2019 AID Summer
志工感言 (Reflection) >> SF-Milpitas
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Cheung, Michael (張嘉瑋)
Most of my Summers were spent in a chair, with my eyes peeled on a computer screen. I was either learning about Science, playing a game, or watching a movie. So when I heard about an opportunity to escape my bedroom, and go on a quest to the tropical island of Taiwan to teach kids english and visit the place, I applied for it. A few months later, I got in, and I don’t regret the experience.

I was always a shy and reserved guy for most of my life. This caused me to have few friends. Before coming into Taiwan, I knew that this habit of mine had to be changed. I researched how to act in social situations and leaderesque behavior from numerous ted talk videos and science articles. And so I put myself up there with the mentality that even if I come off as awkward and shy, it doesn’t matter, because I will never see these people ever again in my life and I will grow stronger from my mistakes. I would just walk up to a group of girls and smile and greet them. This personal journey of mine is not complete yet, but I would say that having all these new faces to meet really helped me gain confidence in myself.

The first week was packed with excitement and anxiety. I met many interesting teenagers from around America and I can tell you this: masking confidence under an anxious beating heart is exhausting. Contrary to what many say about the lectures and how boring they are, I enjoyed it. I learned so much about not just teaching english, but also the science behind teaching. For example, they taught us how different children have different teaching needs, and I connected this with what I learned in school about Howard Gardner’s eight intelligences theory. What was probably the most shocking to me was the way we cleaned up after ourselves after meals in Chientan. We would take our used bowls, chopsticks, and dishes and clean them and stack them together in neat rows. A phenomenon that I have never seen before in America.

Onwards to the second and third week. It made me feel really happy and warm inside when I taught english to these disadvantaged children in rural Miao Li. Their smiles in the morning were what woke me up in the early morning. I was excited to share my experiences of America with these kids and be part of a life changing experience for them and for them to be a life changing experience to me. Me and my teaching group knew that the majority of these kids would have to endure the monotony of preparing for written exams and attending bu xi ban, or extra tutoring outside of school when they get older. So, we taught them that learning is not boring, but if done the correct way, can be fun. When we asked them why they attended the camp, they gleefully replied, “our parents forced us here!” Their attitudes quickly changed. We brought them to the supermarket to buy fruits to not only make a healthy smoothie, but also to teach them what fruits are called. Our days were filled with interactive games rather than worksheets or tests. I am really thankful to Lin Lao Shi, Guo Zhu Ren, my teaching assistants, and my fellow B2-6 members for all the help and support that you guys gave to me. You guys took care of me well, such as the time when I grew rashes all over my body due to the limited air conditioning and hot Taiwan summer weather. B2-6, I will miss all of the crazy, funny stuff that you guys do. I will miss those midnight sessions spent playing basketball with the guys.

Chaos is the one word that aptly epitomizes the last week. The around 600 people in AID were split into two groups: Central and Southern to tour around Taiwan. And what happens when teenagers are told to wake up early, but not forced to? They just keep sleeping. Drawbacks like this, is what caused our last week to not be tour week but be bus week, as we ran out of time to stay at our destinations and spent most of the time on the road. When we went to Fo Guang Shan, we only explored one building on the grounds of more than 100 hectares, and left after 30 minutes. The hotels were nice, the food was good, and the scenery was beautiful, so no complaints there.

Although I came to AID to teach, I have also been taught so many life lessons and experiences, and for that, I have to thank you AID.

Chen, Yupei (陳昱沛)
Getting the chance to travel back to Taiwan this summer and teach kids English was truly a wonderful experience. I still remember how overwhelmed I felt for the first several days we stayed at Chein Tan. I thought that there was no possible way I could come up with a teaching curriculum in a week, and that I would disappoint my students. However, after getting to know my team better, I no longer felt so stressed. The five other student teachers in my group were all really helpful, and the teacher that mentored us was always patient and offered us lots of useful advice. Writing lesson plans together helped the team bond, and a week was all it took for the six of us to become friends.

Actually teaching the kids was definitely the highlight of the entire trip. The sixteen students I was assigned to were wonderful. Some were mischievous and outgoing, and loved to participate in class, while others didn't like to stay cooped up in the classroom and preferred lessons that included sports or art as a teaching method, but all of them were very bright and left the program knowing more English than they did when starting it.
Hy, Nicholas (許光豪)
AID Summer is nothing but great things.

The first week is probably the least fun, but it was still enjoyable. You get to meet the people in your group as well as other people from other groups. The workshops are very long, but with your group, it goes by very quickly in my opinion. Regardless, training week is the week where you meet your friends. By the end of the first week is very sentimental and hard because some of the friends you meet will be going to a different part of Taiwan.

The next two weeks is definitely a pivotal week. You really feel the struggles of being a teacher. Depending on where your school is will result in a different experience. My group was the only group placed in Hualien county and it was very difficult but also very rewarding. The town was covered with farmlands and mountains, and the school wasn't in the best condition. However, I stayed at a Bed and Breakfast so living conditions was significantly better than other people. Teaching was very interesting. The kids there just wouldn't speak in English and some of them were just impolite. Despite that, you get very close with your kids. On the last day, it's very difficult to say goodbye. Once again, it's very emotional since everybody is crying.

In my opinion, the tour week is probably the best week. You get to meet even more people, especially the ones on the same bus. Along with your peers, you also get to get close with the counselors. Even though the tour week is very packed and you don't get enough time to visit the places, you still have fun being with the counselors and your friends.

Overall, spending my summer with AID Summer was worth it in all aspects. I highly recommend this program for everybody because of the people you meet and for the experience. Thank you to everybody who made this enjoyable.
Chiu, Hsiang-Lin (瞿翔麟)
These past four weeks have been one of the most incredible moments of my life. I have met some of the closest friends to me through this program. On top of that, I got an opportunity to refine my teaching pedagogy. I have always thought that teaching smaller kids would be an easy task, but I was wrong. The kids were hard to please at times, moreover, it was hard to get them to understand what we are trying to say unless we think of other ways to communicate our ideas. For example, I learned to use body language or by drawing out the words they do not understand. From these four weeks, I have gained a new level of respect and admiration for teachers. They are individuals that empower students to think critically and innovatively, yet their efforts are often neglected.

I am glad to have met the people from D2-1. They are some of the most supportive and caring friends I have ever made in my life. Whenever someone needs help, everyone would jump in without hesitating. I am really grateful for this opportunity and if I were given the opportunity to do this all over again, I would.

