2019 AID Summer
志工感言 (Reflection) >> Boston
# 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 Melbourne
Shia, Jonathan (夏修皓)
AID Summer 2018 was an experience far beyond what I could have ever imagined, and left me with memories and experiences that I will most certainly take into the future with me. I came into this program pretty nervous, because I was nervous about spending half of my summer away from home and my friends. However the first week at Chientan showed me how easy it was to connect and make friends with new people that I actually shared a lot in common with. I feel extremely lucky that our school group in particular formed such a close bond, because it made the lesson planning and hard work part of this experience so much more collaborative and easier, as well as made our free time together so much more fun and special. Once at the school, it took some time to really absorb how much smaller the town and community was than mine at home, but was eye opening to gain new perspective. Obviously I fell in love with all the kids, even the ones not in my class. They were sometimes difficult in class, but their eagerness to learn was evident, and the best part of my day was getting to know them during the break and talk to them. Using only English did not prove to be a barrier in any way, even if sometimes it took a little extra work for the kids to understand what I was talking about sometimes. Overall, it was in the small moments outside of class where I got to really enjoy myself and share myself with the kids just as they shared themselves with me. Saying goodbye was tough, but because I formed a bond not just with the students, but with the teachers and the school administrators, I promised I would try to come back again. Lastly, the optional tour week was definitely worth it. Although I had been to a lot of the places on the tour, or maybe I was already familiar with them, it was different to re-experience them with friends, after forming such tight bonds already during the past 3 weeks. It was so much fun to just relax a little after planning and working for such a long time. To sum it all up, AID was much more than I anticipated it to be, and definitely one of the best experiences of my life.
Chang, Emeline (張芳瑄)
The past two weeks has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The students and teachers have been so sweet and kind to me, I will miss them so much. This experience has taught me to be grateful for the things I have. All of the students at Chiao-Yi elementary school has back stories of all the hardships they have to deal with at their age. Learning these stories has touched my heart. I have made many everlasting relationships with my teammates, teachers and students. My favorite part of the day is making arts and crafts with the students. At Chiao-yi I taught the B class which was the intermediate class. They are so creative with projects and art. Students at Chiao-yi are so fun and energetic, they all have great personalities and they always participate in class. They always say the team chant with the most enthusiasm, and are always eager to learn more or participate in activities. I hope these past two weeks has experienced them to speak and learn english more in the future. This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life I am so glad I was apart of it.
Huang, Daniel (黄子豪)
I initially applied for AID because my friends strongly recommended it to me, and I do not regret it. Going to Changhua was an amazing experience, and the friends I met there will be lifetime friends. I taught 1st and 2nd grade with a girl named Yilinn. Although neither of us had experience teaching this age group, we made detailed plans and felt confident going into it. We burnt through our plans for the first week within the first day, and it was quite honestly a huge shock for us. We knew to have low expectations of the kids, but we still were not mentally prepared for teaching. We ended up making lesson plans desperately every night for the next day, and it was very stressful for the first week. However, after a few days of getting into the routine, we got accustomed to it, and began to gain more control over the kids. The weekend and daily excursions were very fun, and our teacher went out of her way to make sure we had the best time despite our geographical location being very far from everything. Overall, I really enjoyed getting to know my group, the students of Changhua, and most of all being able to help out the country of Taiwan in some way. I will be sure to recommend AID to my other friends, and I truly appreciate my growth during my time at AID. Thank you.
Khanna, Trevor (郭同昕)
Working with the kids was a life changing experience. The kids themselves were a mixture of amazing learners and rowdy troublemakers. Each day was different, and we had to be prepared to handle what might come. I learned quickly that the greatest attribute a teacher could have was the ability to quickly adapt to different scenarios. While I feel like we were effective teachers, I think there were things we could have improved, but that is always the case. Though I am not sure if all of the kids will remember me, I hope we have inspired them to continue to learn. Besides the kids, however, the entire staff at our school were amazing people. Each one of them treated us like guests of high honor. It felt more like we were vacationing than working. When our two weeks of teaching ended, I was surprisingly sad. At first, I thought that I would want to return to the comforts of Chientan, but I soon realized that there was no other place besides my school that I’d rather be in.
The tour, however, could have been better. It felt like the goal of the tour was to cram in as many tourist destinations as possible without actually leaving time to enjoy any spot. It was rushed and sometimes not fun. We were given more time at places that we didn’t need it and not enough time and places that we did need. That being said, I did like how the buses were different from people we had previously worked with. I will cherish the friendships I made both on tour week and throughout this entire experience. Of all the great moments and amazing experiences here at AID, I think I will remember the people themselves the most. I will remember the great, new friends I made. I will remember the adults that made our lives so much better even if it was just for a few days. But mostly I will remember the kids and all they did for me.

