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SIT-Summer Institute in Taiwan
Academic Exchange & Cultural Experience in Taiwan
Rodney 廖偉勛

        SIT has been an incredibly amazing journey; from the beginning regarded as my job as well as an opportunity to learn and grow to eventually turning out to be a joyful holiday, as we staff and foreign fellows truly bonded with each other and hung out together sharing the beauty of Taiwan throughout the summer.

        Attracted by the advertisement and enthralled by the conveyed image of playing around Taiwan, some of the activities I even haven’t experienced as a Taiwanese, I totally determined to apply for the opportunity to take part in 2015 SIT. SIT is a program of government commissioned to NTHU and organized by students. It involves the communication and collaboration among the government, school and some civil units, which is different from common works that students would engage in. What’s more, it is reasonably considered as a diplomatic responsibility. Those facts didn’t daunt me but reinforced my will. Fortunately, I survived the competition and became one of the staff members of this year. It just brought so much change to my previous life of a nerd, and it proved to be an exceptional experience once in a lifetime.

        In conformity with what I supposed, the process was not easy. Since it was literally an official affair, high standards were given by our chief directors, Norman and Eris. Constructing a compact package of activities for six days with just 15 people, while we all still had our school works, was definitely a massive load for each. However, it felt good to be here working with people who had the same passion with you no matter of English, organizing, promoting Taiwan, or cultural exchange. We jointly overcame the suffering of beginning a day with a 7 a.m. meeting every week, putting every effort and extracting ideas from our brains to constitute an extraordinary 2015 SIT orientation week without any flaws.

What’s more, I learned so much from these awesome staff members. Some of them were always being creative; some of them were experienced in arranging an event and familiar with the whole process involved; some of them had their own patterns of doing things effectively; some of them just had such a talent that gave me the impetus to keep perfecting myself. The biggest admiration would be given to Norman and Eris, who dealt with all the complex communication among the government, the school and us as well as scanned through the entire process ensuring everything on the right track. They were similar young to us, but they couldn’t be more competent amazingly.

Coming down to the actual orientation week, it was nervous at the beginning, exciting afterward, and soon we worn out. What was funny was just as what fellows told us, “It is a bit weird because you guys are younger, but you’re like babysitting us.” That was so true and what was more ridiculous was most of us were absolutely not English speakers. Thus, for me, it is frustrating to chat freely with fellows when being so tired in the orientation week. Nonetheless, I still got to know them gradually. I was most impressed in the farewell party. All the fellows were older than me, even some of them were over 30, but they appeared to be super energetic and enthusiastic being in the ball embracing the music and the atmosphere. They were passionate westerners! Being there, I also shook off Asian’s poise and it was crazily so much fun!

It was sad to end the orientation week, but in fact it was just the start of their two-month stay in Taiwan! The most precious memories were actually created in the following two months. We were so blessed with them being our fellows this year. They truly wanted to make friends with us. Hence, we still met with each other, went out to eat or shop, took trips to Jioufen, Yilan, Kenting, all along with drinking alcohol, which they said it was American culture. Losing the relationship as staff and fellow and intense schedules, we were truly getting closer to each other and had a great time playing around. Although I acted as not a talkative person, I did like being around with them and did listen to everyone’s talking. Through these experiences, I realized how important to understand your homeland and to have your own perception on it. This is what you need when it comes to cultural exchanges and then enhancing your international views. Besides, of course, language matters a lot. It also served as a motivation for me to keep sharpening my English skill.

SIT gave me a completely different summer vacation. It was like a dream, which I begged for endlessness… I obtained plenty of knowledge, experiences, and friendships. Thanks fellows; it was you to make this summer so remarkable and splendid! Hopefully we left you a strongly beautiful impression on Taiwan successfully, even myself have loved more about Taiwan. I love SIT staff; you are all so excellent and I felt intensely glad to be able to have bonds with you. Thanks Emily and Janny, without your assistance and leading things wouldn’t be accomplished. Finally, thanks to my decision to partake in 2015 SIT, I have gained extremely much!

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