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Monday, January 6, 2014

FCU International Linkage Volunteers – An Interview

Maggie Lin and Jennifer Li

Jennifer is my classmate in the English Honor Program. We always hang out after class. Recently, Jennifer told me that she had joined a school club, the Feng Chia University (FCU) International Linkage Volunteers (ILV). Now, she is always talking about ILV, and it seems that her life has become more interesting than before! I was curious about how ILV works, so I decided to interview Jennifer.

Photos by the authors

Maggie: What does International Linkage Volunteers (ILV) do?
Jennifer: The mission of ILV is to help all FCU foreign students, including exchange students and students studying in Chinese Language Center (CLC).

As each semester starts, our members are school tour guides to show the foreign students around campus and direct them to their dorms, local supermarkets, and restaurants.

Our members assistant CLC in holding activities like orientation and cultural classes. Because the classes are in Chinese, not all of the foreign students are able to understand immediately. Therefore, most of the time, we do interpretation work, sometimes using English, sometimes using simple Chinese, and sometimes using gestures.

Another of ILV members’ jobs is being Chinese tutors. From Monday to Friday, our ILV members work on shifts in the CLC. Foreign students bring their questions to us, and we help them with their pronunciation, grammar and writing or chat with them to improve their listening and speaking.

Maggie: Does ILV have a training program?
Jennifer: At the beginning of each new semester, we have a cultivation course, which helps us to be professional assistants. In the course, we need to “re-learn” our Chinese. It is a little bit different from usual oral communication, however, because we need to be more careful about grammar and pronunciation. Moreover, because English is the international language, we need to train ourselves to speak English more fluently in order to communicate with foreign students.

Maggie: Does ILV hold any special activities?
Jennifer: In different semesters, we hold different activities. In spring, we have the Foreign Food Festival. We invite FCU foreign students to cook the food specialty of their country. In summer, we have our Chinese Adventure activity. That is, we design Chinese games for the foreign students to have fun and learn about Chinese culture. In winter, we have the Talent Show. Foreign students have to prepare a performance such as singing or dancing and perform on stage.

Oh, and every month, we have Formosa Class. In this class, we introduce special things about Taiwan like Taiwanese food, bubble milk tea, and dumplings. Moreover, we will give the foreign students chances to make their own Taiwanese dishes!

Maggie: Why did you want to join ILV?
Jennifer: I am a people person, and I love to help people. Also, I thought joining ILV would be a good opportunity for me to learn about different cultures. People come to Taiwan from different countries to study Chinese. Most of them are outgoing and are people persons, too. So, it’s fun to make friends and exchange cultural experiences with them.

Maggie: What is the most interesting experience you have had in ILV?
Jennifer: Recently, I met a girl from Australia. She had studied Chinese in China for five months. She could speak Chinese well, but it was sometimes hard for me to understand what she said because lot of words we use here in Taiwan are pronounced differently from the way they are pronounced in China, and sometimes the meaning is even different. So, I learned a lot about China’s culture from – even more than I learned about Australia!

Maggie: What have you learned from ILV?
Jennifer: I have improved my communication ability a lot. In order to help foreign students solve their problems, I had to try my best to understand their problems. Sometimes, language was a real problem. However, I found that body language has no borders and is always useful!

I have also learned how important teamwork is. In LIV, I have met a lot of good friends and learned a lot from them. We work in groups and solve problems together. They are all good leaders, and always fill the ILV office with laughter!

Maggie: After interviewing Jennifer, I understood how ILV works. Moreover, I realized why Jennifer joined this club. ILV is an extremely nice club because the volunteers in this club help foreigners to improve their Chinese and learn more about Taiwanese culture. In addition, by joining ILV, FCU students can get the opportunity to make a lot of friends from different countries.

It is really unfortunate that this is my last year in Feng Chia University because I won’t have the chance to join ILV. What a pity! If I were still a freshman, I would definitely join ILV. If you want your school life to become more interesting, don’t hesitate – join ILV! I am sure that you will enjoy yourself as much as Jennifer has! 

International Linkage Volunteers (ILV)

Office Location: Second Administration Building, Third Floor 

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