if you are passionate and willing to learn and teach, all ‘cultural obstacles’ can be overcome.
5.9.2016 – 6.8.2016
Volunteering was always in my mind as something noble and useful both for your self-development and for the community involved. Moreover, Asia is a place far away from my ‘world’ and comfort zone. The whole ‘cultural exchange’ thing seemed rather interesting to me so I decided to apply for the specific project I overtook in Taiwan (by the way, there were some other reasons I wanted to visit Taiwan, but it’s not that important at the moment or for the project).
Now, after nearly 2 weeks that I returned from Taiwan I look back to those moments and think of them with nostalgia, tender and immense joy. A few days before my departure from London I was worried whether the time was too much for a first-time visit in a country of totally different cultural background than mine. However, I really think now that a month was not enough for me! The people I met, the places I saw and the situations I was in made me feel part of Taiwan, part of the people in Tainan. Those memories fill me with joy, excitement and self-fulfilment whenever I think of them. Despite the shocks of the early days (weather, new language, different manners) my integration in Tainan was smoothly and for this my host and ICYE TW hold a significant part. My days in Chia Chi were really interesting and not at all tiring. I met a lot of interesting students and realised that, if you are passionate and willing to learn and teach, all ‘cultural obstacles’ can be overcome.
The project in Tainan was also a test for myself and my endurance in new situations. From experiencing the city to presenting in front of an unprecedented crowd of Taiwanese students, every aspect of it was immediately referring to my personal skills and abilities, which I assure you, are now much enhanced! In overall, I feel lucky to have participated in this volunteer project, because apart from helping my students – and friends in many occasions – to overcome the language and cultural barrier, it helped me experience something entirely new to me from within. I was part of this school and part of Tainan for a month, having one of the most interesting and best times of my life so far. It is of great satisfaction to see that your presence and transmitting skills are giving joy and additional
meaning to those children, who possibly had never experienced such encounters ever before in their lives.
To conclude, my time in Taiwan was a very strong experience that contributed in realising things about myself and about this small but at the same time so full of exciting situations country in the other side of this world. I would definitely do it again, even in the same city with the same people! A unique experience that shouldn’t be missed by anyone interested in volunteering abroad! After all, we have more things to share than to divide! Travel more, learn more and understand the world! Trust me, you will feel a different, better human after this!