2019 AID Summer
志工感言 (Reflection) >> Orange
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1 Houston
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4 Toronto
5 Orange
6 Chicago
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8 Seattle
9 Vancouver
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11 Boston
12 Atlanta
13 Denver
14 Miami
15 London
16 Cape Town
17 Sydney
18 Hawaii
19 Melbourne
Hsia, Emily (夏中琪)
Honestly, I didn’t know what I was expecting when I first joined this program. All I would think about was “what if my group members don’t like me” or “what if I don’t get along with my group members.” Then, the first day came. We met each other and in all honesty, it wasn’t all that bad. In fact, I became excited to meet new people. We bonded pretty quickly and at the end of the trip we were pretty much family.

First week of training was hard to adjust to. We had to wake up at around seven in the morning, which is extremely hard for someone like me who usually sleeps till noon. Although adjusting took some time, I found it exciting to wake up to see and talk to my group members everyday. Training lectures were also something I struggled to get through. In addition to waking up “so early” everyday, it was hard to stay awake during the lectures. However, I did learn some valuable tips throughout the daily long lectures.

Second and third week teaching was a blast. I will always remember the first day I came into the classroom. Kids were literally all over the place: running, screaming, jumping, you name it. It was a complete nightmare for not only myself but my teaching partner as well. But as we got to know the kids more little by little, I realized that they were just kids. We needed way more engaging activities to grab their attention because they weren’t just gonna sit there and learn english. At the end of the day, everyone had fun and learned a few english words a day.

What was most notable about this experience was the strong bond that I created with my group members. Little did I know that I was going to create such good friends with wonderful personalities. The last few days came with the shedding of tears as I saw my friends depart.

Thank you AID for this amazing experience.

Wang, Nathan (王念平)
It was intense. It was fun. It was the shortest time, and it was the longest time. Walking to school today, I was struck with how fast life moves on. I realized how important it was to relinquish some of that life, to cherish it and capture some moments forever. AID is on the surface about the mission. We were here to teach little Taiwanese children English in the most remote areas of the country, but for many of us we were also there, subconsciously, for the first taste of adulthood far away from any family. The people who surrounded us were no longer classmates, they were colleagues; the assignments we did were no longer classwork or homework, they were just work; the conversations we had were no longer gossip or chatter; they were business. What that entailed was education; the highest form of it; life experience. It was a microcosm, a unique experience, that in its uniqueness held so many parallels to the life we will hopefully live that it becomes a teacher as well. In recollection the whole train comes as a blur, a whirlwind of 4 weeks that clearly changed things but could never be seen. But upon closer examination, a more than superficial glance, every moment seems etched in granite, written in blood, and left to forever remain because the centrality of the emotions grips the mind.
Hsieh, Anna (謝穎熙)
I was pretty excited to attend this program because I would be able to teach kids English in Changhua, a city I've never been to. However, the training week went by very slow. While some of the lessons we attended were useful as they gave us ideas on what activities we could do with the kids, others were not as useful. The teaching demonstrations we had to do also got really repetitive. The meals they provided had too many fried dishes and the eating environment and utensils were not very clean. I was eager to leave Jiantan to go meet my students in Changhua. The first weekend at Changhua was spent making teaching materials for the upcoming week. Even though we were discouraged from speaking Chinese to our students I had to because my first and second graders did not understand any English. I ended up only using English while teaching new vocabulary and spoke Chinese when explaining directions or rules for activities. Most of the kids were focused during class but if the topic did not interest them they would stop paying attention. We ate the same food the kids eat for lunch and had the same bento box everyday for dinner. For the weekend tour we were only taken to Jian Hu Shan Theme Park on Sunday and it was pretty small compared to theme parks in the U.S. Overall, I enjoyed teaching the kids because they were very adorable and it was a new and interesting experience. I hope they at least remember a few things we taught them and are interested to learn more English in the future.
Yu, Daniel (于慶恩)
AID Summer was an amazing experience that was very different from what I was accustomed to. I can honestly say that it changed my perspective and shaped a large portion of my life. I'm really glad I did this program. When I think back and reflect, the first thing that comes into my head are the people I met in AID. So many of us volunteers went and put out our best efforts into this program, stepping out of our comfort zones to help others and experience something new. The people I think about the most and miss the most are my group members, roommates, and students. Each had a different impact on my experience and were really what shaped my time in Taiwan. The program itself was also a good experience. The first week was tiring and reminded me of school, but I enjoyed it: the blue shirts and red shirts really helped make the first week fun and interesting during class time, and the other volunteers made the free time really fun as well. When I think back on Chientan Overseas Youth Activity Center, I like to relive the fun times planning Weekly Plans with my partner and staying up with my roommates. The main things I learned during those weeks were the teaching tips and how to work as a group.
The two weeks teaching at YouMu Elementary School was my favorite time in Taiwan. Getting to know my children and building trust and friendship in our relationship was what I enjoyed the most. I will never forget my students- they all became so precious to me. Even though the time I spent teaching, guiding, and interacting with them was tiring and stressful at times, I am so thankful for each and every one of the students at my school. I made so many beautiful memories with them, like river trekking, playing guitar and singing, practicing for the closing ceremony, playing vocabulary games, and zip lining. I learned so many things those two weeks at YouMu. I learned to really cherish the time I have with people, and that even though there may be a time limit, I shouldn't let it stop me from pouring my all into what I have. I learned that my students really look up to me and that it was my responsibility as their teacher and friend to set a good example. In trying to be a positive impact on their lives, I discovered many gems of wisdom that I will never forget.
The tour week was a really interesting week as well. The time I spent sitting on a bus was interesting at first but ended up just being a time to sleep. Everyone on my bus was so tired but we still did our best to keep it light hearted. The tour week did have some fun parts, and I'm really glad I got all those pictures to remember my group members with. I learned a lot about Taiwan in that week as well, particularly night markets and haggling.
Overall my experience was an unforgettable rollercoaster of relationships and lessons. I will never forget the people I met at AIDS, whether it was the coordinators on my bus, my roommates, my students, or my group members. I will never forget the things I learned from this program, and I will never forget how great Taiwan is. Thank you for allowing me to participate in this event.