很高興能來到幸安國小和Group D的孩子們留下一段難忘的回憶. 我記得第一天教他們英文的時候, 我完全無法和孩子們溝通. 每天下課之後還要留在學校準備明天的教材. 很多時候,我還要提醒學生們上課要專心。回頭想想, 這兩個禮拜雖然每天都忙到不可開交, 但這份經驗讓我體驗到了當老師的辛苦. 身為老師的我也從孩子們身上學到了不少事情. 譬如說, 他們教會了我如何維持班上的秩序也讓我對我的教學方式有所長進. 今天將是我在幸安的最後一天,能夠和他們一起成長是我的榮幸。不過一想到要和孩子們分離就會讓我覺得有點戀戀不舍. 但希望將來這些孩子們能夠對學英語產生興趣.
Chu , Tiffany (朱令瑜)
Before coming to this camp, I was so anxious that I wouldn't enjoy it and wouldn't have a good experience. The number of people, cultural difference, and lifestyle change scared me a lot and I was not excited to come. However, these past few weeks have been the most rewarding and best weeks of my life. I've made so many amazing memories with great people and learned so much about myself through this camp. For one, being able to be around people my age who share my culture made me appreciate my culture more and become proud of a big part of what makes me who I am. This helped me to understand and relate to the ways and lifestyles of my parents and relatives while being able to fully recognize the beauty of the Taiwanese culture. As for teaching the native Taiwanese kids, I will never forget each and every interaction with them. They were some of the purest, hard-working, and kind children/people I have ever met. Their full hearts and quick acceptance of my group and I truly touched me and leaving them was a million times more painful than I expected. It's strange to think that I initially did not want to come to this camp because it was truly a life-changing experience for me. I loved every minute of the AID program and am so thankful I had to the opportunity to experience it.

Du, Jessica (杜可欣)
Choosing to apply to A.I.D. was easily one of the best decisions I have made. Before coming to Taiwan, I wasn't expecting much out of the program, but by the end, I had a new family and one of the best experiences of my life. The first week spent at the training center was okay, but the most fun I had was the two weeks I spent at hotel Papa whale for the teaching period. While it was a lot of work, being able to spend time with my group members down in the lobby made planning lessons easier and more fun. In addition, I loved all the counselors and everyone was so nice. Regarding the actual teaching, dealing with my kids were hard at times since they were so young and hyper, but we still had a lot of fun and all the work was definitely worth it. The tour week was an okay experience in terms of the places we went to (since most of it was historical), but I was grateful I got to spend more time with my A.I.D. family. I cried the last day of the program, something I wasn't expecting to do, and left Taiwan with a lot of love in my heart :)
Mou, Allison (牟永玟)
The first week at Jien-tan was good, and I think the classes and lectures really helped in providing teaching ideas which we hadn’t considered on our own before the start of AID. I think it was also a really great opportunity to get to know our group-mates and the teacher of our school. I would appreciate a chance for more free time to get to know our teammates better, and there was quite a bit of overlap between lecturers, which wasn’t necessary and made things more boring than they needed to be.

The teaching weeks were the best weeks of the program. Our school was wonderful and the kids, teachers, and parents made it an amazing experience and made us feel super welcome. The kids are excellent people, but sometimes less-than-ideal students. If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to set my expectations of their English level even lower, and to be more patient with the kids. Also, that its not my fault if they don’t learn that much, but I should enjoy their company while I can. Weekend trips were a lot of fun, and make sure to build in bonding time with your teammates as well.

Tour week was very hectic, and we spent a lot more time on the bus than was enjoyable. There were too many sites planned into the itinerary and not enough time allotted to each site, which was frustrating because I felt we never had enough time to really enjoy each tour site. Still, overall it was very enjoyable and I’m glad I got the opportunity to go to places in Taiwan which I’d never been to before.
Wu, Bryan (吳宇翔)
This was one of the best experiences of my life and definitely the best summer that I've ever had. Our group became very close since the first day that we met each other at Chientan and our bonds only grew from there. Even though there were some rough patches between us, as expected from spending a month together with no end, we were able to move past these trials and strengthened our bonds. After leaving Chientan on the last day of the program, I felt lonely as the people I spent every waking moment with for a month disappeared from my daily life.

I also really enjoyed the school that we went to, Heping Elementary School, for all the people there were very friendly and welcoming. We were treated to home cooked meals every night be it when we went to people's houses or when they came to the school to cook for us. The teacher assistants and the military people helping with us were all very nice and they made the weekend excursions to Yilan and the mountains of Shiding so much better. Our teacher, Susan, was the best person there and without her support and help, we would have never survived our teaching experience.

The tour was really eye opening as we learned more about the Taiwanese culture and we were able to form closer bonds with our friends in a more relaxed setting. Our group leaders were also great and we also became very close to them and they made our experience 100x better. I really miss this entire program and I'm sad that we don't have the chance to do this multiple times.
Huang, Cerianne (黃慧安)
TL; DR, it was an amazing experience for me teaching at Jhutian Elementary School, but if you hate kids, bugs and being in the middle of nowhere and can't live without AC, don't apply here.
To be outright frank, I originally applied here because as a last resort to make it seem like I did something between my junior and senior year. However, not only do I get to put this on my college apps (let's be real) and get an actual summer tan, I've learned so much about teaching and about life in rural (ish) Taiwan.
When I first got to Chientan Youth Activity Center, I was so intimidated by all the cool people I saw who knew everyone already. However, as the week progressed, I got to know my teammates and so many other nice amazing people from numerous backgrounds. Generally, the accommodations at Chientan were pretty good, but the wifi sucks, so get a SIM card (I used Chunghwa) if you can. Although Chientan is so close to Shilin Night Market, we couldn’t go out pretty much the whole week because liability and transporting 600+ people anywhere is a hassle.
The classes that were held during training were somewhat helpful. I found that some of the teachers couldn’t communicate clearly in English and some of the content was redundant or irrelevant to the level of English that I was going to be teaching. I wish AID gave us more time to plan and discuss ideas for our teaching plans since we had to submit one week of completed teaching plans by the end of the week.
When the training week ended, my teammates and I made the 4.5-hour journey across Taiwan by coach to get to Jhutian township in Pingtung county. The town itself was quite run down, but at least there was a Seven-Eleven and a Family Mart nearby. I slept in the kindergarten napping area with only a thin sleeping mat that had a ton of bugs, so don’t expect too much for living accommodations.
The two weeks that my teaching partner (shoutout to Corinna for helping me finish all the working journals I didn’t!) I spent teaching the kindergartners (rising 1st graders) was honestly so eye opening. Although I couldn’t use Chinese to communicate with them and only had fans in the classroom, my students were all so adaptive and learned the letters of the alphabet quickly. By the end of the first week of teaching, some of the students had become so attached to us that a few of them stayed after school to play with us on the playground.
During the weekend, the staff took us to Kaohsiung City and Pingtung City. I think that they thought we all were pansies who couldn’t stand the heat, so they just took us to the heavily AC-ed department stores where we looked at the things we wish we could purchase. Despite not being able to buy much, it was a nice break from life in the middle of nowhere.
The second week of teaching was so tiring but rewarding for me and for everyone else. Although we bonded with the students even more, they became rowdier as their tested our limits. However, by the time that the program ended, my teammates, students, and I were all so sad to be leaving Jhutian for tour because they were like our children.
Tour week was generally pretty underwhelming. I went on the central tour, and most of it was in Nantou county (middle of nowhere part 2). We were constantly doing something or on transit to somewhere which was extremely tiring. The accommodations were lackluster, and we could only bring the duffel bag AID gave us during check-in. Despite all of this, I would still recommend that you go on the tour because almost everyone does, and you’d want to go by the end of teaching.
As I’m writing this nearly three weeks after the AID ended, I’m quite surprised at how much I’ve grown as a person through the program. Tasked with responsibilities (and sometimes screaming kids) that I didn’t want to face yet, AID helped me become a more resilient and caring person. Going from the why-not-apply-here me to the I-love-Jhutian me hasn’t been the easiest process, but for me and so many other people in AID, it has been totally worth it.

