Soulful journey

Son of the late Kolkata composer John Mayer, Jonathan began his musical training at the early age of 5 with Violin, Piano & Composition. He started his initial training under the western sitarist Clem Alford who was a disciple of Sachindra Nath Saha, Senia Gharana. Later he studied Imdadkhani Gharana technical proficiency under Ustad Wajahat Khan for a short while and finally settled in to the Senia Veen-kar Gharana under the extremely knowledgeable maestro Pandit Subroto Roychowdhury.

Jonathan Mayer studied composition from his father who studied violin with Phillipe Sandre in Calcutta, music theory with Melhi Mehta in Bombay, Indian theory with Sanathan Mukerjee and composition from Matyas Sether. Jonathan later  studied composition from Andrew Downes at the Birmingham Conservatoire where he gained a B.Mus (Hons) at the Birmingham Conservatoire studying both sitar and composition. Because of his ability to read western notation he has performed with a variety of genres and so far his career has seen him play with artists such as Dave Stewart, The Bingham String Quartet, Kathryn Tickell, Kumar Bose, Kuljit Bhamra, Erich Gruenburg, Rohan De Sarem, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Bohuslav Martinu Philharmonic Orchestra Kenny Wheeler, The Orlando Consort, John Wilson, Bombay Dub Orchestra, Future Sounds of London, Sarah Brightman, I Musici Fiamminghi Orchestra,and Sir Paul McCartney.

Jonathan has composed extensively for many genres including jazz, fusion, Indian & symphonic writing. His works have been performed and commissioned by The London Philharmonic Orchestra, Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, Docklands Sinfonia, Erich Gruenburg, Joji Hattori, and his father’s band Indo-Jazz Fusions. Jonathan can be heard on many soundtracks & films including Sarah Brightmans’ Eden, Kevin Spaceys’ Beyond the sea, Indian Summer (Channel 4), Victoria & Abdul (where he can be seen on film) and Salty. Jonathan is also co-founder of First Hand Records Ltd.

Jonathan has performed all over the world including, France, Germany, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Australia, America, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and two very successful tours in India as well as a number of performances for the BBC in the UK.

You started playing piano and violin at an early age of 5. What sparked your interest for sitar?

My father is Indian, born in Kolkata. He was also a violinist/Composer (John Mayer) and formed The Indo-Jazz Fusions band with Joe Harriott in 1966. The sound of the sitar was always around me while growing up but only decided to pick it up later in my youth.

You have collaborated with a wide range of artists including Sir Paul McCartney & the BBC Concert Orchestra. How important is to collaborate and to work with other genres of music?

Although my father is Indian, my mother is English and this dual heritage is my musical identity. I studied both sitar from Pandit Subroto Roychowdury and composition from my father and so combining the two cultures feels natural to me.

Your music can be heard on many soundtracks & films.  The sitar has added an Indian sound to Hollywood films from the 1950s. What are your thoughts on Hollywood’s obsession with the sitar?

As long as it is done with respect for the instrument and genre is can only be a good thing!

Do you think sitar’s hybrid version (the electronic sitar for example) which is being hotly pursued by young, experimental musician a threat?

Not a threat. As long as there is no confusion between an acoustic sitar and electric as they are different instruments, just as electric and acoustic guitars are seen as different instruments. You cannot play classical Hindustani on an electric sitar and you cannot play rock/funk on an acoustic one with conviction and volume.

Indian classical music has a strong following abroad, but do you agree the genre's popularity hasn't translated in the country of its origin?

Classical music be it Indian or western is a niche market. I wouldn’t say there is a massive Indian classical music  following abroad but there are possibly more concert opportunities through festivals. Media plays such a huge part in everyone’s lives and so being bombarded with Bollywood or Justin Bieber and being told that their music is great can’t help the classical cause but these are only fads and Indian classical music will stay around and evolve. I read an article recently about the decline of the big classical musical festivals in India and that is a worry, we must keep concert opportunities open for the sake of culture.

