Students' Weekly Updates

We will begin a regular posting schedule in October. Each student will be responsible for one post each month (one person each week). So please check back the first week of October for the first of our weekly posts! Until then, please see the above pictures for a brief snapshot of our time here so far.

That's it for the year...thanks for reading!

posted 14 Jun 2012, 00:27 by Abby Richardson   [ updated 14 Jun 2012, 00:28 by Unknown user ]

Nora Closing Ceremony Speech

posted 14 Jun 2012, 00:25 by Abby Richardson   [ updated 14 Jun 2012, 00:25 by Unknown user ]

Thank You Speech (Chinese with English Translation)

大家好! 我是從美國來的班柔。 今天我想要謝謝很多人。

先我要謝謝 美國的NSLI-Y 提供獎學金 。我們很幸福有這個機會。今年很棒!

謝謝AIT 給我們一個美國感恩節。Mr. Oba 你的家很漂亮和你的食物很好吃!

謝謝iEarn Taiwan安排很棒的寄宿家庭給我們,和帶我們去很多地方玩和心情故事拍結婚照片。 謝謝Doris Jane 幫我們這麼多忙,麻煩你們了。


謝謝我的寄宿家庭,你們很熱情。不但給我一個房間和食物你們也很歡迎我 和幫助我了解台灣的文化。

謝謝Mrs. Ling , 跟你聊天總是很有趣,你做的飯很好吃!

謝謝Jubbie從我第一天來台灣, 你總是幫我很多。你是很好的朋友。

感謝Wenzao 的同學和老師教我很多中文,特別感謝華語中心的老師和Constance還有我的小老師,你們很棒!


Brandon 你跟你的太陽眼鏡太好笑。

Ben 要是沒有你我不知道那裡有很好的餐廳或是KTV. 沒有你的日子很無聊。

McKenzie 謝謝你陪我走過那些很難熬的時間。為我加油打氣。

Abby 謝謝你一直像我們的媽媽一樣照顧我們。


謝謝大家! 我愛你們! 我愛台灣

Hello everyone. I am Nora from America.  Today I want to thank many people.

First, I want to thank NSLI-Y USA for providing this scholarship to us. We are very happy to have this opportunity. This has been an awesome year!

Thank you AIT for giving us an American Thanksgiving.  Mr. Oba your house is very beautiful and your food was delicious!

Thank you I-Earn Taiwan for arranging a great homestay for us and for taking us to many place to have fun and take wedding pictures.  Thank you Doris and Jane for taking time from your busy schedule to help us.

Thank you to our home stays for taking care of us.

Thank you to my host family for being so warm to me.  You not only gave me a room and food, you also made me feel welcome and helped me to understand Taiwan’s culture.

Thank you Mrs. Ling, it was always interesting to chat with you and your food is very delicious!

Thank you Jubbie. From the first day we came to Taiwan, you always helped us a lot. You are a great friend.

Thank you Wenzao classmates and teachers for teaching me a ton of Chinese.  Thank you especially to the Chinese center, Constance, and my tutors. You guys are awesome!

Thank you to the Americans who came with me here. 

Brandon, you and your sunglasses are too funny.

Ben, if you weren’t here I wouldn’t know where the good restaurants or KTVs are.  Without you the days would be very boring.

McKenzie, thank you for being with me through those times that were tough and telling me 加油!

Abby thank you for always taking care of us like a mother.

I will miss you all.

Thank you everyone. I love you. I love Taiwan!


Growth in 台灣

Hello Everybody.  My name is Nora, and for those of you who don’t know me, I grew up in Chicago, Illinois and I’m 19 years old.   And I live in Taiwan now.  So yeah our final days in Taiwan have come and I’m up here to talk a little about how we’ve grown over the last 11 months.

 To start I just want to say, this has been a CRAZY year and I don’t think I ever could have imagined what it had in store for me when I decided to come. 

Over the last 11 months, I’ve slept over at a Buddhist temple, learned how to make traditional Taiwanese tea, found out what KTV is, celebrated the Chinese New Year, picked up some French with Ben, gone to my first Taiwanese wedding, and had my own Chinese wedding pictures taken at Lotus Lake. 