Lin, Daniel (林楷恩)
Like any profession, teaching has its share of challenges and rewards. In my two weeks of teaching at Da-Nan, I've learned a whole lot about who I am, about the people around me, and who I strive to be. The most interesting challenge I've yet to overcome is the language barrier between my students and me. After all, we'd arrived at the school under the pretense that we did not know English. But how to teach a language using the very language you are trying to teach. Ultimately this was remedied by my native language Chinese. Nevertheless, it was a tedious process of translating between two languages constantly. Consequently, I'm proud to say I've improved my Mandarin dramatically because of this program. Another challenge I learned to overcome was planning. Never had I ever had to prepare a lesson plan, much less down to the hour. It was exhausting searching up exactly what activities and vocabulary we had to teach that day. We were able to overcome this obstacle by improving our improvisational skills. After all, teaching almost never goes as planned. Sometimes the students are too excited, other times they lack the energy to focus on the task at hand. My partner and I learned to gauge the atmosphere of the class and see what activities would fit the mood of the classroom. As a final thought, I'd just like to thank A.I.D. for treating me and my fellow teachers so well. I've formed some truly unforgettable memories and relationships in this program, whether it's with my fellow teachers, the students, or with the mentors who assisted us the entire way. This is a summer I never want to forget.
Tseng, Andrew (曾子洋)
If there's one thing that I can say with absolute confidence, it's that this experience is something that I'll never forget for the rest of my life. The first week was spent getting our teaching plans together while getting to know each other better. I had a lot of fun during the first week. Once we arrived at the schools that we’d be teaching at, we had the chance to meet our host families. They were really nice and tried to provide everything for us. Teaching the kids was both an amazing and difficult experience. Because I was tasked with teaching the advanced class, they were really smart and understood everything my partner and I taught them. During our time teaching, my group was given a tour of the town. We also went to an amusement park, which was really fun. The host families also planned many fun activities for us. It was hard saying good bye to the kids, but eventually they all left and we began packing for the tour. The tour was a great experience. My favorite part of the tour was the hot springs. During the tour, we had to plan a performance for a talent show. To be honest, nobody liked it. But when the talent show came along, I’m sure many people had fun performing in front of everyone. My bus group won without any rehearsal. But as a result, we had to perform again for the closing ceremony. Either way, I enjoyed the entire experience and I don’t expect that I’ll ever forget it!
Chang, Corinna (張寗)
I am Corinna Chang. I taught 11 kindergartners at Jhutian Elementary School with my partner Cerianne for two weeks in English with no Mandarin at all. In the morning of the first day, I was very nervous. I was afraid that I had not planned enough, the students would not understand me, or I would freak out in front of them. During the first lesson, a girl took advantage of the fact that "we don't speak Chinese," and started to yell that the class is boring. It made me really sad and felt that I was not fit for teaching children. As the week went on, the disruptive children became more focused in class, and the shy ones started to participate more. Overall, both the teachers and students enjoyed the classes. Although planning every night and waking up early in the morning was exhausting, the bonds we made with the kids were worth the effort. At the closing ceremony, I had not expected myself to cry. Not because I do not love them, but because I am not the crying type. However, after seeing my students cry one after another and coming to give me hugs, I could not help myself. It took a while for everyone to calm down, but it shows that I had succeeded in making them love learning English.
Chen, Anya (陳恩雅)
The first day that I stepped into the Chientan Activity Center I was very nervous about my teaching abilities and interaction skills with the children. Four weeks since, I've become far more confident in my presentation and teaching abilities. The first week of training with the brilliant and experienced teachers truly helped boost my self-esteem and grow my passion for teaching kids. I cannot thank these teachers and counselors enough for all the hard work that they have put into training us into teachers in the limited time we had.

Teaching at 有木小學,was an incomparable experience. Walking into class on the first day, I thought teaching would be an easy task considering the extensive training we had all gone through the first week. But, I was shocked to find that many of the students refused to learn from all the lesson plans we had planned. At first, all the grueling planning over training week seemed to go to waste. Gradually, I learned that there would need to be constant revision and improvisation in order to create a teaching plan that fits the individual students as well as my specific class. Through a tough but meaningful process, I and my partner learned to implement more of our teaching material through interactive games that would attract the student's attention and encourage them to learn English. Our revisions were successful, and students began to pay more attention to the teaching content through activities.

