【News release: Public Relations Office】
Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages recently held its fourth annual Bilingual Foreign Language Camp for senior and vocational high school students, with this year’s camp seeing students from 120 schools across Taiwan enthusiastically taking part in the event. The all-English intensive course was spread over four days and three nights, with the students being able to get real-life experience of French, Japanese, German, and Korean classes, as well as immerse themselves in Wenzao’s diverse language learning environment. Many of the students who came to the camp stated that each year’s camp always provides different learning opportunities and experiences, thereby enriching their experience of learning a foreign language.
The Bilingual Foreign Language Camp for senior and vocational high school students received a positive response from both parents and students due to its rich, diverse, and lively curriculum. In fact, all of the camp’s places were filled within only three weeks of it being announced, with outstanding students from over 16 regions around Taiwan signing up. This included students from the islands of Penghu as well as the children of Taiwanese business people living in Shanghai who flew back to Taiwan especially for the event. Further proof of the excellent reputation that Wenzao’s Bilingual Foreign Language Camp enjoys comes from the fact that there are students joining the camp for the second time, with some schools even having more than four of their students in attendance together.
In his speech during the opening ceremony, Vice President for Administrative Affairs at Wenzao Mr. Li-Yen Chen encouraged all of the students to speak in English while at the camp. Stating that Wenzao is the only university in Taiwan to specialize in foreign languages, Vice President Li also pointed out that students can choose from a wide range of other languages to study at Wenzao including Indonesian, Vietnamese, and Thai. He also emphasized how the variety of languages and rich cultural heritage found in ASEAN countries is worthy of further exploration. Using Asia as an example, Vice President Li indicated that in addition to the large number of Chinese speakers, there are also close to 200 million people who speak Indonesian. This has led to many practitioners who work in the field of futures studies predicting that Indonesia will one day be the fastest growing country in Asia; therefore, if people are able to use basic Indonesian greetings, it can make the recipient feel respected. The Vice President also went one step further to point out that Wenzao offers an excellent environment for studying foreign languages and has designed a variety of curricula and course credits for studies. Inviting the students to choose Wenzao for their future university studies, Vice President Li conveyed how the school helps people to establish a solid foundation in foreign languages.
Out of all the students participating in this year’s camp, this was the third time in which Ting-Yi Wu from Kaohsiung had joined the camp since joining her first camp during her final year of junior high school. Ms. Wu, who is currently completing her first year in a department of applied foreign languages, stated that she previously studied Spanish and German at prior Wenzao Bilingual Foreign Language Camps. She also said that the insistence on using English for all interactions while at the camp means that she can interact with other outstanding students from around Taiwan. Furthermore, by combining this with the exciting and lively teaching styles used by the camp’s teachers, along with the intimate care provided by the Camp Assistants, Ms. Wu said that she always looks forward to participating in these camps. Ms. Wu also pointed out that she hopes to get a chance in the future to transfer to Wenzao so that she can continue to improve her foreign language skills.
Another great story is that of Ying-Tong Chen, who returned from Shanghai to study in the German group at the camp. Ms. Chen stated that all of the teachers at Wenzao are extremely approachable and use very lively teaching methods. As she hopes to return to Taiwan to study in a department of foreign languages, the camp was a great opportunity for Ms. Chen to learn more about a Taiwanese university. Just like Ms. Wu, she also hopes to get the chance to study at Wenzao.
The Bilingual Foreign Language Camp at Wenzao is organized by the university’s Division of Extension Education. Each year’s camp uses a completely different curriculum that is based around a different theme to pique the interest of students. As part of this year’s English curriculum, the camp arranged introductions to the culture and art found in countries including France, the Netherlands, and Mexico. The students were taken on a tour of Paris with Ernest Hemingway; learned about the history, culture, and snacks of the Netherlands; and were also introduced to the festivals and Mayan culture which can be found in Mexico. Students were also required to complete six hours of classes in an additional foreign language and could choose from Japanese, German, or French. This year’s camp also included Korean as a third language to further increase the breadth of the students’ language studies.
Another focus of the camp was to increase the interactivity between camp participants. This was achieved by arranging a welcome party, group activities, final achievements exhibition, and other dynamic classes. The Division of Extension Education at Wenzao also carefully selected students from the university with superb English skills to serve as Camp Assistants. These assistants were there to motivate and guide the students in using English to communicate with each other. This resulted in many of the students stating that during their four days at the camp, they not only improved their foreign language skills, but also made many new friends with interests similar to their own.
Wenzao also held a Bilingual Foreign Language Winter Camp for junior high school students at the same time this year. With 120 junior high students signing up (including two students who came from overseas), and thirteen classmates from Makung Junior High School making the journey across to Taiwan together, it once again goes to show the recognition which Wenzao receives from both parents and students for its well-established Bilingual Foreign Language Camps.