2019 AID Summer
志工感言 (Reflection) >> Houston
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Hwaung, Nymph (黄金燕)
The AID program is definitely something that I am happy I participated in. The training week at Chientan was very dull and dragged on. There were a lot of rules and we had to follow a “strict” schedule, even though in the end events and such would be pushed back. It was annoying waiting for inconsiderate people. I feel that the high schoolers should have been put separate from the college students- the maturity level and sense of responsibility were too different. My teaching group was fantastic and we clicked together very well. At the school I volunteered at, Ma Guang Junior High, the students and community were amazing. Everyone was nice to us and made sure we had everything we needed. The PTA helped drive us and the Taiwanese volunteers there around. The Taiwanese volunteers were very sweet and funny, and I miss them as much as I miss my students. The two weeks at Ma Guang showed me how amazing Taiwan is, and the cultural differences between America and Taiwan. The tour week was very boring, as everyone had to do all the activities together, and we had to perform a talent show with people we just met. There wasn’t enough time to actually enjoy the places we stopped at, much less practice for the talent show. If I was able to do this program again, I would skip the tour week.

Chu, Ryan (朱理安)
AID was definitely one of the more different and educational experiences of my life, and I'm not just saying that just to say it, it actually was. These 4 weeks spent with other volunteers, counselors, and kids, were so impactful to my life and really changed me as a person and how I view the world in general. Arriving at training in Chientan, I never expected to see so many people like me at the same place, volunteering towards the same cause. Seeing the "sea" of 600 neon yellow shirts every day going to the same place to eat, shop, and to learn really made me realize how big this opportunity was and how impactful Taiwanese culture is to all corners of the world.

I was very lucky to have a team that found each other the first day and began hitting it off at the beginning. We were all very comfortable with each other and were willing to spend time with each other, which is a very important thing especially during the two weeks of teaching. At Kuangfu Elementary in Nantou, the initial shock from the run-down dormitory was enough to make team members cry. As time went on, we leaned on each other and the kids to distract us from the disastrous living conditions, and we were able to survive. From the second day, it set in that we would have to live in the same conditions for two weeks and I actively committed myself to making the living conditions more bearable for myself and my group. Regularly cleaning the dirty bathrooms and living area, doing laundry by hand, killing the wild assortment of bugs, meticulously sorting out the trash, while also teaching first and second graders English was something that I never imagined myself having the ability to do. Realizing that I was able to learn all those things and survive a variety of problems (living conditions and regular disagreements with our teaching counselor) made me realize that I was capable of a lot more than I expected. I learned that as long as I put my mind to something, I can ignore the difficulties and focus on taking advantage of the present situation.

The children were such an eye-opening part of the trip. I never thought of myself as the teacher type but after the first day making sure the children knew their own names, I knew that I wanted to grow closer to the kids and make sure they had a memorable two weeks with me and the rest of the AID volunteers. Saying goodbye to the children after two weeks was one of the hardest things I've had to ever do, and countless tears were shared between the team as well as the 30 children that attended the rural school.

