The Global Youth Action Plan has cultivated 17 teams of Taiwanese youths who examine social topics and would bring foreign experiences to Taiwan for implementation after interacting with international organizations online in 2021. Among the 17 teams, the “Bridge Hour” and “Buddy Back” teams had hosted events such as school buddy pairing, workshops, and field trips to help international students and Southeast Asian students in Taiwan adapt to life in Taiwan, thereby creating more opportunities for interactions between Taiwanese students and foreign students, reinforcing the foreign students’ sense of connection to our country, and broadening the horizons of Taiwanese students.
The Bridge Hour team conducted interviews with ten international organizations from countries such as the United States, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. From the interview with the OUSA （Otago University Students' Association）, which is governed by New Zealand university students, the Bridge Hour team realized that the cultural backgrounds and personalities of the international students must be thoroughly understood first in order to fulfill the needs of international students in Taiwan during the events. Therefore, when Bridge Hour was pairing up school buddies, the team members would get to know the participants first and then find a buddy for them based on the participants’ individual needs and personalities instead of their nationalities. Pairing school buddies from a place of objectivity not only satisfies the actual needs of international students but also allows students from both sides to learn and grow from a perspective of diversity.
The Buddy Back team sought opinions from eleven international organizations from countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Among these organizations, the Dejavato Foundation from Indonesia reminded the Buddy Back team that foreign students must actively participate in events instead of being passively invited to the events. The events must be diverse and interesting, and whether or not the team can make foreign students feel comfortable enough to actively participate is also an important issue. The Buddy Back team chose to make the interactions between students seem less intentional. The team members made flexible arrangements based on the personalities and schedules of the school buddies, hoping to turn school buddies into a part of the daily lives of foreign students. Both Taiwanese and foreign students would discuss their itineraries for trips out, in which they visited historical sites or famous attractions of Taiwan, thus allowing them to learn about each other’s cultures.
Going abroad was not possible, but the elite groups of the “Global Youth Action Plan” of the Youth Development Administration, Ministry of Education still manifested their international influence as Taiwanese youths! Not only did they solve the problems of foreign students in Taiwan having difficulties blending into the local culture, they also helped the international students bring some of the best aspects of Taiwan back to their home countries. Do you also want to show how dynamic you can be in international affairs? To find out more about the program, please visit the Global Youth Action Plan official website （https://iyouth.youthhub.tw/youngfly/）.