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Student Volunteers Support and Connect International Students

In the evenings over the festive season, Christmas lights twinkled along Sunshine Avenue, lining NTNU's main campus. This vibrant atmosphere was alive with craft booths, carnival games, and student performances, all contributing to a convivial Christmas spirit.

As part of the Christmas festivities, NTNU's international students were invited to the International Students' Christmas Party. This event provided a sense of community and warmth for those spending their holidays far from home. These events were meticulously planned and executed by the International Youth (IY) team, an integral part of NTNU's Office of International Affairs.

Established 15 years ago, the IY started as a volunteer group and has since played a crucial role in the journey of international students at NTNU. The team has been instrumental in helping students acclimate to university life in Taiwan, offering a range of support services such as airport pickups, dormitory check-ins, and health check-up arrangements for new students.

To foster cultural inclusivity, the Office of International Affairs has added Chinese language tutoring to the team's responsibilities. A dedicated language support unit facilitates interactions that broaden global perspectives among both team members and international students.

The IY's annual calendar features events like the Welcome Party, Christmas/Chinese New Year Party, International Culture Festival, and Graduation Party. These events are designed to provide opportunities for international students to connect, share their cultures, and feel supported while studying in Taiwan. A notable annual event is the Festival of Cultures, showcasing the talents and cultural diversity of NTNU’s international students to the wider university community.

The IY team is divided into four subcommittees: Leadership, Activities, Design and Photography, and Chinese Tutoring. This year's team leader, Wei-Jie Luo, explains that these subcommittees handle various aspects of IY's activities, from event planning and publicity to language tutoring. "The smaller group settings allow members to engage according to their interests," he notes. Luo emphasizes the importance of volunteer training and team building within each section, despite organizational challenges, to ensure all members receive training opportunities.

The Chinese Tutoring Unit, led by Ting-yu Hsu and Wei-yu Chen, is particularly noted for its engagement with international students, offering valuable insights into diverse cultures. "Half of the international students at NTNU come from other Asian countries, with the rest from the Americas or Europe," Chen remarks. The unit utilizes an online platform to streamline tutoring and facilitate scheduling for personalized language sessions.

Each year, members of the IY team continue a legacy of creating a welcoming environment, fostering a sense of belonging, and offering support to NTNU's international students.