I was hesitant to go because I was afraid I wasn't going to make any friends. However on the first day, my co-teachers and I got along very well. Throughout the week I created more friends that I would hangout with the rest of the time in Taiwan.

The first week was tedious. Each day there would be workshops, where we had to sit and listen to lectures about methods the teach. Even though it was tedious, the friends whom I met there made it better. Every night, we would go to a room and each late night ramens. The second and third week was really fun. Being able to teach the kids and learn about their culture was a really good experience. The last week, we went on a tour around central Taiwan. Through the tour, we became very close with our counselors. Everyday on the bus, the counselors would play games with or just sit around and sing songs with us.

Overall this AID trip was really fun and also a nice experience. I've made a lot of new friends whom I still talk to. If I had the chance to do it again, I definitely would.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Chan, Matthew (詹立為)
At first, I was excited, but scared of entering the program. Even though I spent countless hours on preparing a plan(which I ended up not using, so don't worry about creating a detailed plan, also remember that english is like their 3rd or second language, so they won't pick up english as quickly as you think they could), I still felt extremely unprepared. "What if the students didn't like me or my lessons?" "What if I didn't fit into my group?" I wondered as I entered the Chientan youth activity center. It turns out that meeting new people was so easy because most, if not, all people there are really friendly, smart, and talented(and mostly asian). My group was very friendly and accepting, and I would enjoy every moment with them(thanks group:) ).

The first week, to be frank, was super boring. The 2nd day, we went to the Taipei Main Station, which was really fun(also since there are a lot of rules/restrictions... not all rules end up being followed). After that, it was mainly some boring and overall, not super helpful lectures, besides for Yohann's lectures. In summary, they basically told us to overprepare in case the lesson speeds through and to keep the kids interested and participating though activities that pertained to the lesson. After the lectures, we would plan for the first week of instruction, which also doubles as group bonding time as well. Our group got split into pairs, boy-girl, and the other person would be your teaching partner for 2 weeks. That is also the time you will begin to discover how smart, prepared, or unprepared your teaching partner is(also, the amount of time you spend actually teaching varies from school to school depending on what the counsler wants. Some want extremely detailed stuff, some only require a general outline, so doing a super detailed plan before the program is kinda a waste of time), and that teaching is not easy at all, as the mock teaching sessions will go horribly, especially if your group or the other team's group, which roleplays as the students, are bent on making your life a challenge.

The second and 3rd week is where it gets fun, but extremely difficult. I chose the advanced/older group of kids(which turned out to be the right choice for my school, as the younger ones were much more chaotic), and because us volunteer teachers weren't as strict as their normal teachers, they loved us, so don't worry about the kids not liking you, in fact, one of the problems you will epxerience is that you become so friendly with them that they kinda lose respect(not sure if that is the right word) for you as a teacher and the class will get rowdier. It is very tiring, so you find yourself sleeping at odd hours(like right after lunch, sometimes right after class). It is very hot and extremely humid, so you will take lots of showers. Overall, it was very difficult to teach the kids english, as their skill level greatly varies even within the class(intermediate class is always the hardest to teach because thats where they put the kids who haven't taken an assessment in and some are much smarter, but the opposite is very true as well), but it was a valuable experience as teachers as well as rewarding to see our hard work pay off and see their english proficiency increase, no matter how big or small. If you are lucky, the kids will give you gifts or do a performance for you:)

This program is fun as well. Most groups hit it off very quickly, as were stuck with each other for at least 3 weeks. They organize groups by age(everyone in the group I was in was going to be a college freshman) and kinda by area(in my group: 2 people from the bay area, 4 people from Las Angeles). Though our group was slower at bonding, I couldn't have wished for a better group. During the teaching weeks, after class, we would quickly create a lesson plan(thank you so much Yong-Yi) then move on to the fun stuff. This included playing cards, karyoke, watching movies, chatting, the list goes on. Some people get extremely close and become couples. As for where you stay during teaching week, it varies from school to school. At most schools, you will be staying in school dorms, but you may also live at homestays or hotels(if you are very lucky). As for my group... we lived in the kindergarten(I kid you not). Boys were upstairs and girls were downstairs, and it was really easy to get into eachothers rooms. There were no classes on the weekends, so our "counsler" and the dean of the school took us to a small island southwest of Taiwan, where we went to a beach, ate deliciious seafood, and went scuba diving. Skipping to the last week of the tour, we basically went touring over Taiwan for a week. The places we went to and the hotels we stayed at were cool, but it felt like we were being rushed from place to place(can't do anything about that tho). You get a lot of free time and sleep time(bus rides were long) and the rules are much less enforced than they were during the 1st week of training. Overall, I enjoyed the opportunity and experiences this program gave me(thank you so much AID Summer and your sponsers) and I would definately reccomend joining this program.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fei, Gabriel (費家寶)
Through this program I learned a lot about how fortunate and lucky we are as residents in the U.S. to have everything readily available to us. I also learned that giving back is one of the many amazing things we can do to help show our gratitude for our fortune. Teaching kids was a great experience seeing how I could apply what I learned in the states to the kids in Taiwan. I was also able to learn teamwork as I worked beside another person as my teaching partner. This program not only allowed me to create bonds with the students but also with my fellow teachers as well. Our mentor not only helped us see the right way to teach the children, but also helped us find our own individual way of teaching. Spending two weeks with my peers allowed me to create close relationships with each and every one of them and I will never forget any of my new friends or my mentor. The tour at the end of the program has given me greater appreciation for the land my parents originated from. New places were shown to me and I'll be able to bring others here next time. I was able to see and experience the culture and understand what makes this country so great. Thank you AID for giving me this opportunity to experience both teaching and learning through your program.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------