Thank you Naomi, Danica, Trishton, Michael, Felicity, Emily, Tiffany, and Kerry for staying with me and continuously challenging me to become a better person. Thank you AID for the opportunity to become a better person. I am no longer the privileged, spoiled American kid; I am the capable, independent, and appreciative student excited for future chances to show off what I learned at AID 2018.
Ren, Sherina (任凌君)
AID was an eye-opening and surreal experience. Being able to go to Taiwan for the first time was nerve wrecking yet exciting because of the vastly different environment from what I am normally accustomed to in America. Through the program, I was able to meet amazing people and learn about the Taiwanese culture. I remember meeting my roommates for the first time; we all bonded quickly and had so much in common. When I arrived at the school, I met the students, principal, teachers, and directors of the school; they were all so kind and polite. One time, a teammate of mine had blister that swelled up pretty badly; the teacher brought my teammate to the doctors immediately to make sure everything was okay. Teaching my students was such an amazing experience; I learned about new teaching strategies, what it takes to teach a different language to someone, and the different school lifestyles between Taiwan and America. Before I knew it, the two weeks passed by quickly, and it was time to part ways. I became close with my students and could not bear to leave them, but luckily, I can stay in touch with them through social media. AID has been an amazing experience and I am grateful for being able to partake in this program.
Wang, Brianna (王慈恩)
The AID Program was a very eye-opening experience to Taiwan. I was able to submerge myself into the Taiwanese way of life since I lived with a host family for 2 weeks. I was also able to increase my speaking, reading, and writing abilities in Chinese. Even though there were a few language barriers between the blue shirt volunteers and us, we still had a lot of fun hanging out and sharing our different cultural experiences. Teaching the children was a challenge because their English levels were lower than we expected. Beforehand, I had prepared a humongous binder filled with teaching materials I was going to use, like books, flashcards, UNO cards, and worksheets. Nevertheless, we soon realized our goal was to encourage the kids to speak English and give them a lasting memory of the positive side of learning English. The tour was amazing, and I felt very lucky to be placed in the Southern tour because I was able to experience the breath-taking scenery of the island of Taiwan. I was also fortunate enough to dodge all the sickness that was going around so I was able to have fun. Applying and being selected for the AID Summer program is one of the best choices I have ever made.
Su, Ephraim (蘇奕凡)
I volunteered at Xingang Junior High School in Chai Yi County. During the duration of our stay in Xingang, my group stayed in a high school dorm and host family's house, each for one week. The dorm was average but the host family's place was a lot better. Our host family was very welcoming to us and bought us a lot of stuff. They drove us to the night market frequently and paid for a lot of our expenses. The host family also treated us to many dinners at nice restaurants. Teaching was a wonderful experience. The kids were great and very friendly. Many of the students took us around their city to show us where the good foods are and where to get haircuts. Haircuts are so inexpensive in Taiwan that almost everyone in my group got at least one before we left. Over the two weeks teaching at Xingang, we all learned a lot from each other. We taught them English and outside of school, they taught us Taiwanese on their free time. The bonds among us volunteers were life lasting. We not only got close with the other volunteers who taught at our own school, but we also were very close to all the volunteers at others school. There might have been around 600 of us volunteers this summer but this large number encouraged us to reach out and meet more people that we would have never expected to meet. The training week at Jiantan might have been really boring, but it was these awesome friends that I had made which made things more interesting. We did mass orders of Mcdonalds delivery as well as Coco which sparked things up. The tour week, in the end, was not so exciting, but it was the people we were able to hang out with that made every second of it worthwhile. I forgot to mention that a month prior to camp we made weekly skype calls and got to know each other. Today we still make frequent video calls with the people at camp.
Wang, Brian (王博恩)
Being a part of this program has been such an eye opening and an amazing experience. In the beginning, I was ambivalent about this program and thought that this would be just like any summer camp that I had previously attended, individual work and boring and childish group activities. However, after just a couple of days, I realized how group focused this program is and how involved everybody has to be. From the beginning of the training week to the end of the teaching week, everyday, even though we followed the same schedule, was different than the ones before. During the training week, we had to devise up new plans and ways to teach the students. During the teaching weeks, new challenges arose, because the weekly plans that we meticulously created barely lasted for half of the day, forcing us to create new activities and new topics to cover to last through the whole teaching day. Luckily for me, I stayed in a hotel near the school, and there was AC in the school, unlike other people who had to sleep in mosquito nets under tents without AC. Even though I taught the beginner class with the youngest students, the students knew and understood more English than other schools. The students also were eager to learn something new, and they loved playing games that both us teachers and them students thought up of. Not only were the students eager to learn English, but they also wanted to "teach" us Chinese, and sometimes, I felt as if I was the student and they were the teachers. I was also luckily enough to have great teammates that were willing to help me from watching the students when my partner and I were out, to coming up with new ideas for games and activities. My partner was also amazing at coming up with new dances to songs and videos that we would play to reinforce the day's topics and helping me grab the class' attention. Without my group, I would not have been able to survive a day at this summer camp. I believe the following quote can sum up this indescribable experience perfectly: from the outside looking in, you can't understand it. From the inside looking out, you can't explain it. You will not only teach, but you will also learn from the students and everybody.
Hung, Alexander (洪書聖)
I arrived at the Chien-Tan Youth Activity Center in Taipei exhausted, having survived the 16 hour flight to get there. As soon as I got to my room I crashed into bed without even meeting my group members (7 other volunteers). However, as quickly as I fell asleep, the wake up call came and I was forced to get up for training. After the first 3 hours of presentations and lectures I wondered, “could this get any worse?”. Suddenly, overcome with a feeling of exhaustion, my jet lag kicked in. My eyelids get heavy and my head starts to drop. Having to stay up and at least pretend like I’m listening, my daily battle with jet lag begins. This is how the first week at the AID Summer Camp went. Training week was to prepare us for the next two weeks, where we would go to our assigned schools to teach English to children. Barely surviving training week, which felt like a month, I was ready to move on and travel to Ren-Ai Elementary School in Tainan, my home for the next two weeks.
My flicker of excitement from getting through training week and moving on to Ren-Ai was quickly smothered by new challenges. To start things off, the dean showed us to our suites. Oh- did I say suites? What I meant to say was classroom. That’s right, we lived in a classroom that had five mats and sleeping bags. The desks and cabinets you typically find in classrooms were pushed to the corner of the room while we were to sleep on the floor in the space that was cleared. The dean assured us that the room was cleaned but the ants crawling all over floor said otherwise. After the shocking realization that I would be sleeping on a classroom floor for two weeks sunk in, it was time to start making lesson plans. Once again, anxiety started to build up as the first day of class neared. Despite having made plans for teaching, I was not sure what to expect. Soon enough, the first day of class came.
When I arrived to the classroom, the kids were swarming with energy. Many already knew each other and sat themselves down next to their friends. This was soon followed by disappointment as my co-teacher and I had already assigned seats for them. After everyone settled down, the teaching began and we followed the lesson plans. Teaching itself naturally presented its own challenges. For one, we were prohibited from speaking with the kids in Chinese which was extremely difficult. Naturally, when they ask a question or make remarks in Chinese you want to respond but we had to force ourselves to act like we didn’t understand- an impossible task when you’ve spoken the language you’re whole life. I slipped so many times and luckily was able to cover it up before they noticed. I never knew this before, but teaching is incredibly exhausting and the lack of air conditioning and the Taiwan humidity didn’t help either. As the day went on, seconds started feeling like minutes and minutes started feeling like hours. Finally, class was over and I was relieved, only to be hit with the realization that I still had to teach for nine more days. Plus, despite class being over, we still had to make lesson plans for the next day. Each night, we would stay up until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. finishing up lesson plans and preparing for the next day. I had never worked so hard and I’m lucky I had my group members to lean on. Together, we completed lesson plans every night and it helped teaching the next day easier.
After one long week, we had a short break over the weekend. We were able to explore different parts of Taiwan. It was a perfect opportunity for me to explore my heritage and see the island for myself. I had been to Taiwan before but being here without my parents was a completely different experience. I was able to discover things for myself and I developed a true appreciation and love for the island. Over the weekend, we got to explore all of Tainan and travel to places like Kaoshiung which was exhilarating. I got to try Tainan’s famous mango shaved ice and explored the night markets. Sadly, the weekend quickly came to an end and the second week of teaching arrived.
Luckily, the second week went by a lot smoother. Everyone had gotten used to the daily routine and class seemed to be shorter. The kids were their usual self, full of energy and creativity. We had a lot more games and crafts for them to do during the second week and they thrived. Much of the week was dedicated to rehearsing for the final performance we would have on our last day. My class decided they wanted to perform Goldilocks so we created a script for them using the vocabulary taught to them throughout the week. The first day we practiced they struggled with it but by the end of the week they read the script flawlessly. Before I knew it the week had already passed and it was time to say bye to the students. After a teary final performance, the kids departed and two weeks of hard work was over. A bittersweet ending to an extremely tough yet amazing 2 weeks. For two weeks, we got to know each kid and help them. No matter how hard things got and how tired we were, it was worth it knowing we made an everlasting impact on these kids. Learning to work with other people and rely on them was definitely something new to me and I had the best group members anyone could ask for. The memories we made and experiences we had will never be forgotten.
The first day I arrived in Taiwan I was concerned. Four weeks seemed so long. At times it felt like I would never be home yet when the day came it felt like four weeks went by so quickly. Soon enough, I was back in the comfort of my own home. Being back, I felt different. I noticed how nice I had it here. I was appreciative of the smallest things I didn’t notice before. Air conditioning. Clean bathrooms. A soft bed. Things I always took for granted that I now fully appreciate. After sleeping on a floor and working tirelessly for two weeks, I came back a different person. My work ethic has improved and I feel like I can accomplish so much more. Most importantly, I came back with a feeling of happiness and peace knowing I helped people in need and made an impact on the kids at Ren Ai Elementary School.

Shih, Justin (施彥銘)
I did not know what to expect coming into Taiwan AID. I did the application somewhat last minute and had not read the past experiences of others, so I only had a general idea of what the program was about. The idea of teaching English to students in rural areas of Taiwan somewhat worried me, and I was unsure if I was suited for such a task. However, this was a challenge that I was unwilling to back away from as I wanted to learn more about my Taiwanese heritage and explore the country that my parents were born in. Teaching a foreign language was also an idea that I was willing to try.
When the location of the school I will be teaching at came out, I did some research and found out that the location was known for its fruit and scenery. Other than these two things, I did not know anything about the school and its surrounding area. Either way, I headed towards Taiwan and Chientan with anticipation. The first week in Taiwan was mainly focused on lesson planning and getting familiar with group members. This week was relatively uneventful but brought everyone closer together. The excitement began to pick up on the two teaching weeks which began with a four hour car ride through windy mountain roads. Everyone knew that we would be teaching at rural schools, but we were still surprised at the location of our school. The nearest major city was a 3 hour car ride down the mountains, and the closest convenience store had opened only two weeks prior to us arriving at the school. We spent the first weekend familiarizing ourselves with the school and the surrounding area. With the school being located in the mountains, walking anywhere was a hike. After our first day of exploring, we were sore all over. The weekend passed quickly, and teaching began. I was in charge of the intermediate level which comprised of third through fifth graders.
On the first day, there was a small opening performance with basic introductions. After the performance, my teaching partner and I brought the 13 students we were teaching back to the classroom, introduced ourselves once more, and gave a small evaluating test. The moment I started grading the test, I knew I was in for a struggle. The students could recognize the letters of the alphabet, had no problem saying it in order, but had the most difficulty writing the letters out. I saw mistakes common in kindergarten and first grade classes such as confusing "b" and "d", "p" and "q" and on one occasion "m" and "w". Additionally, they could not spell simple words such as "red" and "ball". I thought I had sufficiently lowered my expectations enough by not making them read and write sentences, but my expectations were still too high. The following two weeks were a daily struggle of teaching them something and making sure they retain the information. Our lesson plans were very basic and aimed to teach the students English that they would use in their daily lives. Topics included sports, food, daily life, and shopping. We taught them mainly through PowerPoints and Quizlet and played games such as charades, pictionary, hide and seek, and competitions to work the vocabulary words in. On the first quiz, I had to adjust the grading rubric in order to ensure that most of the people passed. From the first quiz, I simplified everything down; we taught less vocabulary words, cut out the sentence structures, and included even more games and activities. Keeping order in the classroom was also a challenge in its own. Those two weeks were the most I've had to raise my voice in years, and I saw other classes running as punishment. By the second week, our teaching plans have slowed, and I was just trying to ensure the students actually learned something. We reviewed the alphabet, numbers, spelling, and pronunciation. By the last day, I was proud that my students had picked up some English. I knew with certainty that these two weeks had a positive impact on learning English.
Overall, this month was amazing and a wonderful experience. I learned a lot more about the difficulty of teaching, and looking back, I have much more respect for teachers. Additionally, I have made a lot of great friends and have learned a lot more about the country that my parents grew up in. I am so glad that I participated in this program.

