Bright Start to the Academic Year for NSLI-Y Students in Taiwan
Five NSLI-Y scholarship recipients arrived in Taiwan on Thursday, August 23rd to begin their Chinese language program and immerse themselves in the local culture and host family life.
After a two-day orientation workshop in Kaohsiung, NSLI-Y students attended their opening ceremony on Sunday, August 27th. All host families, iEARN staff, the office of international programs staff, and the school president attended the opening ceremony at Wenzao. Members of the press were also invited to the opening ceremony and one of the top newspapers in Taiwan featured an article on the group:
Meeting the Host Family
The students met their host families this past Saturday. The host families were very enthusiastic about meeting their new American “children” and welcoming them to their homes. At our opening ceremony on Wenzao’s campus, each host family stood up and spoke about how honored they were to be hosting an American student. The host families presented their NSLI-Y student with a gift. One student’s host grandmother gave him a beautiful traditional scroll painting she painted herself!
The host families have shown a great desire to share Kaohsiung with the students. In less than a week, many students have already visited the most famous sites in the city such as Lotus Pond, temples, the night market, Kaohsiung Arena, and many shopping centers. Some students have also visited their extended “Taiwan family,” including both sets of grandparents.
From their arrival in Taiwan, the group of beginning language learners impressed the iEARN-Taiwan staff and locals with their language skills an when they introduced themselves in Chinese at the airport. Since then, the students continue to take in all of their surroundings to the fullest extent and to speak as much Chinese as possible. On their second night in Taiwan, the students already wanted to order their own food!
All of the teachers have been surprised by the students’ rapid progress—so much so that they have changed their lesson plans. The group’s resident director Logan also shared great first impressions of the group:
“I am very proud of the remarkable maturity, respect for local customs, and passion for learning exhibited by our NSLI-Y students during their first week abroad. I am certain our NSLI-Y students will continue to make an impression on those around them and will return to the United States with a greater understanding of international affairs, Taiwan, and themselves."
The group will continue to study Mandarin Chinese at Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages throughout the academic year. We look forward to hearing more about their academic successes and personal growth through the exchange experience.