Care, Allison (黃恩亞)
Looking back on my time in the program, I wish that I could stay forever. I do, and will continue to, miss every part of my experience, the good and the bad. I would not trade my experience and memories of this past July for the world. During training week, I always felt bored in the moment, or I was worrying about how to navigate Chientan. In the moment, it seemed terrible, but as I reflect now, it really was instrumental in shaping all of my other experiences. Maybe the lectures could be boring, but I was learning how my groupmates worked and how to work with them. In between lectures, we played games together and chatted, laughing about something that happened in the previous lecture. These small moments forged a genuine friendship between all of us that lasts now, even beyond the program. We did not know everyone in the program or each other very well, but somehow the lectures brought us together.
During the actual teaching, my team and I were forced to learn the hardships of being a teacher very quickly. We underestimated the amount of energy it took to stay interesting and positive for kids that were still too young to sit still in their seats for very long. At the end of the day, we would collapse in the school’s library where we were sleeping and share stories about students or things that happened that day. We thought of ways to keep students engaged together and shared teaching materials across classes. We may have been teaching four very different classes, but we were truly one unit.
Living in the school’s library was one of the best experiences. There was air conditioning and wifi, which was a huge plus. In those two weeks, the eight of us formed our own world in that library. We would change into comfortable clothes after teaching, spend some time working on our daily journals and lessons for the next day, and then eat dinner. We would then play games, listen to music and sing along terribly, dance like no one was watching, and watch movies. We would hide under blankets together when a movie scene was scary, cry together when it was sad, and laugh until our ribs hurt when it was funny. We learned to live together and truly became a family.
Although the time we spent at most of the destinations for tour week was very short, I still had a great time. I realized that even if I was not interested in the place I was at, or we did not have enough time to fully explore it, as long as I had my friends, I was set. We would take pictures together, talk, and enjoy ourselves. I remember feeling liberated from stress and responsibility whenever it was just us to explore wherever we were. I was truly happy for my entire time in the program because wherever I went, I was with my new family.

Liu, Jackelyn (劉定中)
It was really difficult to have the students listen to you and it was very difficult, as a bilingual speaker, to not speak in Chinese them so they would have more experiences in learning English. If you did not speak Chinese, it was harder to make a connection or form a closer relationship with the students, because in the end, they would stop listening to you. It was especially harder for the younger students, since piquing their interest in English when they do not understand is very hard. The students would constantly speak to us in Chinese, and I would be confused as to whether I pretend I don't understand or respond in English and have them not understand what I am saying. I thought it was better to respond in English to have them hear it at least. However, I was glad to hear the school's teacher explaining that a lot of the students went up to them to ask how to say stuff in English so they could communicate with us. The older students put in more effort to learn than the younger ones did. Classroom management was especially important and I think it was really well emphasized within the training week. The training week really helped us better prepare ourselves for the upcoming week. However, with the wacky schedules, I believe we were really bad at estimating how much time we had. Some days we overplanned and other days we underplanned. It is always better to overplan because then as teachers, we can cut out some of the activities. It was very tiring, but the experience with the children was very rewarding and exciting. Also experiencing the local food from various families and the different activities that they prepared every afternoon was very fun too. I learned many new aspects of Taiwanese culture and I was able to teach them various kinds of foods and sentence structures. We learned about new sport called suoxi, which is a type of water sport in which you walk upstream a river. It ruined my shoes but it was a nice cool sport on a super hot day. It was also nice to be able to talk to the students and tell them what different things were in English. For example, mushrooms were a staple within that town, and we taught the children whose families grew them, what they were called. We were still able to establish relationships and connections with the children, despite the language barrier, and many of them even said they would come to America to find me, haha. So it is difficult, but not impossible. Establishing rules and a point/punishment system is very important. It really raises participation and makes the children, especially the smaller ones, better behaved. It was a good thing that it was taught during training week. I thought it was good to focus on one week at a time, since we got the first week down, and then we prepared for the next day's lesson the previous night. It worked really well and we were able to get everything done that we wanted to. Our school did only provide us three blocks to teach. It was not enough time to teach them proper English and grammar stuff, but I think the food topic kept the student interested. They got confused when we tried to teach them sentences, though. But I think we were able to pique their interest even more.

