2019 AID Summer
志工感言 (Reflection) >> Miami
# 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
Wu, Michelle (吳昀叡)
This past month has been incredible. Because of AID I was able to experience living in a rural area and teaching elementary students. Not only did I get to teach but through this program I met many new friends who I can now call family. Because we spent late nights working on lesson plans and every minute of the day teaching together, my group of volunteer teachers and Taiwanese teaching assistants grew very close. The first week of training at Chien-Tan mostly consisted of me trying to adjust to the food and getting to know people. It was probably the toughest and least enjoyable week because of the classes that took up the entire day. However, as soon as we got to the school we got a lot more freedom. We were welcomed warmly by the teachers, the principal, and the Taiwanese teaching assistants. The friendly environment made it very easy for all of us to bond quickly. At the school, the principal and the teacher told us to refrain from speaking in Chinese as to force the students to speak to us in English only. It was harder to bond with the students because of this language barrier, but when we revealed ourselves, the students immediately began talking to us more. I made several amazing memories during this program and am very grateful for this rewarding opportunity.
Lee, Tiffany (李傳恩)
After going through training week and teaching for two weeks, I definitely felt like I didn’t want to leave my students. Training week was tough since we had to wake up early, sleep late, and work hard on making our lesson plans for the following two weeks of teaching. I had 5 other members in my teaching group from Canada/America coming from different backgrounds. A lot of us had many great ideas and sometimes we didn’t agree on what specific vocabulary, sentences, and, or class activities to include in the lessons; but, in the end, we were able to work together in choosing the most beneficial ideas for the topics. Our coach was also very helpful in that she had lesson plans already planned, and she allowed us to alter or move around topics to our liking; she gave us the freedom in deciding for ourselves on what and how we wanted to teach our kids. Also, our coach kept reminding us to not expect that the students’ English was advanced and to keep the lessons simple, just in case; I thought this advice was very important. Infact, we didn’t have to change too much of our lesson plans during the two weeks of teaching after all because our lesson plan drafts were at a reasonable level for the students.

In the beginning of teaching, I was very nervous in that I wasn’t sure how to start class, make the kids like me but respect me, and instill an interest in them to continue learning English. My partner and me started off the first day of teaching rough because we realized our lesson plan was a lot shorter and not as effective. However, after each day of teaching, we were able to grasp how best to teach vocabulary, spelling and pronunciation, sentence structure, and basic conversation using the learned vocabulary. Our kids enjoyed Hang-Man, pictionary, and other drawing/presentation activities--though they were nervous whenever they presented, I saw an improvement in their confidence in using English during each presentation activity we assigned them. Moreover, after gaining more experience in teaching a class and making lesson plans for each day, my teaching partner and I learned how to better estimate how much time each activity would take during each lesson plan; we even saw fit to include extra activities, relating to the topic(s), if there was still time remaining during class.

Through these few weeks of AID I have made many friends from all over the world that I share similar ethnic backgrounds, language, and a passion in sharing the English language with kids in Taiwan. I thought it was amazing to be able to have different speakers come in during training week to give various advice on how to teach the kids while keeping them interested--I found the lecturers guidance to be very helpful information while making lesson plans. Further, the opportunity of being a teacher to middle schoolers was very rewarding and fun. I feel I have gained more leadership, teamwork, and communication skills because: I maintained the class behavior in setting the rules, taught/worked with a partner, and built a fun yet respectful relationship with the students and other teachers. I enjoyed the teaching program more than I thought I would, and I definitely would suggest it to friends.

