Diary of a Girl from Zenica: What does it look like to be a Volunteer in Taiwan?

voluneer-majaMaja Hadziselimovic is engineer of robotics from Zenica, employed in the German Augsburg, and she is currently working as a volunteer in Taiwan.

She volunteers in one Taiwanese elementary school within the organization AIESEC, where she needs to introduce her hosts with Bosnian culture.

Master in robotics from Zenica competed at the fair in Hanover with the German team of roboticists and placed into the six best in the world.

She applied as a student in July over international student organization AIESEC and competed for humanitarian volunteer. She got the opportunity to go to Taiwan to teach children.

Three months ago, she decided to do the voluntary practice. She did not know exactly where, but she knew that it needs to be somewhere very far and to be related to children since she loves them very much.

“After searching the database, I came across a program called ‘Dream Beyond Languages’. The project aims to teach children English in the local primary school in Kaohsiung (the second largest city in Taiwan).

“You can read on the Internet that the people of Taiwan is very nice. It is more than true! If they notice that you are lost, they will literally go with you until you find what you are looking for. English language is not common in Taiwan, since it is quite difficult because of the nature of language to learn it. Even bigger problem is that after learning, they do not have opportunity to apply it. English-speaking countries are far away and they have no chance to meet foreigners very often. This is the goal of this project, to bring foreigners to children to introduce them to their culture, language and show them that a different native language is not a barrier to communication,” she said.

“On my first day, they asked me all kinds of questions such as, whether my eyes and hair are straight, how tall I am, why I am so tall etc. Their English is not good enough for fluent conversation, but it is amazing how people can understand each other without a single word. The best example are children that are attending first and second grade. Their English is mostly down to numbers. Nevertheless, as soon as they see me every morning, they are running to say hello. When we cannot understand each other, we draw on a chalkboard or translate using Google translate.”

Every week I’m suppose to give a talk about a particular topic. The first week I spoke about music so I played Halid Beslic, Laka and Amira Medunjanin to them, and they chose who they like the best. At the end, Laka won. In the second week, we talked more about the culture, food and nature of BiH. Given the fact that I studied in Slovenia and Serbia, we talked about those countries because, to them, Europe is generally something distant and foreign. Serbia is best known for Djokovic while they barely ever heard of BiH, so then we explain where we are using the example of Djokovic. This week, I will talk to them about my childhood, my primary school, Zenica, high school, friends and family, “says Maja.
When it comes to lifestyle, they are a lot like us, but they have many traditions in their education that are worth of attention.

(Source: Radiosarajevo.ba)

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