Tour week was another entity of its own. I did not have that great of an experience during the tour week and would not recommend it if one does not like to feel rushed while sightseeing during that time. We sat on the bus for 80% of the time and to get through it, I either slept or watched the view outside the window. Wifi never worked anywhere because there were 300 people trying to connect and we constantly broke it, like at Chientan during training week too.
Lai, Michael (賴世璋)
Overall, AID was a blast! During the whole trip, I learned a lot about teaching, Taiwan, and myself. Teaching English was much harder than I thought, and we had to adjust our lessons on the fly if it appeared the students didn’t understand. My class had some smarter students to help translate, but we explained most of our lessons using hand motions, pictures, and videos. After only two weeks, I developed a healthy respect for teachers around the world and realized how important teachers are to children as they grow up. Teaching takes a lot of effort, patience, and most importantly, heart, but the memories you make and the lessons you impart may last in their minds for the rest of their lives. I’m glad that I was able to make a positive impact on them, and I hope that this experience encourages them to continue learning English throughout their lives. Outside of the classroom, the whole AID trip pushed me to be more responsible and to manage my schedule by myself, something that will be handy as I enter college. This entire trip was unforgettable, thanks to my fellow volunteers teachers, the counselors, and the staff of my school, and I’m so very glad I was able to be a part of AID!
Chang, Adrianne (張銘珊)
AID was a life changing experience made my summer the most memorable of all. There were two main components that I got out of this program: growth and connections.
My growth through AID came from the disciplinary lessons I learned these past four weeks. I’ve learned virtue of patience through teaching my students. The language barrier between us got frustrating at times, having to speak only in English to them when they did not understand a word of it. I got an insight of the hard work and time teachers put into making sure their students enjoy what they are learning. Most importantly, this experience has taught me how to live humbly and appreciate what I have in my life. I was assigned to a rural school in Yunlin, where I had to sleep on mats in their library. If we needed to shower or use the restroom, we had to walk outside in the dark to get there. We had encounters with many flying bugs and small critters and even had a bug infestation in our living situation. Because of this, I am prepared for any living condition because I already know what is like. I am more than prepared for living and sharing in college dorms this coming fall.
Connections are the friendships I formed over those four weeks. I am blessed to have gotten an amazing teaching group. The memories and inside jokes that were made during our time training, teaching and touring have led to lasting friendships. We still keep in touch everyday, watch movies over video call every week, and will hopefully have reunions in the future together. We all come from different parts of the US, but I am so lucky to have met these people who share similar interests and background as me.
AID has forever shaped my life in a positive way, I am beyond thankful for my peers, teachers and students for helping my mature and grow in just a short period of time.

