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NIU and DeKalb High School welcome students from Miaoli in Taiwan

NIU and DeKalb High School welcome students from Miaoli in Taiwan
Ten high school students and two teachers from Miaoli County in Taiwan arrived in DeKalb on Friday, September 5 to take part in a three-week exchange program. The program, Open Imagination, is funded by the government of Taiwan, and organized in conjunction with Northern Illinois University’s College of Education.

Soon after being welcomed by the College of Education, the Taiwanese students had a chance to take in a NIU vs. Northwestern football game, and then visited the Six Flags Great America theme park in Gurnee in Illinois. Then during the first two weeks, each Taiwanese student was paired with a DeKalb High School student and shadowed the student throughout each school day, and participated with them in sports, clubs, and other extracurricular activities. The visiting students also conducted introductory Chinese language and Taiwanese culture workshops. The DeKalb host students are looking forward to traveling to Taiwan next spring to take part in school life in their counterparts’ school in Miaoli and experience Taiwanese culture.

The students from Taiwan then spent several days observing undergraduate classes at NIU, getting a taste of American college life.

The Open Imagination program demonstrates the COE’s goal of developing thriving communities outside the University among partners like DeKalb High School and Miaoli County Government Department of Education, according to Terry Borg, the director of the Office of External and Global Programs at the College of Education.

He pointed out that the Open Imagination program is just one of a series of programs the COE has organized with educational organizations in Taiwan. In June, for example, 26 elementary school and middle-school students and three teachers from Taiwan’s National University of Tainan’s Affiliated Primary School spent three weeks at NIU. They participated in some of the university’s summer camps and visited cultural and entertainment sites in DeKalb, Chicago, and northern Illinois.

As Terry Borg observed “Bringing partners like these together expands the university’s presence and opens a wider array of potential experiences and opportunities to students, both locally and internationally.”