For centuries, art and music have helped establish a spiritual connection between humans irrespective of their race or ethnicity. Does music helps you to reconnect to exalted, higher places?

That’s too deep! I play, I love playing, and I have fun and try to take the listener on a journey which is fundamentally my journey. My journey is a story and I play with my character as each musician SHOULD have his/her own unique voice as no two people are the same. My story isn’t spiritual, it is about life, family, sorrow, love and travels. If someone would like to call this a spiritual journey then that is fine but I see it as being story in which I connect with myself and not a higher place….inner peace!

What new things are you working on now?

Just finished a full symphonic orchestral piece called ‘Pranam’. It is completely based on Kathak and was performed in Czech Rep in June. I am now looking to revamp a trio I was in called The Teak Project (sitar, guitar & tabla)


The Joy of Volunteering

Jerry Hsiao is a major in mass communication specialized advertising and public relations. His special habits focus on photography. Jerry likes to take a picture of the touching moment between people.  He was one of the co-leader for TAIndia 2017.

What inspired you to be the faculty of TAIndia 2017?

Actually, this is my second time to visit India. Everything in India is always full of surprise there. And I really miss the people I knew in Kolkata last year. I hope that I can do more for them and know more about them. So I decided to come back to India again.

How important is to for young people to volunteer and do community service?

Whether it is important to young people. I think it depends on what are you thinking. Some people just don’t know that is very important. We can’t blame on them. But if we really feel something from our heart when we service to the people who is in need. We should keep trying our best to do. Because we can learn from service and also know more about yourself. It looks like not a big deal. But actually we will found something with meaning to ourselves. Maybe you also will improve the community, city, country, or whole the world.

What has been the general feedback of volunteers?

We can have some reflection to our life. We always can get a deep reflection on our life after the service. Most of volunteers will know how lucky they are in the world. Because we are the person can give not the person who just accepts. And we found there always are poor people got a worst life than us.

What were the best aspects of your experience in India?

I will say that once I was walking on the flooded street in Kolkata, The water is floating a dead mouse and some garbage. I really felt so disgusting. But I quickly accept the entire situation. Because I found the Indians looks like everything normal for them. I just tell myself that the fear only come from myself.

What kind of impact do you think TAIndia have had on youth of Taiwan?

TAIndia is a really special group. Because our members are come from different country and area. We have two students from Hong Kong. And also four students come from China. We also invite two Indian students to join our group. It is an international group. But it looks not so difficult to us. And we also prove that India is not a dangerous country like the news reported. Because there always are some people will worry about that they heard we are going to India. But we show that India is absolutely safe and interesting. Like the nickname to Kolkata. It is the city of joy.

What do you wish for the future?

I wish I won’t forget to keep doing service to the people. And never forget how lucky the life I have? I still will try to more for the world.


Exploring the concept of interdisciplinary

Alfredo Miralles is a contemporary dance performer and cultural manager. His work in performing arts production joins his two career paths: dance and project management. Since 2009 he works at the "Aula de las Artes" of Carlos III University in Madrid. He also writes and reflecting on dance, mainly working as a critic in SusyQ magazine. He is currently infused with the search of a suitable language on new technologies in conjunction with the art of movement. he was here to participate in Dance Bridges Festival 2017.

How would you characterize your relation to dance as an art form?

My relationship with dance is multifaceted. I work at the University Carlos III as cultural manager, creating projects around dance and new technologies. We work with students of different fields: engineers, sociologists... to approach Dance to other disciplines. So they are mostly pedagogical projects. But also I create some pieces with them as choreographer. So, this mixed profile between teaching, creating and managing conform my personal relationship with dance.

What are some central themes you’re exploring through your performances?

In my creative processes I am exploring the concept of interdisciplinary, which means I work not only with another artists, but with people from other fields of knowledge. Especially scientists. So I create mixed teams to create something together that put in dialogue different disciplines, as dance and computering. This is the center of my artistic research. 