Wang, Ethan (王悅和)
Having done AID in the summer after junior year was one of the greatest decisions I’ve made. It was a great opportunity to teach kids in Taiwan English, and the weekend tours made the trip all the more splendid as I got to learn more about Taiwanese culture. Starting with the first week of teacher training, I got to meet a group of enthusiastic, kind, and entertaining volunteers ready to embark on this 4 week journey. Through the first week, as a teaching group we really had the time to bond closer together by chatting, playing ice breaker games, and sharing music. When it came to teaching the kids, I gained so much perspective on the joys and sometimes the hardships teachers experience. Having assigned to the youngest group of kids, it was wonderful to see all the students always so eager to learn and answer questions, but at the same time it was quite exhausting to try to keep everyone under control in order to cover all the material. But, it was fun and tiring. On field day, all the students, teachers, and staffs had a intensive balloon fight and a tug-a-war face off. That day was a great day for students to unplug from lectures and to have fun with their teachers. By the end of the program, we gave the students a post-test and, after comparing to their pre-test, was astounded to find the vast improvements all the students made. It felt rewarding to see how my two weeks of guidance can foster such great results. I wish for these students continue to learn English and use this tool to open up a greater future for themselves. Thank you OCAC for taking me to many amazing tourist sites, and for allowing me to be a part of an amazing group of friends that I will never forget. This was such an eye-opening and enjoyable experience.
Martin, Amanda (黃韻芯)
AID has been an invaluable and unforgettable experience. I have formed strong bonds with the people part of my group and share many memories with them that I hold close to my heart. Although preparing weekly lesson plans and learning about teaching techniques beforehand required hard work and focus the first week, I knew that I could always rely on my partner, other group members, and coach for support. The two weeks of teaching that followed have instilled a passion for teaching in me to seriously consider it as a future career. Through the program, I've learned how to adapt and modify my teaching plans on the spot, control misbehaving kids, utilize fun English games to engage the kids, and manage my time wisely to ensure that daily reflections and working journals were completed on time. I've bonded with the kids, and leaving them was difficult and heartbreaking. However, I'm always comforted to know that they've made good memories and formed a budding passion for English. The tour week that followed was a fun time to spend with friends and to learn about Taiwanese culture. The places we visited on the Southern tour were interesting, and the long bus rides were fun. If I had the chance to relive my AID experience, I definitely would.
Tan, Felicia (譚奕菲)
First of all, I would like to say thank you so much for this wonderfully built program. I had one of my favorite summers thanks to your program. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to fall in love with my students and the other volunteers.
I had the opportunity to teach at Gao Yi elementary school at Taoyuan. This was a beautiful school built on the side of the mountain. At night when you looked up at the sky you can see so many, so so so many stars. For me, these stars represented the world and how lucky I was to get to see these stars from the perspective Gao Yi elementary school gave me. The students, they were so ready to love and learn from us. Although we had trouble only speaking in english, these students still respected our will to teach them a proficient amount of chinese. The people that took care of us at the elementary school have really taken a piece of my heart. Although the other volunteers and I struggled as young teachers, Olivia, the english teach at the school always guided us patiently. By the end of the three weeks with her, she had become our team mom. Then there was Eric. He was the zhu ren of the school and he was our dad. He always seemed disappointed with us but in the end he still took very good care of us. And ve huy, he was the cook; he always had such a good meal for us every night. These people who treated us like family up on a mountain where we were 40 km away from the nearest grocery store have stolen my heart. I am so thankful for the teachers at Gao Yi middle school. They made the teaching experience a very rewarding and satisfying one.
My partners Emily and Kyle and I taught the middle class at Gao Yi elementary school. These kids had such big and beautiful hearts. I miss them very much. Jason, he was the only boy in the class but he was very bright. He seemed to understand all that we were saying, constantly translating for the rest of the kids. Sandy was extremely shy at first but as soon as she opened up, she could not stop running her mouth. Lily was the troublemaker of the class, but still she learned and grew from the effort and drive that she learned to have.
These kids stole my heart and I definitely left a piece of my heart at Gao Yi elementary school, Taoyuan, Taiwan.

