An AU International Volunteer Team Goes to India for Cultural Exchanges.

Sunday, 06 October 2019 10:16

An AU international volunteer team went to India for cultural exchanges recently, had a visit to Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in Chennai, and provided care services to senior citizen homes.

An AU student Pei-Xuan Shi taught students in India to use chopsticks for cultural exchanges.

An international volunteer team of Asia University (AU) which consists of 19 professors and students went to the Hindustan College of Arts and Science (HCAS) in India for cultural exchanges, and had a visit to Mr. Chao-Cheng Li, the director-general of Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in Chennai. Then, the team provided services to aged people of the Madras Christian Council of Social Service (MCCSS) and several other senior citizen homes (Little Drops et al.) The team not only understand many aspects of Indian cultures and practices of social works, but also promote academic exchanges with the professors and students of the HCAS.

“Since AU and the HCAS signed an international MOU in Nov. 2016, Dr. Sakthi Prabha has arranged several exchanges for cooperation between the students and professors of the two universities, and this year is the third year of a service plan among such exchanges,” said Shu-Chuan Liao, an associate professor of the Department of Social Work at AU. Prof. Liao also pointed out that the “Program of India Summer Youth Volunteer Service and Social Welfare Institutional Exchange” was launched firstly in 2017, and the results were well above what were expected. This summer, AU and the HCAS started a close academic exchange. Therefore, a total of six HCAS students participating in the TEEP (Taiwan Experience Education Programs) project came to AU for a three-month internship.

The AU international volunteer team this year had a group of volunteers from 19 to 50 years old, in which there were many graduate students and undergraduate students from the Departments of Social Work, Leisure and Recreation Management, and Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, as well as psychological counselors. Yu-Ying Lin, an AU student and the leader of the AU international volunteer team, said that all of the team members did their best during the period of all the activities and pre-departure training. In addition, they also won the trust and thanks from the HCAS students, the social welfare institution, and the community which they visited.

General-director Chao-Cheng Li; Prof. Shu-Chuan Liao, an associate professor at AU; Ms. Jasmine Bernard and Ms. Xue-Jia Liao took photos with one another.

Prof. Liao and Ms. Jasmine Bernard, an associate professor of the Department of Social Work at the HCAS, went to Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in Chennai to meet General-director Chao-Cheng Li, and invited him to join a closing ceremony held by the AU International Youth Volunteer Team. In the ceremony, Mr. Li appreciated very much all the AU professors and students’ long-term support. He encouraged all AU students to share their experiences of cultural exchanges in Chennai after returning to Taiwan, and expand the cultural and academic connections with Taiwan and India.

The students of the volunteer team learned one more thing, that is, a smile and a hug could break the language barrier, when they were in the Little Drops Senior Citizen Home, fishing village, and aboriginal and urban communities in Chennai. Not all people in India speak English, but the connections between India and AU students were not hindered by the language barrier. AU students conveyed their appreciation for the elderly and residents of India through words and actions. The elderly and residents also gave feedbacks and blessings to AU students by smiles and hugs.

Prof. Liao expected that students bring rich Indian cultures and social work practices back to Taiwan, and then learn cross-cultural communication skills, humanistic care, and social practice to become a social worker with a capability for international cooperation.

In addition, four AU students of the Department of Social Work have a two-month internship in the MCCSS at Chennai. “When being in India, we felt some differences of cultures from those of Taiwan; however, we experienced interesting things that cannot be observed in Taiwan,” said Yu-Zhen Li, a student of the team, “and thanks to Asia University for giving the opportunity to have an internship in India, which lets us experience the real life in India.”

Mr. Chao-Cheng Li took a photo with students of AU and the HCAS.

AU students taught elementary school students in India to draw guardian owls in order to show kids creativity.

Prof. Liao and AU students like Indian culture very much, and wore Indian traditional clothes to take pictures.

Prof. Shu-Chuan Liao took AU students to care for the residents of Indian marginal community.