Y3 Bicultural Studies Programme Taiwan Trip 2019
23 students from the Bicultural Studies Programme (BSP) and 3 teachers— Mdm Jiang Ling, Ms Chew Geok Joo and Mdm Wee Liang Ee embarked on a 13-day immersion trip to Taiwan from 2 to 14 Nov. The objectives of the trip were to allow students to cultivate an in-depth understanding of Taiwan’s history and contemporary issues, which includes the cultural, societal, educational, political and economic development, and also to provide students with the opportunity to experience cultures beyond Singapore. Through interaction with local students, students can meet new friends and forge international friendships.
We were honoured to have visited Datong High School, Ta-ren Girls’ High School, Natural Way Experimental Educational School and National Wu-Ling Senior High School during our trip. We were given a rare glimpse into the Taiwanese education system and the diverse school cultures in Taiwan. From this trip, we took away with us precious friendships forged with local students, thanks to their heart-warming reception and hospitality. In addition, we were also honoured to learn from 2 professors from the National Taiwan University—Professor Chen Chih Jou and Professor Hsu Szue Chin, who provided invaluable insights in their sharing about Cross-Strait relations and Taiwan’s political climate. From them, we learnt of the volatilities of our time and how history continues to affect our world today.
We also visited many famous attractions in Taiwan, from which we learnt a lot from. For example, the Earthquake Museum of Taiwan which preserves the original rubble of the 921 earthquake that had devastating impacts on Taiwanese infrastructure in 1999. There, we were taught how to react when disaster strikes and the visit reminded us of how fortunate we are to be living in Singapore which is not in a seismically active area. At Taipei 101, we took the second fastest elevator in the world up to the 101 Observatory and saw a beautiful sunset. The beauty of the Taiwanese nature is something we have grown to appreciate, especially after visiting the Sun Moon Lake, Beitou Hot Spring, Xi-tou Nature Education Area and Yehliu Geopark. We also visited the Qin-Liu Tribe where we got to experience the culture of the Seediq indigenous tribe and understand their contribution to the history of Taiwan. Our experience at the Sun Shin Onion Farm was even more interesting in that we got to harvest shallots from the fields and also make our own shallot pancake. In addition, we also visited many places of historical significance to Taiwan, namely Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall, the Presidential Office Building, the National Palace Museum, Fort Santo Domingo, Tamshui, Jiufen and Shifen Historical Streets.
We are also grateful for being able to enjoy ourselves while we learn new things, especially when we visited Raohe and Fengjia Night Markets and Ximending. We tasted their signature bubble teas, pepper pancakes, chicken cutlets and so many more delicious snacks. We were also lucky to be able to visit many organizations for experiential learning during the trip, an example being Want Want China Times Group where we learnt about the challenges faced by the journalistic and print industries. We also visited Vigor Kobo where we got the chance to make our own pineapple cakes. A theme central to this immersion trip is ‘Increasing our Environmental Awareness’ and many of our experiences on this trip were closely linked to this. After visiting Chung Tai Resource Technology Corporation and Tzu Chi Eco-Awareness Centre, we were very impressed with the efforts the Taiwanese have put in to protect our environment. We have become more cognisant of the impact our actions have on the Earth and what we can do to promote sustainability at home.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank our guide, Ms Elva Ho, our driver, Mr Xie, as well as our teachers for their dedication and care throughout this trip, always looking out for us and going the extra mile even when they did not have to. Our understanding of Taiwan has increased significantly through this journey and we are grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow.
– Write-up by Y3 BSP students