How to plan a school exchange in Taiwan
The first place you want to start is probably to book a school trip to Taiwan. Take some time to think about your learning objectives. Do you want to include a school exchange so that your students can practice their mandarin? Do you want to do a school exchange to give your students a chance to share or teach specific skills/knowledge with the local students (especially if your students are at the university level)?
Are you a music teacher who wants to organize a joint concert with a local school? Are you looking for a simple cultural exchange? Once you are clear about what you want out of a school exchange, we can work with you to find a school that is open to facilitating the experience on their campus.
Make sure that your school trip to Taiwan is not during the school holidays. Although school calendars differ from year to year, you can take these holidays as a reference while planning.
January 1 – Founding Day of the ROC (three-day bank holiday)
Late January or February – Chinese New Year (3 to 5-day holiday)
February 28 – Memorial Day
April 5 – Tomb Sweeping Day
May 1 – Labor Day
June – Dragon Boat Festival (on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month)
September 3 – Armed Forces Day
September – Mid-Autumn Festival (on the 15th day of the ninth lunar month)
October 10 – National Day (Double Tenth Day)
December 25 – Constitution Day (not always a holiday)
Most schools will require an official signed or stamped letter of intent and purpose written on your school’s official letterheaded paper.
School exchanges foster global citizenship & cultural intelligence.
More and more focus is being given to cultural intelligence, or ‘CQ,’ as it is referred to in short. The academic body of literature regarding the relationship between school exchange and cultural intelligence also continues to expand.
Especially for students who come from a monocultural background, the effects of even a short-term foreign school exchange program on levels of cultural intelligence was found to be statistically significant. Here are two studies you can read through to find out more about the results, one from the international journal of intercultural relations, the other from Aalto university.
When students go abroad, or indeed start to learn about different cultures, it is critical that they don’t focus on the differences between groups of people but rather the similarities.
Doing a school exchange in a foreign country puts students in contact with those they are like demographically – a high school student in Taiwan, much like a high school student in the US or the UK, goes to school 5 days a week, they get a school lunch, they care about their peer groups.
Interacting in similar age groups makes it easier to see the similarities and pique an interest in cultural differences that is couched in a positive, accepting, and friendly framework.
Practice Mandarin during a Taiwan school exchange
Though there are many reasons to go on a school trip to Taiwan, one of the main reasons that our partner schools go to Taiwan is to learn about Chinese culture and to practice mandarin.
In fact, if you are a Chinese teacher based abroad who would like to organize a school trip to experience Chinese culture, Taiwan is one of the best options outside of Mainland China. The other option would be a Chinese culture trip to Singapore. When you go to Taiwan for a Mandarin immersion school trip, you can expect a Taiwan school exchange morning or afternoon to be included in your itinerary.
Your students can practice their Mandarin, and the local students will be able to practice their English. We recommend that you prepare your students with a few conversation starters or topics as students may be a bit shy when they first meet each other.
However, one of the best reasons to do a school exchange in Taiwan is because it means that students can stay in touch after the trip as well. When you get back to your home country, you can ask your students to practice their Mandarin by having them text, call, and write with the students they met during their school trip to Taiwan.
Activities to do during a School Exchange in Taiwan
School Exchange in taiwan can feel a little bit contrived if you are not well prepared. At WildChina Education, we make sure that both school groups are well prepared for the school exchange.
We have a variety of activities and suggestions about how to run the school exchange, depending on what the goals of the school exchange are. If you are doing a school exchange for cultural exchange, then here are 6 simple activities and ideas that can get you started:
- Teach each other your own culture/country’s childhood folk games and play them together
- Work all together on a massive mural or canvas
- Have a math or science bowl that doesn’t require a high level of language on either side
- Play a sports match like football or basketball
- Do a round robin ‘speed dating’ style get-to-know session with a set of questions that each person has to answer about the other
- Do an improv session that only uses body language
WildChina Education has been around for over two decades, and we’ve arranged hundreds if not thousands of school exchange experiences all across Asia. If you’re planning a school trip to Taiwan, a school trip to Mainland China, or a school trip to Singapore, we highly recommend including a school exchange in Taiwan.
We’ll pair you up with the school that most shares your school exchange goals and facilitate and arrange the day(s) in a way that encourages all parties to get to know each other, learn, enjoy each other’s company, and foster impactful cultural learning experiences.