Chen, Justin (陳翔安)
Taiwan Summer AID has honestly been an amazing experience for me. Not only was this the first time I've ever been to Taiwan, but also the first time I've participated in a program like this. While the program was rigorous and tiring, there was no end to the excitement and giddiness from being in Taiwan, interacting with new people, and learning new things. The first week at the Chientan Youth Activities Center was packed full of classes and introductions to teaching. This was the week where we met our teammates, coaches, and peers in the program. While stressful at times, I came to enjoy the company of the people around me, and I was sad to see the first week go. The two weeks of teaching were filled with both frustration and exhilaration. There were times when the students were simply too much to bear, while at other times, they were just too adorable to resist. Every night, my partners and I would meet downstairs and formulate a new lesson for the next few days, creating powerpoints, finding videos, and importing hundreds of pictures. Ultimately, when the two weeks of teaching were over, the departure from MingHu Elementary school was bittersweet. I especially cherished the last week of touring as well. I was able to meet many new people and interact with people from all over the world. From staying up late to karaoke on the buses, all the group pictures and games that we played, this last week of touring was unforgettable. Overall, this was an incredible opportunity for me and has been an amazing journey thanks to all of the people that I met and bonded with. Thank you to everyone and thank you, Taiwan.
Yang, Jeffrey (楊鎮宇)
Before coming to AID, I did not know what to expect. But after 4 weeks in Taiwan, I truly am pleased with my decision to go teach English in Taiwan. The first week may seem long and boring, but it really helped knowing how to teach elementary grade kids who barely knew any English. These past 2 weeks teaching the students at YungShing Elementary School have definitely been rememberable. Not only was it fun teaching the kids, but it was fun living and exploring a part of Taiwan I’ve never been to before. Although I only got to know 9 students in 2 weeks, I really enjoyed teaching them everyday. Interacting with the students and the other volunteers made it easier to get through living in a place with many, many mosquitoes. Even when we weren’t teaching the students, we were brought to an amusement park, to watch a movie at a mall, and to an escape room. After teaching, the tour week was a nice time to get to know new people and to explore Taiwan. Although most of the times, it was hot outside, the times in the bus were great and the leaders in our bus, Mickey and Paul, were great. Overall, the AID summer volunteering was full of memorable experiences and was fun to meet new people.
Sun, Austin (孫大恩)
AID was an unforgettable experience that shaped me in so many ways. I think that I came out of the experience a completely different person, and it's hard to put a finger on where - but in general I think that I have a lot more joy in my life, understanding that I live in a privileged country where I have a life and worldview so different from the students that I taught. The students and people that were a part of the program were what made AID the best summer of my life. Being able to meet and become friends with our students in a short two weeks, and acting as big brothers and sisters, and friends as well as teachers to the kids was something that was super special. We bonded in such a short amount of time and the camp was fun for both the kids and us volunteers. Seeing our students' enthusiasm, energy and happiness in the classroom fueled a powerful motivation for us to deliver our very best every single day. Our students became genuinely interested in us and studying English, and we also learned a ton of them - their favorite things to do, their favorite aspects of schools, their hobbies, passions, and day to day life that provided a unique perspective into life in Taiwan and which brought back memories of life as a kid again. While it was heartbreaking to leave after just two weeks, I truly believe that we were able to impart in them an interest and passion for English as much as they were able to impart a passion in us for teaching, service, and giving back to the community.

The volunteers who were a part of the program also made the program the best summer of my life. In working with and touring Taiwan with the people in my teaching group for four weeks, we bonded and became a tight-knit family. I got to understand and learn about everyone on a deep level, and that experience forged lifelong friendships. When I look back at the program the moments that I remember are the times where we solved brain teasers and riddles on the bus, went to Ximending for food, clothes, and boba, our final talent show performance, the various adventures on the tour of Taiwan, and the inside jokes that developed over the course of a month. The people that I met hold a special place in my heart and were what made AID an experience that I am truly blessed and grateful to have had.
Zublin, Cassidy (馮曉心)
This summer was by far the best one I've ever had. Before I came to the program, I was mostly dreading it, thinking that it would be all work in a new place that I wouldn't be comfortable with, but quite the opposite happened.

The first week at Jiantan was mostly boring, as each day was filled with different lectures about how to be a good teacher. The lessons were definitely necessary, but were also very difficult to sit through and pay attention to. The first week was also a good time for our group to start getting to know each other, although we didn't truly start bonding until we got to our school.