Sun, Tiffany (孫紀婕)
As far as my experience at AID goes, my time at Kuang Fu Elementary has been bittersweet with positives and negatives. When it came to teaching kids, I really enjoyed making the new connections and helping kids have fun with learning English. All the kids, with a multitude of characteristics, proved to be sweet and good kids that I truly believe deserve a brighter future. But what influenced me the most is the living conditions. Growing up in a pretty privileged lifestyle, being able to live in a similar environment to their homes, I was able to be more thankful for my own home and private life. As far as the cons go, our team had a lot of issues with the team coach in communication and most were due to miscommunication/misunderstandings. While I came to AID with the key purpose of helping the kids, the stress with the coach's words affected my overall mood and perspective on my performance. However, I believe that this experience although upsetting at the moment will teach me patience and have immersed me in Taiwan culture. So, going through with AID, I am very grateful for the experience because I think it will help further my future and prepare me for my career. In addition, I thank the school officials and coach for the time and effort that they have given to help us through this journey and in the end, I hold no bitter feelings for anyone and hope the best for the school.
Tsai, Sarah (蔡婉怡)
Being a part of AID was an unforgettable and eye-opening experience that I wouldn't change for the world. Beyond all the places we traveled to, all the food we ate, and all the money we spent on random things in the night markets, the best part of AID was the people. After living with my group for a month and surviving the heat, humidity, mosquitoes, and teaching weeks with them, we became a family. Our students, though hard to control at times and prone to yelling, had an air of happiness around them that you couldn't help but smile at. The first week at Chien Tan was rather boring, but my group used this time to get to know one another, which really helped in the long term seeing as how we would have to live with each other for an entire month anyways. Teaching and planning for our group was rather simple because we only had to teach for 3 out of 6 periods and our main goal was just to make the students happy. Because of this, we got to play more games and introduce more American culture to our students, which allowed us to get to know each student on a personal level. The tour week was very tiring and most of the time was spent on the bus, waiting in the heat, or rushing to our next destination. But being with my group and getting to spend one last week with them made it worthwhile. To my students, counselors, teacher, newfound friends, and my group, thank you for making this summer one that I shall never forget.
Peng, Lucas (彭宣皓)
AID 2018 defined my summer experience this year in more ways than one. Having done many summer programs and being fairly accustomed to life in Taiwan, I wondered what more could AID offer and whether it would meet my expectations. I can ultimately say I highly recommend the AID summer program for the chance of creating invaluable relationships, exploring Taiwan from a less prevalent angle, and putting time and energy into making a difference for young students in Taiwan.

In many ways, AID is very fun. I believe your level of enjoyment in the program is highly dependent on your attitude, your fellow team members, and the living conditions of your area. For the most part, I really enjoyed making memories with my team members, and they're the ones I have a closer connection with because of all the time we spend together. I'm very satisfied with Cheng-Gong Elementary school and the staff. My team was extremely lucky we got to live in the teacher's dormitory! I also really like the Changhua area and all the other people teaching at schools in Changhua. I loved how we got to go to Kaoshiung and Eda Amusement Park during one of the weekends. Although there were many struggles with teaching and making lesson plans, helping our kids learn some English and inspiring them to keep learning is amazing. Interacting with my students from making cotton candy to playing water games was really memorable. At the end, leaving all my kids and receiving endless gifts was emotional and really makes you think about all that has happened.

The two weeks of teaching were definitely the highlights of AID. I have some gripes about training week and tour week though. The training we received to become better teachers actually exceeded my expectations because their was some important info I hadn't thought about. However the workload of making lesson plans, schedules, and reflections during the very short time frame of a few days was a bit overwhelming. The food at Jientan is pretty awful and cold. I don't why the counselors banned takeout in the middle of the week. I felt like the counselors don't really interact with us volunteers as much as I would like them to. The tour week was okay because I met many new faces, but I wasn't too impressed with the Central tour because I've been to most of the landmarks, partially because I went to OCAC SCLP 2015 in Tamkang University. Overall, there were too many volunteers and the planning was mostly disorganized. In fact, many volunteers wanted to leave the tour early because in wasn't too enjoyable. I liked my counselors on my bus and certain spots like Xitou. The environmental movie of looking at Taiwan was extremely boring. I also don't think each bus needs to put on a talent show performance as it wasn't very enjoyable to prepare or perform. I probably have a lot more to say, but I can't think of anything else because we tend to forget the negatives.

Overall, I had a truly memorable experience!
Hung, Felicity (洪書愛)
AID Summer 2018 was truly a life changing experience for me. Being without parents for a month and learning to live with 7 other people instead taught me so many social lessons and how to cooperate. The only thing I wish had been different would be a better relationship between our group and our teacher. This would have made planning and communication a lot easier throughout the weeks, but we often found ourselves stuck arguing about the same thing for a long time. However, this taught me a lot about making the best of situations and sticking it out.The tour could have been made better with less places and more time per place. Also less hiking would have been helpful. The teaching weeks were great and bonding with those children was an experience I will never be able to repay AID for. Saying goodbye to them was my first taste of sorrow and reality I've had in a long time. I will never forget those days sleeping with cockroaches and the college students eating ramen with us. The first training week was also nice, except many lectures I felt were futile and could have been more interactive. Making lifelong friends with likeminded asian americans like me was the best part of this experience and I am very thankful overall to have had this opportunity.
Chang , Hannah (張堇華)
I will always remember these words from a student I taught at XinHai Elementary School. It was the end of our two weeks teaching, and we had just sung our goodbye song for the last time. Perhaps the student who told me this wasn’t the greatest English speaker or the fastest at completing assignments, but he had heart and a passion for learning. However exhausting teaching for 7 hours straight was, it was also incredibly rewarding. Every morning, we greeted the students and welcomed them into the class. It was so wonderful to see students’ faces light up during our review when they remembered a vocab word from the previous day’s lesson. Hands would shoot up when we asked them to form sentences or answer questions about the pictures on display. We played “Around the World” almost every day to review vocab, and all the students, regardless of English proficiency levels, would clamor for the winning seat.
From this classroom teaching experience, I learned more about teaching than I ever could sitting in a lecture. Seeing as my future career will be in education, this opportunity was the perfect gateway to student teaching. The assignment to create our own lesson plans was seen as a burden to others, but I loved that we had the freedom to come up with creative ways to teach the material. I learned that one can never have too many back-up activities or review games. It’s always helpful to have a list of learning games to play with the students if there’s extra time in the period. Our students also liked that we had a structured classroom with routines they could expect every day. From the good morning song to the chant before break time to the goodbye song, they knew that we had rules and expectations to make everything run smoothly.

