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Thursday, 10 May 2007

International Exchange Student---Luis from Brazil

Hello there,

I have rocked and rolled on BBC Learning English Student Blog for 9 days, how time flies!

It is very nice to read the humor tale of a cat named Friday which teacher Alex has written for us. I am practicing understanding the style of western humor.

Noun as a subject can’t do both jobs at the same time, it’s a rule, And Alex can do both jobs at the same time which are to work and to play with cat at the same time, it's a gift.

About 4 or 5 years ago, my hometown appeared a foreign student who is from Australia and he studied in Yilan High school as an international exchange student. He is the first one who showed up in my city. And it is a Youth Exchange Program of Rotary Club, apply to all over the world.

Youth Exchange Program for short is YEP, YEP sound like informal yes.

Let me briefly introduce YEP:
If you are a student whose age is between 16 and 18 years old, you can apply to abroad 1 year as an international exchange student to get into local high school. And the obligation of your family is to find 2-4 host families to host one inbound student. The program is not English learning only but many other kinds of language learning. For example, student goes to Brazil, they learn Portuguese, and student goes to India, they learn Hindi and English, and student go to Russia, they learn Russian, and Student comes to Taiwan, they learn Mandarin(spoken language of Chinese).

My younger sister has a daughter went to Brandon, Manitoba, Canada on August last year. So, she had to find 2-4 host families to host one inbound exchange student, and Luis was the selected one, who my younger sister has to host, and we are the one who were chosen by my younger sister to be the first one host family of Luis. Luis had lived in my house for 100 days since September 1, 2006.

Luis came to Taiwan in September 1, 2007 from Sao Joao du Boa Vista, state of San Paolo, Brazil. He is the year of 2006-2007 International Exchange Inbound Student in Taiwan. He flew 28 hours from Brazil to Taiwan alone. It’s amazing. He is just 18 years old person (He doesn’t like me to call him a boy supposedly). He’ll go back to Brazil on July this year.

Luis is a well-educated, clever, modest and open-minded man, it is without saying. And there are a few things which I would like to share with all my friends:
1) No matter you like or not, English is the dominant international language, you can use English to do many things. Luis’s mother language is Portuguese, English is his second language, and he is good at it. Luis could not say any Chinese (Mandarin) except ‘thanks’、’hello’ before he came to Taiwan. Since he is proficient in English, he can get lot of stuff in many aspects, such as: surf internet to get knowledge and information, many chats to other exchange student who is English speaker, many talks with host family, and etc. Now he can speak quite good Chinese, his listen apprehension is good as well, his reading and writing is improving gradually.
2) In Taiwan, many people are the xenophile; it means that you are warmly welcomed if you are a foreigner, especially as you are a Caucasian. And how much tuition can the English teacher get? It depends on your race. Luis is a sort of Caucasian, English is not his mother language but his second language, then Jenny is an ABC (American Born Chinese), English is her mother language. Jenny’s English is better than Luis, which is for sure. And, one day, casually, Straun (An exchange student from Canada) told Luis as a tricky way:’ Hey, man, you can back to Taiwan to teach English, and if you do so, you can get more paycheck than Jenny.” Yes, Straun, you are totally right. That is a truly Taiwan.
3) When culture is exchanging, discrepancies show up all the time, you can choose to take it or leave it, or let the differences exist at the same time. For example, most of Taiwanese take a bath in the evening, but Luis usually takes hid bath in the early morning, it’s different, and we choose to take it, which means that Luis can take a bath in the early morning with his quiet motions.

My friend, I would like to tell you more, but, it’s late now in Taiwan, I got to go and to sneak upstairs to my bed with my quiet motions, otherwise, my Das and Mom will be awakened by me, it will be a sin for a son in Taiwan.

Love always,
Culture exchange could be a win-win situation
James Zhih-Cheng Wu

PS: Hear and listen is quite different in English, we don’t have such difference in Chinese.


Hello James and hello everyone! This is just a quick comment to say that I found the photo that you sent in your last blog so lovely. It´s a beautiful place indeed. Say hello to Luis and to your family for me. Best wishes, Ana Paula.

It is very interesting how English helped Luis get by in Taiwan until his Chinese was good enough..I can tell you that as a tourist English was the only way I could hope to communicate when I visited numerous countries in western Europe. Most of the time I knew I just had to approach a young person and more likely than not (in my experience anyway) they would be able to help me. You see, my high school French proved inadequate (my fault, not the teacher's!)and visiting nine countries in all, how could I expect to speak so many languages? Having said this, it was in Portugal that not speaking the local language hurt-and again this has to do with food, does it seem I am always eating?. I was at a kind of diner (that's what we Americans call them anyway-an inexpensive eatery where you sit on a stool at a counter and eat)and wanted to order something but didn't speak a word of Portuguese. That is one hard language, as not even my phrase book could help..Anyway, the waitress said something to me and not knowing what to say I just nodded (ever done this when you couldn't speak a foreign language?). Then she brought me a plate of food and I tried to decline and say that I hadn't even ordered yet and she got angry with me. From my understanding she was saying (all in Portuguese), "Well, I asked you if you wanted to try today's special(?) and you nodded so I brought it to you and now you want to send it back?" That's what I think she was saying anyway..I just bit my lip (holding back tears of frustration) and ate the food, all the time cursing myself for not learning some basic Portuguese. Well, this didn't give me a bad impression of Portugal or the Portuguese, after all I have Portuguese blood in me and some port in Operto made me forget it all for awhile!

Hello there ..Culture exchange could be a win-win situation . I prefer this saying very much. I would like to meet news friends . Partically in my university has international students who would like to learn Thai language and culture from the US ,coming reside in dormitories on the beginning of June . So I totally prepare for applying a flatmate . It is a good opportunity to have new friends as native speaker . I hope I will get this a huge chance. Better luck next time.. < Wisarut S>

Thanks James,from your blog i have learned two strange word Xenophile and discrepancy.Learning english,undoubtedly,is more difficult than one has expected.At least now,i have been trying to understand ENGLISH MOVIE without Chinese Caption.I feel i have done much but profit is little.By the way,I am more appreciated THE WESTERN EDUCATION STYLE,for parents teach their kid how not to be a burden on others.Here is a question asked by Jane Fonda on Yahoo:What were your household rules when you were growing up and what have those rules taught you?Among these answers,there is one impressed me beyond words that is my parents stopped supporting me at 17,and i used to think it was a bad thing,but i have come to realize it was only for my benefit.Wow,i am more than 17,however,i still rely on my family.I feel guilty sometimes.I am sure that is why one of my foreign friend feel surprised about my situation.My parents don't want me to risk my life,actually,it won't happen.I am sorry to say that.As one says to me:If your life feels humdrum,perk things up by stepping out of your comfort zone.Cheers!

James! Your writing about this interesting subject is consistent and instructive as all your blogs. I`ve read it twice. And it makes me thing about that YEP is yet a step forward to a possibility which we have on this webpage where we can share fortunately and get to know this world better. As you pointed out the Engilsh language enable us to understand together. Only a weak ago we were in Brazil and now we are getting to know about busy international exchange in your distant country. And yes,learning English is the longer the more difficult than one has expected! Thanks!

Hi, James! How are you? Such an interesting topic! It so happens I've got a friend who is on exchange right now and he's a Rotary member too. Unlike Luis my friend has been to Europe instead of Asia. It must be great to be an international exchange student and interct with other cultures. As for to English language, I strongly agree with you: when you still haven't learnt the native language of the country where you are on exchange English knowledge are very useful to communicating. Good job! :) I'm looking forward to reading your next blog, best wishes!

Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.

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