My group was assigned to Shiuan Shin Elementary School, which was one of the most urban schools out of all those that do the AID program. There, we were welcomed by the school's English teachers and TAs with so much kindness and hospitality that we were all immediately put at ease. The day before the first day of teaching, we were all really nervous, and there definitely were some hiccups within the first few days, but as time went on we became less nervous and started to enjoy the experience more. The kids in my class were all very good at English already, so there were no problems trying to get them to participate. Each day my class would start out with a warm-up and powerpoint for the first couple periods, and then we'd play games and do activities for the rest of the day to solidify what was taught. I found that the activities they loved to do the most were ones that allowed them to be creative and silly (such as drawing a made-up holiday) or ones where they had to compete with other groups in the class to get some sort of prize. The kids were always eager and fun to be around, and they loved to play games with us during break or PE time. I always planned more activities for each day than there was time for, so that just in case a certain activity took less time than anticipated, I would still be prepared. This led to many late nights of hard work (pretty much no one ever went to bed before 2 AM), but it also caused our group to grow closer because we were all suffering together :D

When we had the closing ceremony at our school, everyone was very emotional, because we'd become like a family in the two weeks that we were there. My group was crying, the school's English teachers were crying...it was very hard to say goodbye.

Tour week was a chance for my group to have fun and crack jokes with each other. The tour itself wasn't that great, because they took us to too many places in one day and gave us very little time at each place. The heat and sheer amount of people made getting out of the tour bus miserable, but again, this is how our group grew closer: by mutual suffering and the subsequent jokes and complaints.

When it was time for everyone to leave and go back to the US, we were all gloomy. It's hard to leave the people that you were constantly around for an entire month; the people that you became very close friends with and had huge amounts of inside jokes with...the people that you're not sure when you'll see again. I personally cried buckets that day :(

When I first came to Taiwan, all I wanted was for the month to be over so that I could go back home to enjoy my summer. But when it came time to leave, I found myself not wanting to go. I learned so much in Taiwan, like how to survive mosquitoes and cockroaches, how to survive a day on only 3 hours of sleep, how to share one shower between eight people...but mostly, how to make connections with people from all different ages, cultures, and walks of life. People are the same wherever you go. They're kind, they're silly, and they're generous. They make mistakes, and they better themselves, and sometimes they don't. They laugh and smile easily, and sometimes they complain and grumble about everything. Most of all, they're human. This trip reminded me of that, and for that I am forever grateful.

I highly encourage you to do this program, no matter if your Chinese is bad, or if you have no interest in teaching, or if you think it would be too much work. I promise you, you'll learn so much, and you won't regret it.
Diamond, Mark (戴偉聰)
Teaching the students at my school was truly a life changing experience for me. At first, I was worried that my skills in Chinese would not be enough to communicate to the students, but luckily, they were able to understand most of what I told them. In addition, one of our students was able to translate my teaching partner’s and my instructions to other students, which was extremely helpful for the students who struggled more than their classmates. In teaching, I was very surprised at how fast the students learned new material, and many of them strived to get creative with their sentences and vocabulary. My favorite part of teaching was when we had funny moments in class that were also good teaching moments. One such event happened when the students said they thought “Eiffel Tower” sounded like “iPhone Tower!” We had a good laugh at that, and after drilling in the correct pronunciation, we made jokes later on about it, and used those moments to make sure they knew how to say the word. At the end of the two weeks, it was sad to see the students leave us, and many of us cried as we hugged each other goodbye. I felt that we had known each other forever. Luckily, we exchanged contact information, and we texted each other for the rest of the time in Taiwan, and will continue to talk in the future. Hopefully, I will see the students again, and it will be amazing to see them more grown up and how they’ve changed. Also, I have become very close with my teaching group and roommates, and hope to keep in touch with them as well. In all, I definitely do not regret participating in this program, and I will never forget my experiences in Taiwan!
Huang, Steven (黃裕凱)
This volunteer services was one of the most memorable summers I have ever had. It was very fun, although I was stripped away from my constant wifi and friends in California. This service will be the most memorable because of the two close friends I made. These two people I was with for the majority of the entire service. The kids that I taught were also very energetic and looked forward to learning. They always came with a smile on their face, ready to participate in class. I had also lost several things on this trip. I lost my contact lenses, towel, and a pair of my black pants. I learned to always do more than double-check if you have everything. The loss of my contact lenses was detrimental because I could not see. Teaching the children can be very challenging if you can not see. I fixed this by asking my teaching to buy me a few pairs of daily contact lenses. My favorite part of this entire trip was becoming friends with Jade Li. She was one of my group members. I enjoyed becoming best friends with Jade, as she always put a smile on my face every time she came around. I am very glad I participated in this volunteer service.
Chiang, Brian (江誠恩)
This program was one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. Having the chance to go out of my community and being able to teach some of the greatest kids is truly one of my most memorable moments. Being able to meet so many other great people from all over the world as fellow volunteers was also amazing, as I got to see people that I would most likely otherwise wouldn't have the chance to ever meet. The great memories that I made with my groupmates in the bootcamp, teaching, and the tour are some of my greatest memories, as they truly made every second an enjoyable moment. However, I enjoyed teaching the most. I taught in Dawu Middle School and there I met some of the most interesting personalities and that made it all the more enjoyable. Each student was special in their own way and always made me smile whenever I was teaching the class. To be honest, I was proud to be their teacher and happy that I could impart some wisdom and happiness into their summer. I am truly thankful for the chance to go out and do something like this.
Ge, Ashley (葛牧青青)
Since this program has ended and I'm back here in the States, I feel that Taiwan and this program has changed me in many ways, not only in physical appearances (tanner and much better style) but it has also mentally changed me. After being in this program, it has made me a lot happier, more confident, and more at ease. Teaching the children has made me a lot more patient, caring, and more responsible especially dealing with harder students and planning out the lesson plans. The tour week has made me become more adjusted to real life situations that include waking up very early every morning and planning out how the day will be spent. This trip has given me the opportunity to meet unforgettable friends as well as make unforgettable memories. Being in Taiwan also allowed me to experience life in a foreign country, which was very different from America. It has made me fall in love with Taiwan and its scenaries, night life, buildings, and its culture and has made me want to go back there again soon. The students were the ones that taught me a lot about Taiwanese culture, such as sitting in your seat properly, serving each other lunch first, and their polite manners that came with it. The people of Taiwan are not very different from these students, all of them with a kind heart, willing to help out as much as they can. At the end of these services, I feel very grateful for being able to be apart of this program, and if I could, I would do it again.
Kou, Joshua (郭安理)
I was really disappointed when I saw that my assigned school was Lishan Elementary and Middle School which was in the middle of nowhere. I complained to my mom about it and complained to my teammates about going to the middle of nowhere. I had a mentality of "this sucks" when I was training at Chientian. I didn't like the training since it was boring and I felt like it didn't really help us.