Some tips:
Yes, your lesson plan will change (maybe even every hour). No, it’s not the end of the world! Have plenty of activities to fill time and keep the students engaged.
You don’t necessarily need candy to make the kids behave! Scoreboards and intangible rewards (like having the class say “Good job ________!) work just as well, if not better.
Work with your teaching partner so that you can each take breaks during the day while the other teaches. It really helped keep your energy up throughout the lesson!
Have fun! They’re kids. And they’re eager to learn. 😊

Chang, Trishton (張文翔)
After the release of the school assignment, I was skeptical of the environment around the school. At first, the pictures of the bathroom was quite concerning. However, I wasn't too worried once I arrived at ChienTan for the first time. Although the training week was full of boring lectures and a rushed schedule, it was pretty useful information for those struggling to find ideas for teaching. The first week was all about getting to know each other, and I do have to say our team bonded pretty fast. We all quickly became friends, and for some reasons would always be together. The day we left to go to our school was very exciting, we all thought the same thing "we are finally leaving this place." We were the last school on our bus, and the worry all started to come when we drove up a mountain for several minutes with nothing but trees around us. At last we arrived to our school, and although it wasn't appealing it was still exciting. The moment we first entered our dorms is when all the problems started to occur. The living conditions weren't horrible, but they weren't the best either. The rooms were pretty dirty and the bathroom were even more dirty. I knew the school was on a budget, so I understood they tried their best. And don't get me started on the bugs... Now immediately after arriving we began to have issues with our counselor. We would all have plans for teaching, but somehow she always had something bad to say. The team as a group can all agree that she was somewhat inconsiderate to us, but we knew many of the problems were cultural and language differences. We tried multiple times to try and solve them, but it would always end up the same with nothing solved. Counselor problems aside teaching the kids was actually really fun and an amazing experience. From day one we bonded with the kids and would play with them on breaks. As we taught them English some kids were very involved and enjoyed the lessons. On weekends we would go on a local tour with our neighboring schools and those were pretty fun, however on Sundays different schools had other things planned. We asked if we could go out, but the response would be straight up "no." It was really sad watching on social media all the other school go out to have fun while we just stayed in our dorms with nothing to do. However after talking to the overseer of English in Nantou we were finally able to go out more often. Closing ceremony at the school was very emotional. Children were crying and so were the teachers. The goodbye was very sad, and everyone felt like there was more to do with the kids. After the two weeks passed, I was very grateful of the experience and the opportunity the school provided. The tour was also very eventful, however it was very rushed and some of the locations we barely got to fully experience. Overall AID provided a great experience and I am grateful that i got to be apart of this program.
Yu, Caleb (余可立)
Overall, this was a very incredible experience. When I received my acceptance for the AID program, I was expecting a month of summer constantly making teaching materials and lesson plans for the students. I thought it would just be a month of work and did not believe it was possible to develop bonds between our students. However, after spending time with the children, I realized how erroneous my expectations were. Although we only spent two weeks with the students, by the end of the allotted time, it felt like I had known them my whole life and we were all one big family. Roughly ten hours every day for two weeks was spent with the students. Every day at dawn, as I collect breakfast for the teaching group with my partner, we would chance upon our students at the breakfast shop. For two weeks, we basically ate breakfast and lunch together, took afternoon naps, and had fun with one another like a family. The departure was very saddening for all of us. I remember there were lots of hugging, crying, and promises of future meet-ups between we the teachers and the students although deep down in our hearts we all knew it was probably the last time we will see each other again. Looking back, this experience was an eye-opener for me in terms of the lifestyle in rural areas of Taiwan and how education is conducted there. I believe both we the teachers from AID and the students learned something from this experience that will change our outlook on life and education.
Li, Kevin (李元森)
This past month that I spent living in Taiwan has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.
Before the start of the program, I was hesitant about a lot of things. I wasn't sure if I would fit in with the rest of the volunteers or if I would even be compatible (personality-wise) with my assigned group. For as long as I can remember, I have been an introvert. Speaking publicly (or even privately for that matter) never came easily to me. As such, I wasn't even sure if I was capable of being a good English teacher.
A lot of the doubts I had about the program carried into the first few weeks. However, most of these fears subsided once I began teaching at Yude Elementary. The first week I spent teaching at Yude reminded me why I signed up for the program in the first place.
At Yude, My partner and I taught the D-class. Even though the students in the D-class were the lowest scoring students of the AID Summer program, I could tell that each and every one of the students possessed a positive work ethic and a deep passion for learning. Teaching these students at Yude has been a joy. The students are respectful and undeniably bright. The D-Class students were (for the most part) always on task and completed the assignments with due diligence.
I felt like I learned a lot more from the students than the students learned from me. Outside of school, the students taught me about Taiwanese customs and cultural norms (for example: Taiwanese vernacular language).
I am very grateful to the AID summer program for giving me this opportunity to teach English at Yude and take a glimpse into life in Taiwan. I will never forget this past month I spent in Taiwan.

Wang, Allen (王荷白)
I thoroughly enjoyed teaching in Taiwan this year through AID. From the teacher training in Chientan to teaching at Da-keng Elementary School in Taichung, I feel like everyone I met was so dedicated and kind. When I first arrived at Chientan on the move-in day, I was amazed by how so many different people from different areas around the world had come together to help Taiwanese kids English, which is becoming increasingly important in a more connected world. I was honestly really nervous because I didn't know if I would be a good teacher or not. Growing up, I always complained about how a few of my teachers really lacked teaching ability, and I was anxious that without any teaching experience, I may not even teach my students anything that will stick with them. However, through tutorials and lessons on how to plan lessons and organize games and activities that will encourage participation, I gradually gained the confidence necessary to start writing my lesson plans (shhhh) Even though it was a struggle to wake up super early in the morning to attend tutorials, I feel like learning about how to teach really helped me when I actually taught my kids. Also, I spoke at the opening ceremony and I was also afraid that I would misspeak or stutter but seeing all those smiling friendly faces in the audience gave my confidence and I even got to shake hands with some important people. All the blue shirts and pink shirts were really helpful not only during check-in but also throughout the training week.
After we boarded the bus to Da-keng, I was still nervous about meeting our class - Class C, which was 4th and 5th graders. Our teacher, Teacher Wendy, who met us at Chientan, introduced us to our other teachers - Teacher Anna, Teacher Julian, Teacher Steve, Teacher "doraemon", Teacher Berlin, and Teacher Hu-shi a-yi (auntie nurse.) We lived in the English classroom for the two weeks and it was obvious that they made a great effort to make us comfortable. They provided us with not only air conditioning but also tasty food! I am really thankful that all the teachers and staff at Da-keng Elementary treated us like VIPs. Our meals for the entire two weeks were really nutritious and delicious; we got to drink a lot of bubble tea and eat famous Taiwanese dishes in Taichung. The students were initially not used to an immersive English environment but eventually they were really receptive to our English lessons. Even though some kids were a bit rowdy at certain points, they went back to their best behavior with some reminding. My favorite part of teaching was reviewing all the vocabulary and sentence structures at the end of the day because it was so satisfying to know that most if not all of the students remembered all the things we taught them. At first, the students were really shy but through ice breaker games and classroom interaction, we really got to know them very well. For the opening ceremony we recorded a lip sync video to Party in the USA and we played it again at the closing ceremony after the students got to know us better. Teaching was really tiring at points because we had to rotate nap times and we only had 2 teachers but it was totally worth it. It was also shocking how the students never napped during the scheduled nap times - they don't know how much they'll miss nap time.
During the weekend, we went to a hot spring in Guguan and all the teachers again put a lot of effort into making our trip a great experience. We stayed in a nice hotel and we got to experience a lot of Taiwanese cuisine with a fancy dinner and we soaked in this hot spring with 5 different flavors which was really cool.
The second week of teaching passed by really quickly because we really enjoyed teaching the students and the students also enjoyed learning. We transitioned from using English primarily to mixing it up with Chinese as the vocabulary difficulty level went up.
My experience at Da-keng ES was a blast because the faculty was invested in the kids and us. Also, the AID staff and the CYC were also really helpful with providing materials and help. If I could do this program again I would definitely participate!
Tang, Michael (唐哲皓)
My time over the past month at AID was enriching, eye opening, and one of the best experiences I've ever had. When we first arrived at Nantou, our whole group was skeptical and nervous after seeing the dormitories we were staying in; none of us were used to the rural surroundings, nor did any of us expect the number of bugs that were there. However, as soon as teaching started and we began to interact with the kids, all of this faded away to the back of our minds. The kids we taught surpassed all our expectations: they were always excited and eager to learn English, and came to school every morning looking forward to what we would do during the day. While the first full day of teaching went a little shaky due to the kids losing interest in activities more quickly than we expected, over the course of the week we learned what activities would be most effective to help the kids learn English (especially science experiments), leading to a more enjoyable time for both us and the students. Personally, I think we all learned a lot from the kids as well; seeing and interacting with kids who didn’t have many material possessions, and yet still managed to come to school every morning eager to learn, really opened my eyes to the world and helped shape my perspective on life as well. As a whole, then, teaching at Nantou was an experience that I definitely feel has changed my life—and, hopefully the students’ as well—for the better.

