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Unlocking Cultural Horizons: INTL's Immersive Educational Journey in Taiwan

Unlocking Cultural Horizons: INTL's Immersive Educational Journey in Taiwan

Silicon Valley International School's (INTL) commitment to immersive bilingual education shines through in its annual cultural exchange trips to Taiwan. These experiences offer students from Elementary School, Middle School, and High School a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Taiwanese culture, forging lasting friendships, broadening their horizons, and deepening their cultural understanding

Three photo collage (top: all the students posed - bottom left: five 5th Graders grinding spices - bottom right: 5th Graders on the bus)

Our 4th and 5th graders embarked on a ten-day adventure, with the highlight being their homestay experience with families from Da-Dun Elementary School. Living with host families and attending school with local students, our young learners forged lifelong connections, building on the relationships formed when Da-Dun students visited INTL earlier in the year.

As Ya-Ching Chang, Academic Dean of the Chinese Program and lead chaperone for the Elementary School trip reflected, "The exchange programs go beyond simply hosting a student; they broaden horizons about different cultures and foster broader connections in the global world.”

Collage shot 2 (Top left: student with her host sister -  bottom left: 4th Graders on market street -  5th Grader in class working)

The trip wasn't short on educational experiences outside of the classrooms either. Students navigated their way through local markets, ordered meals, and explored museums and historical heritage sites throughout the journey.

A few weeks later, a collection of both Middle School and High School students from INTL’s Upper School made their own journey to Taiwan, living alongside host families and experiencing daily life at New Taipei Municipal Tur Ya Kar Elementary & Junior High School (TYK).

Upper School collage (five photos of various activities in the trip)

Aria F., a 7th Grader, highlighted, "the exchange was meaningful because we got to experience Chinese culture like local Taiwanese students ... I explored everything Taipei has to offer and also made connections with (my host sister’s) close knit community. Being in that environment made me want to use the language more.”

Beyond language skills, the trip fostered a deeper appreciation for Taiwanese culture. From bustling night markets to historical landmarks, students were constantly engaged. Andrew K., an 8th Grader, described how "Taiwanese cuisine is amazing. I really grew an appreciation for the culture during our visits to restaurants and night markets. This trip was also an opportunity to combine my interest in language, technology, and videography. During the culture excursions I was able to record the beauty of the Taiwan landscape and historical sites."

The trip wasn't just about the present; it was also about the future. INTL’s Upper School Chinese Teacher & Chinese Dean, Henry Lem, alongside the INTL College Counselor, Anjanita Mahadoo, met with representatives from prestigious universities like National Taiwan University (NTU) and National Cheng Kung University (NCKU). The dialogue encompassed a spectrum of topics, including language and cultural enrichment initiatives, academic disciplines, and the admissions procedures tailored for our high school students.

Four photo collage from the Upper School trip including in class and at a meal.

The annual Taiwan trips are a cornerstone of the INTL experience. Henry would go on to say, "The experience provides meaningful cultural and linguistic enrichment. Through these experiences, students further develop their global perspectives and reinforce their identity as bilingual citizens of the world."

The memories made, friendships formed, and cultural understanding gained on these trips will undoubtedly leave a lasting mark on all INTL students, showcasing the transformative power of cultural exchanges in education and the development of future global citizens.

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