This all changed throughout the three weeks of training and teaching. The more and more I was in the program the more I liked it. There is just a feeling of joy when teaching smaller kids, especially since I taught Level 2 (Grades 1-4) and all the kids were just so cute. Despite the few kids that were annoying and the times that the kids didn't listen to you , my passion for teaching grew and pushed me to go through all the challenges . Challenges that my partner, Catherine Chen, and I face was that the kids sometimes couldn't speak what we taught them, he got tired during the class, and also that the just spoke to much Chinese. As a teacher, you just had to have a lot of passion and do your best to repeat the things that you taught, even if you just taught the material like 10 minutes ago. If you do come to Lishan Elementary and Middle School, you need to be scary on the first dad and make the kids dislike you. After that you start to be nicer but still maintain a level of discipline, since the kids will get rowdy and I did get push around the most by the kids. The had a lower of respect for me when they talked to me. They kind of saw me as weaker as compared to the other teachers when it came to discipline. As teachers, we disciplined the kids a lot by making the run laps on the track or write english sentence structures. Giving quizzes at certain times can help you see where a students is, but it's also a good tool to use to discipline your kids when they talk to much.

Some advice that I do have for people that come to this school in the future is to have a authoritative figure on the first day to establish your authority. Also plan a lot of things but don't expect to get it all done, since the kids can't always get the material your teaching them and it might require more time to just teach one thing. For example, you could spend about the whole morning just teaching the word, breakfast. Spending the right amount of time to teach is important, than just rushing what you prepared for the lesson. Also have a lot of games planned since the kids love games but have a assortment, since they get really bored if you just play one game everyday. I had a college student named Penny who helped us translate and maintain order in the classroom, without her I don't think I would have survived the two. weeks. The college students also become your best friends, so try to be friends with them.

I want to thank OCAC and all other affiliated partners for giving me have this experience of teaching english in Taiwan. This experience has allowed me to enjoy my motherland country even more and also love how everything is so cheap. I also want to thank my teammates: Justin Shih, Jordan Yang, Jade Li, Cherren, Catherine Chen, and Vivian Hung for making this experience so much fun and exciting.
Wang, Sophia (王宇婕)
This program was one of the most exciting ones I have ever done. It allowed me to meet others that have experienced the same things I had when I was growing up. It also allowed me to meet some of my best friends to this day and form such close bonds with them. I learned many things on this trip, including how to be independent and make decisions that I want instead of my parents. It made me feel like I was more in control of my own life. I've made such unforgettable memories with my group and we still contact and keep up with one another on a daily basis and it really changed me as a person. This program made me realize how important it is to manage my relationships with others, time, and responsibilities. The best memories I had during this program was during the teaching days where our group would gather around at night in one room and just watch emotional or horror movies and cry together. We would stay up till 3am having deep talks and getting to know one another more. I feel like because I am with my group 24 hours each day, it makes friendships extremely easy to form and I often forget that I've only known them since June 30th. It really opened my eyes to experience such loyal and caring people who would be there for you when you are feeling down. The relationships formed with the kids at the school were unbreakable and it was truly heartbreaking to part with them. Even though my partner and I would stay up till 3am working on our lesson plan, it was worth every second because through that time, I got to bond with my partner and others in my group and we would just talk about the most random things. These people are like my second family and I know I can always depend on them to help me out and give me advice because I'm a mess. I would say this entire trip was a once in a lifetime experience and I totally would want to do this all over again.
Sun, Chia Chi (孫家期)
My name is Ashley, and I completed the 2018 summer AID program. Honestly speaking, I did not want to initially join this program, as it is not at all that selective, not to mention I had to pay a good 2k just to fly to Taiwan. However I was unable to find anything more productive to do this summer, and therefore I decided to just go and have fun as my sister did 3 years ago. All the talk about how this program was life changing seemed to me like a load of lies in the effort for the students who completed the program to finish their reflection and get on with their lives. Needless to say, I went into this program expecting nothing except rekindling my hate for children and hating all the American born Taiwanese teenagers. At the end of it all, I found that I actually did enjoy this experience a lot. It really did teach me a lot of things, and I believe that it had a lot to do with my utterly terrible attitude in which I approached this program. I struggled so much in the few weeks of teaching, and I really learned a lot of things about myself and how I work with others in an environment I'm not used to. Whether or not I'm better at handling kids, I don't know. However I do know that I found room in my heart to love a few kids from across the planet. My partner and I have made a pact in order to meet the children in three years time. Looking back at all that happened, the struggles seemed to be a fond memory, and the arguments seemed to be nothing more than a trial in our friendship to better our friendship. In 3 weeks time, I grew closer to my partner than I had with most of my friends at school. The kind of exposure that this program offers is truly exceptional, and to those who are on the fence about attending this program to just take a leap and try it.