Wu, Travis (吳思賢)
I thought this was one of the most memorable experiences in my life and im so glad I did this program. There were some rough patches here and there but overall I only have positive things to say about this camp.
Snider, Elizabeth (趙怡)
2018 AID Summer was honestly one of the greatest experiences of my life. The people, environment, and culture of Taiwan are truly eye-opening, especially to me, someone who is originally not of the Taiwanese descent. This program allowed me to create lifelong friendships within and outside of my teaching group, and the heartwarming school that I was given the opportunity to teach at really touched me with their welcoming and energetic spirit. The children that my group and I taught English to were absolutely adorable and so eager to learn the American culture. From cooking food in class, to playing lots of Kahoot!, to creating wild smoothies, the experience of teaching the rural children of Miaoli is something I will never forget. Before beginning the AID program, I was a little apprehensive of how my school (Tong Guang Elementary) would be due to the extremely isolated location. However, the school's location proved to completely irrelevant to the experience that awaited me. The principal and teachers of the school were extremely kind and caring to us, and the students loved us as big brothers and sisters. The rooms we stayed in were enjoyable due to the A/C and TV's that were provided to us. This additionally allowed us to utilize a variety of resources when teaching the kids English and give them an experience of a lifetime.
Tu, Kerry (杜珈瑋)
Although I often missed my friends back home, I did not regret attending this program. It had mostly been a fun experience, and I learned many new things that I would not have experienced by staying in the States. Teaching the students was not as difficult as I had imagined beforehand, and I can say for sure that I am glad to have taught them. Despite the hardships of learning another language, the students had little problem staying motivated and helping each other overcome their weaknesses. All of the people that we met treated us warmly, and I felt proud to call Taiwan my homeland. Before this program, I had never visited Taiwan, so I didn’t really have knowledge about what Taiwan would be like, other than the presence of mountains, good food, and scooters. This information, I found out, was very accurate, but Taiwan was also so much more. There was a great sense of community and respect, and residents were very understanding about my extremely broken/nonexistent Chinese. The conditions, including the lack of AC, washing machines, and dryers, needed a bit getting used to, but one could say it builds character. However, the joy of teaching the children was enough to push us through difficulties throughout our stay. I am grateful to have participated in such a memorable experience.
Ji, Jesse (及慶)
Writing this 2 months after the end of AID, I can honestly say that I am so grateful for this program and for what I have gotten from it! Not only did I get to explore the wonderful country of Taiwan for the first time while having the privilege of teaching some of the best kids I have ever met, but I got to do so with a group of friends that I grew to treasure greatly. I am so glad that I did this program, and I have no regrets about it.
When I first arrived at the airport, I was really scared about being away from home for so long. But, from the very beginning, everybody was very kind and welcoming. The first training week at Chientan, although oftentimes exhausting and uncomfortable, was very helpful to me and my team in preparing our lesson plans. A special shoutout goes to Ms. Chu Lee, who worked hard to make us feel at home while giving us helpful advice about our teaching plans.
My two weeks at my school, Yude Elementary School, seemed to fly by. From the beginning, all of the school staff were so courteous to us and dedicated to creating an amazing experience for us, which they did seamlessly. My group's assigned teaching assistants worked especially hard, having to deal with my group's occasional shenanigans, from jetlagged screaming at 3 AM to coerced late night 7/11 runs. Our weekends were packed with awesome trips that were both interesting and fun: we released floating lanterns, visited the beautiful city of Jiufen, and made our pottery, which I still use today! Our supervisors made sure that we never went hungry, and I don't think I've ever eaten as much or as well as I did during these 2 weeks.
I know I can speak for myself and my group in saying that we all loved our school and being able to teach there. The campus was very nice and the area was beautiful. But, best of all, the students were enthusiastic to learn every day, and it really made the lack of air conditioning bearable! Coming up with activities was a challenge, but it was so worth it to see our kids enjoy themselves as they learned. To that point, I would recommend that people come up with fun activities for their kids before getting to Taiwan, so that you can adequately prepare! It is especially interesting to throw in things about your home: for example, I come from Houston, so I taught the kids about NASA, and we even did activities involving homemade parachute landers and Coke bottle rockets (very messy)!
When the teaching weeks were over, I was sad to say goodbye to the kids, the school, and everybody that pitched in to create such an awesome experience for me and my group. I am so grateful to Yude for being so welcoming and attentive to details. We even got Yude shirts, which I now proudly wear.
The tour week was a nice way to finish the program. All in all, I really enjoyed the tour week, and we visited some really cool places like the Yehliu Geopark. However, the tour week did feel a little bit rushed, as we literally travelled from the southern point of Taiwan to the northern point within a span of 5 days, and we stayed in a different hotel every night. I also didn't like the mandatory talent show aspect, which created some unnecessary stress and annoyance when I wanted to be able to hang out with my friends.
However, despite these small annoyances, I am ultimately so glad that I decided to do this program. I made some lifelong friends in my group, and I am so glad that I was able to meet them. I am very grateful to AID for sponsoring this program which allowed all of this to happen, without me having to pay a cent in Taiwan. (Of course, I still spent a ton of money). AID was the best month of my life and I would definitely do it again if I had the chance.
Chen, Carrie (陳奕臻)
I have learned so much in the AID summer 2018 camp. After being in this camp for a whole month, I feel like I became a different person. First, I have never stayed out of home and been away from my parents for a month, so I feel like this camp strengthened my independency and taught me different life skills such as keeping in mind of when to do the laundry and keeping track of my money so I don't spend it all in the first few weeks. Next, I also learned to be more open towards different things. I feel like I was very self conscious and had low self esteem before this camp, but after this camp, especially after meeting my group mates, I learned to be more open and optimistic. The kids that I taught are also a main factor that made me more open and optimistic. They are very naive and all they think about is when they can eat and play. The smiles on their faces always make my day and they never seem to loose their optimism and energy. Teaching them not only taught me how to be more open to things, I also learned to appreciate what I already have. These children live in rural areas, so they don't have access to many things that I do. Yet I never really hear them complain, and they still appreciate everything they have. This taught me how to be more appreciative towards what I already own and the people around me as well. Overall, AID summer was transformed me into a better person.
Mei, Emily (梅穎姍)
This month has been a learning and growing experience in so many ways. I have laughed, cried, met so many amazing people, and made countless unforgettable memories that I wouldn’t trade for the world. When I first stepped foot into the Chientan Youth Activity Center, I was so lost and confused. Would I like my team and my roommates? Would they like me? Where was I supposed to go? Would I be a good teacher? Questions and doubts raced through my head as I began what would be the most challenging yet fulfilling month of my life.
What I remember most vividly from this month was teaching the kids. All my preparation and late nights were worth it when I saw the kids smile and have fun. I really think this experience taught me how rewarding it is to be a teacher, and how instrumental education can be to one’s life. My month at AID also taught me a lot about teamwork. We had eight AID teachers, and we all had to work together to make the two weeks a success. We planned together as a team each night and worked around the same theme and subthemes to present a cohesive lesson plan and design for our students.
I am so glad I was able to be a part of the AID volunteer program, and I am sad that this experience has come to an end. However, I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a volunteer teacher and the memories I made with everyone!