Through these tough yet memorable two weeks, I've built strong bonds with my Youmu volunteers through our late night horror films, sleepless nights with cockroaches, and karaoke party. I'll never forget this experience thanks to AID! I truly hope that others will also be able to experience the same emotions and bonds that I have experienced.
Lin, Jack (林志凱)
My time during AID Summer was one of my most memorable summers. Over the course of about a month, I learned how to teach, taught at a school, and then went on a tour of Taiwan. This program allowed me to not only pursue my interest in teaching, but also allowed me to learn more about myself. Through teaching others and reflecting upon my experiences, I have realized things about myself that I would otherwise have missed. I originally came into the program expecting it to be just an opportunity to make an impact that summer. However, as the teaching weeks were in progress, I came to realize that what I really wanted was not to check the box on the abstract goal of “making an impact,” but to instead inspire my students to pursue a continued education in English. What I’m trying to get at is that I have changed in a way that is not immediately clear even to me, but I am sure that my experiences have shaped me positively. Simply putting an abstract goal at the forefront of my mind is not the most efficient way for either my students or I to get the most out of the program. In order to be the best teacher I can possibly be, I have to focus not on the goal, but on the people. This is just one of the lessons that AID Summer has taught me. I think that without having experienced AID Summer, I would not have realized this fact until much, much later in my career, and would thereby have done an injustice to many of my students.
Tsao, Jason (曹正傑)
You know, this trip was one heck of a ride. From staying up at night creating lessons plans to crying at the closing ceremony, this program forever changed who I am. To be completely honest, the tour was bland compared to the amount of fun I had teaching. Not only did I enjoy teaching students, but having seven teammates constantly by your side changed my perception of friendship forever. As a person who always calls himself an introvert, I was hesitant to start mingling with other students, especially if I will almost never see them again in the near future. However, as we are the same age group and Taiwanese heritage background, it was almost impossible not to bond with them. As we were friends, they were also my mentors, teaching me different types of advice to help me along my future.
Even though she won't hear in the reflection, I want to thank my partner for always working with me, no matter how bumpy the road gets. If I could give a price tag on this trip, I would name it priceless because of how influential it has changed my perception of my future and the English education in Taiwan.
Yu, Doreen (余照雲)
I still remember the day I saw that I got accepted into AID. I excitedly texted my mom immediately to let her know that I got in. When I found out that my best friend also got accepted I got even more excited. However, I had a weird feeling that just wouldn't allow me to click accept. Even though I knew that if I went it was going to be a good experience, I was scared to leave the place I called home and have to travel all the way across the world by myself. After careful thinking, I decided to press accept and be part of the program. As it got closer to the date of my departure I got more and more nervous. I was scared to meet all the people who were also going to be part of this program and I was also scared of the responsibility that I would have. When I first got to ChienTan and met my group it was so awkward and none of us knew what to say. We all just introduced ourselves and then went our separate ways. Two of the girls in my group were also my roommates so I started getting closer with them that first night. It was so nice being able to room with them and just talk to them. That first night we went outside to walk around and met so many new people. We all just talked got hung out together and got to know each other. From that interaction, I knew that training week was going to be amazing. The first day of lessons was very tiring and when we had our night class everyone was already so tired. That was also the first day we met our group teacher. She seemed really strict the first day we met her. She started off by stating her rules firmly causing her to seem very stern. But that quickly changed. We got along with her so well and became such good friend with her. Training week went by so quickly and the next thing I knew, I was on my way to Nantou to teach my own class. Throughout training week, my teaching group got along but only a few of us were close. Going into the two weeks of teaching, I was very nervous that things weren’t going to go well. My teaching partner and I got along very well when making lessons plans, but we weren’t that close yet. When we got to our school we were shocked by the living conditions. There was also another program at the school as well so we had to share a classroom with 11 girls, and we only had one shower. We opened the classroom door and we saw so many bugs inside the room. We were terrified. When we got settled in, we realized that there was no wifi in the room so all of us didn’t know what to do. But, I am so happy that there was no wifi that day because that was when we started getting really close. Ever since the first day, as each day went on, the closer us girls got. When it got to the first day of teaching, my partner and I were very scared to teach our own class. But once we saw our students, I knew everything was going to be fine. All of them were so sweet to us and I knew that each of them were gonna leave such a big impact on my life. As the two weeks went by, I realized by teaching the kids using activities they like to do was the most effective. The bond I formed with each student was so special and when it got to the closing ceremony I was not able to say bye to the kids. I have never loved a group of kids so much and I was so proud of all their hard work they put into learning. I am so thankful that I ended up choosing to do this program because it has taught me so much and let me experience something so amazing.
Hua, Paige (華思佩)
It was truly an honor to be a part of AID Summer in Taiwan. Although it was an exhausting month and I can't remember getting a full eight hours of sleep, I fell in love with the city I teaching in and the students I taught. Not to mention my team and advising teacher were some of the most wonderful people I have ever met. Even though we came from different places, they all left their marks on my heart. I was also lucky to be paired with Tiffany as my teaching partner. Together, I think we truly bonded with our kids. On some nights, we even went to dinner with some of them. Our weekends from teaching were wonderful too. I realized just how vibrant Taiwan is, and my teaching team became my best friends. It was shocking to realize that we spent near 700 hours together and didn't tire of each other. July 2018 will forever be my most memorable summer, and I am so grateful to have gotten to spend my senior summer with this group of amazing people. I hope that my students feel more encouraged and inspired to learn English so one day they can come to America to have some fun with us.
Wang, Brenda (王穎姝)
The AID program was honestly one the best things I've ever participated in!

For the first week of training, as an American college student, it seemed really strict and rigid because you have to show to all the meals and all the classes on time (which last all day) and they confine you to the activity center and there’s a bedtime and you have to wear the same ugly shirt every day, but this is just what Taiwan is like and their system for keeping in check 600 kids. You learn some useful tips for teaching, which is especially helpful when most of us have never taught in a classroom before, and there’s time allotted throughout the week to design your lesson plans. For meals here, they assign what tables you sit at, but luckily we sat with this really cool group and got to talk a lot because of all the meals together.

For our group, we had a lot more independence when we arrived at our school. Since we were just a group of 4 girls, our teacher decided that it would be more convenient for us to live at her apt with her daughters. We had a really unique experience with this homestay because we usually spoke Chinese at home (luckily we all could) when we played with her daughters. Even better was that our teacher had 2 of her past students as teacher aides for us who were around our age; they would show us around town after class. For the weekend, we went to an amusement park with our teacher, her daughters, the school director, his wife, his daughters, and our new TA friends. It was like a big family trip and was so fun. For food, our teacher cooked for us a couple of times but usually we just went out for food. It was cool getting to meet Taiwanese people who were our age.

Because there were less than 20 of them, we decided to teach as one class with 4 teachers. Don’t expect to teach them too much. It is after all a summer camp so it’s nice to include fun activities related to English unlike cram school. We had just finished our third year of college and were assigned to teach 5th/6th graders, so you won’t necessarily have to teach high schoolers if you’re older. We were lucky that our students were so well behaved. They were hesitant to speak in English with us and they actually believed that we didn’t understand Chinese. After a week, we realized they didn’t understand much of what we taught them in our English-only lessons. We started speaking Chinese with them the second week and they started opening up to us; they were so cute! There was definitely a gap in skill level in the class so that made planning lessons tricky. I used a lot more Chinese translations when I worked with the kids who weren’t as proficient because honestly how are they going to understand anything of English immersion if they don’t know the basics. We ended up preparing extra worksheets for our more advanced kids.

The last day is when you realize what an impact you make on the kids. Some of them have never been out the country so we really are their 外國姐姐/哥哥. Our kids made us little notes and drawings for us and even cried at the closing ceremony, asking us to come back and visit their little town. I really am glad I had this opportunity because it made me interested in going into teaching. I really suggest doing this as a college student (since you can only participate once in this govt-sponsored program). We chose to volunteer our summer, as opposed to a lot of the high school kids whose parents forced them to do it, so it felt really meaningful. Also you get to do more teaching with older kids and making an impact on their language learning. I think the high school volunteers were assigned really young kids so it’s more like daycare/babysitting in English.

Highly recommend not going on the tour if you’re older than 18. It’s just as rigid as the first week at chientan. You have to wake up for breakfast and go to sleep when they tell you, but people are still late so we end up standing around waiting instead of entering the place we are visiting. Honestly it might not have been that bad but they placed on a bus full of rising high school seniors instead of with the other college students, and these !children! were so annoying and disrespectful. (For example, when we went to Fo Guang Shan, they kept bowing obnoxiously and exaggeratedly and took selfies with the Buddha statue.) You have to sit with these people the whole week, and we just couldn’t take it anymore. We signed the early release form but they still made us call our parents even though we are considered adults in Taiwan; I get that they were “concerned” about our safety but I think it was just for liability issues. (I wasn’t planning on telling my mom that I was ditching the tour.) We left on Wednesday and went back to our teaching town to stay with our teacher and hang out with our TA friends. The only good thing was probably the counselors; they were pretty cool. They're mostly college students too, and for that reason wouldn't tell us their ages.

