2018 AID Summer
志工感言 (Reflection) >> Toronto
# 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
Chou, Jacey (周家琪)
I can say without a doubt that A.I.D. has been a wonderful program to participate in and I will cherish the memories that I've made this summer in Taiwan with the students that I taught and the people that I've met. This experience has been one of the most fulfilling and enlightening experiences I've had in the while and it has taught me a lot of things about myself as well as Taiwanese culture and society. A.I.D. has delivered on what it promised and outlined in the application process: which is to allow individuals living outside of Taiwan to help those who are in less privileged circumstances and in turn, learn more about the country itself as well as those in the community. I believe that the efforts put in not only by the volunteers but as well as the many hardworking counselors and supervisors have made this experience so cohesive and poignant in my summer there that I will remember this trip for a lifetime. It was a pleasure to teach and interact with the kids at my school, but I am doubly pleased and very happy to have met so many new people that have taught me so many things in return. My only hope is that more programs like A.I.D. will appear in the future to present opportunities to interested individuals should they want to be better acquainted with the world and people around them.
Kam, Adrianne (金偉儀)
AID has made this summer one of the most memorable summers of my life. My teammates and all the volunteers/students at our school were amazing, and I'll never forget them. When we first arrived at the school, my team was a little bit anxious and very excited, but we were immediately welcomed into the community and it felt as if we had a new family. Arriving in Taiwan, I thought I was just coming to teach students with disadvantages some English vocabulary and useful phrases, but I ended up learning so much myself. I became aware of how privileged my life has been and how many resources are available to me. Although the students live simple lives in a small town, they are so happy with what they have and the relationships between families is so strong. Upon leaving the school, my team could not decide how to thank our school, because we felt that nothing material could ever measure up to the kindness they showed us. I know for sure that one day when I am older, I will visit my school again, because there are so many memories we made within the walls of the classrooms. This experience gave me the opportunity to reflect upon my own life and has definitely helped me grow as a person.
Wang, Fang I (王方儀)
Teaching at Mailiao Senior High School in Yunlin was a rewarding and memorable experience. I remember the first day I walked into class. It was super awkward, and all the students sat at the very back rows. Students were very shy and quiet. But as time went on, the students slowly became more outgoing and even approached us during break to talk to us. It was phenomenal to work with my teaching partner, Chris Ni and the high school helpers. The local teachers, handsome principal and security guard were all very caring and provided us with our needs, especially Jack, the security guard, who also had to put up with our nonsense. During the evenings and weekends, they took us out to experience DIY towels, Mailiao night market and taught us how to make cong you bin and play口笛. I have made many new friendships and had a blast with my teaching group at Mailao.

However, I am very displeased with the training and tour weeks. The training week was very disorganized. There was a lack of communication with us, the volunteers on what the schedule is because it did not follow the one given to us. The classes were a waste of time and can definitely be shorten by getting to the main points. Majority of the student volunteers were sleeping, doodling or on their phones, even our teacher was bored to death. Honestly, we completely gave up on the points to go to Shilin after learning that you are only allotted 15 minutes, but because of a special someone, we tried very hard on the last day, or we would have just slept again. The wifi was terrible (basically non-existent) making it difficult to create lesson plans, unless you can use someone else’s hotspot. Not everyone has the luxury of unlimited data. The tour week was a disappointment. An explanation should be given for not going to Kenting street because all of us were looking forward to that. It was a shame that we went all the way to Kenting just to sleep. The free time given for attractions, like Feng Chia Night Market and the aquarium, are too short, whereas places, such as Huataoyao and 921 Earthquake Museum, we were given too much time. I understand that a lot of the attractions were scheduled for us to learn about Taiwanese culture, but some attractions are very boring, like Huataoyao and could be replaced for other cultural DIY experiences similar to the paper fan making. The train at Ten Drum Culture Village was like WTF. It was literally a 5-minute ride that only went straight and back...why did we ride this? I could not comprehend why at the Sun Moon Lake we got on and off the bus just to take group photos and was given only 10 minutes of free time. It would have been better if we pick maybe two destinations to enjoy the view and let us walk around and shop. Lastly, I do not think it’s appropriate to yell at the counselors in front of us, especially over little things. A lot of things could have been nicely instructed. The rules were also unreasonable, like they can’t hold umbrellas??? I ended up holding umbrellas for them because they look like they’ll melt under the sun. These poor counselors deserve some freedom and sleep. The best part about the tour was bonding with other student volunteers and the counselors. Overall, this program can definitely be improved with better planning and organization.

Wan, Jeffrey (萬德民)
Aid summer 2017 has been a very interesting experience for me. I made a decent amount of friends, went to see different areas in Taiwan, and most of all had the opportunity of eating great food. JianZhong elementary school was a great school with great students. The students were very hard working and very attentive, which made my teaching very easy. The students also made the experience lots of fun too, by playing different board and video games with me. The teachers were really nice as well, bringing me to different places to experience different foods, culture, and the more modernized parts of Taiwan.
Throughout this experience it also made me realize the less beautiful part of the community in Taiwan. There were many instances of over competitiveness in the students, making them physically and verbally fight each other. I also realized the inequality in funding between the schools in more urban and rural schools. Some of the equipment were dated in our school compared to what is provided in north American schools. I also realized that funding is still very scarce to the school in this program, only providing the school 200 ntd per day per volunteer. This is a problem that needs to be solved over time.
Overall, this experience was very interesting for me. It made my eyes open to both the good and bad parts of Taiwan.

