2018 AID Summer
志工感言 (Reflection) >> Seattle
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Hsu, Yi (徐懿)
First of all, I need thanks the 苗栗 建中國小 provided us such amazing environment for us to teach, and the teachers and TAs from local high school, thank you very much for assisting us through out the teaching weeks. Nevertheless there still some improvement can be made in preparation week and the tour week.
I suppose preparation week is a significant week for both teachers and school teacher in terms of not only to communicate their thought also keep on track of teaching plan that untimely satisfies both the school and the students. Thus by having 5 hours of lecture with 2 hours of work time is completely useless, because first, the teachers do not have enough time to develop a teaching system including learning, interaction, and game. Second, the lack of communication between the organizers and the teachers really turn down the mood, do not explain the purpose of lecture clearly or simply not willing share with us. Third, I do not think by seating a classroom entire day will help us to plan a better teaching system, ironically the lecture is about how to teach yet most teachers already fall to sleep during the lecture. And most importantly, the FOOOOOOOD, half of the time the food in 劍潭 is cold and half of the time the food just not taste well, and you can tell the teachers' reaction from day one, and most teachers rather eating cup noodle. I'm upset is not because of those flaws, I'm disappointed that that AID did nothing to improve or fix those mistakes during the preparation week, and I'm not talking about the conslours, they are cool, I really like them. I'm taking to the people above them, the ones that plan the schedule.
Same thing goes with the tour week, pointless stops, 3 hours of bus ride with 3 min of free time, and worst of all, when we at 墾丁, we have to spend freaking 3 hours to plan our talent show, even my parents don't believe this, when my mom asked me what I did in 墾丁 I told her we did nothing, no swimming, no 墾丁大道, just 3 hours of sit OUTSIDE the lobby hotel. And food again, which most of the time don't even touch and is not that hard to solve, just dinner alone, I bet we always can find a night market. And I think it is pretty clear what we want in terms of the tour, yet zero change is made.
Finally, I'm just looking forward that this program will improve, and out of many things that happen, I still appreciate that I have such unique chance and opportunity to become an English teacher in Taiwan. Thanks You
Suen, Sabrina (孫良語)
AID was a once in a lifetime experience that I don’t know if I’ll ever experience again. I made the memories and friends of a lifetime in the program. In the beginning of the program I was afraid that I would be miserable and want to go home throughout the entire time. The first few days at Chientan were really difficult because I didn’t know anyone and I was forced out of comfort zone to make friends with people I had just met. But I quickly realized how amazing my group was and how well we got along. The two weeks of teaching were an incredible learning experience. By having to come up with lesson plans and teach kids, I was finally fully able to understand the hard work that teacher put into their lessons. To be honest, in the end the kids taught me more than I could ever teach them. They taught me to be more patient, to communicate and to persevere. When we had to leave the school, my group was all really sad. However, we were even more upset when we had to leave each other. After spending an entire month together we got incredibly close. Even though we may not see each other for a long time, I know we will be friends for a long time.
Wang, Sabrina (王世如)
I’m extremely glad that I was able to take part in the AID program this year; it was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had. The first week at Jiantan was disorganized and not that exciting, but it was fun being able to meet new people and get to know my team. Morning calls, eating announcements, welcome chants, bed checks, and more – I wouldn’t change any of it. The next two weeks at Dacun elementary in Changhua were pretty incredible. The teachers there were very helpful and accepting and our host families were amazing as well. They made sure we felt welcome and comfortable, making sure we had the best experience we could. The students in my class were very well-behaved and teaching them was a lot of fun. Additionally, the TAs at the school quickly became close friends and going camping, bowling, and shopping with them was really entertaining. Tour the last week was also really fun. Even though it was rushed, we did get to see a lot of places traveling from Kaohsiung to Taipei and meet even more people. Taiwan may be hot, humid, and swarming with mosquitoes, but this past month in AID was definitely worth it.