Li, Brian (李哲宇)
This summer with the AID program has been one of the best experiences. My normal summers consist of staying solely in my grandparents' house in Miaoli, only going out to shop or to eat. However, this summer was significantly more rewarding. Not only was I able to make new friends from around the country, I was able to give the children at Jianxin Middle School an opportunity to look at the world in my eyes. We come from very different worlds but at the end of the two weeks I truly believe that we were able to understand each other's lives better. While I was the one teaching them English, the kids taught me by far the more important lessons in life. They taught me that a lot of the small things we stress over here in America does not matter whatsoever. The superficial things like our phones are great but what truly matters is the people we have around us and the fun times we share together. Being there for people in person is so much more important that being there on the Internet. The friends I made over the four weeks also showed me this feeling of connection and friendship. We were all in a relatively foreign place together but we were able to find comfort and connection just by being there. Even though I enjoyed making new friends and teaching the children English, the most important part of the trip was learning to just be there for others.
Chok, Jay (石佳龍)
I had a very interesting time doing the AID Summer Program. I met a lot of new people from all over the world and learned many things about them. The bus rides were very amusing and I made numerous memories. Teaching the kids was an enjoyable experience. They were very energetic and wanted to explore many aspects of the English language. Because of this, it also made it difficult to teach them because it was difficult to calm them down. However, we overcame the issue and had an enjoyable time working with them. My favorite part of the trip was when we went on the tour. I enjoyed this so much because I was able to go to places that I have never dreamt of going. Food and boba were very cheap in Taiwan. This made it enjoyable to try different food items without making a dent in your bank account. In addition to this, I enjoyed shopping at the night markets. This is because they sold very interesting products at very cheap prices. My favorite part of the tour was when we went to visit the drum culture place. I greatly enjoyed the live performance and the drum tutorial that was given.
Chao, Isabel (趙聿珉)
After spending many summers of my childhood in Taiwan attending summer camps learning Chinese, this experience was a wonderful way to give back. I was able to make an impact on these students’ lives, teaching them a new language in a class that I hope will be unforgettable for them. I especially enjoyed the creative methods we used, such as singing, games, and art, which will help retain their learning far more effectively rather than the cramming that they are normally accustomed to. During the first week of training, I did not feel very connected to the program yet, and I felt unprepared for what was about to happen. Once we arrived at the school, everything was still extremely daunting to me. When we administered the pretest on the first day, we discovered that many of the students knew minimal English, and their listening skills were the strongest. The first week continued to be challenging, as we needed to spend countless hours after school reflecting on what happened during the day and prepare all the teaching materials we needed for the next day. Since we divided into two classes in the morning, we needed to think about what we were going to teach separately and what we were going to teach together in the afternoon. A difficulty we faced while planning was thinking of the most engaging and relevant means of teaching without being repetitive, like using the fly swatter game too often. When it got down to teaching the students in the classroom, many of them became distracted or talked back to the teacher. They enjoyed playing games, but at times, it was difficult keeping them enthusiastic and attentive, especially at the end when we were teaching them a Three Little Pigs skit. They would also fight and were incompatible with each other. Overall, however, teaching became easier during the second week. In terms of my leadership, I definitely gained experience in managing a team, public speaking, and working with others. I made great memories this summer!
Chen, Gwanway (陳觀微)
When I first heard about AID, I was skeptical to sign up. I didn’t know if I wanted to commit a whole month of my summer to it, but I am now glad that I did. My month in Taiwan was one of the best months of my life. I was surrounded by many great people who I will never forget. Every day was very difficult and took a lot of work, staying up late to do lesson plans, while waking up early to teach, but the sense of fulfillment I got after a day of teaching was worth it. Being successful required a lot of teamwork and responsibility. I now have a new respect for teachers who can keep their students under control, and make class both interesting and educational. I learned many lessons throughout the month, and feel like a new person now that it is over.
AID was an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I just want to keep stepping out of my comfort zone and trying new things. I am so grateful that I was able to have this opportunity. If I could, I would definitely do AID again.

Yang, Ethan ( 楊子修)
AID was an eye-opening experience for me. I spent my entire childhood living in a sheltered rich neighborhood in California, having everything handed to me on a silver platter. Travelling to rural Taiwan, specifically Da-Nan Elementary School in the mountains of MiaoLi, let me step out of my comfort zone and experience life outside the big city. From the bugs (they’re really scary by the way) to the children (so cute), I felt a whole range of emotions during my two weeks teaching. I remember on the first night we spent living at the school, we had to evict a handful of beetles and cockroaches from our dorm. Being from the city, we were really shaken and awakened to how much life is different between urban and rural areas. Later in the week when teaching, our students would pick up beetles and bring them into our classroom with their bare hands. We were not used to this, and some of my teammates would freak out, much to the amusement of the kids. Another aspect of life that was different was the children’s liveliness. My partner and I would start teaching at 8 in the morning, and the students would be bouncing around the room. After four hours, they would still have loads of energy, while us teachers would be exhausted from the day. Compared to city kids, these kids were much more energetic. Overall, I really enjoyed my time here at AID.