What is your major source of inspiration?

My source of inspiration is the meeting with the other (that its also a meeting with yourself). When I start an interdisciplinary creative process I never know how its going to be the result, or even if we are going to be able to do something together. But the encounter with other disciplines make me think about my own dance practice, the borders of what I can imagine to be possible. So this meeting always pushes me out of my comfort area, which is the only place where the inspiration is possible for me.

What do you think how dance scene started to change in the context of technology?

Dance is linked to the world. And the world is getting more and more technological. So if choreographers want to talk about the way we connect nowadays with others, the way we construct our identity through social media, etc. they will start to consider the use of new technology as a way to express the new issues of current life.

What do you think the Dance Bridges Festival gives young dancers to take away?

Festivals are very important for young dancers. Its the moment when we can share with artist from other places, other cultures. It's a meeting point that enlarge your word. Specially this festival, whose name is Dance Bridges! For example, we've been attending workshops with artists from India and I'm going to meet a katak dancer (Alka Das Pranti) to share the interactive dispose of my piece. It's a way to share, to know new things and rethink your own practice and to notice that, in essence, we all are the same. Body language is universal. I can't be more agree with the festival statement: "in you I see my dance".

"The augmented body" is the scenic result of the encounter between 
the dance and new technologies promoted by the Carlos III 
University of Madrid (Spain) and configures an engineering bachelor thesis.

This dance solo seeks to establish dialogue between the two disciplines in
a horizontal hierarchy, in which technologies are part of the poetry of the scene 
based on real-time interaction.

In this piece, the Kinect sensor and the Processing programming is used to 
create interactive audiovisual that are activated and transformed by 
the movement of the dancer.

- Choreography, text and direction: Alfredo Miralles
- Interactive Audiovisual: Javier Picazas
- Interactive support: Javier Gorostiza
- Voice: Irene Gomez
- Original Music: Antonio Dueñas "A piel de héroe"

Link to short video:


Where letters become artistic creations

In collaboration with Consulate General of Japan in Kolkata and Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, the Nihongo Kaiwa Kyookai Society (NKKS) organized a Calligraphy Workshop which portrayed the fine artistic technique of writing in Japanese language using traditional brush, ink and other materials. More than 70 students, mainly from the Japanese language learning institutes, participated in the workshop that will be conducted by Ms. Hiroko Nagahama, a Former Calligraphy Teacher at the Tokyo Kasei University Girls Senior High School.
What keeps you motivated to keep coming back to Kolkata and do workshops?

My aim is to create more awareness about Japanese culture.  There are already a lot of people who love Japan. I want to increase their numbers.  In today’s age the connection between one human being with another is very important. You have to build relationships with people. Japanese calligraphy is the essence of traditional Japanese culture.
How can calligraphy be made popular here?

Unfortunately you don’t see much implementation of calligraphy here in India. Japanese calligraphy has evolved and is now taught as a required subject in Japan's elementary schools. One experience relaxation and emotional calmness while doing calligraphy.
What are your thoughts on online calligraphy courses?

There are useful resources and online courses are on the Internet. But it is important to learn the basics from a good instructor. Once you have the hang of it then you can take online lessons.
Any memorable experience  from this trip?

I was surprised to see the participants this time. How talented they were. Although many of them were doing it for the first time, they wrote so well. I am happy that so many people know about the existence of calligraphy.
What are the practical implications of calligraphy in modern times?

You can use it in making posters. Or you can use the calligraphy form in writing Indian languages. One can modify and personalize these styles for an infinite range of stunning effects
How spiritual is Japanese calligraphy?

It helps you to connect more deeply with their higher selves.


Serving with passion

Dr. Albert Tang, currently Associate Professor in Media, Communication and Cultural Studies at Fu Jen Catholic University, has obtained his doctoral degree in cross-cultural studies (comparative literature and visual studies),a master degree in mass communication (advertising, Television, film and journalism) and a bachelor in English language and literature (drama, translation and situated English). His academic interests range from Chinese Cinema(s), Cultural Studies, to new media arts, inter-Asian cultural management, both domestic and abroad.