Wu, Annie (吳佳琪)
I originally signed up for the program without expectations, but came out so happy and wishing it lasted longer. AID allowed me to meet people from all over the world and really bond through teaching students. I am honestly a pretty shy person when I first meet strangers, but through having an assigned team, I was able to get to know others who I probably wouldn't have reached out to on my own. Over time, we all got comfortable with each other and were able to be ourselves with each other. Even though the 2 weeks of teaching were tiring, reflecting back on it now, it really is worth it. There were so many moments we were able to bond, from making teaching plans past midnight to hanging out in the free time we had. During tour week, the places they brought us were mediocre (especially because of the heat) but looking back now, I am thankful for that extra week I had with my team and the memories we were able to make. I am so glad I applied and had the chance to spend summer making new friends and bonding with the kids I met at the school. I think the best part for me was just living together and getting to know all the unique personalities of others that I probably would never encounter without this program. I am so thankful to my team I was a part of and the school I got sent to. Being one of the only schools in the city, I had different experiences than others in rural areas, but it was so rewarding and fun. Although there were some conflicts we had to overcome, I really valued the time we had to talk things out and resolve any issues we had, something I will definitely appreciate when working in teams in the future. Although I ultimately got closest with my teammates, being part of something larger (with the 600+ people in AID) made me feel really in awe of the program and all the planning put into it. Thank you AID for the memorable experiences!
Tang, Vivien (陳君玲)
Before arriving at Chien-Tan, I had no idea what to expect out of this program. It was my first time in Taiwan and my first-time volunteering to teach English. Volunteers, including myself, were distressed because we were told that Wi-Fi would be available for us to use, but that was not the case. It was difficult to formulate teaching plans without internet and could only do so if we bought sim-cards at the airport (which the program said was not necessary to buy). Despite the hiccup, the first week of training was fun and informative. It was a good idea to group A, B, C, D by grade level so that volunteers could interact with others similar in age. The guest speakers shared information and stories I found insightful and applicable for our teaching plans.

As for the teaching weeks, it was my favorite part of the AID Program. The teachers welcomed us with open arms and always made sure we were comfortable. The students at Shan-lin Junior High School were very respectful and enjoyed having us there. Those two weeks in isolation in Kaohsiung with my group, included a lot of bonding amongst the six of us since we were stuck in the mountainside. I would have rather had an extra week of teaching, instead of the tour week. The tour week is a good way to socialize with other volunteers, but I wish I had more time with the students because two weeks feel too short.

Law, Monica (羅海媚)
Participating in AID Summer 2018 was one of the greatest decisions of my life. Without this program, I would have never been able to make connections with other volunteers in the program and with the students and friends in the area in which I taught at. Experiencing the culture in such a positive way was truly an experience of a lifetime. I stayed with my teacher and her family, and at no point did I feel homesick at all! I was truly blessed to be placed with amazing teammates in an amazing area, Tongxiao, Miaoli. I have always loved Taiwan, but this gave me a new found appreciation for my culture! Not only are the people in Taiwan kind and generous but the food is also so delicious! I miss my students and my friends dearly, but these memories will never fade. I will always remember Tongxiao as a second home. The only issue I came across during this program was the tour. As college students, it was incredibly difficult and frustrating to be placed on the bus and group with all high school kids entering their senior year of high school. The immaturity levels differ too much and made it unbearable for us.
Tseng, Jessica (曾彩妤)
I came into this program not expecting much, but I was very wrong. The people I met and the kids I taught really made these past few weeks extremely special and hard to forget. This experience truly showed me a different way of life. From the little things such as not wasting the food during lunch to the kids cleaning up the school after the last bell has rung really made me reflect on how different their lives are compared to ours. Nonetheless, their enthusiasm to learn and curiosity about our lives really made me love them even more. During class time, a few challenges included getting the kids to speak up and voice their opinions. In addition, I wish I didn't underestimate their English level to begin with. We started with vocabulary and sentences that were way below their level. As the week went on, we obviously adjusted to a faster-paced learning environment, though. Since I taught a fifth-grade class, they were more keen on worksheets rather than games. They, however, did enjoy their free time at the basketball courts or on the soccer field. Even now, after the teaching is over, the kids are still willing to reach out through social media platforms. It's hard putting the love and affection I have for the kids into words, but it definitely pained me to leave them behind after the two weeks. The connection we made with these kids is surely one in a million.
Moy, Ethan (梅立旻)
I would definitely admit I was nervous before coming to the program. It would take a whole month away from my summer, the summer that I was supposed to write college applications. I was also nervous about the cockroaches, mosquitoes, and giant spiders that others had talked about.

