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NTNU International Students and Volunteers Celebrate in Cultural Exchange

On May 17, international youth volunteers from the NTNU Office of International Affairs gathered with students from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Germany, Brazil, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines to celebrate the end of the 2023-2024 academic year and the conclusion of the Chinese language tutoring program.

This event provided a platform for participants to share their experiences and insights into learning foreign languages, discuss cultural beliefs, and showcase their native languages and traditional games. The cultural exchange offered a valuable opportunity to explore differences and promote mutual understanding.

Participants learned about various cultural nuances, such as the gesture in Saudi Arabia where holding one’s palms up with fingers together and moving them gently signifies “wait a moment.” Another highlighted aspect was the charitable nature in Saudi culture, where locals are inclined to help someone who expresses that they have no money to eat, believing that such acts enhance personal value and moral standing as observed by God.

Students also shared their initial experiences with Taiwan’s public transportation system, particularly the practice of waving to stop buses. This differs from the systems in their home countries, where buses stop at every designated stop without needing to be flagged down. These anecdotes provided humorous and insightful glimpses into daily life and customs across different cultures.

Brendan Chen, a student in the Department of Business Administration and an International Youth volunteer, emphasized the dual benefits of the Chinese tutoring program. He noted that the initiative was not just about teaching Chinese but also about facilitating meaningful cultural exchanges and communication between students from diverse backgrounds.

Aaron Xu, a freshman in the Department of Chinese as a Second Language, supported this view, stating that understanding cultural differences through real-life examples offered a broader perspective on various aspects of life. He felt the activity provided a comprehensive understanding of different countries and significantly promoted mutual exchanges.

Tina Hsu, also a volunteer from the Department of Chinese as a Second Language, expressed joy in seeing students from different cultural backgrounds communicate. She acknowledged that while there is room for improvement, the event underscored the value of cross-cultural experiences and the friendships formed through these interactions.

The event highlighted the importance of intercultural exchange and the enriching experiences it brings to both Taiwanese and international students. The volunteers and students left the gathering with a deeper appreciation for each other’s cultures and a commitment to continuing these valuable exchanges in the future.