Tsai, Nicole (蔡瑋妮)
This summer was the best I've ever had. The time I had with my group and everyone was so short, I wish it was just a bit longer. Never knew I could get so close with a group of people I have never met before, in another country. The first week there was not as boring as I thought because of the people I was with. Kind of listening during the teaching lessons, while joking around.(I have never laughed so much in my life.) The second and third week were pretty stressful, but so much fun. We planned 40 minutes before class started of what we were going to do and went with the flow after that. The kids were all so amazing, with how they wanted us to speak Chinese from day 1 to us crying on our last day together. My time with the kids will always be remembered. Thankfully our group did not have to deal with the kids alone and had teaching assistants (13-15 years old). The TA's in our group were so good on how to deal with the kids and working alongside with us. I'm glad I met all of them and taught them "American Culture." Finally the 4th week went by with a breeze. I went to the Southern Tour and almost died in the heat. The bus rides was probably the most fun during the trip. It was kind of disorganized, as we barely had time at the places we wanted to stay in (such as the night markets), and had lots of time at places that were pretty boring. Though, together as a whole trip, it was the most fun I've had. (Sanyi, Miaoli)
Jin, Kevin (金凱恩)
They say that change is never easy, that growing pains are part of the natural process. From the beginning, this program started with setbacks. I encountered a plethora of difficulties. The one that affected my trip the most was my luggage being lost. However, this program must be judged from a different viewpoint than from one of setbacks and hardships. From the first day, I was plunged headfirst into the teaching workshop. From the long hours in the mosquito-infested basement, I was remoulded into a teacher that was well aware of the nuances of child education. I thought I was well prepared for what was to come. The reality however had different ideas. From the first day, the children left me in the dust in terms of energy, quick thinking, and wit. I suppose it's a Taiwanese speciality. Every day was a constant struggle to adapt and overcome the children's voices and command their attention. Each night my partner and I would brainstorm new strategies to capture the student's attention and help them learn efficiently. This program has instilled me patience and tenacity that I had previously thought impossible of myself. I have learned much from the workshop, the teaching, and most importantly the students. The tour that followed the teaching period opened my eyes to the wonder and amazement that Taiwan had to offer. The excellent camaraderie between the blue shirts and the volunteers was excellent and helped keep
Moy, Matthew (梅如琛)
I don’t think I will ever forget July, 2018. In a time span of only 4 weeks, I had learned so much from the AID program, my students, and myself. It’s a shame to think that I almost turned down this opportunity. Taiwan AID was only one of the many summer programs I had to applied to, and back in April, that was what I thought AID was, a summer program. But after weeks of sweat and tears, metaphorically and literally, Taiwan AID became more than that. It gave me an experience I would not have gotten elsewhere. Most importantly though, AID made me feel that I made a difference, a difference that touched my fellow volunteer teachers, my teaching advisors, and my 13 students at 中峰國小. I don’t regret my decision to participate in AID.
The first week of training had a lot of great teaching tips; I was able to incorporate a lot of what was discussed into my teaching plans. Although attending the lectures for the majority of the day was tedious, there was a lot of great information/experiences shared that helped me during the teaching weeks. An issue that I encountered during the this week was that everything felt rushed, especially for group lesson planning. I had already made a lesson plan before arriving, but after learning new teaching methods and discussing with my partner and teaching advisor, I ended up having to make substantial changes to my plans. The time to make these changes were very limited which stressed many. However, the hospitality at 劍潭 was great. Even though the food did end up being on the cold side, to me, it did not take away from the overall experience.
I enjoyed the teaching weeks the most. I was surrounded by amazing kids, a supportive school staff, and wonderful teaching groupmates. All 8 of us were welcomed with open arms which made our stay that much special. The school did a lot for us; materials were provided and we were well accommodated to the best of their abilities. On some days, the school director would even take us out hiking! I really appreciate everything that they did for us. The teaching experience itself was amazing and the students were very receptive of everything we taught them. I miss them already… There were many challenges that I faced though, both in and out of class, but overcoming those challenges is part of the experience of teaching abroad. It’s funny to see how much you learn when your purpose is to teach! I would like to point out that it was during these two weeks when I grew close to everyone in my group. I mean, how can you not? Especially if you wake up together, teach together, and hang out together the entire time. I simply can’t express how much I enjoyed these two weeks!
Out of all the weeks, the tour week was probably the most crazy for me. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the places we visited on the southern tour, at some points I thought we were rushed to get through everything. On top of that, there was talent show planning which was a hassle. I got sick on the 3rd day so my experience wasn't as great as it could have been; I couldn’t eat or drink for a certain period of time. :( However, touring around Taiwan and being sick with my friends proved to be a memorable experience. My experience would not have been the same without my group.
Overall, I wish the program was longer as it felt way too short, especially during the teaching weeks. After going through these four weeks, I am really thankful to have had the opportunity to participate in this program.

