National Central University
NCU International Volunteering in South-East Asia
- NCU International Volunteering in South-East Asia
National Central University (NCU) launched the International Volunteering Group program for the first time in 2008, hoping to cultivate the students’ humanistic care for the international society, to expand their horizon and to enhance the international reputation of NCU by participating in the international volunteer service. We hope students can learn from others while serving others, enrich themselves, and improve themselves by volunteering. Through volunteer service activities, NCU students who exert themselves assiduously after becoming independent, will be able to have an ample virtue and to carry the responsibility in social service.
This year is the 13th year since the establishment of the NCU International Volunteering Group, serving more than 10 countries. The number of new immigrants has been increasing annually in Taoyuan City, where NCU is located. With the “New Southbound Policy” of the government, NCU has cultivated an international volunteer group based in Southeast Asian countries, giving overseas Chinese or international students the opportunities to return to their hometown to serve and to feedback to the society.
In order to increase students’ participating attitudes in volunteering, to cultivate service skills and to build self-confidence, the Center for Service Learning planned for the group members a four-month domestic service in the Association of Taiwanese New Immigrants. In addition, Vietnamese language courses have been added to demonstrate the sincerity and dedication of the volunteer service; through a series of training courses, the members can explore their own interests. The most important of all is to learn how to respect, tolerate and love each other, and to make the service more complete.
Lin, Pay-Liam, the vice president for Student Affairs of NCU, stated that Vietnam is the most deeply influenced by Chinese culture in the history of Southeast Asian countries, and their eating habits are also similar with those of Chinese. We hope that the cultural exchange can not only stimulate student’s global perspective, but also enhance their sense of self-identity and curiosity for new knowledge.
In 2018, the first group of volunteers from NCU headed for Sa Dec City of South Vietnam, which is considered as the largest flower origin in the Mekong Delta, famous for the flower farmers who are good at planting flowers. NCU volunteer members worked with local volunteers to carry out the planting and the maintenance work of the flower fields as the focus of service. Also, they cleaned up the cluttered branches and beautified the community. NCU students also led the local children to participate in the group activities to cultivate good interpersonal relationships and a spirit of mutual cooperation. Furthermore, NCU students also exchanged their experience with the local government and volunteer groups. The discussions were about the sustainable tourism and the development of local tourism, hoping to construct a sustainable flower eco-tourism.
In 2019, the NCU International Volunteering Group cooperated with the Association of Vision Youth Action to provide services in rural areas in Vietnam. The theme of the service was “Cultivation of Children and the Development of Eco-Village in Mai Châu District of Vietnam”. Due to the poverty of the Dai people, most residents don’t have toilets. Thus, the volunteers launched a plan to build household toilets, hoping to improve basic hygiene, and to make the absence of toilets becoming a story of the previous generation. Moreover, the volunteers planned many English learning courses and activities for local children and teenagers, which can enhance their English learning opportunities and effectiveness at the same time. They also collected some second-hand clothes to give the local villagers as a final piece of the puzzle for the realization of this project.
Zhu You-Ci, a junior of the Department of Information Management, said that she was shocked by the local life and the different culture in her first experience of participating in international volunteering and it was a feeling that would only be known through personal experience. Yao Wen-Ling, a freshman of the Department of Business Administration and also an Oversea Chinese student, helped overcome language barriers, introduced local customs of Vietnam, and reduced service problems caused by language barriers. She said that there may not be much service to be done, but as long as she did her best, she would be worthy of the school’s support and encouragement for international volunteers. Hong Hua-Xiang, a freshman of the Department of Electrical Engineering, shared that during the volunteering service, they could distribute the resources to the people who truly need it. And it was also a rare opportunity to share the Taiwanese culture with the villagers and to learn the attitude of the simple life from the villagers. Yeh Jun-Yi, the freshman of the Department of Hakka Studies, said through the services, we were creating changes and leading the village to improve the sanitation environment, which is not only a challenge to him, but also a promise to the villagers.
In recent years, due to the epidemic of the COVID-19, NCU International Volunteering Group has temporarily slowed down, but still striving to accumulate the experience by domestic multicultural services and by international exchange. When the world reopens, we will go southward again. We will take Taiwanese students to start the service and bring overseas Chinese or international students back to their hometowns to serve and give back to the society.