Fri, Feb 25, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Special homestay program offered as centennial event

MEMORIES:The premier and vice premier recounted their experiences decades ago with homestay programs as the Council for Cultural Affairs promoted its proposal

Staff writer, with CNA

An international youth homestay program will be launched nationwide on Tuesday as part of the Republic of China (ROC) centennial celebrations, the Council for Cultural Affairs said yesterday.

Eligible individuals are invited to sign up for two-week stays with host families, the council said at a press conference.

“This is a great program, in that international guests will have an opportunity to join the national celebrations and also gain a deeper understanding of Taiwan,” Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) said, adding that his experience of staying with two families in Illinois and Georgia 29 years ago had made him more knowledgeable about US culture.

Vice Premier Sean Chen, who was hosted by a German family 33 years ago, said homestays are an effective way for international guests to learn about the lifestyle, language and culture of Taiwan.

Chen, whose wife has applied to be a homestay host, said that although he spends a lot of time at the office, he would try to “stay at home” more and help their guest gain an experience of authentic Taiwanese life and the friendliness of the people.

“Taiwan is such an amazing place that you have to come see it for yourself,” said Jasmine Brown, a graduate student at National Taiwan Normal University who is helping to spread the word about the homestay program.

Taiwan is attractive in many ways, but the safeness of the country and the passion of the people would probably make the strongest impression on visitors, said Brown, who is from Belize.

A total of 250 people — from at least 100 countries — will be selected by the council to spend two weeks with host families in Taiwan, from Aug. 12 to Aug. 25.

Foreigners between 18 and 40 years of age, either Mandarin or English-speaking and proficient in blogging or other skills are encouraged to apply by the middle of April through the council’s Web site.

Families interested in hosting visitors should also upload their details on the site, the council said.

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