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Jul 19, 2011

Taiwanese delegation launches cultural exchange program at IT-VET

Belize is among a small group of twenty-three countries that has relations with Taiwan. As part of Taiwan’s diplomatic outreach, youth ambassadors are deployed to the various countries. In Belize, the Taiwanese delegation today launched its cultural exchange program at the IT-VET. News Five’s Delahnie Bain met the delegation as they previewed their traditional dance.

Delahnie Bain, Reporting

For the next two weeks, a group of local students will immerse themselves in an exchange of culture with International Youth Ambassadors from Taiwan. This year’s program follows a successful first run in 2010 and it may be a new summer trend in the Jewel.

David Wu, Taiwanese Ambassador

David Wu

“This is the second year that we arrange this international youth ambassador to Belize. Last year we had one youth group here and they enjoyed themselves very much. They exchange culture and different experiences with the local students here. Also, they learn many beautiful things to this country.”

Christine Smith, Director, Youth for the Future

“We continued the discussion and it became a possibility for this year as well. So For the next two weeks, we have six youth ambassadors from Taiwan along with their professor, who will be running a two week summer camp for ninety Belizean youths.”

According to Taiwanese Ambassador, David Wu, the youth ambassadors are aptly qualified to make the summer activities both fun and educational.

David Wu

“This delegation is composed of students from the Taipei National University of the arts. They are very talented artists. Five of them are now starting post graduate programs. They are starting the master degrees and PHD degrees. So they will share their knowledge and expertise in music, aboriginal dancing, glove puppetry and also opera. I think it will be for full of fun for the local students here.”

Christine Smith

Christine Smith

“Any exposure to different cultures, different lifestyles allow us to grow as individuals. It allows us to grow in terms of appreciation for the differences that others have as well as to grow within ourselves because it allows us to appreciate what we have in Belize. And we have a large Taiwanese community in Belize but very few of us have any exposure to that community. So this allows us the opportunity to view their culture and their art and see what it is that Taiwan is about.  We are very hopeful that it will continue, that we will continue to have Taiwanese ambassadors come and sometime in the not too distant future, we will have a team of young Belizeans going to Taiwan and doing the exchange over there as well.”

Meanwhile, another group of Taiwanese students from the National TsingHua University have been working along with Sacred Heart Junior College to assist rural schools in the Cayo district. That project is spearheaded by IT Professor, Kieran Ryan, who attended NTHU on scholarship.

Kieran Ryan, IT Professor, Sacred Heart Junior College

“We’re trying to get internet and net book computers to the rural schools. So we’ve done that and part of the program is bringing in one hundred net books and internet connections for five schools. So the Taiwanese are here to take net books for the first time to rural areas and firs time internet connections so it’s the first time some of these villagers have gotten to use the internet.”

Anita Chen, Student Leader, NTHU

Anita Chen

“We took about two weeks in the remote primary schools to share our computer experience with them. And most of them haven’t touched computer before so they are very excited for that just like holding the mouse and copy and paste. These are skills that seem very easy but for them it’s very new, very fresh and they are so excited and two of the schools are gonna have a computer classroom in the next semester so we hope they can learn the skill and enjoy the computer class.”

Ryan is hoping to help improve performance in the rural schools, which record the lowest scores and highest dropout rates. The group visited schools in villages including, Cristo Rey, Calla Creek, San Antonio and Seven Miles.

Kieran Ryan

Kieran Ryan

“They prepared for over one year for this and they’ve got everything down to a T. The interaction with the kids, seeing the villagers their faces light when they get to interact with foreign students and use computers and the internet, wonderful and they’ve made a commitment to stay in touch with some of these kids for a year.”

So as the NTHU students prepare to leave on Thursday, the youth ambassadors are just getting started. Delahnie Bain for News Five.

If you’re of those Belizeans between the ages of thirteen to seventeen years, that are interested in the Taiwanese culture, you can still sign up at IT-VET.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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