Kayla Nguyen

Major: Elementary Education
Class: Senior
Timeframe: Spring 2023
Program: International Student Teaching
Destination: Taiwan

Overall Experience

My overall experience in Taiwan has been amazing! This is my first time traveling outside of the United States, and I am amazed at how beautiful Taiwan is. Throughout my time in Taiwan, I experienced a new culture from my teachers, students, and the locals. Along with experiencing a new culture, I tried so many delicious foods. Eating and trying new foods in Taiwan is a MUST-DO. There are also many places to visit and travel to. One of my favorite places to visit is called Sea Turtle Island. My friends and I rented electric bikes and biked all around the island. During this experience, I’ve made unforgettable memories and built relationships that will last a lifetime.

Learning experience

One valuable learning experience that I took away is working with diverse learners. Teaching English language learners can be challenging and rewarding. The overall experience means everything to me, and I would not have it any other way! When I taught my first lesson, I noticed that many students were at different levels in English. I checked for students' understanding and accommodated the lesson to meet their needs. Whether it be slowing the down the pace, adding more visuals, or challenging the students. I learned many new strategies and techniques to support my students learning and acquiring the English language. I've learned that every student learns differently. It's important to differentiate the lesson to ensure all students' needs are being met. My teachers helped me plan my lessons and made suggestions to improve my teaching.

Memorable experience

My most memorable experience was going on a field trip with my 8th-grade students. It is one of my favorite days in Taiwan. My students were so excited to show me around Kaoshiung. During the trip, I felt like the student while my students were the teachers. We went to Fongyi Academy and learned how people became a judge during the Qing dynasty. During the visit, my students showed me around the academy and taught me some information about the past. This day was great because I got to spend more time with my students and learn more about them. Outside of the school setting, it was a great experience, and I had so much fun learning from my students.

What did you not expect?

I was surprised by how quickly I could build relationships with my teachers and students. Even though we don’t speak the same language, it warmed my heart to see that we only needed to exchange a few words to build a strong bond. When it comes to teaching, building relationships is essential for students' success in school. I will ensure that every student feels welcomed and supported in my classroom.

What advice would you give?

My advice to other students is to be open to trying new things! When you are in a new country, everything may feel unfamiliar. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and you want to make every moment count. Enjoy your time, and cherish your experiences. Taiwan is a beautiful place to visit and teach. The people in Taiwan are always willing to help and welcome foreigners with open arms. My other advice is to rely on your cooperating teacher and other teachers in the school. Ask questions and get guidance from them. No matter how tired I may be, they always encourage and inspire me to do my best for my students.

How has this experience impacted your life?

My time in Taiwan has helped me grow as an individual and educator. I learned more about who I am. It has taught me to take on challenges, be independent, and explore the world! Student teaching abroad has been the most rewarding and unforgettable experience. From an educational perspective, I am grateful to experience another country’s education system and share my learning tools/experiences with them. With the knowledge I gained, I can use that to apply it to my classroom. One thing I admire about Taiwan is how caring and supportive they are of their students. I found myself collaborating with teachers to meet the needs of all students. In my first year of teaching, I will be open-minded and learn from others to grow as an educator.

How did you learn about this experience?

I first learned about this international opportunity through my older cousin, Jenny! Seeing her pictures and listening to her experiences made me excited about Taiwan. I attended the study abroad fair during freshman year to learn more about the program. Right away, I knew Taiwan was my first choice, and I am more than happy with my decision.

International Connections