Wong, Joshua (王殷晉)
My time in AID can be described as eventful, insightful, and educational. As my first time in Asia, let alone Taiwan, I was not used to the humidity and heat. Furthermore, the cuisine contrasted from my form of normality. For example, the dishes emphasized a family lifestyle where everyone shared all the dishes. This style of living was something I was unaccustomed to, and so was part of my culture shock. Even so, this form of dining was something I gradually appreciated as the shared meals opened up shared conversation and more bonding. It was through this that I learned more about my teammates. Meals were not the only times that I got to bond with my teammates, however. We spent our breaks together, wandering the campus, playing cards, hanging out on the roof, among other things. The main thing that proved to be a difficulty was that I was the only guy in a group of four girls. This meant that I could not understand them completely, that we roomed in separate places, taking away the special bond that could only be from being roommates, and that there were times where I felt ostracized. Even so, as a group we overcame these barriers and became great friends, educating each other on our culture. Of particular note was our visit to the night market. I had never been there before, and so eating new food, exploring new stores, and buying new clothes at the market seemed like a fairy tale.
Fang, Sharlene (方以琳)
I’ve been on many volunteering trips so I automatically thought that this would be another generic volunteer experience. But turns out, this was more than what I had expected. Never had I thought that I would have such a blast teaching English to kids and be able to make lifelong friends. The first week of the program was, to be honest, quite difficult for me. I did not know anyone and I had mouth surgery a day before the program started so I could neither talk nor eat normally. This made it harder for me to fit in and start making friends within the program. Luckily, the people I met were all really nice and did not make fun of my chipmunk face. On the other hand, the first week was quite successful in terms of training. The training was quite helpful because I would always go back to what I learned that week in case I ran out of ideas in the classroom. I found myself reviewing my lesson plans and revising them to reflect the qualities that we were taught to us. The next two weeks of the program became one of the best two weeks of my life. I had such a fun time teaching the kids and bonding with them. I have taught ESL to children in foreign countries but never had I had such a close bond to my students. My students were very welcoming and curious about us. Even though each day was long and hard, it was all worth it because we got to spend time with our students. The tour week was fun. I’m so glad I got to spend more time with my group. These 4 weeks were honestly the highlight of the year for me and I’m really glad that I chose to join AID. My friend mentioned that the majority of the experience really depends on your group and I couldn't agree more. I’m so grateful and happy that I was able to share this experience with my group and be part of my group. Not only were we teammates, we were also an inseparable group of friends.
Chen, Richard (陳韋霖)
Teaching in Taiwan was an experience that I will never forget. I learned a whole host of things about other people, the world, and even myself that I will take with me for the rest of my life. Honestly, when I landed in Taiwan, I was super excited to be there. I felt anxious and nervous of what was to come. I didn’t know what to expect at all. When I arrived at ChienTan, my nervous and anxious feelings only intensified. The training was pretty miserable and boring, but fortunately I had my co-teachers to get me through it. We were an interesting, eclectic bunch. There were people from all different backgrounds, and also people with different personalities. Although many of us were very different, we created a strong bond with each other incredibly quickly. This made the whole training experience so much more enjoyable, as we had each other to lean on. When we went to Shiding to teach, I had a new sense of optimism and excitement that really stemmed from being with my amazing team members, as well as leaving a pretty miserable situation at ChienTan. HePing Elementary School did not look like much, but the people inside, as well as the community around it, was fantastic. I could not imagine a better situation to be in. Everyone was so incredibly hospitable, kind, and helpful. Even though the teaching experience was extremely arduous and frustrating, I took solace in the great people I had around me. Teaching at HePing Elementary School is definitely an experience I will never forget.
Kung, Sharon (宮雨暄)
I really enjoy this volunteer service. This was a really good chance for us to meet new people and learn how teaching a class is like. Some of the things I think that could be done better was if we got the chance to learn more useful teaching ways that we could actually input during teaching weeks. But, in general I really enjoy the teaching week and the bond that we created with the kids were unbreakable. We started teaching week really scared not sure how we would teach these kids english in english when they could barely speak or understand english. So, we slowly used hand motion and visual aids to help them more understand what we were saying. For tour week, some of the places we went to were really fun and other places were really boring especially when we had to stand in the hot weather with long pants. I loved how they took us to the night market but wished we got more time to actually get to shop and walk around. But, in general I think this is a really good place where we can learn and make new friends at the same time. If I ever get a chance to join this program again I would love it do it again.
Chang, Joshua (張書亞)
Getting on the plane to Taiwan my parents words echoed through my head: “You won’t enjoy it.” Knowing I was almost certainly going to teach at a school that didn’t have the same comforts as my own home in Taiwan I started to have some second thoughts. Looking back after I’ve completed the service I don’t regret my decision one bit. AID was single handedly the best experience of my life. The friendships and experiences I’ve had will never leave my heart.
When I first arrived at Chian Tan the first two weeks were really rough for me. I was a shy person and my group seemed to be very dysfunctional. Our posters were always the worst, and we were the quietest group. I talked with one of the members in my group and we agreed that there was an aura with our group that just set us apart from the rest. I remember complaining about having the worst group and that I always get unlucky. I was so wrong. The day we got to Wu Tang Elementary School everything changed, it’s like we became one big family.
The memories I made at Wu Tang with my group are unforgettable. We all grew so close to each other that we were literally the “Wu-Tang Fam.” I never expected that I would have so much fun or meet such amazing people in my life. Everyday we would all work together teaching the students building relationships with the students all the while growing our own relationships with each other. It was hard work and incredibly stressful, but it was such a great experience and I have my amazing group to thank for that. They truly accepted me and welcomed me with open arms. There is no doubt in my mind that I had the best group anyone could have asked for. I’m so thankful to have had this experience and to meet such amazing people that I can truly call my family.