While TAindia continues its service at FGS this year,
 an interview was taken with Master YU CHEN 
for better  understanding of FGScontribution 
to the local community and TAIndia’s future
Dr. Tang has been producer for two artistic works, Penalty of Peity: the Benedictine Beginning of Fu Jen Catholic Univesity in Peking (2006) and Moral Compass: Fr. Bauer in Taiwan (2013). He has worked for Taipei Golden Horse Film Fetival in 1990 and 1996 respectively and be responsible for VIP reception, Tainan film exhibition, special anthology editting and ceremony presiding. He also translated and edited more than 8 books in the field of critical and media studies. He's been Head of Mass Communication, Director of Academic Exchange Center and other positions in Fu Jen Catholic University, deputy-Secretary for UMAP (University Mobility for Asia Pacific) Taiwan, founding Secretary-general and board member of Cultural Studies Association Taiwan (1998-2004) Since 2011, he has traveled with MOFA-sponsored International Youth Exchange Program to UK, Isreal, Atlanta and Miami, and the Asia Pacific.

Professor Tang has been engaged in volunteering and service learning activities. He has led student delegations to India since 2013-2017. He's now President of Chinese Youth Goodwill Association which paid its first visit to Brisbane, Australia (2015), Semarang, Indonesia (2017).

What inspired you to be the faculty of TAIndia 2017?
TAIndia 2017 received a big card of appreciation 
from students of Grace Ling Liang English School
 for her service in Chinese teaching at
the academy from Jul. 26 to 28, 2017.

I've been serving as supervisor for such service learning delegation since 2013. I myself has been chosen as a member of Chinese Youth Goodwill Mission (to visit Europe and the Middle East) when I studies in Fu Jen. Also, I serve as Director for International Youth Ambassador Program (sponsored by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ROC) from 2011 (to UK), 2012 (to Israel), 2013 (Atlanta and Miami), 2014 (Asian Pacific). Those activities had widen my perspective and broaden my Weltanschauung ( "world view"). Hence, being a faculty to such student-organized activities, can better give profound feedback, solid training and humanity-bed sharing for my student--partners. The experiences also enrich my observation and understanding of Grand tour and Will to serve others of the younger generations.
For TAINdia 2017, in particular, I initiated to propose such new combinations, Kolkata and Delhi, Mother House and Tangra, volunteering and service learning, historical tourism and Cultural Studies. It's a new way of creative thinking in modeling the program. I, therefore, will be delighted to work with the partners, to prevail the spirit of TAIndia (Taiwan and India, Brothers and Sisters as a world).

How important is to for young people to volunteer and do community service? What has been the general feedback of volunteers?
Volunteering and community service, to young students nowadays, provide a window for them to better reflect their own ways of living and knowing the world by physical mobility and further motivating they to materialize their future life goals. Apart from academic studies and extracurricular activities, volunteering and community service articulate different layers of critical reflection of social relations and intercultural communication. Transformation of personal stereotype toward certain groups are highly expected and possibly evolved into CHANGE of life attitude in the future in our reflection every night, our partners share their volunteering experiences in terms of their first-hand observation, group interaction and social interpretations. They are motivated to portray different mirrors of INDIA landscapes, and to better comprehend the humanistic trajectory of missionaries of charity and other NGO institutions. They found their heart purified, and their mind more peaceful, and great leap toward their own inner growth, both intellectually and psychologically.
On Aug 5,TAIndia meetsChinese majors from JNU
 to exchange views and share academic experience in 
universities from both sides in English
and mandarin.
What were the best aspects of your experience in India?
Personally, the best aspects of my Indian experience lies in the hospitality of local friends, whose-heartedness from our perception of the NGOs, NPOs, and incredibility of interface of Chiense-India cultural mapping, such as Tagore. Research-based approach to service learning has led to much knowledge of the history down-to-earth, such as Chinese diasporas in India, White Town Colonial terrain, and contemporary India society.