So let's first talk about the training week. Yes, the training week is boring. The food gets repetitive after a few days, and having to share a room with 6 other guys definitely felt cramped. During the day, there were pretty strict rules (i.e. no eating or drinking in class) and I fell asleep sometimes. However, a few of the classes gave me creative insight on how to plan enough activities for two weeks.

Then came the next two weeks of teaching at Shiuan-Shin Elementary in Chiayi City. I can honestly say that these were some of the best weeks in my life. To begin with, the teachers at the school were the nicest people I ever met. They went out of their way to make us comfortable, even as far as to buy us a drying rack so that we could wash our clothes more often. They partied with us at night and made me feel like I was back at home. They were the best part about my experience in Taiwan.

In the classroom, I loved every moment I spent with my students. They were smart, attentive, and eager to learn. This made teaching the class easy and fun. But most importantly, they reminded me about being a kid again. With them, I could run around the school, play tag, and do things that I normally can't do alone.

As for the bugs, I'll admit that I screamed when I first saw a giant spider. But for the next two weeks, I learned how to deal with the bugs. It's not that bad.

So what criticisms do I have about AID? Probably only two: assignments and organization. For the first and last weeks, we had assigned lunch tables and hotel rooms, and the majority of people would be from my team. I loved my team, but I would have liked more opportunities to see the other 500+ people doing the program. Secondly, the organization was impressive given the large amount of people, but it was still poor. During tour week, we spent most of the time in the bus or checking into our hotel rooms, which left very little time for actual sightseeing. If the tour size is still the same next year, I highly suggest that exploring Taiwan with a small group of friends.

Ultimately, the real focus of AID were the two weeks at my school. I got to experience true kindness and care through the teachers. I got to re-experience childhood and create priceless memories with my students. Would I do it again? Definitely. Without a doubt.

Tseng, James (曾繁舜)
It is true that the AID Summer program focuses on teaching English to remote areas, but two weeks really doesn’t get in a lot of teaching. Two weeks of English camp with young, foreign teachers may not have improved our student’s English levels by much, but two weeks of teaching English by ourselves have really changed my perceptions of teaching. I was really fortunate to be assigned to 芭里國小 in 桃園, where the Taoyuan Metro ran right behind our homestay. We bordered on the suburbs and the farmlands.

Those two weeks I taught the highest level class, where you’d expect the kids to be calmer and mature, which is true yet not true at the same time. Inside the un-air-conditioned classroom, the students focused while we taught on the board, but roared like imps while we played games. There were many memorable incidents that just made leaving them after two short weeks much more melancholy. In our class, my teaching partner and I did not use Chinese the least bit (even during breaks) until the last two days (which at 劍潭 would be considered a success), which surprised some students and made our connections with the students even stronger, following the two weeks of “No Chinese!”

The somewhat underwhelming tour only gave us more time to think about our schools and students. Some of our group members and I have already returned to visit our school the Saturday after the end of the program. This program offered unforgettable experiences that I hope encouraged my students to keep learning English and shaped my experiences of Taiwan.

Fan, Candace (范萱萱)
After attending this program, I have learned many different things. In my mind, I always thought teaching and taking care of kids would be an easy job to do since they are younger and would listen to adults. However, I was wrong. Teaching is a lot of hard work and it really does help to make an effort in all the work put together. As easy as it may sound (but not) every night, making teaching plans was a lot harder than I thought. Putting together a new theme and sub theme for the kids to learn the next day, getting all the materials ready, and creating and thinking about different arts and crafts projects in order for the kids not to be bored was a lot harder than I thought. Yet, having a partner was very helpful since we helped each other out when there was trouble. In addition, after teaching weeks were done, the counselors would take us to night markets and a tour around different parts of Taiwan. Everything was very entertaining but also very hot and humid at the same time. Going to the night markets was very fun and meeting new people and going with them made Taiwan and this program even more entertaining. Therefore, I think this program should continue since it is a very good experience and teaching the kids was also very fun.
Fu, Claire (傅世綾)
Participating in AID was definitely a memorable experience. I was pushed out of my comfort zone in subtle ways, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. I was excited to meet my teammates, although I didn’t realize how awkward I really am around people until I roomed with them. I had never spent so much time with people I didn’t know before. I was very self-conscious around them, but it lessened as I spent more time with them. Our stay at Chientan was a little disorganized. My group had to change rooms on the second day. Sometimes they didn’t stick to the schedule, and we had to rush to places. I stayed on the 8th floor, and there were times where we had to take the stairs. The counselors were friendly though. I taught at Si Shi Elementary in Pingtung. The staff were very friendly, and the students were energetic. The energy the students had was refreshing, although it made it difficult to control the classroom. Our group was also faced with the situation where there were students in different grades in our classes. For example, I taught level 3, but I end up teaching students from grades 2 to 5. We also had to move students to different levels and students that leave midday to attend other activities, which made it difficult to teach. Despite this, I’m glad that I got to teach them. During the two teaching weeks, I stayed with a host family with my partner. They treated us like family and made sure we were comfortable. They brought us to see local places and bought food and drinks. It was also fun to bike from their house to the school every day. Despite the heat, the heavy rain, the squatting toilets, or the tiredness, the whole experience was worth it. I hope to be able to see everybody again someday.

