NIU’s College of Education has welcomed 26 children and three teachers from Taiwan to its 2014 American Summer Education Camp.
The children, from the National University of Tainan’s Affiliated Elementary School, arrived June 26 and will spend three weeks in DeKalb participating in a variety of experiences designed to immerse them in American culture.
The visit is kicking off with a week-long “Argue Like a Scientist” camp, where they will study alternative energy alongside American school children. The camp will be led by Pi-Sui Hsu of the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment (ETRA) in collaboration with ETRA alumna and 2014 Golden Apple award winner Margot VanDyke. VanDyke teaches seventh grade science at O’Neill Middle School in Downers Grove, Ill.
The children will spend the following two weeks attending a variety of summer camps at NIU and the Kishwaukee YMCA, with side trips to amusement parks, local farms and Chicago cultural attractions – all with plenty of opportunities to interact with their American peers.
The camp, which is one of the outcomes of the college’s 2014 international partnership trip to Asia, will be facilitated by College of Education undergraduate and graduate scholars, allowing them to hone teaching skills and pursue research interests.
The 2014 American Summer Education Camp exemplifies the university’s goals of developing thriving communities and providing experiences that support students’ academic and career success, according to Terry Borg, director of the college’s Office of External and Global Programs.
“One of the exciting aspects of the camp is that NIU education students to tutor the children each night, to help them ‘translate’ what they’ve experienced during the day and to help them prepare for the next day’s activities,” he said.
Borg added that the 2014 American Education Summer Camp is just the first of a series of programs the COE has planned with educational organizations in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Miaoli County school district, for example, has selected 13 of their top high-school students (out of 1,000 applicants) to travel to NIU in September. The students will spend two weeks attending DeKalb High School as well as participating in classrooms at NIU and touring cultural attractions in the Chicago area.
Additionally, 10 Taiwanese school principals are scheduled to visit NIU during the first two weeks of October to attend faculty-run workshops and visit schools throughout northern Illinois.