What kind of impact do you think TAIndia have had on youth of Taiwan?

TAIndia 2017 incorporates students from Fu Jen, Jadavpur University (KOL), JNU (Delhi) and Lingnan university (HK) to share young people a possible way of MEETING the world via love and action, and a trial to jump out our the comfort zone (to INDIA) to look for potentiality of strength and perseverance. This will demonstrate to Taiwan's youth an alternative path for a more meaningful and fruitful performance other than academic studies and stiff thinking. Also, India, a country alive of mysterious legends and sometimes demoralized by media, is accessible and should be repainted with humanistic colors of social concerns.

TAIndia 2017 stands in front of 
Missionaries of Charity 
aka Mother’s House initiated
 by Saint Teresa in 1950.

What do you wish for the future?

As mentioned by several contact windows in India, TAIndia will aim to continue its work in the future, with more collaboration among various institutions, such universities, NGOs, NPOs...etc. We've taken, especially, contact with quite a few organizations in Delhi, Jaipur, Sillong. TAIndia hopes to include more space with more Indian students, too, to work together for more activities with social improvement and self growth.

- Photographs by Jerry Hsiao

New musical encounters

Iranian-born percussionist Fakhroddin Ghaffari aka Sina has mastery over multiple Persian and Middle Eastern percussion instruments including his principal instrument, Tombak, as well as Darbuka and Daf. He has been studying Indian Classical Music for more than a decade and now doing his Ph.D in the same while working on various musical projects and cross cultural activities between Iran and India. He co-founded the Viuna Music Ensemble in 2004 and the Mehr Ban Ensemble in 2011 to promote the harmony between Persian and Indian music. Sina is the founder of World Ethnic Music Ensemble (W.E.M.E.) - very unique combination of musicians from different parts of the world

What inspired you to learn Indian Classical music?

I am from Iran. There is lot of connection between Persian music and Indian music. Indian classical music has been influenced by Persian music since the 16th century after the Mughals arrived from Persia. I always had a big interest for Indian classical music. I was always curious about Indian classical music. I started learning it as an academic and just continued.
How much has Indian classical music influenced your playing?

Tabla has influenced my playing on a very large scale. It has given a different perspective of how I am looking at my instrument. Though I don’t play table but I play a lot of tabla repertoire on my instruments.
Could you share some light on the World Ethnic Music Ensemble (WEME).

It is a collaboration of musicians from Iran, India, USA, Afghanistan, and France .Most of the compositions are original compositions that I compose myself. Since everyone belongs to different musical traditions they bring different colours to the compositions. . Some of the compositions have Western Classical vibe while some are on a solid Indo-Persian rhythmic cycle and have the same melodic form. The compositions are mostly based on Middle Eastern music and European folk music. Some of them are also based on Indian classical and Indian folk music. Dance can helps the music reach the audiences in a better and clearer way that is intended, that is why one some of the pieces we have dance as well which are choreographed and performed by Lise Moulet, a dancer and choreographer from France
Tell us about your most memorable concert.
I would say sharing the stage with Abida Parveen . It is a special moment for me!
What do you strive to convey through music?

Music always has a message of peace. I mean inner peace. It’s about finding yourself and being peaceful to yourself. I don’t think anyone can think of a world without music. My vision is to spreading this form of music – a new genre and vision.

What are your thoughts on Persian music and its connection to Iranian culture?

Iranians are very attached to Persian music. Music is in the blood in the vein of every culture.  The only segment of the culture people are most connected to is the music. The richness of Persian literature can be seen in their original compositions. The mysticism of Persian classical music is rooted in the poetry.
You do lot of collaborations. How important are collaborations for a musician.