I’ve eaten a lot of rice and noodles, cut off all my hair, gotten attacked by monkeys, spent a lot more hours bellydancing than I could ever have imagined, and traveled all over Taiwan with my new NSLI-Y family.

A lot of memories have been made that I will never forget and it has been hard for me to narrow how I’ve grown into just a few things, but here goes.  

 First off, my Facebook popularity has skyrocketed!  The number of pictures I have online has probably doubled, my Facebook friends have passed the 1000 mark, and there number of statuses I don’t understand is a lot more than I had 11 months ago for sure. 

 Second, my Chinese ability has come into existence.  For those of you who don’t know, I was the only one of the group to come here not knowing any Chinese, so everything I’m able to say now I’ve learned in the last year.  I definitely cannot say I’m even anywhere near fluent in Chinese now, but I think I’ve set up a good base for leaning more Chinese in the future.

 Third my perspective on a lot has changed.  Over the last year, I’ve made friends with very different backgrounds than the ones I had over in the US.  I can now not only say that I know people from Indonesia, Japan, France (a lot of those), Columbia, and Holland that I didn’t have before, but also that I have had conversations with people generations older than me as friends.  This has definitely taught me a lot about how we’re all connected and how we all deal with similar issues no matter what age we are or where we are from.  It has also shown me that being friends with old people is awesome because they can teach you a lot about life that your friends cannot.  Living life on the other side of the globe has also given me a much better idea of the “Asian” way of looking at things, and I think in some areas having the communal or Confucian point of view can be better than the Western way.

 Finally, I have gained a better understanding of myself. This has, at times, been really tough year for me.  There have been lots of challenges to face, and I’ve learned a lot of very important lessons from getting through them.  Accepting myself for who I am, not comparing my weaknesses with others strong points, and keeping your thoughts positive have been the three big ones for me.  Doing is much easier said than done, but I think I’ve gotten better at all three and will hopefully progress as I move onto college and deal with things the rest of my life.

Ben Closing Ceremony Speech

posted 14 Jun 2012, 00:25 by Abby Richardson   [ updated 14 Jun 2012, 00:25 by Unknown user ]

Thank You Speech

     我要謝謝NSLI-Y iEARN。有他們我才會有這個留學的機會。


     我要謝謝我們AIT的朋友。我們剛來臺灣的時候你們來文藻歡迎我們。去年 感恩節的時候你們約我們去你們家吃飯。對美國人來說 感恩節的晚餐很重要。雖然我們那個時候都不在美國的家裡 可是我們還有機會跟親切的美國朋友慶祝。謝謝AITOba先生。



Growth in 台灣

     Living abroad has made me more adventurous and independent.  I plan to live abroad for a while again in the future, whether is it for studying or working, or even both.  Living here has made me understand what it is actually like.  I now know that I am independent enough to do it.

     This experience has helped me narrow down my choices for what I want to do with my life.  My Chinese has improved so much here, so now I feel confident that my Chinese will be good enough to use for my career.

     One thing is for sure, as much as I love Taiwan, living outside of the US for this long has made me realize what an absolutely wonderful country the US is and I appreciate it so much more than I ever have.

     Being an ambassador for such an influential country is interesting and rewarding.  I feel like I have given some people a very different impression of Americans than they had before.  My impressions of other countries have changed completely as well.  By growing closer to people and getting past the cultural boundaries, lifelong friendships can be made that can strengthen everyone involved.   I know that I have priceless lifelong connections on both sides of the globe now.

     Taiwan is truly like my second home.  I grew up here for a year of my teenage life.  My priceless memories here are countless.  I know the streets here better than I do back in Baltimore.  I have extremely close friends who will always be a part of my life in some way.  Thank you.

