2019 AID Summer
志工感言 (Reflection) >> Denver
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Wong, Megan (王祖如)
The AID program is constantly described as a once in a lifetime experience, and over the past three weeks I have come to discover that it is completely accurate. Although it was challenging and tiring, the experiences and memories that have come out of this program has been well worth the effort. During the first week of training all the members of the team were able to grow closer to each other, but the classes that we had to attend often felt like busy work. Although there were a few good points from the lessons, the majority of the time the information either felt like common knowledge or there would only be a select few people helping to demonstrate and everyone else would lose interest. The counselors who helped us were all very kind and helpful; Benson was the best MC/person who conducts bed checks ever and I will never forget him. Once at the elementary school the experience was very different. I wish that we had been given more time to prepare the lesson materials for teaching rather than practicing the advice and games that we would not necessarily use. The students English level was much higher than expected which was a nice surprise. We were able to create and teach much more challenging lessons than originally planned. The students learned very easily and I am very proud of the progress that was made over the short two-week period. The students were all very sweet and playful. My favorite memory from this experience by far has been watching them all dance along to Just Dance videos on YouTube. The students also were very creative and made us crafts such as jewelry from flowers they picked in the school. After watching the closing ceremony slide show, I realized how hard saying goodbye would be. I cried for quite a while watching my students walk out of the classroom for the last time. I will always remember this unique experience.
Yu, JiaWei (余家偉)
My volunteer experience at AID has truly been monumental. I was not only able to volunteer and help the community, but I was also able to grow as a person and an instructor. I learned a lot with my teaching partners, my students, and through the program as a whole. Over the four weeks that I was there, I was given the opportunity to make new friends and to form unbreakable bonds. During the two teaching weeks, I have an awesome time working with my teaching group in making new lesson plans and brainstorming how to make our next lesson enjoyable for the students. I was also able to bond with my students in their endeavor to learn English, which was an extremely fun experience. The tour at the end of the program was a great way for us volunteers to spend time with the people we worked with for nearly a month. It was also fun to tour Taiwan with them. In the end, I am very glad that I was able to have this opportunity to volunteer and bond with other people. This experience has helped me learn the importance of helping people and the value of teamwork. If I had the opportunity, I would definitely recommend this program to other.
Shen, Claire ()
Teaching at Houbi Elementary School has been an enlightening experience. When I walked in on the first day, I remember all the kids looking at me expectantly and waiting for what we would be doing next. One of the first signs of difficulty arose when we started introductions. For the introduction, we asked the students what their name was and their favorite color, animal, and hobby was. Many students spoke very quietly, and we almost couldn't hear them. We had them come up and we had to put our ears right next to them to be able to hear what they were saying. When we introduced the pre-test, the students didn't really know some of the nouns we put on there and also did not know their directions-above, below, left, and right. We started vocabulary, and it was easier for the students to grasp that since they were nouns on the first day. I noticed early on that the students really like playing the vocabulary fly swatter game, so my teaching partner and I implemented that a lot during our lesson plans. When reading the books, the students would not speak very loudly using the popcorn reading method, so my teaching partner and I decided to have them read in groups so their volume would increase and they would have more confidence. Even though we weren't supposed to speak Chinese, I discovered that it was easier to talk in Chinese and English so the students could connect the English vocab to the Chinese words. This was especially helpful when teaching adjectives. My book, Moosetache, had many describing adjectives that made the book vivid, but hard to teach.
Chao, Margaret (趙芷晴)
Going into this program, I had heard some good things from my older sister who also participated in earlier years, however there were so many things that were unexpected. The first week, we stayed at Jiantan and learned all about how to teach kids. That week, I was able to create some friendships that I am sure will last for a very long time. The next two weeks, we all split to our schools and started teaching our kids. My group went to YuChi elementary school in Nantou near Sun Moon Lake. The Sunday before class, we spent all day preparing our lessons for the next week. After the first day, we were all so tired that we ended up taking a 3 hour nap after class. The kids were louder and harder to teach than expected, and so we had to modify our lesson plans accordingly. Every day, we would get up bright and early to teach a class of 24 students, and then go back and prepare the next day’s content. Even though the kids did not listen to us very well, it was still a very good experience and we did enjoy being there. Moreover, living within the school with 7 other people was another humbling experience. I enjoyed how much freedom we had, and I made some very close friends with the people in my group. Near the end, we all acted more like a family then just teaching partners. The last week, we went on our tour. My tour was the Central tour, so we went to a lot of places that I had already been to. However, going to these places with this group of people made the experience completely different. We had so much fun celebrating completing the teaching week, and traveling around Taiwan together. In the end, this was such a great opportunity and experience that I will never forget. Every night we went to bed completely worn out, exhausted in the best of ways. That’s when you know it was worth it.
Fu, Charles (傅嘉诚)
Wow! These two weeks of teaching have truly been a roller coaster. I have never thought teaching a language that I am so fluent in would be so difficult. Not only did we have to teach them the vocab for each unit, they had to remember it in the short period of time they had. And not only did these kids have to remember these words, they had to be able to use them in real life applications with the sentence structure we taught. Yet, despite the difficulty, the entire process was fulfilling and I embraced every second of it. The kids we taught truly acted like just kids. Yes, there was a cultural difference, but it all boiled down to their playfulness, happiness, naughtiness, laughter, impatience, etc. In the end, what really stroke me as amazing was that no matter where in the world, kids will be kids.