Chen, Sheng-You (陳昇佑)
During the past month in the AID program, I have met volunteers from all over the world. I have learned to accept and learn from other people's insights during training week and teaching. Throughout the two weeks in Dacun, Changhua, I have developed close relationships with my teaching team, teachers at the elementary school, host families, teacher assistants and most importantly, my students. My team worked well with the school staff and planned unique activities that brought out the individuality of each class. From class chants to singing the camp song to food making class to group games, the students practiced English and enjoyed the two-week program. From their frowns struggling through challenging work, smiles from the fun they had and tears on the last day, we could tell that we had made a difference in their summer this year.
Personally, I found another side of me as a teacher while instructing the students. Being a teacher forced me to model my best self in front of my students and ensure that they are learning. In order to complete my daily goals, I sometimes revealed a more aggressive attitude to manage the classroom. This trait completely contrasted with my passive personality. However, I believe this is a necessary leadership trait that I lacked over the years. In the future, I will be able to be more affirmative in front of groups I lead and hopefully generate outcomes just as good as the two weeks of teaching at Dacun Elementary School.
Sun, Sara (孫詩涵)
This summer at AID was one of the best experiences I've ever had. At first, I was nervous, shy, and even scared at times. I came into the program only knowing a handful of people and I walked out of the program meeting more people than I could count. The first week at Chientan was full of questions and confusions but as I met and got to know my respective group and teacher, it became a lot less intimidating. The best part of the program was definitely the two weeks teaching at Dacun Elementary school. There, I found my third home. Everyone, despite only knowing them for merely two weeks, were so friendly and welcoming that it felt like I had known them forever. Teaching kids English was also a totally different experience. Although I admit, it was not easy. There were ups and downs, good and bad times, but nothing can defeat the joy I felt after knowing that the kids all enjoyed learning English. AID is more than us teaching English to the kids. AID has taught me, in return, the most valuable skills in life. Thank you AID. Thank you Dacun Elementary. Thank you A3-3. I will always cherish these memories I made at AID.
Chen, Jeremy (陳子傑)
This was a very exciting experience for me. I really enjoyed being able to go to a beautiful town in western Taiwan to teach English. In previous years when I had visited Taiwan, I stayed around the Taipei area because that was where my relatives lived. The host families at Dacun Elementary School were very welcoming, and they took us around to many different places nearby. The kids were all very fun to be around, and I enjoyed teaching them. My partner, Sara, and I taught using a book and a play. We taught them to sing “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” and actions for the song. We also taught them to read aloud and act the English play, “The Gingerbread Man”. We also taught them topics that they could use in their daily lives such as colors, classroom items, and family members. I’ve learned many valuable life lessons from this trip, such as the importance of patience, and the ability to be flexible. Oftentimes, lessons didn’t go as planned and we would run out of time or have too much time left, so we’d have to plan on the go. I also realized that the best way to teach the children was to be involved with them, and to do this it was important to let go of my self-consciousness and act silly sometimes. I really enjoyed the opportunity to teach English, and to build relationships with the students, and families at Dacun Elementary School.
Le, Crystal ( 樂思純)
I am so grateful to have been a part of the AID Summer Program in Taiwan and this experience along with the things I learned this summer will always stay with me. I ended up learning just as much, if not more, as the kids we got to teach. During this month, I learned not only about leadership, education, and different teaching methods, but about how to work with other people and the Taiwanese culture. I gained so much more than I thought I would have. I got to teach amazing kids who are still in contact with me today, and whom I plan on visiting next year, and made memories that I will treasure forever. Given the choice, I would do it all or again, with only a few minor changes. I did things that I never thought I could do before this and became close with people I had only met a couple days before. I also got to eat many of the foods that I missed from when I used to live there and reconnect with old teachers and family. I'm so thankful for all of the people who made this experience possible and as amazing as it was, especially the amazing staff at our school who treated us with kindness and patience.