Hsia, Philia (夏念棠)
This summer during AID was the most memorable experience I've ever encountered. Teaching the kids was such an enlightening experience; it showed how much of the world needed our help. Being with the kids for two weeks was one of the happiest I have ever been because I already enjoy the company of kids, but knowing I was making an impact on them made me even happier because I had developed such a strong bond with them. My partner and I had gotten into a few disagreements, but with both of our cooperation we ended up enjoying the time more than we thought. Overall, our group was pretty close and gotten along well, so the two weeks teaching in Pingtung was an amazing time as we floated between classrooms, helping those of our group mates that needed help with their students. Despite the deadlines for our classroom journals and reflections, it was a carefree time, and we both looked forward to the next day! Our host family treated us a lot better than they should have, much better than any of our friends' host families. They often took us out to eat to restaurants and to night markets, and on the last day, they gave us a photobook as well as a DVD of our opening/closing performances. The tour week was just as fun; although, I had missed my host family and my students terribly, I had a really great time with my group, and most of us grew even closer than we had been before.
Lim, Savanna (林瑞安)
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience in Taiwan.

It was my first time in Taiwan and I had no idea what to expect. I'd only heard great things about it -- and I'm so glad I got to experience Taiwan for myself. I loved the food, the night markets, the kids, and especially the people. I have found Taiwanese people to be some of the kindest, nicest people I have encountered -- and I have traveled to many places.

It was extremely rewarding teaching kids English; I only wish we could have taught them longer! From lesson planning to team bonding, I really treasured every moment I was presented to get to know my teammates. I also feel really lucky to have had such a strong cohort of teammates teaching English with me. We all go to relatively good colleges and it was nice meeting people with the same drive and interests as you.

The kids at XinYi were enthusiastic and willing to learn English. I really loved getting to know them and helping them come up with a performance and skit at the end of the camp! The teachers who hosted us at XinYi were nothing short of amazing. They were extremely kind, accommodating, and considerate. They brought us to eat tons of famous food, try all sorts of bubble tea, and showed us around the nooks and crannies of Taipei.

As a college student, it was a little frustrating being treated like a high schooler and I wish we had had more freedom, but I understand needing to enforce strict rules. I also loved the tour at the end and seeing different parts of Taiwan on the weekends. Overall, I am really thankful for my experience and have a newfound love for Taiwan. I realized from this experience that I really enjoy teaching and might consider applying for a Fulbright after college.

I took a lot of photos, they are all here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/opYAL331dCL5LKCv9