Brandon Closing Ceremony Speech

posted 14 Jun 2012, 00:24 by Abby Richardson   [ updated 14 Jun 2012, 00:24 by Unknown user ]

Thank You Speech

大家好, 我想要感謝所有曾經幫助過我的人,因為有這些人,使我在台灣學習的期間非常難忘。

首先,我要感謝美國政府以及I EARN台灣。沒有他們,我今天不會站在這裡跟大家說話。









Thank You Speech

Hello everyone! I would like to extend my warmest gratitude to those who have made my time in Taiwan memorable and exciting. Firstly, I want to thank the United States government for funding this fantastic adventure as well as I-EARN Taiwan for facilitating the scholarship. Without these two bodies, we would not be standing here today giving these speeches. Secondly, I would like to thank the staff at the CCL whom has been extraordinarily helpful in aiding our Chinese language development, Abby for being available and responsible for us no matter when and where, and the people of Taiwan for welcoming us into their beautiful society. The Taiwanese are perhaps the warmest and friendliest people I have ever met. The hospitality and kindness that everyone unceasingly demonstrates has served as the most powerful motivation for learning Mandarin. 

I want to give a special thanks to my friends and host family. I believe my closest friends are some of the most genuine people I have ever met. I don’t think there was ever a moment where I felt lonely or unloved. My friends have served as the greatest social support throughout this journey and I will always carry a special place for them in my heart. Even though I will be returning to the United States soon, I intend on staying in contact with them. They are will be undoubtedly the greatest memory I will have of my time spent in Taiwan. My host family has allowed me to see how a traditional Taiwanese family lives every day. They have been so kind and hospitable and will be greatly missed.

To my I-EARN friends, I just want to say that you guys are awesome! McKenzie, it is so awesome that we both love Spanish! Plus, we are from neighboring states! I think it was destiny that we were selected for the same program! Nora, I love you and your corny jokes. Ben, although I haven’t mastered the art of talking ghetto, I think you put me on the right track. You are hilarious. Our trip to Taiwan has been a life changing experience for all of us. With that said, I would like to thank everyone again!


Growth in 台灣

Every once in a while I like to ponder on what my life was like just a few years before I decided to embark on this amazing journey here in Kaohsiung. Two years ago, I was living in a small farming community known as East Bend, North Carolina with a population of roughly one thousand people. Growing up, I have always had a strong desire to go abroad and see the world but I have never had the chance to do so. I knew that someday I would reach my goal but never in my wildest dreams would I have known that I would be moving to Asia shortly after I turn eighteen! Before coming to Taiwan, I have never left the United States, let alone the east coast! It is interesting to reflect on where fate can lead you and what kind of opportunities may arise when one takes the initiative to find them. With that in mind, it is safe to say that earning a full scholarship to study Chinese is perhaps the greatest opportunity I have had thus far. 

By starting a new life here, I have been able to challenge myself in ways that would have not been possible in the United States. Given that studying a foreign language in depth is not very common in my country, one is usually given a lot of unnecessary appraisal for it. Unfortunately, when this happens you tend to not know what your limits are and where you stand as a competent language learner. In Taiwan, I have been lucky enough to meet people who challenge and push me thus enabling me to go further than I could before. This of course is not exclusive to learning a language. My closest friends that I have met in Taiwan whom I love to death are my nastiest critics. At times, the things that they say can be brutal and quite excessive. Yet, through their creative ways of showing affection for me as their friend, I have learned to endure a heavy amount of criticism. Back home, I was known to suffer from a horrid mental illness known as level four perfectionism (let’s pretend there are four levels). So, with anything I did whether it was a term paper or speaking Chinese for that matter must be well above adequate. I absolutely despised having my flaws blatantly pointed because I felt that if I did not reach a certain standard, I was simply failing. Now, I know this is a terrible mentality and there truly is no such thing as perfect. I’ve learned to enjoy life a little bit more and pursue my interests for the sake of its sheer enjoyment. I have met people who are far more talented and/or intelligent than I am. Instead of comparing myself with those people, I found that I should learn from them. The most successful individuals I have met are the most passionate and carefree and that is the type of person I aim to be. 

It is easy to refer to yourself as an open-minded person when living in your native context. When exposed to another culture or way of thinking for a brief period of time, anyone can nod their heads and say “I understand”. But, true understanding of another culture or way of life can only be achieved by living it day to day. It is not enough to simply smell it, you have to taste it. The broadminded person that you think you know yourself to be is challenged when living abroad. At times, you are confronted with a mentality or a habit that drives you absolutely bonkers. For example, my definition of cleanliness does not match up to my host family’s standard. Being reminded the importance of cleaning a room that is seemingly already clean is not necessarily my cup of tea. Nevertheless, I have to tell myself that there are different ways of looking at things and there is always a reason for every action and mindset. Culture is like a puzzle: each piece is fitted in a unique way thus creating a beautiful picture. You cannot take a puzzle piece from another puzzle and apply it to the one you just made because it simply won’t fit! This can be applied to something as miniscule as cleaning habits to something far more profound because in the end, your way of thinking may not necessarily be consistent with the greater picture. 

