Fri, Jun 04, 2004 - Page 2 News List

American-born Taiwanese to teach at camps

SUMMER FUN A pair of groups are cooperating to recruit foreign-born teachers to help local kids learn English this summer

By Caroline Hong  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission and the King Car Education Foundation announced yesterday that they would cooperate to bring American-born Taiwanese to remote areas of Taiwan to teach English.

"Although Taiwan is a technologically advanced country, there still exists a gap between the rich and the poor. We hope that through this effort, we can help Taiwanese children in poor rural areas with their English education, broaden the worldview of Taiwanese youths and raise American-born Taiwanese people's appreciation of Taiwan," Chang Fu-mei (張富美), commission minister, said yesterday.

The two groups are looking to recruit 20 volunteers to participate in "2004 Overseas Chinese Youth -- ABC [America-born Chinese] Schweitzer English Teaching Camp."

The camp will be held between July 30 and Aug. 15 of this year, said foundation general director Morgan Sun (孫慶國).

The camp will be held in two locations: Ji-An in Hualien County and Alishan, Chiayi County.

After going through a selection process and a two-day training session, volunteers will provide instruction to 320 children, who range from third-graders to sixth-graders.

The groups organizing the events stressed that they hoped the camp would facilitate exchanges not only in language but also in culture, while helping children develop an ethic of public service.

"The camp is a good way to encourage American-born Taiwanese to teach at summer camps while visiting Taiwan to give back to the local community," Chang said.

The 20 students are to come from among 600 students attending a commission-sponsored camp called "Overseas Compatriot Youth Summer Study Tour in Taiwan."

The camp, popularly known in the Taiwanese-American community as "Loveboat" or "Study Tour," seeks to give overseas youth with Taiwanese heritage a chance to explore Taiwanese culture and learn Chinese.

"Many American-born Taiwanese teaching at summer camps come in the summer and winter to visit their families, but they do not understand Taiwanese culture," said Nancy Su (蘇郁惠), a China Air employee who was a camp counselor in 2000.

"The camp helps develop Taiwan's international image; it is a very solid grassroots effort," said Sherman Guo (郭時南), a senior secretary at the commission, saying that American-born Taiwanese who participate in the program leave Taiwan with impressions that last a lifetime.

The Schweitzer camp is an extension not only of the study tours but also of the commission's overall function, commission officials said.

"We've wanted to do this for a while. In the future, we hope to expand this so that we can provide a service so that American-born Taiwanese who teach at summer camps can come back to Taiwan to teach English or retired Taiwanese abroad can come home and use their skills to give back," Chang said.

Applications for positions will be accepted through June 20. The foundation's Web site -- www.kingcar.org.tw -- provides information about how to apply for a volunteer position.

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