Willingness to volunteer produces overseas teaching opportunity in Taiwan

by Rosalie Chan, Web & News Editor

Last summer, one of my friends, Caroline Kao, ‘12 graduate of St. Francis High School, volunteered for the Assisting Individuals with Disadvantages (AID) Summer Volunteer Program in Taiwan.  The program sends the volunteers, between the ages of 17 and 27,  to various schools throughout Taiwan to teach children English.

Kao came back with tons of stories, photos and great memories, so after hearing so much from her, I decided to apply for this program as well.

During February, I applied and had to fill out forms, get a transcript and write an application essay.  After much thought, I focused my essay on my experiences of tutoring, going to Chinese school and being involved in Spokesman. When I finally sent and uploaded all these files, I felt relieved, crossing my fingers that I could have the chance to go to Taiwan this summer.

On March 28, I checked the website to see my admission status.  It did not say anything.  I kept on refreshing the page, but eventually, I gave up.  A few hours later, I checked the website, and nothing showed up.  I checked again and again throughout the day, and I was starting to freak out.

Finally, in the afternoon, I checked the website again, and it said I got accepted.

The program lasts from July 1 to 28.  During the first week, volunteers get trained in teaching.  They teach for the two weeks after that, and the final week they go on a free tour of Taiwan.  The program covers all expenses, including meals, lodging and tour expenses.

I am not sure which school I will go to volunteer in yet.  If I volunteer in Taipei, I can enjoy the city life more, and I will probably have more access to things like the Internet.  On the other hand, volunteering in the countryside in an area I have never traveled to would be a great experience.

Although I’m excited to go to Taiwan, I feel a bit nervous about teaching elementary school children.  I have worked with children before by volunteering at Tarkington Elementary School and my church, but this will be my first time actually teaching children.

Before going to Taiwan, I have to make a teaching plan for teaching English.  So far, I am nowhere close to finished, but I do know that volunteers must use English when teaching, and only use Chinese for discipline.

While I speak Chinese, I feel more comfortable teaching in English, but at the same time, communication may be a challenge.

I will leave on June 13.  Before I begin the program, I will visit relatives in the Philippines, as well as my grandma and other friends in Taiwan.

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