Lori Dhiraprasiddhi, Singchia Elementary School, Chiayi City
This was a great experience! I learned a great deal about Taiwan, its culture, and also about myself. I also think that the people I met learned a lot about American culture as well as English.
Hannah Meherg, Tucheng High School, Tainan City
I feel like the overall reflection of this project is positive. It is definitely a unique experience. Although sometimes dealing with administration and logistics as well as cultural differences can get difficult, the people fully make up for it. The students are thoroughly enjoyable. Most of them genuinely love to come to my class and enjoy learning English.
Allen Chao, Chung Hsing Elementary School, Penghu County
Living and teaching in Taiwan has been one of the best decisions of my life. I truly enjoy living here and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.
Christine Scheibel, Chung Hsing Elementary School, Penghu County
When you first get to your new school – all the change and “newness” will be stressful at first and a bit overwhelming. It will take some time to adjust to the differences, not being able to read what is around you (if you are not familiar with Chinese), and to find where to get things. Be prepared and OK with getting help from others during this time as well as being a bit adventurous and explore on your own. This applies to during school hours and outside of school hours. I’d say take someone with you who speaks English and Chinese the first time you go grocery and “apartment supplies” shopping, so you can find what you need easier. To me the greatest part of being in Taiwan has been seeing its differences, culture, festivals, and spending time with the locals.
Some things about the school will be different and some will be similar to in the U.S. Some days you will be VERY busy and some will be slow at work. You often learn about things on short notice or will be operation without all the important information – get use to this. Your class time with the students can be part of the adventure. I think it helps to spend some time with them outside of class time – socialize with them outside of class in the beginning will help with classroom management – but remember the goal is to build a bond, not to be their friend. All in all, you will find the students are at 3 different levels just like in the U.S. Some will be hard to motivate and keep on task.
Chances are you will be outside the main cities, so don’t come to “party”, but rather to explore. Be of adventurous spirit and you will have some great memories. The Taiwanese people tend to be very friendly, helpful, and generous. You never know what you will find as you venture out around the area you are assigned to. Oh, and keep in mind that pointing and some body language can be an internationally understood language.