If you decide to use them, I would appreciate photo credits (:
Foster, Valerie (梓芯)
Before applying for the AID program, I had no prior knowledge of what to expect. My school contained a small population of Asians, and an even smaller population of kids with Taiwanese heritage. However, I still applied wanting the opportunity to teach young children English in a country where my mom was from, hopefully I would impact the children’s lives and they would impact mine: I was more than correct. Those children left me in tears as I said my goodbyes as I reminisce spending two weeks as a teacher teaching them how to sing the ABC’s, and being a child again by playing tag or simply talking and laughing with the kids. I was assigned to an elementary school in Miaoli, and I have never been to the countryside until this program. Being in Miaoli for two weeks enabled me to see life on the opposite spectrum of my suburban life. The scenery of the mountains and open fields where I would occasionally see my students riding on bikes and I would wave. The quietness of the countryside where I was able to actually hear a rooster in the morning, and the kids downstairs laughing as they have already arrived two hours before class has started. The eye-opener of being in Miaoli was the friendliness of everyone there; people were so welcoming to my group, making sure we had enough to eat or if we were comfortable enough, and the kids were never shy, always willing to learn and play any games. Teaching was completely new to me, and yes I was nervous, but I was eager to challenge myself. Everyday, my group would stand at the entrance of the school waiting for their arrival with a smile and their name tag already in hand. I taught grades 2-3 in which in my opinion, were the cutest. Even though my students knew very little English, I was still able to teach some English. Everyday, my group would teach the kids a new topic by using powerpoints; each slide would contain the English word and many pictures associated with the English word. Knowing the students loved games, my group was able to incorporate learning English into various games such as Kahoot, UNO, Fly swatter. Etc… After the games, the kids would learn simple sentences that would be intertwined with the vocabulary my group taught the kids. At the end of the two weeks, my students learned an English song with simple choreography for the closing ceremony. Throughout the two weeks, the program went beyond fulfilling my expectations and I never wanted to leave. But most importantly, interacting and living with my group for a month is what I’ll miss the most. Arriving at Chientan on the first day of the program, I was overwhelmed thinking that I was about to meet my group for the first time and was in anticipation whether if our group dynamic would be successful, and I’m so grateful for the AID coordinators pairing me with my group. We were more than just colleagues teaching at the same school, we always wanted to spend time with each other after teaching. My group was able to communicate well about our lesson plans, and we were able to keep it professional during teaching times. Although we only spent a month together, it felt like we have known each other for years, I was never bothered that I had to share a room with three other girls because we were able to become instant good friends and have casual conversations whenever. Being part of the program challenged myself to establish a role model presence and project my social capability skills, and I’m forever in debt to AID.
Chang, Allen (張庭瑄)
Overall, the AID Summer program has taught me a lot of things such as how to stand out as a leader and how to teach students using creativity and imagination. These two things are very important as a volunteer and every single step in my journey in AID has provided me opportunities to learn and grow as a person. At the beginning of the program, I remember getting lost in the checkout line, unsure about all the strangers next to me. I soon came to realize that everyone was so kind and friendly, which motivated me to reveal my true personality and uniqueness. With my school teammates, we were split into boy/girl teams, and we were able to pick partners. Even though My partner and I worked tirelessly to come up with fun activities for the first day, we did not expect the class to be so advanced. We were forced to scratch out our entire plan and start from scratch. Having to do everything over again, my partner was nervous and did not understand what to do. Since My partner and I had different methods of teaching, it was hard to be creative and come up with activities on the spot, so we had a rough first day. As the week went by, we were both able to cope with each other and talked about both of our faults in teaching. In my opinion, understanding your partners point of view is the most important when teaching the students, because you can comprehend what they are thinking as you teach new materials or review old ones. After the week was over, my teacher came over and said that we had completely changed into mature teachers. The second week was also stressful since we had to practice our closing ceremony, but the workload was easier overall. I think asking the teachers for their opinions and receiving support from them really helped me to lead our team in the right direction and save us from panicking from lack of activities. We always came up with more activities than we use during the day so that we would never run out. The AID program has taught me how to open up as a person and become a more extroverted individual. Knowing what the students like and being flexible is what teachers should be like and also knowing when the students are going too far. Enforcing the rules strictly and using rewards really make the students alert and interested in the topics they are learning or have already learned before. After the teaching experience, I would say to not get worried about the students because they are super nice and sweet. Be kind and know how to handle certain situations carefully and always have fun with the students!
Lin, Philo (林飛龍)
I would first like to thank AID for such a unique and memorable experience. From week one, I already made new friends from the same state I live and created a bond. It is a good idea to put students in groups on where they live because it allows them to have a closer connection as well as the possibility of a reunion after the whole event. The lessons during the first week were kind of common sense because we all have been to school before, so we know what works and does not work. I believe it would be better to cut the week in half and allow the other half the first week teaching. I learned way more when teaching then getting lectures. More hands on experience would be more helpful. As for the teaching weeks, I learned a lot. I realized the difficulties in teaching, such as getting the kids attention, how to deal with different types of kids in the same classroom, and how to keep students engaged. In these two weeks, even though the focus was to allow these children to learn English, I feel like I also learned a lot. Also I realized that there is not much of a difference of elementary students in Taiwan and in the states. There are always outgoing students and those who do not want to learn. Interacting with kids and establishing a connection with them was rewarding as well as annoying. We were able to assert teacher presence in the beginning, but in the end we became closer with the kids and they started to not listen. However, since it is only two weeks I feel like it is important to bond with the students. Even though learning English may be a major part of the camp, another is having fun and being happy. Also during teacher week, as teachers we learned a lot from each other and became closer. As for the tour, I feel like it was too rushed and we did too many things with not enough time. Sometimes less is more in this case. Thank you for this experience :)
Koh, Ethan (辜舜祥)
AID Summer 2018 was the highlight of my summer. I made countless friends and memories that will last a lifetime. However, I found the first week quite meaningless. While we picked up on a few pointers for teaching, much of the lessons taught were unnecessary. Additionally, the food at jiantan could have been better; it was always cold and mostly greasy. Fortunately, the following three weeks made up for the first. AID has been over for a few weeks, but I still miss each and every kid from Bojia Guoxiao along with my fellow teachers. Teaching 25 kids, while seemingly daunting, was surprisingly pleasurable. The kids listened most of the time and were always extremely cute. On the last day, most of the kids cried. After the two weeks of teaching, we went on a tour. I was assigned to the southern tour, so on the first day we drove for six hours down to Kending. Each day we went to a new city in Taiwan. While I enjoyed the tour, I was slightly disappointed with the time management. I found we spent more time on the bus than anywhere else. At one destination, the Hakka Culture Center, we spent twenty minutes taking a group picture, went into the exhibit for six minutes, and left. Fortunately, I enjoyed spending time on the bus just talking with my friends. AID was definitely a great experience and I would do it again without second thought.
Luan, Tiffany (欒雪婷)
This summer marks one of the most transformative and humbling experiences I have had the opportunity to be a part of. Being able to provide opportunities for growth amongst children in disadvantaged areas made me realize that I was partaking in something much greater than just teaching. Spreading the English language to children in these areas has promoted a more enriched understanding of other cultures and the development of a wider worldview for these kids. I discovered firsthand the unprecedented hospitality of Taiwanese people and the beauty of their cultures all in the span of one month. I am indebted to my amazing teaching advisor, Mrs. Carrie, all of the teaching assistants that have made this summer both incredibly entertaining and rewarding, the principle and staff of Yude Primary School, my group, who have shared this journey with me and have become some of my closest friends, and my class, whose enthusiasm for learning made me very proud of their accomplishments. Having the chance to give these kids the invaluable resource of language towards their future endeavors have made my time in Taiwan one of the most fulfilling experiences and I am especially grateful to have been a part of this program.
Shiue, Stephen (薛煌瀚)
This rollercoaster of a journey is truly one that I will cherish for a lifetime. I have not only made lifelong friends, but I've also developed many other skill sets that I know will come in handy in the future. Although the main purpose of this program was to teach students English, teaching was not the only skill I learned through this 4-week program. I've learned to appreciate Taiwanese culture and the history behind it. I've learned to be grateful for the life that I have in the US. Our homes in the states are connected to water pipes that provide us a constant flow of water, while water in Taiwan has started to become more limited. Our homes are constantly refreshed with air conditioning so we never have to be troubled with either heat or cold. We have parents with high paid jobs that provide us with all the needs and wants we crave. We are able to access the newest of the newest technology released. Our phones, that we can't spend a day without, are simply dreams in the rural parts of Taiwan Children in Taiwan play outside whenever they get the chance, while children in the US spend their time finding out how to complete their next mission in Fortnite. Teaching wise, I did learn a lot about children. I learned how to get their attention, how to keep them focused, and quickly learned what activities helped enhance their learning ability. In conclusion, I would like to thank AID for providing us this opportunity to educate those in need. I would like to thank the staff at Tong Guang for being so kind, generous, and patient even though we had major cultural differences and our Chinese speaking ability was limited. They always supported us 100% and bought all the materials we needed to teach whether it was foods or fruits. Lastly, I would like to thank my 7 other group mates for making this trip one that I'll never forget Overall, teaching the children was one of the most enjoyable moments of my life and if I could do this trip again, I would sign up without a doubt.
Hudson, Dorothy (何雨安)
The two weeks I spent at 中正中學 in 屏東were the highlight of my summer. I really enjoyed interacting with my class of students, who were either going into seventh grade or going into eighth grade. At first, I was afraid that the students would not open up to us because they were middle schoolers and kids that age can often be more closed off to other people. However, by the third day of teaching the kids had really opened up to us and I could tell that they really enjoyed talking with us and getting to know us. The girls in the class were often fascinated with the fact that both my teaching partner and I had our ears pierced and that we could take our earring in and out. All the students that I taught during those two weeks in 屏東 will forever hold a very special place in my heart. Every day they were ready to be in class and were always having fun with the lessons we had planned. Additionally, my host family that I stayed with during my time in 屏東 were always very welcoming and accommodating to me. The time I spent with my host family really rounded out my amazing experience with 中正中學 and I know that I will always have great friends waiting for me in 屏東. While the two teaching weeks were amazing, the first week of training could have used more planning and a clear schedule of what time we would have events and where they would be. Moreover, the tour week was often planned poorly with our counselors not knowing which hotel rooms we were supposed to be in and how many people were in each room. These two weeks, the training week and the tour week, were terrible in comparison to the two teaching weeks, but I guess in life you need balance.
Tsai, Alice (蔡宜玟)
During my AID volunteer experience, I volunteered in Xingang MIddle School along with eleven other volunteers. It was an experience I will never forget. We spent one week training, bonding, and preparing in the youth center, but honestly, I don’t think that anything could have fully prepared us for what we experienced and learned during the two weeks that we taught. I taught seventh graders for one week, and eighth graders for another, and I also taught different kids for a single class almost every morning as a “guest teacher” the morning, which meant that we had half the time to teach our students compared to other volunteers, and honestly, due to the short amount of time we had available, I assumed that we would not be able to make a large impact on the kids. However, I was definitely proven wrong. Once my teaching experience was over, I found that not only the students I had taught for my week long classes, but also students I had had for one class, or even only had a single conversation with had posted on different social media, or even messaged us or gave us thank you cards thanking us for teaching and inspiring them. It is incredibly gratifying to know that I have been able to impact so many people in this way, and I have also learned an incredible amount being able to have this experience.

