The Language Exchange is an annual activity which is provided by the Student Association(SA) of the International Programs. Its purpose is to connect individuals who want to practice and improve their English and Mandarin speaking skills. This Spring semester, this program attracted more than 30 participants who are from different countries and various departments of the National Sun Yat-sen University.
On March 15th, 2021, the SA conducted a “Gathering Time” for participants to meet each other and introduce themselves to all language exchange partners. After that, partakers were informed about Language Exchange guidelines and the benefits of joining it during the session. Besides, some students who took part in the program last semester participated in this program again and shared their experience to the new members.
Lima Longkumer, a second year GHRM MBA student from India said: “It’s a valuable chance for me to improve my Mandarin conversation skills. I can learn everyday terms and phrases in Mandarin with local friends”. Rosie Cao, a first year GHRM MBA student from Vietnam, stated that whenever she and her partner met, they shared their cultures with others, which helped them appreciate the differences and similarities between Taiwanese and Vietnamese cultures.
As a newbie of the program, Demi Wen, a Taiwanese IBMBA first year student, expected to build social networks through friendly interactions. “Besides improving my English skills, I would like to learn an additional language and know about their culture as preparation for studying abroad next year’’.
Following the “Gathering Time”, each group began their weekly meetings with various themes. They could proactively decide the location, time, and topics on their own. However, due to the unexpected Covid-19 pandemic development, all activities are impacted, and the Language Exchange is no exception. Partakers were recommended to use virtual platforms to exchange language instead of real interactions, such as Google Meet, Messenger, or Microsoft Teams.
Santosh Sharma, an Indian student from College of Science, shared “Yes, the pandemic is a difficult time for all of us, but we still can find other interests anyway. My partner and I use LINE to communicate with each other more frequently. We don’t talk only once a week any longer, and sometimes I message him every day to update news and our daily lives. When we chat, we use a lot of cute emojis. I feel like we are brothers in a family”
The Student Association continuously strives to organize activities that are not only entertaining but also educational. We are overjoyed at the overwhelmingly positive response during this term. In the future, the student association of the International programs plans to broaden the exchange by adding other languages and making it a platform for cultural interaction to make our learning environment and the campus more lively and internationally.