TCU’s College of Education and Communication sponsored a session entitled “The world is different from what you had in mind,” and invited faculty members and students, who had volunteered in Taiwan and elsewhere, during the 2019 summer break, to share what they did. In Taiwan, TCU is in first place on THE University Impact Rankings 2019, and it has done well in the United National’s Sustainable Development Goal #4, (SDG 4) which is related to quality education, due to faculty members and students having been serving the needy around the world, since its inception in 1994.
Bo-Lian Su, Wei-Yu Pan, He-Shan Gu and Xiao-Jun Lin are students in the Department of Communication Studies, who participated in “Image creation camp in Hualien.” Some of them are international students and grew up in different cultural backgrounds, so the ways they presented Hualien’s scenic places, and portrayed their beauty, were quite different from domestic students. Two students, Yi-Wen Jiang and Yu-Jun Chen shared what they learned by attending the 2019 TCU Medical Outreach in the Philippines and teaching Chinese in Indonesia, respectively.
Jia-Hong Zhang and Xin-Qi Lin are students in the Department of Child Development and Family Studies, and they taught Chinese in Malaysia. In addition to teaching Chinese, they spent their leisure time with patients at Penang’s Dialysis Center, and as a result, they realized the importance of taking good care of their physical wellness and cherished the opportunities of learning firsthand about life’s essence from serving needy people. Yi-Xuan Zheng and Xin-Yu He visited kindergartens, preschools, orphanages and elementary school, and they used Lego to teach the local students.
Those who volunteered in Taiwan or overseas, needed to adjust themselves to fit into their host cultures and customs; moreover, many volunteers had to overcome language barriers. Jing-Ru Luo is a student in the Center for Teacher Education, who worked with her peers to guide students from Fu Juan Junior High School and Ma Yuan Elementary School in Taiwan, to make up plans for serving their communities, caring for elders, and introducing their scenic places, which enabled them to appreciate their cultural diversity. The key of doing it well was for TCU volunteers to put themselves into the shoes of the students they served.
Jia-Xian Lin, a student in the Department of Human Development and Psychology, shared that they went to numerous Chinese independent high schools and Unity Refugee Education Center in Malaysia, teaching Chinese and sharing humanistic culture with local students. They encountered numerous language barriers and communication problems, yet they chose to face the challenges truthfully, so the language skills and learning attitude they presented to the local students were well accepted.
Yun-Yu Huang and Ji-Yu Lin are students in the Institute of Education, who volunteered at three locations in China, namely Suzhou, Chengdu and Liangshan. They provided community services in Suzhou and Chengdu, and they read books, drew pictures and played games with children residing in Liangshan, where most people live in a deprived environment. After returning to Taiwan, they invited TCU students to leave their comfort zones, continue to develop their own potentials, and work together to make this world a better one. They believe that as long as young people are willing to work together for the betterment of the world, then the world will get better.
After listening to the students’ wonderful sharing, Professor Alinggo Lee and Professor We-Hsin Fu encouraged students to utilize their leisure time to serve others as volunteers, or participate in various competitions. They reminded the students to do their best, whatever it takes, and to pursue their dreams. Professor Yun-Chi Ho, dean of the College of Education and Communication, accompanied many student volunteers during the summer break. She noticed that these volunteers are now quite different, after committing themselves to attend to others’ needs and doing their best to meet their needs. She felt happy for those who took part in cultural activities and service-learning opportunities, with their curiosity and vigor, and what they experienced firsthand through their participation. Many of them have started building their own dreams and have met their better selves. She wishes they will cherish their college lives by utilizing each moment to accumulate more unforgettable memories.