National Changhua University of Education
NCUE International Summer Camp: Benefiting Foreigners, Taiwanese Students and Local Residents
- Camp attendees are engaged in volunteer work in local communities and at elementary schools in remote areas, providing opportunities for them to closely interact with local residents and achieve mutual benefits.
- Local students take part in planning and supporting camp activities, helping enhance their global mobility.
In 1970, the Taiwan Provincial Training and Development Institute for High School Teachers was founded by the government in Changhua. The premises where the Institute was located were named “Baisha Villa” in memory of Chen Baisha, a Confucian scholar who dedicated his life to Confucian studies and teaching during the Ming Dynasty. The premises then became National Changhua University of Education (NCUE). Since it was founded, NCUE has relentlessly upheld the spirit of Chen Baisha and endeavored to its long-term missions in education and academic studies. Based on the spirit of teacher education, NCUE also promoted balanced development of its seven colleges. With its prominent advantage brought by the transport hub role of Central Taiwan and its proximity to science parks and industrial zones, it has cooperated with the governmental, industrial, and academic sectors and contributed to the development of local industries. As a comprehensive university today, NCUE strives to develop itself into an outstanding institution with a competitive edge on the world stage. Organizing the International Summer Camp every year is one of NCUE’s international development strategies in recent years.
Achieving a win-win situation for young foreigners, local residents, and Taiwanese students
The NCUE International Summer Camp lasts one to three weeks. Attendees are recruited through NCUE’s partner universities all over the world and by sending invitations to students from the University Mobility in Asia and the Pacific (UMAP) member universities. The primary objectives of the camp are to facilitate interactions and partnerships with colleges and universities overseas, improve networking for international cooperation, and help foreign students better understand and appreciate our land and people by participating in local cultural activities. What is worth mentioning about the camp activities is that governmental resources are combined in addition to taking advantage of the expertise of NCUE in Chinese teaching, so attendees may engage in community and remote area services and interact directly with local residents. This helps foreign attendees embrace Taiwanese culture while promoting internationalization of local communities, which helps achieve mutual benefits. Moreover, NCUE recruits and trains Taiwanese students to plan and support camp activities, so they may not only contribute their efforts to people-to-people diplomacy but also enhance their global mobility, thereby laying a solid foundation for future development.
Providing profound local cultural experiences through diverse activities and teaching methods
The activities organized for the NCUE International Summer Camp consist of classroom lessons, field trips, and practical work. Classroom lessons include basic Chinese lessons and hands-on activities involving painting, calligraphy, opera mask design, paper cutting, and the making of sky lanterns. Field trips are also arranged: practicing Chinese conversations at night markets and tourist attractions, visiting historic sites like old streets, temples, and indigenous tribes to explore traditional cultures, and learning about traditional handicrafts such as painting Sword Lions and baking Sun Cakes by visiting local industries. During such a wide variety of activities, attendees can put into practice what they have learned from the lessons and explore local customs in a hands-on manner, listening to whispers of the past and gaining a deep understanding of Taiwanese customs and cultures.
Introducing resources brought by the camp to local communities and remote areas to benefit the disadvantaged
As the highest-level educational institution in Changhua, NCUE feels obligated to promote the internationalization of local communities. For this reason, NCUE has integrated the International Summer Camp with the community and remote area service programs organized by the Changhua County Government. Camp attendees would travel deep into a number of communities within the county to visit senior citizens and provide assistance when necessary. They would also join the faculty and students of the NCUE Department of English to support teaching activities for English summer camps of several elementary schools in remote areas, so as to help disadvantaged children develop their competitive advantage. The combination of international and local resources not only meets the expectations of many camp attendees when they decide to participate in international volunteer work but also benefits the disadvantaged in remote areas. Moreover, such close interactions enable young foreigners and local residents to better understand each other’s cultures and experience the spirit of brotherhood.
Enhancing Taiwanese students’ global mobility by providing assistance to camp attendees
During camp activities, the International Student Ambassadors of NCUE would serve as learning partners or counselors for attendees. In addition to planning activities, they offer assistance in many aspects, such as explaining what has been taught in the lessons, helping with verbal communication, organizing guided tours, and giving advice about daily life, which helps attendees learn more effectively and adapt themselves better to the life in a country foreign to them. As NCUE’s elite diplomats, International Student Ambassadors are Taiwanese students recruited and trained by the Office of International and Cross-strait Affairs. By receiving foreign guests, assisting foreign students, and helping organize international exchange activities, they may develop an ability to build good interpersonal relationships, diverse cultural perspectives, and an awareness of global citizenship, which may motivate them to study abroad. Spending every day with camp attendees also helps them build strong friendships with each other and create valuable memories for their university life.
A marvelous journey that makes attendees become fascinated by Taiwan and look forward to another visit to fulfill their dreams
The activities organized for the NCUE International Summer Camp have created an amazing experience for the attendees. According to the attendees, this experience made them fall in love with Taiwan, and they all regarded this journey as one of the most wonderful moments that they will remember throughout their life. They would like to attend more camp lessons and activities. At the closing ceremony, Ian from the UK shared the photos he took of local communities and schoolchildren during his volunteer work. He depicted the local landscape from a foreigner’s perspective in his photos, which touched the heart of many. As someone who always dreamed of engaging in volunteer work, Ian stated that he planned to return to Taiwan in the future to continue his unfinished mission. Carl, who was a history teacher in the UK, also found the experience of volunteering at elementary schools in remote areas unforgettable. He looked forward to teaching English in Taiwan in the future and expressed his high hope to study at a graduate institute of NCUE. Ieva from Lithuania said that she gained a great experience of Taiwan’s folk cultures and landscape of mountains and rivers by visiting local communities, interacting with schoolchildren, and exploring scenic spots. She also kept praising local cuisines. She concluded that this was a marvelous journey and she expected to visit Taiwan again.
A fruitful journey that motivates NCUE students to study abroad or give back to their hometown
The companionship, care, and assistance provided by the International Student Ambassadors of NCUE have warmed the heart of the attendees. They regretted not having enough time to get along with each other and promised to meet one day again. As for the International Student Ambassadors, their participation in camp-related work helped them broaden their vision and develop the skills needed for people-to-people diplomacy. Some of them were inspired to study abroad or enroll in an overseas exchange program. Others gained hands-on experiences of the needs of local communities by participating in community and remote area services and therefore became more determined to give back to their hometown after graduation. These are what they have gained the most from participating in camp activities. It also shows that the NCUE International Summer Camp has achieved a win-win situation for all foreign attendees, Taiwanese students, and local residents.