As a musician, collaboration is very important to me. Since every collaboration is a classroom for one to learn and find out new capabilities of one’s art. For instance it has been an amazing learning experience for me while performing with the Sufi Gospel Project. With this genre of music I have to play my instruments in a different way. It is important to collaborate otherwise you will be stuck up in what you only know. Music is so big. One needs to explore other forms.

From Storytelling to Nation Branding - Seung Ah Kim's Story

Seung Ah Kim is the founder of Arirang Storytelling Concert. Inspired by the folktales her grandmother told her as a child, Seung Ah tells Korean folk stories in a dynamic and interactive way that is engaging for audiences of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities. Her performances combine traditional Korean folktales and mythology with contemporary stories from her own life. As a pioneer Korean professional storyteller, she has travelled across all the continents to bring Korea to the world through her stories and tales, and has developed “K-STORYTELLING” as a new facet of Korea’s nation branding. This world tour includes various performances, workshops, and events focused on Korea, its culture and its people, extraordinary and ordinary heroes. Recently Seung Ah Kim shared Tiger Stories from Korean Folktales at Gyan. Manch,Kolkata organised by Wild Strawberry.

What inspired you to come up with the idea for K-Storytelling World Tour Project?
Storytelling is my passion and my life. I truly want to share Korean stories and my love for storytelling with more people in the world. That has been my dream so I have been travelling many countries to share Korean stories and culture since I became a professional storyteller. In Korea I have been trying to introduce storytelling as an art form and to establish a storytelling association and a K-Storytelling Center for 10 years. But I couldn’t make it happen. One day with broken heart I was crying. I lamented “God, why people in Korea don’t appreciate storytelling more than ones in other countries? Why nothing happened even though I tried so hard?”

At that moment an idea hit upon me. “Seung Ah, just think of bright sides. Look you have many friends and fans outside of Korea. They all appreciate what you are doing. Just go and tell stories and share stories with 1 million people. 1 million people out of the whole population of the earth are nothing. If 1 million people appreciate your storytelling and donate money to support your dream, you can establish a K-Storytelling Center in Korea.” Then I started to contact my friends in different countries and told them about the K-Storytelling World Tour Project. Since they are storytellers and story lovers, they all supported my idea. That’s why I am here in India. India is my third destination after the USA and Taiwan. Since June 2017 my world tour started. I was the first donator for this project. I cleared my house and put my things in a container near Seoul. I set off my journey. Through this world tour project I have learned so many things and met so many people. Working with my storytellers friends in each country I visited is a lot of fun. We could understand each other more and sharing ideas about promoting storytelling to people. Automatically all of journey is full of adventures and stories which give people more understandings about storytelling and storytellers. We all believe that we will make it happen. Do you why? We are all small heroes.
Why is storytelling important to children in this digital-world?
Storytelling gives us chances to see images through our mind eyes, to feel the vibration of the voice of our storyteller, to make eye contact and interact heart to heart. These are all the things we have lost in the digital world. 

It is often said that storytelling and story-listening can contribute to children’s intellectual, emotional, and social development. Could you please throw some light on that?
Storytelling and story-listening are like the sunlight and the moonlight in our life. As the sunlight makes trees grow bigger, storytelling and listening help our knowledge and wisdom grow bigger. As the sunlight gives warmth to the earth, storytelling gives warmth in our life. As the moonlight guides you in the darkness, storytelling enlightens your life.

Do you have advice for parents looking to try storytelling with their kids?
My advice is “Never feel burden when you tell stories to your kids”. Most of parents feel that storytelling is a duty as good parents. But storytelling is a heart to heart communication. It delivers not only stories but also feelings. Telling stories to your kids should be the same as making food you like and sharing it with your kids. If you simply think sharing your favorite stories with your kids, you will feel more comfortable. When you learn something new from your daily life, you can share it with your kids. If you heard something fun or touching from your friends, you can share it with your kids. Also listening to your kids’ stories are good. After listening to them, you can share your opinions, feelings or other stories which come up your mind. If you really want to share stories with your kids, your kids will feel your passion and love even though you don’t have any skills in storytelling.