Dee, Jamie (狄佳美)
In the program ending ceremony, I remember the OCAC Vice President mentioning that the Taiwan that used to be known as just your parents' Taiwan is no longer just theirs. Taiwan is now yours. When I heard that, that speech resonated with me and how I felt about this whole experience. I fell in love with Taiwan's culture and I am beyond thankful I had this opportunity to immerse myself in Taiwan.
I was definitely a bit worried about going to this program at first, since I wasn't part of the Taiwan community program where I live here. While I didn't know anybody when I first went, I have made new friends that have made me grateful about this experience. My teammates that I worked beside for a whole month became one of my best friends that I still keep in almost daily contact now in college. I had so much fun talking and meeting each member of my host family that gave me more insight about daily life in Taiwan. They let me experience the warm welcome that is characteristic of Taiwan and I can't wait to go back to visit them. I enjoyed talking with my students and playing around with them during free time. Their cute faces and thoughtful actions like bringing my lunch for my teammate and I was very touching. I am thankful for my hardworking funny counselors in AID who we can joke around with. Of course, there is ups and downs in every experience. However, I think found the beauty in every obstacle and learned a lot from this trip.
I think I found another part of myself and I can say now that Taiwan is mine.
Wu, Justin (吳敬恆)
2018 A.I.D. Summer Program,

Thank you for not only giving me the experience of teaching English to children, but also allowing me to meet so many terrific people in my group, Xinhai Elementary (James Peng), and my bus (DaDa, Zachary, and Kai).I have a newfound respect for all you teachers for the time and energy you put in educating us.

To my group:

Anne Wen: Thank you for being the most helpful and terrific teaching partner I could ever have. Without you, I honestly don’t think I could have taught our students as well.

Peng-Yu Ang: Thank you for being so generous and being a great person to talk to. I’ll pay you back hopefully someday for all the times you've treated us!!

Judy Lai: Your cheeriness is so infectious! I also admire your willingness to defy what your stomach says no to!

Hannah Chang: I loved being around your smile and bubbly self. Your singing and musical skills are so amazing; hope I can hear you sing again someday!

Ryan Leung: Thank you for being the goofy and carefree guy we can all laugh with. You always enlightened the mood of our group!

Elizabeth Chan: Thank you for your quirkiness, energetic self, and dabs! Talking to you was always great, and I hope you keep having fun with your puzzles and dabbing!

Randy Kang: Thank you for being a chill roommate and also for expressing your interesting tastes! Hopefully I’ll see you in the same campus!!

This is the most memorable experience I’ll cherish as my college life begins. I will never forget the wonderful and amazing people I have encountered in this program!!
Phan, Evelyn (彭薏安)
The four weeks at AID was an amazing experience and definitely made this summer unforgettable. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend my two weeks at Ruei-Yuan Elementary School with the incredibly sweet staff and kids. The kids were shy at first but quickly became very playful, cute, and energetic after the first few hours of interacting with them. Although the kids were a bit crazy and hard to control at times, the energy the students brought to class everyday made each day of teaching extremely fun and worth it. The staff at the elementary school were all so warm towards us and made sure we were taken care of. I always looked forward to talking and getting to know them better each day. With the help and guidance of the teacher, we were able to smoothly coordinate the teaching plans and tasks. Teaching week was very enjoyable and full of fun memories, which made saying goodbye very hard. Reuniting with the other volunteers and counselors the last week to tour Taiwan together was pretty exciting. Before AID, I have only been to Taipei so I’m so glad we got to visit so many different places in Taiwan. AID is definitely an experience I will remember forever. Thank you to everyone for making this summer in Taiwan so memorable.
Yang, Richard (楊常志)
When I first found out about the AID program from my aunt, I didn't really know what to expect. I read the description on the website and I figured it was just another volunteering activity in another country. What I didn't realize was the friendships and memories I would make during this program. When I first arrived in the Chien Tan Activity Center on registration day, the place was so crowded and everyone was pretty confused. The environment was hectic and I started to have doubts in my mind about coming here. Later that day, I met my group mates and we each introduced ourselves. At that point, I began to feel at ease and more comfortable. Throughout the first training week, we began to discover more about each other and what we shared in common. Our group was mainly downstairs during that week and some of the lectures were boring while others were interesting or educational. Bottom line is that during training week, we killed a lot of time learning about strategies and activities that we already pretty much knew. I'm not complaining about it but some of the lessons were self-explanatory. After the first week ended, it was finally time to teach. When I first saw the students at Bailing Elementary school, I was shocked at how old they were. In my mind, I thought I would be teaching younger kids with little to no English experience. In addition to that, I had no idea I would be teaching in Taipei city when I first applied. I always thought this program would take me to the rural, countryside places where English education was lacking. Regardless, I wasn't so bothered and pretty grateful that I would be in Taipei for the next 2 weeks. The kids I taught at Bailing were considered advanced 4th and 5th graders. Their English skills were so good that I had to change and improve my daily lesson plans. Teaching the kids was really exciting and fun. I think most of the kids liked me and I loved each one of my students. It was such an unique experience because most of this was brand new to me. We worked on a lot of activities such as drawing, making folders, singing and dancing. I taught them subjects ranging from colors and food to traveling and sports. Teaching them wasn't much of a hassle but coming up with fun activities that they would be interested in was. The two weeks of teaching went by so quick. The closing ceremony was really fun and although I didn't cry, I felt very sad that this program was coming to an end. The memories I made with those kids will never go away. After the two weeks of teaching, the AID program was taking us all to a tour of Taiwan. My group was put into the Southern tour where we traveling to Kenting first then gradually back up to Taipei. We stopped at Koahsiung, Tainan, Taichung, Nantou, and a lot of other places. The tour week was really cool since I got to go to places I haven't been to in Taiwan. During that week, I began to make more friends and connect with other people from my home state. On July 28, we all had to say our goodbyes. It was pretty hard to do since we had been with each other for the last 4 weeks. I think its safe to say we had built a brotherly bond during that time. During the goodbyes to the kids and the goodbyes to each other, we kept reminding each other that someday we will see each other again. I am very hopeful that it will come true and that someday we will all be reunited as a family. I can't say thank you enough to the people who made this experience possible. Summer 2018 AID is truly a once in a lifetime experience that nothing can compare to. The memories and friendships I made during this program will forever be in my heart. I am so glad I was able to attend this program and serve in the great country of Taiwan.
I would highly recommend this program to anyone that is interested!
Lin, Samuel (林碩才)
I really enjoy the program, and I appreciate the effort from all the counselors.
Chen, Joanne (陳晏婕)
2018 AID Summer was an truly unforgettable experience for me. Before coming to Taiwan, I was extremely worried about how AID would even be. My brother had attended the camp last year and really enjoyed it, but I still had my doubts. Upon arriving at Chien Tan, I still was not sure how much I would enjoy the camp; I did not know the people in my group just yet and my roommate had not showed up. But then, day 1 was over before I knew it and the rest of the week went by smoothly. The lectures got to be a little bit boring and extensive at times, but a lot of the information was very helpful and usable. Before I knew it, my group and I had bonded and we were on the bus on course for Da Keng Elementary School. My first impression of the school was "wow, it is hot and humid and I've already gotten 7 bug bites upon arriving... But everyone here is so nice and I feel very welcome here. I love it.". The first teaching day was filled with just getting to know my students. The rest of the week was spent coloring, drawing, teaching, and bonding. The second week flew by as well, and today's closing ceremony had arrived. It was quite a happy moment, but I cried knowing that I would not be seeing the kids that I had gotten so close to every day anymore. I even forget about all 97 of my bug bites for the time being. Overall, 2018 AID Summer was better than I ever could have imagined and I'm so glad to have had this opportunity to bond with all of my teammates and teach/bond with my kids. I would definitely recommend this program to other people. Remember to bring bug spray!