Wong, Queenie (黃君妮)
The time that I have spent in Taiwan has been 4 of the best weeks of my life. Through this program, I not only got to meet some amazing people, but I have also made friends that I am sure to keep in contact with.

The school that I volunteered at, Jianzhong Elementary School, was filled with great teachers, mentors, friends, and students. I feel like I gave the students at the school a new perspective on English, and showed them a different teaching method than what is typically used. Teaching at the school for 2 weeks isn't a very long time, and it felt like only days! It would have been great if I were able to stay there longer and get to know everyone a lot better. I hope that I gave the students an enjoyable 2 weeks, and a memorable time with me.

The teachers, the principal, and everyone else at the school has provided me with a place to stay, and has made me feel at home. Not only was teaching fun, but the places that we went to during the weekends, and when we were done teaching. The night markets were a blast; the food was great, the games were fun, and the experience is something that I will never forget. The time that I spent teaching has helped improved my communication, leadership, and teamwork skills, and has provided me with ideas and skills that I am sure to use again.

The tour week was also very enjoyable as I got to see more of Taiwan, hang out with my friends, and buy souvenirs for my friends and family. I never realized how beautiful Taiwan is. The places that we visited such as the Sun Moon Lake had such a beautiful view that was perfect for picture taking and just enjoying the scenery. However, it would have been great if we could go to more places. A lot of the places that we went to were fun, but to get there, a lot of time would be spent on the bus. Even though we spent a lot of time on the bus, the counsellors were fun, and entertained us.

All in all, my trip to Taiwan was a lot of fun, and I got the opportunity to learn a lot more about Taiwan and it's culture. If given the opportunity, I would love to come back to Taiwan and visit all the wonderful people I've met!
Liu, Lorraine (劉于琪)
There is so much to say about my experiences in the Aidsummer program this summer. This program provided an amazing opportunity for me to not only teach kids English, but it was also a great learning experience about both the differences between Taiwanese and western cultures and the differences between living in urban areas compared to living in more rural areas. I treasure the lessons I’ve learned during this experience and I am greatly appreciative of the lifelong memories I have made in the past four weeks. Teaching the kids at 土牛國小 has taught me patience, time management, and the importance of being prepared for any situation; they have helped me to improve my own character and I will always remember how much I have gained from this program. This program has given me a chance to get to know new people and extend myself out of my comfort zone, it has given me the opportunity to make new friends that I have become incredibly close in a period of four weeks; there is so much I have been able to achieve this summer that I would have achieved without this program and I will always be grateful for what Aidsummer has provided for me. This program has not only done a great job of accommodating the volunteers throughout the four weeks, but it has also given us volunteers memories that can never be replaced.
Li, Lok Yiu (李樂遙)
It's amazing how much time can seem to fly by- how the days can feel so long, but the weeks, so short. The time I've spent with AID in Taiwan and at Ruifang Junior High School has filled my heart with so much joy and so many beautiful memories, which I am sure will last for years. I feel so thankful and fortunate to have had this opportunity, to have met and spent time with such a great group of people, to have been to the places I have been, to have seen the magnificent sights I have seen, and to have experienced such endless kindness and generosity.

Teaching a foreign language to students who spoke a language I barely knew was a humbling experience. Despite the barrier, it was obvious their love of learning, laughter, and friendship shone through by the second day. Even after the first few minutes, I already found myself learning from them, just as they were learning from me. I was picking up on new language skills and cultural habits, just as they were learning to understand the harmlessness and value in making mistakes and gaining the courage of applying their English in conversation. Soon enough, strangers became friends, and friends became family.

Seeing the sights and landmarks of Taiwan that people often rave about would not have been amazing, but not enough. Rather, being immersed into the local life is what I find truly extraordinary. The diamonds always lay beneath the layers of rough, and while the exterior may be marvelous, it is truly the greatest when combined with what is inside. It is one thing to visit Taiwan and see the sights mentioned in internet reviews and travel brochures, but truly another to have lived and breathed the beauties of Taiwan from a local standpoint.

It was also wonderful to also have the great staff at Ruifang (Max, Claire, Nico & many more!) to help guide us down a road we had never really been down before. Not only did they provide the answers to our endless list of questions, they were also great listeners and sources of advice. In RFJH, the last place I would have thought I would be spending my summer, they made a home and welcomed us with open arms into their family. For their hard work, late nights, meal runs, weekend adventures, and 7/11 trips, I am eternally grateful.

Leaving Ruifang and Taiwan was perhaps one of the most troubling and heartbreaking thing I had to do my entire summer. First it felt too surreal, but then it hit like a ton of bricks. It felt like we were just getting started, but in a flash, it was all over. Memories from those days echo and ache in bitter sweetness- while it was nice to have such amazing stories to take home, the place that built them was too amazing for me to want to leave and return to reality. AID was an amazing experience, and I am blessed to have been able to spend my days with the lovely people who made it so great. Here’s to them- through all the learning, laughter, love, jade cabbages and no straws.