Finally, I have learned to become a lot more appreciative of where I come from. It is our background and past experiences that shape who we are. I believe that every aspect of my life, big or small, has had a colossal impact on the person that I am today. When I came to Taiwan, I was a teenage boy seeking adventure. Now, I see myself as a young adult with far more insight and knowledge about the world. My yearlong journey in Taiwan has been a stepping stone to an interesting and fulfilling life ahead and I can’t wait to see what awaits me in the years to come.

McKenzie Closing Ceremony Speech

posted 14 Jun 2012, 00:23 by Abby Richardson   [ updated 14 Jun 2012, 00:23 by Unknown user ]

Thank You Speech

大家好!我叫敖媚聲,今天我要告訴大家 "謝謝"。我在台灣認識了很多朋友。

Thank host family
首先要先謝謝我的寄宿家庭,我很高興能住在她們的家。雖然她們只是兩個很平凡的人,但她們卻過的非常的 快樂。他們常常說好多笑話給我聽,而且既漂亮又聰明,最重要的是他們幫助我很多。我有很多美好的回憶,比如和Jubbie一起去韓國,或是和Ya-Shu Mommy 一邊看“愛上巧克力”一邊吃水果。這些都是我在台灣很難忘的回憶。離開台灣後,我真的會想妳們。

Thank wenzao文藻
我也要謝謝文藻。 因為文藻有很多的外國學生, 所以我也認識了韓國人,西班牙人,墨西哥人,德國人,印尼人,日本人和法國人。歐洲人真的很愛抽煙!我們都來台灣學中文,也常常練習中文。 我也在文藻上很多西班牙文課。 因為我在美國學過西班牙文所以我在文藻上西文課的時候也可以認識其他台灣學生。在健身室也可以認識台灣朋友。文藻好棒!

Thank IEARN,
我想對美國政府,美國的納稅人,AIT, NSLIY, 跟iEARN 說聲“謝謝” . 謝謝你們給我這個機會。我很喜歡在高雄的生活,也很喜歡在台北,墾丁,和花蓮的旅行。我希望回家以後能還記得台灣跟中文。中國和美國是兩個富強的國家,所 以謝謝你們幫我這個美國學生來台灣學中文。

Thank NSLI-Y Crew and Abby

最後我要謝謝Ben, Brandon, 和 Nora。從認識到現在,我們都在一起。Ben,還記得我們的第一個學期中文課嗎?Brandon, 我們“represent the South“ 然後也一起練習西文。我特別要謝Nora. 你是我最好的朋友。 和你們在一起我有很多美好的回憶.



Growth in 台灣
Thank you again for the role everyone here has played in helping me learn and grow here for the last 10 months. Taiwan has deepened my understanding of the world in multiple ways and I’m so thankful to be given this opportunity and highlight some of the ways while I’ve been here.

Living in Taiwan, I’ve learned how to be alone. Living abroad isolates you in a way that being in a high school in the US doesn’t, and a part of my growth here has been marked by being by myself and being OK with it. Living about an hour away from school, I had about two hours to reflect, think, read, study, listen to music, chat with a fellow commuter, or make a new friend as I’ve taken public transportation. I’ve walked and rode my bike to the train station. Part of my personal growth in Kaohsiung has been learning how to be satisfied with the montonous parts of my day. It’s not always fun; however, being able to persevere through the lows makes the highs that much more rewarding.

Another takeaway from my year in Taiwan has been a better perspective on Asia and differences between Western and Eastern culture. The importance of family and community here is reflected in young adults who live with their parents, the young man who gives his seat to an older woman on the MRT, and how 帥哥literally means “handsome brother.” Taiwan is different from America in a plethora of ways and discovering those differences that go beyond the language difference has given me insight into how Asia looks out and interacts with the world.

