Secondary College in Victoria had five students participate
in the pre-conference homestay.
Here is the report from one of their students.
my suitcase up the stairs onto the bus I was full
of nerves. At the end of the day I would be leaving
my friends and going to stay with a Taiwanese family
that I had only met that afternoon. Before that moment
came, I had a full day with my friends doing activities
at the two schools that were hosting us.
bus pulled up to the first school that we were going
to and the butterflies in my stomach took off and
flew around and around as we were led to a room with
ten or fifteen girls waiting. I nervously surveyed
them wondering if any of these girls would be my host
principal of this school, Lichih Senior High School,
soon arrived and led us past the classrooms where
people were working, even though it was summer vacation,
and up the stairs to 'the library'. Here we had our
photos taken with the students and did some activities.
I had relaxed by now and really enjoyed the activities.
We got to paint our own paper fans. I did a vine with
flowers and a peace dove then wrote peace in Chinese
characters on it. Once we had all painted our fans
we put them out to dry and started on the next activity.
This was making wishing 'dumplings'. Chinese people
use these paper and ribbon creations to wish for good
things such as a good score in an exam. I had trouble
to start off with but a very talented and practised
girl helped me and I soon figured it out. Now we had
time to eat lunch and talk to the girls about our
interests and how our cultures differ.
lunch we presented our things to the girls and boarded
the bus again to go to the other school. The other
school was called the Affiliated Senior High School
of Kaohsiung Normal University, and despite the long
name it is a much smaller school and is a public school
just like BSC. Here I met my host. Her name was Coco
and she was probably around about 15 or 16.
The principal of this school showed us several slideshows
about the school and then we went on a short tour
of the school. On the tour we saw a classroom and
lots of the facilities that the students get to use.
Molly even got to ride a unicycle! - well almost.
too soon we had to part. The butterflies that had
disappeared earlier were back in force. I was so nervous.
What would my family be like? Would they speak English?
I needn't have worried. Coco and her mum were the
nicest people and were so kind to me. I had Coco's
room which was on the third floor of their five story
house! This was quite common in Taiwan.
next morning after I woke up and went downstairs I
sat down to breakfast. I had a big glass of a sweet
milk drink and a doughnut thing which was quite tough,
but I later discovered that I'd been eating it the
wrong way. I think that the drink was something like
bean curd milk.
after that we set out to a local market to get some
food for our lunch, which was to be home made dumplings.
The market was overwhelming. There were people everywhere
and they were all talking or shouting or using a microphone
to advertise their wares. It was so crowded. There
were people crowded on all sides of me pushing and
shoving to get to where they needed to go. I was quite
relived when we left the market and headed home via
a little, although I thought it was quite big, temple
where I learned that outside all Taiwanese temples
there are two lions, a male and a female. You can
tell the difference because the female always has
little baby lions at her feet.
went back to the house and while I wrote my diary.
Coco and her mum started to make lunch. I came and
helped them actually make the dumplings and I really
enjoyed myself, folding up all the dumplings and talking
with Coco and her mum. I think that we made a few
too many and we didn't end up eating them all. By
now it was the middle of the day and was too hot to
do anything, so while Coco's mum went and got bread
and things Coco and I watched Avatar on the TV and
I wrote my diary. Once it had cooled down a bit we
all piled into the car and drove off towards the sea.
They were taking me to a lighthouse on the very end
of Kaohsiung's harbour, but just as we got there it
started to pour with rain, so we only looked at it
from the outside. Instead of going there we headed
back to the Dream Mall which is a massive shopping
centre that is shaped like a whale, to have dinner.
This was the time that I found the hardest because
I was missing everybody so much and I ended up going
and having a little cry.
next day I got up early and packed my bag then once
we were all up we headed out to an exhibition about
Chinese characters, like their writing. It was really
interesting to see all he different artists' takes
on Chinese characters. One of my favourites was a
picture of Hitler but instead of his moustache the
artist had written the Chinese character for moustache.
There were lots of different ways that the artists
had expressed themselves, some had done paintings
while others had made dresses, one had even taken
a photo using hologram technology to make it look
like the real thing. We spent hours there, looking
at all the different displays and having a go at everything
in the interactive part.
we had lunch we returned to the house and got ready
to go to the conference centre as we had to be there
by four o'clock. We were a bit early so we drove around
the 'lotus pond, a big ornamental lake, that was nearby,
and saw all the different temples like the Confucius
temple and the temple with the big dragon and tiger
tunnels. By now it was time to go to the hotel and
say goodbye to Coco's mum and dad as Coco was going
to the conference too. Though I had missed my family
and friends I was sad to leave my host family and
will try to keep in contact with them for at least
I got homesick at times I really enjoyed my experience
of the school to school project, and had a great time
with my host family. I would recommend this to anyone
who was interested in travelling overseas and finding
out about the local culture.
advice to anyone who's taking part in something like
this is - don't be too nervous. Your host family will
be really nice and will take very good care of you.
And think of this, would they really let a family
that doesn't speak English look after an exchange
student? No they wouldn't so just relax don't panic
and enjoy yourself!