Marenco, Clair ()
AID Summer was an unforgettable and unique experience that I will hold close to my heart. The first week was very difficult and hard-working with the little amount of sleep that I had and the little time to rest. The information, on the other hand, was very useful in organizing lesson plans and in teaching and forming relationships with the students, giving me ideas such as science experiments and some quick, fun games to play. The first week that I got to the school, however, I realized that the little amount of sleep and the amount of work was worth it. I remember being so enthusiastic and excited to teach that on the first day in the classroom, I hugged the blackboard and decorated the room to make it more entertaining for students. Even though I was nervous at the beginning before meeting the students, hands shaking and heart pounding, I quickly got over it as students looked up to me with excitement and wonder. Students quickly acclimated to the classroom environment during the time they were making the flag for our class. I remember a student came up and started putting chalk on our faces, causing the whole class to laugh and even participate along, allowing them to open up to other students as well as the teachers. All the students at the camp quickly showed their personalities to class, each bringing in their own uniqueness to the classroom atmosphere that just made the class unforgettable. I quickly loved all the students, as they would always come up to me after school each day what they have learned, struggling to get all of them. Even though I was not allowed to speak Chinese in the classroom, all the students would try their best to speak English with me and try not to always ask the Taiwanese assistants for translations. It was so touching how much effort and hard work the students would put into their work, always having interest and curiosity. These 2 teaching weeks have even made me into a more open person, causing me to randomly sing and dance for the students in hopes of making the class more entertaining. I realized that even now, outside the classroom, I continue to do that, simply not caring how others may view me, but just to see how I view myself. I will never forget the amazing experiences that I made, meeting the Taiwanese volunteers there that are now my friends, the teaching volunteers that I spent 4 weeks with where I learned the importance of teamwork, and most of all, the students there that have forever impacted my life. I hope that I have impacted their lives as much as mine. And even though they may forget the vocabulary words that were taught to them in these 2 weeks, I hope that they will forever hold these memories and learn English not just to achieve in school, but for their own benefit and from their fond memories of learning English.
Fang, Grace (方露)
At first, I was a little dubious about coming to AID and volunteering. I was scared that I wouldn't make any friends and worried I wouldn't know how to teach English. However, now that the four weeks of AID are over, I am thankful I took the opportunity to come to Taiwan. I have made so many good friends through this program, especially the 12 teammates who went to Xin Gang junior high to teach as well. Every single day of teaching was a unique experience in which I was able to see the difference between American and Taiwanese kids. However, the middle schoolers shared the same traits of eager to learn and kindness. I grew close to two of my students, Jamie and Jamie. The two of them were in my first week of teaching and asked if they could help my partner and I teach the second week. The students treated us with respect and friendliness, and I don't think I'll be able to forget them as long as I live. My teammates became like siblings to me. We rode bikes to school together, stayed up late watching movies and talking, and shared jokes together. Although we're scattered all across the country and starting a new journey in life, the month of AID together has been memorable. My parents saw my pictures as I was teaching and noticed how much happier and open I had become. I do feel like I have changed as a person, and have gained confidence. Teaching is no easy feat, but when you pour in devotion and effort, it can truly be a life changing experience for you and your students. I am so thankful for the teachers, principal, counselors, students, and teammates that helped make my summer a truly unforgettable one.
Tsai, Ru Zhen (蔡如箴)
AID Summer has been an unforgettable experience! Being a somewhat shy person, I remember arriving at Chientan Youth Activity Center, nervous about meeting the roommates I was about to spend a week with as well as the group I was about teach in Nantou with. Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. My roommates and I all got along nicely; some of us even kept in touch and hung out together during tour week! My group members were also really friendly and we really got to know each other during training week.
Time flew by and all of a sudden, training week was over. The reality of teaching children English hit me. On our bus ride from Chientan to Nantou, I questioned my abilities to teach children English but all of my worries dissipated when we arrived at Yuchih Elementary School and were greeted by two of my would-be students. The moment I saw their smiling faces I knew that the next two weeks would be unforgettable.
And I was not proven wrong. Although our group faced some difficulties in the beginning, we were able to resolve the issues fairly quickly and continue teaching without much trouble. I have to admit, some of kids were a bit difficult to handle but surprisingly the kids we had the best relationships with in the end were the very ones we were pulling our hairs for in the beginning. The last day was bittersweet. The kids all exchanged Facebook information with us and to this day, we still keep in touch, often updating each other on our daily lives.
If you're reading this and are still not sure whether or not to participate in this program, just do it! The relationships you will build and the connections you will make are so worth it!