Pao, Stephanie (保妙潔)
From this experience, I learned the values of patience and acceptance. I learned to be flexible from the early wake-up calls to the late night teaching plans. While teaching the under-privileged children, I got a chance to see how fortunate I am and how I should use this one opportunity to its fullest potential for the kids and the school. I was assigned to Tu Niu Elementary School and initially, I was scared that the kids would not like me or would judge my Chinese. However, to my surprise, they listened well and adored all the volunteer teachers very much. Being able to teach the kids showed me how hardworking some of these kids were and how much potential they have for a successful future. Sometimes when the kids were too excited, they began to go off topic or failed to listen to me and my partner, Lorraine. These moments are the times where I learned to be firm but patient. It required me to use my louder voice and stricter tone in order to get a point across. I aimed to be a nice teacher, but when the children take advantage of this trait, I would have to be stricter. In addition, after being with a group of six for so long, I learned to accept other people’s opinions and beliefs. I learned to adapt to other’s ideas and accept other’s decisions. After this trip, I learned more about other people as well as myself and Taiwanese culture.
Chiang, David (蔣大一)
I am very fortunate that I got accepted for the 2017 AID Summer Program, as I will forever cherish the unforgettable bonds built with my students and group members. During the first week at 劍潭, it was amazing seeing people from all over U.S. as well as other countries gathering at the same place and getting to know each other. As the teaching weeks progressed, the students became more comfortable with me and less scared about speaking English. It felt very rewarding seeing students laughing and having fun through the activities and games designed. Every day, my kids would hug, poke, and play with me so we got really close with each other. When the last day came by with the closing ceremony, I felt very happy when my kids could sing a song after all the practice we had, but sad knowing that all of this is coming to an end. In the end, we all exchanged contact information and took pictures with one another. I will definitely miss them and will visit them and the teachers next time I'm in Miaoli. I can't be thankful enough for my teachers for always looking out for us, treating us incredibly well and always being so friendly. Throughout the four weeks spent with my group, I became very good friends with one another and it was sad when the program inevitably came to an end and we had to say goodbye. As I sit here reminiscing about the incredible memories painted throughout these four weeks, I am glad that I was able to join this program and 2017 AID Summer will be a watershed in my life.
Chang, Anabel (張恩予)
I'll admit: 2 months before applying for AID, I had absolutely no idea this program existed, or what it stood for. I applied because I was encouraged to, excited to make new friends and be in Taiwan, but I didn't understand the full extent of what I was signing up for. Sure, I knew we would teach English, but teaching children was something I was very familiar with, so I expected everything to be fun and games. Then I actually got there, and my perspective changed with the long classes, teaching plans, and dance practices. It seemed I would have to put in an effort after all. But soon we actually arrived at Dacun Elementary School and my outlook shifted 180 degrees. This was not something to be taken lightly--these kids were bright, talented, hilarious children worth all the effort I could give. They deserved the best of me, not someone who was only there for a good time. Of course, focusing on giving them this didn't mean we didn't have fun. These kids made me laugh until I cried. They made me make a fool out of myself so they would smile and learn. They made tears fall down my face during our school closing ceremony. Before I joined AID, I never imagined I would form such deep bonds with my kids, such close friendships with all the TAs, or meet such a welcoming host family. And for all these relationships formed, occurrences experienced, and lessons learned I will never forget and forever be grateful for my 2017 AID summer.
Miau, Daniel (繆文琛)
Before joining AID, I thought that I would regret missing out on a summer in my hometown with my friends. But joining AID was actually one of the most memorable summer experiences I have ever had. In the first week I was able to make a lot of new friends from across the United States or around the world that I still talk to now. It was a lot of fun to train with them before leaving for the elementary schools and getting to know my own teaching group better so that we would be able to have great team chemistry. The two weeks of teaching at the school was at times stressful due to lesson planning and having to deal with the hot weather that most of us were not used to. Besides those obstacles, I had a great time getting to teach these kids and getting to know them better and what their lives were like compared to our American lives. It was great to see how much fun the kids had with the lessons and games we prepared for them and the directors at the elementary school took care of us very well! The tour was also a very cool experience because I got to see many friends again and I was able to explore many of the parts of Taiwan that most tourists don't visit outside of Taipei. The tour was very educational and it was fun to hang out with other AID members for the tour week. I am very thankful to have this new experience that I am able to share with others forever!