Chen, Michael (陳弘)
First off, I want to share a video I made:
https://youtu.be/CopyyslNZU0 my AID teaching experience
https://youtu.be/fqc-3V1GClk my central tour experience
https://youtu.be/fiOd2zPIP-0 opening ceremony video for Xingang Junior High School

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to teach English in rural school. i come back to Taiwan often, and mainly stay around Taipei. For this reason when I saw I was assigned to a school in Taipei, I immediately requested to change schools since I wanted to experience the rural countryside of Taiwan. And that is what I got in Chiayi, and it was definitely an eye-opening experience for me. The culture is very different, especially when compared to America. The biggest impression left on me is the hospitality. Everyday, we were receiving gifts, whether it was food, fruit, desserts, or little key chains and small novelties. Even our home stay parents, although my partner and I didn't want to ask too much from them, contributed a ton to our experience in Xingang.

Teaching at Xingang Junior High School itself was quite an experience. These kids are very active and love moving around, whether it's playing games or tackling each other during break. The goal of my teaching plan was to not so much teach the language, but at least teach the students about American culture. The highlights of our curriculum included playing Spikeball (which I brought and donated to the school), talking about American cities (especially Los Angeles), and singing American pop songs. Another note on Spikeball, whenever we volunteers played in the courtyard, there would always be at least a hundred eyes watching us from the balcony it was a funny sight. I wish I had one set of students to teach for two weeks and not two sets of students for one week, since then I'd be able to develop a deeper connection with them and be able to teach them more. Nevertheless, I only had to create one week of lesson plans so it was less stressful than other schools. The best part of the teaching week was revealing that we can speak and understand Chinese, since we pretended to only speak English and replied in really bad Chinese "wou bu zhi dao" whenever they asked us a question in Mandarin.

Also worth mentioning are the awesome tours we had, to Alishan and Bantaoyao. I've never been to these places and it was quite the experience!

Overall, this experience helped open my eyes to the bigger world, and made me realize how fortunate I am to have grown up in a suburb in Massachusetts. I love Taiwan, and that only grew when I witnessed all that Chiayi had to offer. If I could return to the program (skipping all the redundant training of course) and go to a different school, I very likely just might. Thank you AID for making my summer.
Zhang, Maria (張文帆)
When I first decided to apply to this program, I was more interested in the idea of touring Taiwan than the idea of teaching children. I had never been to Taiwan before, and loved the idea of exploring a new place on my own without my parents with me. I'm a very quiet and shy person, so I was nervous about the idea of teaching and meeting my group, and hoped that my group mates would be very loud, enthusiastic,and friendly. However, by the end of my month in Taiwan, I realized that the most memorable part of this program for me was my time at the school. Creating good teaching plans took a lot of time and experimentation, but each day I grew in confidence, and I grew to love the school, it's students, and its teachers. I was originally worried that the students would not enjoy the lessons, and remember feeling so proud when I saw that they were having fun playing games or doing crafts. Over those two weeks at the school, I developed an enormous passion for teaching, to the point that I'm considering it as a future career. When the two weeks were over, I missed the students and the school so much, and I realized I enjoyed my time at the school more than I enjoyed the tour afterwards. Even now, after it's been months after the program has ended, I still think of my students often, and hope that I will be able to visit the school again next year to see them.
Wang, Jason (王竣昇)
AID hands down has been one of the best summers of my entire life! Teaching English at 中寮國小 gave me very valuable experience as someone who aspires to be a teacher and I am so grateful to have such a wonderful team to work with and such wonderful students to teach! The AID community was such a close-knit and friendly community of people who would befriend you without hesitation. I always felt comfortable and at home throughout my month in Taiwan with AID. There were also so many opportunities to experience Taiwanese culture. From trying new foods at the night markets, to watching indigenous Taiwanese performances, there was always something fun to do! Tour week was one of these opportunities and it was such a blast enjoying the culture with all of our friends. The staff were also so kind and engaging with us volunteers and they would always be working hard to ensure that we had a safe and enjoyable trip! This trip was life changing and I'll never forget all the bonds forged and life lessons I learned on this trip! This has truly impacted my perspective and outlook on life and has left me with a positive and renewed spirit! After this summer in Taiwan, it's left me considering to start my teaching career in either Taiwan or in the Asia region as an English teacher. Thank you AID for the unforgettable memories and please continue this tradition and let others experience what I have this summer!