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Volunteers from NSYSU teach Mandarin in Sri Lanka during the first Youth Academic Camp

National Sun Yat-sen University and Anurudha Arana, a Buddhist center in Matale, Sri Lanka, jointly organized the Youth Academic Camp - 2020 for the first time. A group of volunteers comprising 24 NSYSU students and 2 Kaohsiung Medical University students conducted an 8-days Mandarin-language course in Anurudha Arana and an English course and community service at nearby temples and a school. Nearly a hundred Sri Lankan students from different backgrounds participated, adults as well as primary school children, and got to know the Chinese culture more in-depth.

During the eight days of the course, the volunteers used pictures and different materials to design Q&A games for the participants to quickly memorize what they have learned. The beginner English course also included memorization of nursery rhymes for an easy and interesting study experience. After the lessons, the group of volunteers would go to a local school – Millawana Maha Vidyalaya and, besides helping teachers finish the planned patterns, the volunteers painted world’s most famous buildings on the colorful walls of the school, such as Taipei 101, Taj Mahal, Eiffel Tower, Elizabeth Tower (better known as Big Ben), windmills - the signature view of the Netherlands and Singapore’s Merlion to encourage the Sri Lankan kids to explore the world in the future.

Head of NSYSU International Volunteers and student of the Department of Marine Biotechnology and Resources Even Lee said, that the visit to Sri Lanka made the volunteers look at the world from a different perspective. The Taiwanese and Sri Lankans learned from each other by teaching and interacting with students. “The diligent attitude of the Sri Lankan students made me appreciate everything I have”, he said. Deputy Head of NSYSU International Volunteers and student of the Department of Business Management Holly Liu mentioned, that she is glad she had some training in teaching Mandarin before departure. When he came to Sri Lanka, she felt immense friendliness, kindness and eagerness to learn of the people. She wants to share this experience after returning to Taiwan.

The opening ceremony of the Youth Academic Camp – 2020 began with the lighting of a traditional oil lamp. Venerable Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero started with a welcome speech and introduction of the program. Sri Lankan representatives included Secular President of the World Buddhist Sangha Youth (WBSY) Mr. Dahigama, Principal of St. Thomas College-Matale, Mr. Dissanayaka, Matale Municipal Council representative Mr. Isan Wijatilaka, and Anurudha Arana President Carnal N.B. Chandasekara. NSYSU was represented by Vice President for International Affairs Chih-Wen Kuo and Vice President for Research and Development Mitch Chou. Venerable Mugunuwela Anuruddha Thero, Elder of Anurudha Arana and Secretary-General of the World Buddhist Sangha Youth, expressed his hope that Taiwanese student volunteers can see the beauty of Sri Lanka amongst the differences in culture and deepen the friendship between our two nations. Vice President Kuo thanked the Elder and the NSYSU alumni: Chairman of Lung Ching Steel Enterprise Chin-Nan Hsieh and Kirsty Hsieh for their strong support during the group’s visit to Sri Lanka and efforts to build relations between Taiwan and Sri Lanka.

NSYSU International Volunteers announced recruitment in September last year and took up a course in teaching Mandarin as a second language at the NSYSU Chinese Language Center in October, studying three hours per week. NSYSU International Volunteers have been visiting Northern Thailand for many years and have been faithful to the objective of “helping communities in need outside Taiwan”. This year, the group visited Sri Lanka for the first time. Its members hope to continue to work towards this meaningful goal.
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