Finally, my Chinese! It’s been awesome to go from being unable to communicate with my host mom to having conversations about when mangos will come back in season. I’m thankful for all the friends Ive made at Wenzao, and I can’t express how grateful I am for this year. Thank you all.

西班牙文音樂和電視 Spanish Music and Television (Brandon)

posted 29 May 2012, 19:15 by Abby Richardson   [ updated 29 May 2012, 19:15 by Unknown user ]



夏奇拉是我最喜歡的歌星因為不但她很辣妹, 也會說西班牙文, 義大利文, 阿拉伯話, 葡萄牙話, 法文, 和英文. 所以我們能說夏奇拉非常聰明.



雖然她的音樂是拉丁美洲流行音樂, 可是而且有阿拉伯文化理面.




他們的音樂跟夏奇拉的差不多一樣. 不過拉衣可沒有阿拉伯式. 樣式是墨西哥的和一點兒美國樣是.


第五個季是一個西班牙來的樂團. 雖然是歐洲的, 在拉丁美洲比較有名.

墨西哥文化很特色. 就因為多數墨西哥人很喜歡看電影書(telenovela), 他們趕快變得非常流行.


在拉丁美洲, 西班牙, 和葡萄牙有很多電視書. 平常這種節目很戲劇性.

在電視書裡面有很漂亮的女人               ,很帥的男人, 而且不好的演技.



Shakira is a Colombian singer.

Shakira is my favorite singer because not only is she beautiful, she is also capable of speaking Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, French, and English. With that said, we can say that Shakira is very intelligent.

Her Lebanese grandmother taught her belly dancing.

Although her music is primarily Latin American pop, she also incorporates themes from Arabian influences.

When singing in concerts, Shakira typically wears Arabian clothing.


Reik is a band from Mexico.

It can be said that their music is similar to Shakira’s style. However, they are more influenced by American pop culture and do not incorporate Arabian elements in their art.

The Fifth Season

The fifth quarter is a Spanish band. Although originally from Europe, they have gained an immense amount of popularity in Latin America.

In Mexican culture, telenovelas are of particular interest. One of the primary reasons as to why the Fifth Season has become so popular in Latin America is because one of their hit songs is played as the theme music to one of Mexico’s favorite telenovelas.


In Latin America, Spain and Portugal have a lot telenovelas. Typically, this style of programming is very dramatic.

Telenovelas consist of beautiful women, handsome men, and terrible acting. 

Ben's Research on Taiwanese Food

posted 21 May 2012, 02:16 by Abby Richardson   [ updated 21 May 2012, 02:16 by Unknown user ]


     As all of my friends know, food is something with special importance to me.  Food isn’t just something that helps keep us alive.  Food is an enjoyment and an art.

     We can also learn a lot about a culture from food.  In Taiwanese culture, there is a big importance and value placed on meal time and having food together.  When people here invite each other to go out somewhere it nearly always includes eating.  I obviously had no issues adjusting to this part of the culture.  I want to share with you guys some of my favorite food finds on this island!

     There is some great food located very close to our school.  Here are two of my favorites.  These are very Taiwanese!


滷味 <3


鴨肉飯 Duck Meat & Rice

     Taiwan also has many many foods from other countries.  There is a great Thai restaurant just outside my house!


泰式炒河粉 Their amazing Pad Thai…


Spicy Shrimp and Squid


Thai Green Curry

Taiwan also has Vietnamese restaurants!  I missed these tastes so much, glad to have found this place!


Noodles & Fried Egg Rolls


Phở Bò   Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup!

Here are some other dishes from around the world:


Indian Vegetable Curry


English Fish & Chips


Irish Baked Potatoes


Mexican Nachos

Taiwan has something called “hot pot” (火鍋).  You can order all kinds of foods and cook them yourself.  You can make your own sauce and make it to your liking! I always like to make mine a bit spicy.


檸檬草火鍋   Lemongrass Hot Pot

The city I am from, Baltimore, is famous for its delicious shaved ice.  I have found myself to LOVE Taiwan’s shaved ice too!  There are so many choices and it is all so cheap!!



雪花冰   Taiwanese Shaved Ice

As you can see, you can customize your ice to your liking! These two here are just about $1.50 USD!!