Yoh, Jeffrey (游之儁)
Overall, the AID experience filled my 2018 summer with new friends, memorable activities, and most importantly, my first formal teaching experience. To be honest, I first, I didn't particularly look too forward to the trip; I honestly thought it would just be another ordinary summer camp filled with frankly boring activities. However, throughout the month, I came to meet a group of young, determined individuals, in which I am lucky to still call my friends. At Chien Tan, I was surprised to be able to meet so many other teenage individuals with the same background as me; we were able to share our cultural experiences at home, especially because most of us shared two distinct heritages, being both Taiwanese and American. At the Taipei Nangang Middle School, the environment shocked me to witness such disparaties between Taiwanese children and that of the more familiar American education system. Throughout the weeks, introducing and integrating exciting games and learning exercises kept the students encouraged and eager to learn, which really kept me going. I also learned firsthand the difficulties of being a teacher and leading a class of fifteen students, some of which were naughty, immature boys who kept trying to poke me with the board stick. Lastly, the tour at the end gave me a greater perspective on the natural beauty of Taiwan, and allowed me to reimagine the areas in which my parents grew up in. From the rock structure geopark to old streets to waterfalls, the trip gave me a heightened appreciation of my parent's homeland and ingrained in me a greater sense of my identity.
Ting, Charles (丁立名)
I really enjoyed teaching the students. They were very eager and open towards learning English. It was an absolute joy to be able to spend two weeks and be with the kids. It truly opened my eyes to the different cultures and lives of these kids in rural Taiwan. At first it was difficult and frightening to engage with the students. However, over time it became much more comfortable and easy to interact with them. They were all so sweet and incredible that by the end of the two weeks I desperately wished I that I could have more time with them. In the beginning of the program, I had reservations regarding my ability to teach English to kids that barely spoke the language. Now, I learned so many things about how to be an effective teacher and work well with small children. Although I may have been attacked my cockroaches and mosquitoes, I have no doubt in my mind that I would return to Miao Li to teach to the kids again. I hope to again have the opportunity to return and see these kids. I will never forget the memories I made there with my fellow teachers and the kids.
Chen , Eva (陳妤婕)
I first signed up for this program just for my college application. As this whole trip is finished, I realized it was more than another object on a college application. My group and I at first didn't communicate well, leading me to think that we weren't going to be a good group. But after the whole month has passed, I couldn't have asked for a better group. The multiple obstacles we faced as a group only brought us closer, but I wouldn't want to experience it with anyone else. I wanna thank the AID program for giving me a chance to experience a journey quite spectacular. Teaching English to children in rural area taught me to appreciate what I have because these kids have almost nothing. Not only did the children learn from us, but we also learned from them, experiencing a different culture. The experience lead me to appreciate my teachers more because it was indeed quite tiring. As someone who learned English as a second language, I realize how difficult it may be for the children, and I hope that we have engage the students interest toward English as it may help them in the future. This trip was a once in a lifetime chance, and I'm glad I was able to be a part of it.
Zhu, Candy (朱凯莉)
I remember walking into Chientan the first day, anxious about how my experience will be at Taiwan, in a completely new and different environment and away from my friend and family. I was worried about whether my teammates will be nice or not, whether they will like me, whether the children will like me, and whether I will be successful in teaching the kids. Turns out, there was nothing to worry about.
Thanks to AID, this summer has been one of the most memorable summers of my life. I am so glad that AID gave me the opportunity to teach the American language and culture to Taiwanese children and along the way learn the beauty of the Taiwanese culture. As someone that never saw myself as a teacher, I am thankful that I had the chance to experience interacting and bonding with all the innocent and adorable children. I am also beyond thankful that through this program I was able to meet so many interesting friends and helpful, caring counselors that I still keep in contact with even after the program has ended. I truly enjoyed every part of this trip, form training week to tour week. I will never forget the memories I made, the people I met and the lessons I learned from this trip. Thank you AID for this amazing opportunity.