If you're an international visitor interested in sharing your culture, "The World in Your Classroom Taiwan" wants you. This is a program that connects foreign volunteers with high-school students keen on learning more about the world. Since 2017, more than 250 volunteers have shared their stories at over 200 high schools. Formosa News reporter Stephany Yang meets the founder of "The World in Your Classroom Taiwan" to see what her program's all about.
The students strike up a dance to a live steel drum performance. The steel drum players hail from El Salvador and St. Kitts and Nevis. They're here to share their countries' music and culture with the students of Hualien Senior High.
They're here as part of a program called "The World in Your Classroom Taiwan." The program's founder Pia Lin was inspired by the original World in Your Classroom, which trains foreigners in Hague, the Netherlands to be guest lecturers at local schools. In 2017, Lin decided to bring this concept to Taiwan. Her program is open to foreigners living in Taiwan, who want to share their culture at Taiwanese high schools.
They have to collaborate with lessons and curriculum and activities for students.
It's a very great opportunity for foreigners in Taiwan to contribute to the local community and engage students in Taiwan. This is a good way to stimulate them[students]. Except for [having them] just studying in class and don't get the chance to explore the world. Then I'll just bring the world to their classroom.
After applying online, volunteers are matched with schools in their vicinity. Prior to their presentation, the volunteers are asked to complete a four-hour training session taught by an educational specialist. They gain an understanding of the program and how to build lesson plans. They also learn about the education system in Taiwan and how to interact with high-school students. After the workshop, volunteers head out to the classroom and teach Taiwanese students about various aspects of their home countries such as culture, language, economy, history, geography, and current affairs. They can choose to lecture just once, or teach multiple times at different schools. Since 2017, the program has recruited over 250 international volunteers from all continents to become guest speakers at over 200 Taiwanese schools.
UK guest lecturer
I showed them some slides, with lot of photos of different things in the U.K. Sort of comparing Taiwan to England. And then, showing them photos about my life or how we celebrate Christmas. And then we did some quizzes on the iPad as well, so there was a bit of interaction. It's a great chance to let other people know where you come from and let them know the truth about your country and not just the stereotypes. And it's a good chance to meet some more people from Taiwan.
Palau guest lecturer
I talk to the students and share that Palau is located here. These are some unqiue facts about my country. They would often prepare questions for me that I would be so excited to answer. Because of TWIYC, I was able to reach out to over 100 students and talk to them about Palau, and basically share my story with them.
Each year, recruitment for volunteers runs from February to the end of March. This year, the deadline is March 21. The program wants to help Taiwanese students learn more about world cultures, and to help international volunteers give back to the community.