Chen, Wynne (陳奕廷)
This trip is one that I'll remember forever. The first week at Chien-tan was boring and I feel like it could've been condensed to just three days, and then we could've spent more time at the schools. But on the bright side, I had the best two weeks of my life at Dacun elementary in Chung-hua. All of the host families, teachers, and TAs are the friendliest and most helpful people I've had the privilege to meet. The host family kids were all welcomed us strangers so enthusiastically. I feel all my worries going away whenever I play with them. The first few days of teaching were a little rough because the students were shy about speaking English and didn't participate much in class. But once they got more comfortable, they were always ready to learn and play games. They are the cutest and made teaching a fun task most of the time. My favorite memory was when all the host families, teachers, and TAs went on a camping trip at Ching-Jing farm. It was so beautiful up there and the weather was way cooler. That night, us and the kids were in charge of barbecuing. We had a ton of food-- noodles, chicken, steak, shrimps, corn, broccoli, etc... I had an awesome time talking with everyone and watching the semi-drunk dads joking around and dancing. After dinner, we went star-gazing. I even saw three shooting stars! We woke up early the next morning to watch the sunrise but we had a bad view so everyone just went back to bed. I stayed up with a couple of TAs chatting and playing cards until breakfast. Basking in the morning sun, I haven't felt so relaxed in a long time. Two weeks went by way to quick. I was a crying mess at the closing ceremony when I said goodbye to all my students. The goodbye was even harder the next day when we had to leave. All the host families, teachers, and TAs came to see us off. A lot of tears and hugs were exchanged. I wish I could've stayed even longer at this wonderful little town. These people made Dacun my third home and I can't wait to visit them the next time I come back to Taiwan.
Lyou, James ( 劉家成)
AID summer of 2017 was an experience that I will certainly not ever forget. The people you meet, teach with, and teach for altogether made what AID was for me. From the silliness of the counselors during training week and the tour to the laughter of the students I taught. And of course, the group of people that I was assigned to teach with. The students were at first quiet and seemingly reluctant to speak English even though I obviously knew they knew some. Teaching them was hard. Finding as many activities to do that incorporates fun English learning was not easy to come by. But as the days went by, the students opened up significantly and much more fun was had. I had come to learn something unique about each one and felt like I was successful in making a new friend in each of them. Leaving them was certainly bittersweet, but inevitable. However, seeing them learn so much in two short weeks was incredibly fulfilling. The overall tour experience during the last week was also very enjoyable. Having that week to spend more time with my teaching group was beneficial to making sure they would become lifelong friends. Comparatively to leaving my students, leaving my teaching group was even more saddening. Even after one month, I consider them to be as close of friends as my usual friends back at home. The one main take away from the entire teaching portion of AID is my newfound respect for teachers. Teachers spend so much time and effort to try and make their classes fun and enjoyable. I believe that the summer I spent on AID was the best summer I have ever had.
Chen, Eric (陳願平)
Ever since the first day of the Aid summer program, I've learned a lot of things about Taiwan, teaching, and created the most memorable memories! At first, I was unsure if i would fit in as an Aid volunteer teacher because I was originally the shy and quiet kid that never speaks a single word in class before joining the program. But after being introduced to the 7 most amazing friends and all the teachers/ counselors from the Aid program and 山頂國小, my life was changed forever. I was actually able to open myself to others and experience new things that changed my view of Taiwan. The things that helped me change was the kids that we taught since they showed us so many things about Taiwan and made us better teachers. Even after the teaching part of the program ended, our students wouldn't stop calling us everyday and it's amazing to see how much the things we taught can impact our students. Another thing that changed me were my 7 group members that created unforgettable memories such as eating 50 plates of ramen, going to Eda amusement park, etc. and not to forget, the staff members that made our life at 山頂國小 as comfortable as possible by providing the best meals, freedom to use the school gyms, going out to new places in Kaohsiung, and providing little gifts that we didn't deserve. Ever since the 1st day of teaching, I knew that I would be making amazing experiences with my 7 friends and the 山頂國小 staff members so I created a file of thousands of pictures and several videos of our memories which will always remind me of how much AID affected me.
