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Homestay Families Get Ready for International Students

Homestay Families Get Ready for International Students

In response to the globalization of education, raising of Taiwanese students' international competitiveness and language abilities and improvement of Taiwanese senior high school education to meet international standard can wait no longer.

In addition to sending out invitations to students all over the world and encouraging the public to participate in international activities, Taiwan needs a comprehensive strategy to attract international students to help with the Ministry of Education's promotion of international exchanges of senior and vocational high school students.

Currently, homestay programs for international exchange students to Taiwan chiefly rely on the support of student parents or school faculty members. A mechanism for training and evaluation is lacking and, therefore, resources and experiences are difficult to accumulate. At the same time, most homestay families are concentrated in urban areas and this has led to a gap in use of resources by urban and rural regions.

Besides creating a counseling team, homestay family training courses, school application and homestay family regulations, guidelines for recruitment and training of homestay families have been established as complementary measures for the Foreign Student Homestay Family Program. At the same time, student and homestay family matching is conducted to find the most appropriate environment for international students coming to Taiwan.

Hopefully, through perfected training and finding of the right families, international exchange students coming to Taiwan can receive the best care and have unforgettable memories of the hospitality of the people in Taiwan. This will be a form of civilian diplomacy.

Enthusiasm of Chung Shan Industrial and Commercial School Demonstrates Best Civilian Diplomacy

The chief convening institution of this program, Chung Shan Industrial and Commercial School, has spared no effort in promoting international exchanges. It has given exceptional performance in sending students for overseas study and taking international students.

Chung Shan Industrial and Commercial School began international cultural exchanges seven years ago with the US, Japan and Australia. Exchange students spend a semester abroad to experience the education and culture of the local country.

At Chung Shan, international students take one-on-one Chinese, history, geography and math classes in English but attend English, computer, music and PE classes with local students. This allows the international students to continue their studies uninterrupted when they return home. While in Taiwan, they learn Chinese.

Director of the International Culture and Education Office Yang Shining has set an example by volunteering to receive international students and accumulated a lot of experience. For him, this is an excellent opportunity for young people to learn to share, share the daily routines of a family, and take certain responsibilities. His family members are cooperative when receiving international students and have actually become closer as a consequence. His children get to meet many foreign friends and learn more about foreign cultures. Their language abilities are much better than before as a result.

Yang Shining shares his experience in homestay family training classes. He talks about possible scenarios and how to handle them. Providing homestay is a good family activity. The whole family should maintain a positive outlook and work and deal with problems encountered together.

French Fever at Lan-Yang Girls' Senior High School Brings About Remarkable Taiwan-France Interaction

National Lan-Yang Girls' Senior High School started its student exchange program three years ago. Initially it was conducted through the help of the Rotary Club. Last year, the school received three second-year students from France to study in Taiwan on Taiwanese scholarships.

Student Counseling Director Cheng Chenchong expressed that having international students studying in Lan-Yang Girl's High School has not only given French students the opportunity to learn more about Taiwan; it also has positive value for the local students. Many teachers and students are now interested in the French language and want to learn French with these young French girls. Students who intended to study French in universities are also taking the opportunity and asking them questions. When French geography, history, or culture is touched upon in class, these exchange students can be requested to get behind the podium to share their knowledge. Such resources are hard to come by for Lan-Yang Girls' High School.

On the other hand, the French students also feel rewarded for studying in Taiwan. Clara Favret said studying Chinese in Taiwan has made her understand better the differences between Taiwanese and French cultures. She expects to learn more about Taiwan. The stay is also a chance for her to increase her experience in Asia. It is very different from learning about Asian cultures in classrooms in Europe. In addition, she is particular impressed by the hospitality of the Taiwanese people. Everywhere she goes, there are always people ready to look after her.

For Julie Montbeyre, every family she has stayed with has taught her different cultural aspects. She has learned how to be with people in her homestay life. Also, martial arts and Chinese classes are unforgettable. She hopes to visit Taiwan again.

Clara Philipp said coming to study in Taiwan has been like a dream. She has been really lucky to come across something so wonderful. She takes every opportunity she gets to learn Chinese and experience the cultural differences. As a result, she knows Taiwan much better now. The curriculum and learning atmosphere are totally different from those in France. Schools here are like second homes so it is easier for her to blend in. She has learned a lot more about Taiwan from both the calligraphy and the Chinese classes, and she has made progress in Chinese day by day from spending every day with classmates.