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The Paw Print

Marking the first Global Initiatives Program exchange in Taiwan: Taipei Fuhsing School and Poly

Jennifer Godwin-Minto

Hailing from the bustling streets of Taipei, eight students from Taipei Fuhsing School joined the Poly community on Tuesday, Jan. 20, spending eight days with their host families to kick off their 13 day trip to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

Fuhsing School, a K-12 private school in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, offers two different curricular paths: the Bilingual Division for students who want to attend international universities and the Local Division for students who want to attend Taiwanese universities. The Fuhsing students who visited Poly were from the International Division.

Poly’s partnership with Fuhsing began this year, marking the first Global Initiatives Program (GIP) exchange in Taiwan. Upper School Mandarin teacher Lois Chung, who is originally from Taiwan, was the main facilitator of this exchange, working on creating this relationship between Fuhsing and Poly since 2019. Wenchi Yang Selzer, who joined Poly this school year as an Upper School Mandarin teacher, also helped with the exchange, managing the logistics of it.

“A huge part of GIP is to support the World Languages,” shared GlP Co-Coordinator and history teacher Rick Caragher. “We have immersion programs to go to Argentina and France, but we have not had one for our Mandarin students. This Fuhsing exchange, which Ms. Chung has been planning since before COVID, provided an opportunity for us to do just that.”

“I chose Fuhsing because I believed that we shared a lot of similarities,” shared Chung. “Ms. Diederich and I were able to scout Taiwan this past summer, looking for schools that we could connect with, and Fuhsing seemed like the perfect fit.”

During their visit to the U.S., the Taiwanese students visited several iconic sites in Los Angeles, including Universal Studios, Grand Central Market and Melrose Avenue.

“Visiting California’s best colleges, staying with host families and hanging out with Poly students are memories that will never be replaced or forgotten,” shared Jesse Chen, one of the Fuhsing students. “I am so grateful to have visited Poly, and I can’t wait for them to join us in Taiwan.”

Selzer said, “What students learn in the classroom is very limited, but when you meet a person from the language-speaking region, you learn a whole lot more about the country and its customs.”

Junior William Kim, one of the host students who was chosen to go on the Taiwan GIP trip, stated, “Initially, I wasn’t very well-versed in Taiwanese culture, but after hearing more about my student’s life back in Taiwan and his interests, I was intrigued. I am so excited to go to Taiwan myself this summer and reunite with my student and experience all the great things he told me about.”

In June, ten Poly Upper School Mandarin students will travel to Taiwan, staying with the Fuhsing students for the first week and with indigenous groups in the interior of Taiwan during the second.

“We had so many people apply to Taiwan, but Fuhsing was only able to welcome 10 students,” shared Caragher. “I hope that those 10 fully embrace the opportunity to immerse themselves, practice the language and develop an appreciation for Taiwanese culture and people. The fact that they were among the few that were selected to participate comes with a sense of responsibility. I hope they can bring back all that they’ve learned and share it with the Poly community.”

“After this trip, I hope that they become ambassadors for Chinese culture, so that in the future, when conflicts arise, they will have broader perspectives on issues that aren’t just central to the U.S. and can help come up with solutions,” said Chung.

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Ashley Kim, News Editor
Grade: 11 Years on Staff: 3 Fun Fact: I may learn how to drive before I learn how to ride a bicycle… Favorite Book: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
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