“Let the world walk into our school”

In this series, we get to hear about volunteering opportunities within the ICYE network all over the world. This time, we chat with Jialing Shiu who works as an English teacher at LiouJia Junior High School in Taiwan.

Interview: Fabienne Zogg

Who am I?
My name is Jialing Shiu. I’m an English teacher at LiouJia Junior High School. I am also in charge of some administrative work, the ICYE international volunteering co-operation being one of them.

A high school in a farming town
LiouJia Junior High School is located in LiouJia, Tainan. Tainan is an ancient city in the southern part of Taiwan, and LiouJia is more like a farming town. So, most of the students in our school are from farming families. They are aged from 13 to 15. Compared to the schools downtown, we have fewer resources to get in touch with the world.

Learning about different countries
In order to broaden the students’ horizons, we wanted to take them abroad. However, it would cost them too much. Many of our students need support from a foundation in order to pay the fee. Even though the students are unable to walk into the world at the moment, we are able to let the world walk into our school. That’s why we started to apply for international volunteers from ICYE. The volunteers worked with our school’s English teachers to design lessons and teach classes. We call the project “Make Friends with the World.” With a foreign friend’s help, students have not only learned things about different countries, but they have also improved their English skills.

Volunteers returning home in exceptional times
Both our latest ICYE volunteers, Nick and Bettina, were supposed to stay for one year, but Nick was asked to return to Germany five months earlier. Thankfully, Bettina stayed and took over Nick’s classes. Although Bettina had a heavier workload, she did a very good job and the students enjoyed her classes.
We were informed that Nick had to return home urgently. Although the host family and the school were shocked, we did our best to hold a warm farewell party, and prepared 100 masks for Nick to bring home. ICYE Taiwan always updated about the situation very quickly and sent Nick and other German ICYE volunteers in Taiwan home efficiently.

My greetings to those interested in volunteering in Taiwan
Although it sounds exaggerated, every volunteer, at least the five volunteers who worked in our school, has loved Taiwan very much. People here are friendly, food is delicious and cheap, transportation is convenient, and most importantly, Taiwan is a very safe country. So, besides doing the volunteer service, the volunteers can spend time traveling and exploring Taiwan. I believe that a year in Taiwan offers an unforgettable experience for volunteers! So, welcome to Taiwan!

Juttu on ilmestynyt MaailmanVaihtoa 2/2020 -lehdessä.

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