Li, Isabel (李若婷)
Teaching English opened my eyes and gave me a different perspective on teachers and the teaching process. Before I never considered becoming a teacher because I would think about the planning and discipline they had to give out and it seemed like something that was so ambiguous and difficult to achieve, especially since I’ve had bad and amazing teachers. Because of my own views of teachers, I did feel some pressure and anxiety about the lesson planning process, not just only because it was something unknown, but also because I was afraid of being a bad teacher for my students. The kids that we taught were so sweet and I loved teaching them and bonding with them those two weeks. They were all so innocent and even though I only spent two weeks with them, they are all still in my heart. I think a big reason why I enjoyed the time I spent teaching was because these kids made it so much fun interacting with them and listening to them talk with their own little attitudes. They never failed to crack me and bring a smile to my face despite the very little amount of sleep I ran on. Their happiness is pure and that purity made all their laughter and smiles more infectious. It was definitely hard leaving them behind and saying goodbye. They were all so tough and making fun of us for laughing, but I think they miss us too, and even though I knew I would be back in December it was so hard saying goodbye to them because of the countless memories and hours we made and spent together those two weeks. Joining AID has given me a greater appreciation of the work that teachers do, but it also has expanded my perspective of Taiwan. Typically when I visit Taiwan I stay in Taipei and all I see is the hustle and bustle of the city, I never got the chance to explore the rest of Taiwan or see how others lived. During this trip though, I saw how different rural Taiwan was from the city. There aren’t taxis and MRTs to take you around. Being in different parts of Taiwan gave me a chance to broaden my views of Taiwan but also give me greater insight in the culture.
Fong, Ivan (方沛豪)
After completing the program and being able to experience teaching, traveling and exploring with the man new friends I made, my view on the program has drastically changed. When I first signed up and was admitted to the program, I was unsure if I truly wanted to go and spend half my summer in a foreign place, but I did and I loved it! Beginning with Chientan, the food wasn't the best, the training was long and tiring, but I still loved every second of it because I was able to make new friends, learn and build on my own skills and most importantly, I had fun while doing all of it. Moving forward to the teaching weeks, I was actually pretty scared and nervous to have to teach English but after the first day, I was pretty confident. I felt it was very important to come prepared with different, interesting lesson plans for each day so our students would have fun and learn at the same time. After the first couple of days, I was extremely surprised by the student's abilities, how different each and every one of them was and especially what they like to do during their free time. The teaching weeks taught me a lot about how to deal with younger kids and also a lot about classroom management, which I felt was one of the most important things during teaching. Outside of the actual teaching, I thought the teaching weeks were some of the best weeks of my life. Through all the delicious food exploring of the city, I was able to have a taste of what Taiwan has to offer. I also had an amazing time at the Papa Whale hotel, where I met great people and had fun every single day. During the tour week, it was so much fun being able to travel and see different locations each day. One of the best parts was being able to form relationships with the people we've met and just enjoy the last week together before we departed. Overall, I had an amazing time throughout the whole trip and at MingHu Elementary and couldn't ask for a better team of teachers and group members.
Chu, Ariel (朱家麒)
AID is one of the best summer memories I've had since high school began. I met so many amazing people and made friends with such kind and loving people. Training to teach the kids and actually teaching the kids was pretty difficult; it was hard work, getting up so early in the morning and teaching for a whole school day. I missed my friends back home, the mosquitoes bit me quite often, and the weather was extremely hot and damp. But, despite being homesick, this program allowed me to have so much fun learning about what it takes to teach English as a second language and getting to know new people outside of my hometown.
The tour was also super fun; it was great learning about my home country and also goofing around with my group mates and getting close. Exploring the night markets, eating stinky tofu and connecting with the counselors was all part of the amazing experience during the tour week. Not to mention spending weekends with Olivia, our student teacher, and other adults like Jay, Eric, and Bey hui was so memorable.
It was no wonder that there were tears in my eyes during the closing ceremony, and numerous of my groupmates were misty-eyed as we prepared to say goodbye to each other as we went our separate ways. The amount of work we put in and the amount of fun we received will always remain a special part in my heart.
Chiu, Daniel (邱創緯)
Teaching at AID has been one of the most enlightening and enriching experiences of my life. All 600 of us went into training at Chien Tan unsure and lacking confidence, without the necessary skills of a teacher. Through the efforts of the coaches, we left the youth center a week later full of vigor and the knowledge and tools we needed to teach our students. The two weeks spent with the children has genuinely been one of the happiest periods in my life. They were always eager to learn, always eager to learn. Whether or not they will retain the knowledge we instilled in them remains to be seen. However, I am sure that they will forever remember the joy they experienced with us teachers as they learned English. I was particularly struck by my student’s declaration that my “western style” of teaching was far more interesting than the methods employed by the traditional English teachers of his school. Teaching the kids gave me confidence in my own ability to handle stressful, momentous tasks. I learned how to problem solve and how to speak publicly. The training week and subsequent performances (e.g. opening ceremony, teaching demo, talent show, closing ceremony) were enriching as well. I was elated when my group, Bus 4, won the talent show. I truly believe the worth of this program can be seen in the tears shed by everyone as it finally ended 28 long days after. I am forever grateful to have had this wonderful opportunity.
Eastwood, Flynn (游祥)
I don't know if I should be like everyone else and say how eye opening this trip is, how open-minded I've become. What I do know is that this trip is an experience not many people get to have. Having the opportunity to go to Taiwan and make a small difference has been amazing, and I already miss my kids. Although it is a lot of work to do, the payoff is worth is as you learn how to break the language barrier and introduce English into a community where it is hardly ever used. It is a tiring job though (I may have almost fallen asleep in class once) and the only thing that I regret about the trip is not doing more research before hand. My favorite part about this trip was playing games with the kids, as they always got really excited when we told all of them to stand up. Now, I will never really know if they remember anything that we taught them but I'm glad that we were able to have the chance to make English seem more enjoyable and fun for them. One last thing, I wanted to say that the volunteering experience was amazing, but the tour was not really my thing, as I never really enjoyed tour busses. But all in all, I guess I have to say that it was a truly "Eye Opening" experience.
Way, Jackie (魏嘉)
Prior to the start of AID, I still wasn’t sure what we would be doing for two weeks. We were going to be teaching English to elementary and middle school students in a rural area, but what did that really entail? My two older cousins had participated in this program in previous years and I had asked them to tell me about it, but their responses were vague and they told me that experiences would vary. I came to the Chientan Youth Activity Center a little nervous and not knowing what to expect.

I met the group I would be teaching with (as well as others from different schools). I sat through welcome ceremonies where we were repeatedly reminded about how by teaching English, we would be making a huge impact on Taiwanese students. I attended workshops that were supposed to transform us from high school and college students into competent teachers. Throughout the entire training week, I was distracted and anxious to get started. I found it hard to focus on creating lesson plans every night- I had never taught a large group before, and I had so many worries in the back of my mind. Would the students like me? What if they thought the material we so painstakingly planned out for them was boring?

But after I arrived to Li-shin Junior High School and got used to navigating the campus, working late into the night with my fellow teachers, and engaging to the students themselves, I understood what my cousins meant by how experiences can vary greatly depending on how you look at the situation. In many ways, these past two weeks have been a struggle. Every day after teaching, my group and I would design the next day’s lesson from scratch in a matter of hours, since our lesson plans needed to be modified as we learned more about the students’ English abilities. Getting to know the students themselves was a challenge, as the majority of them had limited English, and we were told that we couldn’t speak to them in Chinese. Lessons had to be simplified. We had to talk slower. We had to come up with games to better engage them and make learning as fun and entertaining as possible (to them this was a summer camp, and we didn’t want them to sit through lectures for hours at a time).

To be honest, like my cousins, I don’t really know how to describe my experiences in detail if someone were to ask me about them. There’s no other experience like teaching kids a language that is foreign to them and watching them slowly learn vocabulary, sentences, and cultures over a short period of time. Though I was often tired from staying up late creating lesson plans, I truly enjoyed the process and the experiences I’ve gained. It was a pleasure being with the kids and with my group. Visiting nearby night markets with my group after a day of workshops. Telling stories during break time about how so and so from this class did this and that. Sharing Western cultures with the kids. Teaching them songs in English and singing along with them. Playing games. Having them taste fruit and then learning the English words for them. Performing skits for them. Playing basketball and badminton. Blowing my cover and using the occasional Chinese word with them and watching their shocked reactions when they realized I could speak Chinese. I’m grateful for the opportunities AID provided me, and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my summer doing anything else.