Yao, Sean (姚昕)
As I got on the bus leaving Yanchao Elementary School, I felt a sense of emptiness as I realized that I don’t have to wake up at 8 am in the morning every day from then on. The bus ride was silent as each of us thought about the times we spent with our kids. To me, this experience changed me as a person since the first day. As training week went on, I began to understand how I should handle kids and I got to know my roommates very well. We developed a special bond with each other and we are practically a family. The instant we met everything clicked together. When we started working with the kids I began to understand how hard it is being a teacher but at the same time I really enjoyed doing it. Even though we stayed up late conferencing and making lesson plans it was worth it at the end when we see our kids learn. I figured the hard part of being a teacher was having to be creative every single day in order to keep your students interested. Discipline was also a big challenge as we at first struggled to get the kid’s attention, but as time went on we got to know each other so it became a lot easier. I walked away from this experience knowing how to interact with kids and I’ve made some lifelong friends.

Chen, Madeleine (陳韋杉)
At first, I didn’t know what to expect out of this camp. However, AID Summer 2017 was a brand new experience. I met 5 special people from different parts of America and we lived together for 4 weeks. I also met so many other new people. The first week of training was tiring, but teaching at 土牛國小 in Taichung is a memory that I won’t forget and something that is too hard to write it all down. On the first day before class started, I saw the kids sweeping the school grounds. Every day before and after school, the kids had to sweep. My class B was funny, attentive, and lovable. They were so much fun to teach, even though I had to think on the spot sometimes because they were too smart. Every night my partner and I had to plan for the next day. Living at the school was a new experience. Thankfully, we had AC, but there was so many mosquitoes, spiders, flying ants, etc. We thoroughly sprayed bug spray every day. There was even a gecko somewhere in our room. We had to sleep on the floor with mosquito tents and had a tiny shower right next to the preschool toilet. Every night we were having mosquito BBQs. The 2 weeks flew by so fast and leaving the kids was so hard. We had gotten so close that the last day was very sad. Even though we felt sad, we were still happy. (The kids just wanted to bet when my partner will cry and I won:)) The gifts and happiness I received from them will be something that I will keep forever. I felt a sense of accomplishment and appreciation for the kids to learn something new, but also to enjoy it. It’s hard to say goodbye. I’ll be forever grateful for this experience.
Su, Chun (蘇駿)
I enjoyed most of the 2017 AID program. The classes and presentations we had during the training week were boring and long. I wish that the classes could have been be cut a lot shorter and without the poster presentations. It was also not very comfortable wearing the green shirts everyday since each person only got two, and some did not even get them until almost end of program.
The two weeks at my school totally changed my view of the program. Being teachers for the first time was an incredible experience, and luckily, the kids were also really cute and adorable. We got really attached with each other. Almost the whole class cried at graduation. I wish we had more time after graduation to give proper goodbyes and hugs. Only five minutes were given. We were also really attached to our host families and their kids, and TAs. We spent a lot of time with each other doing fun activities everyday. Host families are really the most wonderful thing when it comes to places to live. Our host family washed our green clothes everyday and brought us to places we want to go. I was lucky to get to live at my host family's place and get to work with a wonderful group of AID volunteers- they were really nice.
Finally, the tour week was decent. Many activities felt rushed because the activities were squished in a very tight schedule, which was hard to follow, providing that there was a huge number of AID volunteers. Still, I'm very appreciative of the fact that this program is totally free even though it costed the organization a lot of money to provide food, places to live, and even a whole week of tour around Taiwan! This is a fabulous program overall and I'd recommend it to any friend who hasn't done it yet.