     I am constantly on the search for even more delicious delicacies on this island, and my time is almost up.  Though I miss American food a lot, I know I will miss these wonderful, cheap, tasty dishes here!

American Stereotypes: A movie by McKenzie and Nora

posted 17 May 2012, 06:58 by Abby Richardson   [ updated 17 May 2012, 06:58 by Unknown user ]

這個學期, 我跟Nora作了一部影片. 我希望你喜歡 “美國的刻板印象”. 台灣人覺得我們很喜歡漢堡.  
This semester, Nora and I made a movie. I hope you like “American Stereotypes”. Taiwanese people think we eat a lot of hamburgers.

Brandon's Blog Post

posted 30 Apr 2012, 04:22 by Abby Richardson   [ updated 30 Apr 2012, 04:22 by Unknown user ]

有的人喜歡看電影還是去海邊. 我覺得這些休閒活動很好玩但是我做的東西比較特別… 比較不一樣. 我很喜歡招牌好紹的動物! 在美國, 我有很多寵物! 有兩隻貓(可是第一隻貓非常胖, 你可以說他是”兩隻貓”). 也有兩隻狗! 他們都是笨蛋. 所以每個東西他們決定做我想非常白目, 非常奇怪. 所以, 我拍照! 我也對危險動物有興趣. 我家人最喜歡的地方放暑假是南卡Hilton Head. 那兒有好多鱷魚! 好酷! 我的父母在運動的時候, 我就跟鱷魚牌照! 好可愛! 不幸的是這個城市不可以是我住的地方. 那些鱷魚一定要吃我貓跟狗. 我覺的鱷魚要想”ㄇㄇㄇ那隻貓好像非常好吃!” 太可憐了! 她不會跑一砲… 她太胖了! 我的狗可以是小吃蛋是我的貓一定要是招牌菜! 我覺得那些鱷魚都是廣東人. 那麼, 你們現在知道我很特別的人. 還是我跟你也喜歡做每天的東西. 我喜歡寫. 我覺得語言是藝術. 你就可以寫你的想法和感情. 然後我喜歡看書和網路. 我的朋友們覺得我是老人因為我對新聞有興趣. 如果你不知道什麼東西, 你要是笨蛋.

別的休閒活動嵐登喜歡做: 唱歌, 聽音樂, 去酒館, 苦惱老師, 說西班牙語, 和用電腦.

Some people like to go to the movies or the beach. Although I think these these leisure activities are very fun, my interests are a little more unique… a little bit more abnormal. I really like to take pictures of funny animals! In the United States, I have a lot of pets. I have two cats (however, one of them is extremely fat, you can say she counts as two), and I also have two dogs. They both aren’t very bright. So, everything they do is extremely strange! So, I take pictures of them!

I am also interested in dangerous animals. One of my favorite places to go on vacation is Hilton Head, South Carolina. There are a lot of alligators there. So cool! I really like to take pictures of them too! They are so cute! Unfortunately, I cannot live here because the alligators are bound to eat my cat. I think the alligator will think to himself “mmm that cat looks really tasty!” Its such a pity! My cat cannot run away, she is too fat! My dogs can be the appetizer but my cat will be the main course.

Now, based on my interests, you guys probably know I am a very “special” person”. However, like you I also like to do everyday things. I like to write. I believe language is art because you can write your thoughts and feelings. I also like to search the web. My friends say that I am old because I like to watch the news. Nevertheless, I believe that if you are not informed, you will become quite dumb.

Other things Brandon likes to do: sing, listen to music, annoy Ms. Ye, speak Spanish, and play on the computer.

The Bensons Do Taiwan (Nora)

posted 30 Apr 2012, 04:21 by Abby Richardson   [ updated 30 Apr 2012, 04:21 by Unknown user ]

The Bensons Do Taiwan

From April 6 to 12th, (Well a few hours of the 12th, they decided to
leave at 8am on my 19th birthday!) my family visited us in Taiwan. The
NSLI-Y crew and I had a lot of fun showing them our hometown, and I
enjoyed a week full of dinners out and sleeping in hotel beds.  As
Mac’s blog
had as my official statement, seeing the family again “was a good
time”. In order to show off the fun we had during their stay, I made a
video montage of the trip.  Check it out!

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