Tzeng, Jasmine (曾靖芸)
Stepping into this program, I had no idea what to expect. I knew I was excited, with a twinge of nervousness. I knew I would have fun, but it would also require hard work. What I wasn't expecting was the program to be simultaneously the longest and shortest four weeks of my life. I remember groaning in disappointment when I found out we would have to attend classes all day during the training week, but this time was really great in order for us to prepare for the two weeks to come. The teaching weeks were a little rough at times, and I could only imagine how hectic it would have been without the planning time. Those first seven days were packed with information and learning there was almost no time to sleep. However, I really got to meet my group and we grew close in our planning sessions and meal times. Before I knew it, I was watching the closing ceremony of the training ceremony and it was time for the long bus ride down to Tainan, Guanmiao Elementary School. I heard conflicting things about Guanmiao. Some told me it was rural, others told me it really wasn't that different from Taipei. I had no idea what to expect, but the living conditions ended up being really great. Teaching was actually similar to training. So much happened every day, and there were fair shares of ups and downs. Every day was exhausting, and there were definitely challenges that had to be overcome. My class was really against trying to understand English, and I wish I was able to come up with more ways to have them try and listen to English, instead of giving in and speaking Chinese. We wanted to be able to connect with the kids during break, and they quickly caught on that we had really good Chinese. However, when the students finally speak a coherent sentence, even if it required prompting, it was the best feeling in the world. When they smile at you and beg you not to leave on the last day, your heart truly melts. It was amazing to feel like maybe I did make a difference, even if it was only in one student's life. Looking back, the only thing I regret not doing is enforcing stricter classroom discipline starting from day one. Even though it is a summer camp, and the students are supposed to have fun, the volunteer teachers are still figures of authority in this situation, and it was important to establish that. This is an experience that I will never forget, and I have made friends that I will keep for a lifetime.
Shan, Wei Chi (單瑋淇)
Throughout the few weeks within this summer AID program of 2018, I’ve really enjoyed meeting all my roommates and the kids in Tainan. Since my parents have always been protective of me about sleeping over at friends’ houses, this past summer was the first time I’ve ever experienced something like this for a month. This first week was training was tough, I remember crying at night because of the strict rules assigned by my coach and the lack of communication I had with my teaching partner. When my family came to visit me in Taipei, I couldn’t hold me tears back. But when the team finally started to travel to Tainan, everything was better. I was excited to meet the kids and my partner and I began to work better together. Sleeping in rooms with complete strangers was so strange and uncomfortable to me but I think this experience was also a learning opportunity for me to become more independent. Overall, I wouldn’t regret this trip because it allowed me to grow and prepare for the future, for when I do have to live alone. The entire teaching experience was stressful, due to lack of sleep over my summer vacation but in the end, it was all worth meeting the kids and creating new memories with a once in a lifetime experience.

Chang, David (張祥)
In this teaching experience, I was able to experience a completely different environment and interact with kids with lives far different from my own. I was given the wonderful opportunity to see life from a varying perspective. And even more so through the lives of my close companions that accompanied me in learning how to properly teach, teaching the children, and finally the tour around Taiwan. I felt that this trip allowed me to grow as a person as I learned that my own lifestyle and the environment I live in does not represent the vast places of the world. There were speed bumps on the trip, but ultimately they were conquered and overcome leaving us all more progressed people than we had left. The children I had taught gave me much more than I possibly could have taught them; they all, everyday came to class attentive and excited to learn what little we taught. Their joy poured out and touched my heart as I was then propelled to be joyful with them. Taiwan has been a place that has always been close to my heart, it is practically a second home for me; my relatives all live there and we used to frequent the country. I never thought that the place could get closer, but it has, as the children and various staff I met and lived out two weeks of my life with truly shook me to my core. I will never forget this program as it truly gave me a new perspective on life.
Chuang, Katherine ()
This past 4 weeks has been such a rollercoaster. Looking back on it now, I had both good and bad memories, but overall I’m so happy I had this amazing opportunity to be part of this program. I’ve not only learned so much about myself but also a lot about and Taiwan as well.
The first week of training was rough, I didn’t know anyone in the program and my group was just starting to get to know each other. Sitting through two three hour lectures everyday got a little exhausting but I kept reminding myself that it was for the kids. As the week of training went on, I gradually got to know my group members better each day and we started to bond and form a really nice group dynamic.
The two weeks of teaching were both good and bad. It felt like constant nonstop work and even when we had breaks after lunch or in-between classes, I would always be thinking about what I need to do for the upcoming class period or how I can improve my lesson plan for tomorrow. At breaks, the students would always crowd around the teachers to watch and observe whatever we were doing. During the first few days, I thought it was cute and would be happy to talk to the students, but as the days went on, it started to become a hassle. After a long period of teaching in a room without air conditioning, I wanted some alone time to rest and get ready for the next class. Although the workload was always constant, I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Looking back at it now, I liked the constant workload and I can confidently say that I learned a lot from teaching students English for two weeks.
The last week of touring was also very tiring. I think I expected a little too much from the tour. I was a little disappointed to hear that we would only be spending thirty minutes at a location. I wish we had more time at certain places that we visited. Instead of spending more time at certain places, we spent the majority of our day traveling on the bus and waiting, or sitting in front of our next meal waiting for everyone to arrive and for the counselors to announce how many dishes we had that day.
As cheesy as it sounds, this whole AID experience has really changed me. Even though I wouldn’t necessarily do it again, I’m extremely happy that I was able to experience this. I was able to see how different people live in different parts of Taiwan that I don’t usually see. To say the least, it was a very eye opening experience.

Mu, Tiffany (穆姵安)
Before the program started, I was excited for the program and fortunately, I can say that after finishing it, it exceeded my expectations. The first week was very tiring and it was awkward getting to know my group but by the end of the week, all of the awkwardness was gone. As for the actual teaching experience, I may not have gotten the best conditions but that made my experience even more fun because of all the weird stuff that happened. Honestly, the kids do not learn much and I was exhausted after each day but the two weeks flew by. The actual tour is pretty hectic and there are some fun destinations but the best part was just being able to spend so much time with my friends. I'm so glad that I was able to create so many memories with amazing people. I will always remember all the screaming, inside jokes, late night talks, and laughing. It really is crazy how we went from complete strangers to crying because we had to say goodbye. Of course there are some negatives but all the positives clearly outweigh them. This was truly one of the best summers of my life and I wish could repeat it over and over again.
Lung, Acacia (龍柔心)
This program put me through many experiences that I will never forget. The staff and students have taught me so much and helped me get in touch with my culture again. Though it was tough to get through to the children at times, I enjoyed bonding with them and seeing them grow as students in my short time at the school. The heat and humidity added on tremendously to the challenges we had to endure during our time in the program, but we all got through it together with endless support for each other. I learned how to be ready for anything and improvise with as much creativity as possible. Not only did I work with children in the third and fourth grade, but I also had to coordinate with my peers to formulate a teaching plan. We had some differences in how we saw things but in the end, we were able to work together smoothly. We always had to watch out for the way we acted to be a good example for our students. At the end of the day, no matter what they said or did, the children always looked up to us and cared for us in their own way. I will forever treasure the memories I had with my fellow teammates, teachers, and students.
Lai, Chloe (賴語晰)
Two weeks of teaching elementary school kids has been a both rewarding and tiring experience. I was ready to teach them English, but I did not anticipate how much energy I would have to spend teaching them more basic and abstract things, such as respect and no cheating, since they were wild and hard to control at times. But, when they finally understood a concept, you could see on their faces that they were proud of themselves and that made me super happy too. One thing that stood out to me was the difference in mentalities surrounding education in Taiwan and the school I went to. I tried to teach them more that mistakes are ok, and the points don't matter, because they're so caught up with trying to be perfect and their scores, not the learning itself. However, I'm very glad I came on this trip and am grateful for all the experiences I've had, touring, eating, and teaching. Also, I was very touched with how welcoming everyone in the town was, offering food, and bringing us to special places. We came to a remote place, far from home, but I felt so welcomed that this small town became a second home to me.