What role, according to you, does storytelling play in the classroom? How can teachers use storytelling in the classroom?
In old days, even nowadays storytelling is one of the most powerful tools in education. We can Google information so easily now. That means people can get knowledge everywhere. But not so much wisdom. Storytelling is all about wisdom and inspiration. So in this digital era, the function of schools is focused on more human things and more social things. In the classroom through teacher’s voice and eye contact students can get more inspired. If teachers tell stories that could be more fantastic because storytelling creates very strong connection and motivation. Let’s just what smartphones cannot do for students. The answers will be what only teachers can do.

People have forgotten how listen, tell and share a story. Stories are endangered and, I fear, if not shared will get lost. As a storyteller what are your thoughts on this?
Yes, we are losing the oral tradition. But luckily there are storytellers and story lovers in the world. In Canada I came across to read a slogan from a poster of ‘the Parent-Child Mother Goose Program’, it has been in my mind as a storyteller. “Stories are treasure to share.” In modern society when people think about treasure not many people consider stories as treasure. As a storyteller I have found that stories and our tradition are blessed heritage. I feel like I am a billionaire heiress. We cannot measure the value of stories as we cannot measure happiness. Since I became a storyteller I have been experienced happiness simply by sharing stories and culture. I have seen smiles from my audience’s faces and lights from their eyes. I know we cannot buy those things with money. That’s why I want to devote myself to keep storytelling tradition alive. I strongly believe as long as storytellers exist in the world, we will keep telling stories and the stories will be spread out all over the world. 


Volunteering: A Life Changing Experience

Angela Chen studies at the Taiwan Fu Jen Catholic University. She is a freshman at Mass Communication. She is also a children art class teacher, teach magic, modeling balloon and board games. She was one of the co-leader for TAIndia 2017.

In Grace Ling Liang English School,
we taught them the colors meaning
 of Peking Opera and made masks.
How did you get involved with TAINDIA ?

When I was 17, I wanted to do service learning abroad to gain more life experience, and I also learned some cultural differences between India and Taiwan at school. Before entering Fu Jen Catholic University, I met a girl who was anex-member of this India group. She recommended me to join this team, and so I took the chance.

What's the most rewarding part of your experience working at the Shanti Dan?

At Shanti Dan, the living and health condition of the children are worse than those of my country and I am ashamed that I complained all the time. I really appreciate it that the children who made me realize how lucky and blessed I am. From their happy faces, what I have done at Shanti Dan seems meaningful.

In Pei May Chinese High School,
we played a memory game after
we having a 
transportation class.
What are the main challenges you faced?

The main challengeI faced was feeling uncomfortable. I had diarrhea for many times when I was in India. Although I felt uncomfortable during work, I still did my best to do everything I could. I just don’t want my learning and service to be affected.

Can you share with us one of your best memories here?

I was surprised when the students of Grace Ling Liang English School tried to chat with me by using Chinese. Their teacher said they were very shy to speak Chinese because they thought their Chinese were not good. Therefore, I was so happy that they tried to practice Chinese with us though they needed a little bit of time to complete a sentence. It was touching. It meant our program is useful for them.

Students also made their own
wood airplane and design it with Chinese culture.
What is your advice for young students who wish to do volunteer work?

If you want to do it, do it. Don’t waste any chance that you could widen your horizon. The result will be something that you can’t imagine.
I want to share one thing that I didn’t notice when I did service learning in India for you. That is everyone who volunteers to help people abroad can be a good ambassador for Taiwan and Fu Jen because we do what we can to help and we represent our country.

On June 20th, TAIndia assigned me as a representative of 106Youth Overseas Peace Corps and met with the president. There were many representatives from different schools. In her speech, the president said,“When you do international volunteer work, you are the international image of Taiwan and our best representative.”

Although we are small parts in the world, with our heart widely opened and our shoulders squared, a small part can be crucial in helping people in need. For this reason, don’t sell yourself short.


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