A Truly Heartwarming Experience

Saw Yin Ying 1
Tan Rou Jie
Editor Rou Jie was a former AIESECer who ran local projects with her team and international volunteers to impact students in Pahang and Kuala Lumpur. She believes in impacting the world one baby step a time.

It seems like it was only yesterday that I have met this bunch of amazing people and the heartwarming experience! The exchange Participants from Korea, Canada, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and the US! During the first four weeks of my journey, I was appointed to be an English teacher in Hanxi Elementary School. It was an aboriginal school for Atayal tribe, in Yilan county of Taiwan.

Something about Taiwan

Atayal is the third-largest indigenous group of Taiwanese aborigines. I never expected that such a strong bond could be built between me and my students, even my host family! I can’t believe that I have already left this place, and I am no longer their teacher, ever again. These little kids will never know how much they meant to me. They are truly the sweetest. I can still remember how they shouted my name from far on the first day itself. Even remembering how tightly they hugged me as they sent me off. 

It was so heart-warming that the locals have treated us in a way as if we were part of the Atayal tribe. Words can’t describe how grateful I was to have such lovely and affectionate Taiwanese dad & mom in Taiwan. They made us feel like home and loved us unconditionally. Furthermore, right before we left the school, the students have left me with the most heart-breaking question: “Are you gonna come back soon?”. Next thing, my heart breaks a little knowing that I might not have the chance to be back here, ever again.

A little about this heartwarming experience

My global volunteering journey in Hanxi Elementary School has been incredibly inspiring! Atayal has been amazing, Taiwan has been so beautiful. The heartrending part of the journey was parting, but the pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again! It’s tough to imagine how you could leave an impact in just 6 weeks. It wasn’t until you get yourself out of your comfort zone and leave your mark on this world!

Original story from Saw Yin Ying (Student l University Nottingham Malaysian Campus)

In AIESEC, we believe in developing leadership through practical experiences in challenging environment, and we do this by delivering cross-cultural exchanges. We have created thousands of stories ever since we started in Malaysia 50 years ago. Here’s just one of them.

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