However, I did feel like the kids we taught were a little bit (sometimes a lot!) more misbehaving than average American kids of the same age, 4th and 5th grade. There are probably many factors that contribute to this, like us teachers not being strict enough, foreign teaching style, similar age to the students, and more. Though this proved a challenging obstacle often, we overcame them as a team of teachers and students and learned greatly from each other. Though I was the "teacher" during the volunteer services, I truly did feel like I was the one LEARNING from the amazing kids. They taught me a great deal of not just how to teach, but how to be a leader.

It truly was gratifying when the last day of camp rolled around, and all the kids seemed reluctant to leave. Some added us on line, some took pictures with us, some stayed later. But ALL of the kids thanked us for the great time they had and the English they learned at the summer camp. As a teacher, I even received a few gifts from thank you notes to snacks to even a water bottle. It truly meant a lot to me, and I'm sure our teachings really meant a lot to the kids. All I hope for is that this 2 week camp for these camps helped open their minds and raise awareness towards another language, as well as push them to strive to gain more knowledge. Hopefully, for them, English is not as scary as before!

This program truly has been the best month of my entire life. Having the priceless opportunity to teach kids from another country English would never have occurred to me just months ago, and yet here I am, having completed 2 weeks of just that! I am so grateful to have been made aware of this opportunity, as well as for my fellow teammates, teachers, teacher aids, the government of Taiwan, the OCAC, and many more. Without any of these people and organizations, this trip would have meant nothing. But now it holds a heavy place in my heart, and I will forever look back on the many memories made with happiness, nostalgia, and satisfaction.
Liu, Quan (劉思匡)
AID Summer has given me an unforgettable summer with incredible opportunities to not only interact with the Taiwanese community and kids, but also with hard working peers that I’ve become so close to. I’m very grateful for not only the connections I’ve made, but also the experience and insight that I’ve gained from teaching. Despite it being only two weeks of actual teaching, 仁愛國小 was so generous in giving us ample resources and freedom to plan our own lessons and activities that we were able to enjoy the experience of teaching, as well as gain lots of insight and real-world experience.
Although we only had to plan two weeks of teaching, our agenda was packed with activities and fields trips. Not only did we need to create the actual lesson plan and material, we also had to figure out the logistics of many outdoor activities, games, and other events. Plans always seem easy on paper, but are hard to execute well, especially since our audience is a group of elementary school kids that constantly need engagement and excitement to keep interested. I’m very grateful that I got to go through the process hands-on with my peers and work together to make the camp enjoyable for all. From debating over minigames to staying up until 3:00 AM writing lesson plans, speeches, or doing arts and crafts for next day’s activity, I’m very glad that I got to spend that time with an incredible group of people.
At the beginning of the camp, I was under the impression that I would only be working with the peers in D3-3 during training week. Little did I know, we also had eight other Taiwanese volunteers that would work as “TAs” or teaching assistants. What was initially an AID camp simultaneously became a cultural exchange camp. Being a second generation Taiwanese-American, Taiwanese culture has always been a very close part of me. Although I’ve never received formal education in Taiwan, I lived in 關渡 for nearly three years before I returned to the states for Kindergarten. Due to my yearly visits back to Taiwan and friends in Taiwan, I’ve tried to keep “up to date with culture.” Combined with early teaching from my mom and my personal interest with Chinese, such as reading books, practicing my handwriting, and listening to tons of Taiwanese indie music, I truly try to immerse myself within the culture. Having this opportunity to connect with other Taiwanese students within the program is something that I never thought of, and it made the experience infinitely better. We formed close friendships despite a short two weeks together.
Living together with sixteen people for two weeks is something that I will likely not experience in the near future, but will be one of my favorite memories. From waiting in line to shower (only 1.5 showering rooms), killing cockroaches, challenging escape rooms, to touring Kaohsiung during the weekend, living together at the elementary school and spending every moment together is a bonding experience that I’m very thankful for.
Ultimately, I would like to thank 仁愛, AID Summer, and all of the teachers and counselors that worked to make my summer of 2018 so fulfilling and enjoyable.

Lee, Ryan (李冠龍)
Being at AID 2018 was perhaps the best way I could’ve spent my summer. Not only did the camp itself surpass my expectations, the experience of teaching children has also opened up my eyes that not everyone is fortunate enough to learn English. Before teaching the kids, I was very nervous on how I would teach them and whether or not they would like me. I also had a fear of having a bad class where students would not cooperate with each other. However, when I got to the school and started to teach them, I found out that my previous worries were exaggerated. Not only were the kids super nice, they all got along with each other. Although their English skills weren’t great, and they would struggle at times to talk to me because they could only use English, their progress in the end surprised not only me, but all the other volunteers at my school. Not only were they more open to the idea of speaking in English (in the end), they spoke it with confidence, not afraid to make a mistake because they knew that we would help them. Although they didn’t cry at the end of camp, I could tell it was because they were overcome with joy that they learned English with foreigners that they would not normally see in their daily lives. Knowing that I made a difference in their lives brought happiness to me; to know that I changed a kid’s life by only spending two weeks with them. Although it may not seem like it during training week, time really does fly when you’re having fun.