PART 1：Internship Experience in Taiwan Experience Education Program (TEEP) of Ministry of Education, Taiwan Nature Treasure Map Program (English version)
Taipei Nature Treasure Map Program
Marina Nunamaker is from the United States and she is a Hapa – half Chinese and half American. she did her bachelor’s degree in University of Colorado Boulder with majors in computer science and Chinese. After her undergraduate, she worked as an independent contractor in software development. From 2014 to 2015, she went to Beijing to study Mandarin full-time with a program called Inter-University Program in Tsinghua University.
Marina briefly introduced TEEP (Taiwan Experience Education Program) and its objective to increase global recognition of Taiwan through online media like blog or vlog. TEEP welcomes participating students to join different universities or colleges in Taiwan for short term professional internship. There are several programs under TEEP, and the one that Marina participated was the Taiwan Nature Treasure Map Program. In this program, international students can explore the beauty of Taiwan from cultural and natural perspective. There are five selected sites for interns to apply, including Xitou, Aowanda, Dongpu, etc. Interns will spend one month there, co-work with local rangers and learn hands-on experience. After the program, they would have to make their treasure map to share their favorite spots and introduce Taiwan to the world thorough blog writing, vlog recording, etc.
Marina also shared some main reasons why she chose to participate in TEEP. First of all, she started learning Chinese in her undergraduate study but was never exposed to using the language in a professional work setting. Another reason she joined TEEP was to expose and immerse herself in the context to learn and observe the culture here in Taiwan. The third main reason was to meet people. Marina mentioned that she valued the importance of building network with people and learning the culture through people.
30 Days in Aowanda
Marina had her internship in Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area which is the home for maple trees in Taiwan. Leaflet of those maple trees is one of the highlight of Aowanda National Forest Recreation Area. Interns have to do research on butterflies, birds and the invasion species in the pond. In Marina’s talk, she will share her natural experience and cultural experience during her internship in Taiwan.
In natural experience, we can explore the gorgeous landscape of valley surrounded by mountains and the picturesque forest scene in Aowanda. Exploration is the vital part of the Taiwan Nature Treasure Map Program which interns were encouraged to explore by themselves. Therefore, beyond Awanda, Marina visited the the Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) and Qingjing Veterans Farm (清境農場) , etc.
In terms gains from cultural experience, the fusion between orchestra performed by aboriginals dressed in their traditional clothings was the most refreshing memory for Marina. She visited Qin’ai Village (親愛村) in Nantou county where she encountered the aboriginals and was fascinated by how much music was involved in their daily life. She saw the Taiwanese orchestra music performed by Atayal and Seediq students with violins and instruments that were built by themselves. The adults would teach the instrument-building techniques to their children at the education center. Marina, as a muscian since age of seven, understood how much the craftsmanship of the instrument is vital to the children’s appreciation for the music they play. In addition to the students orchestra, Marina also experienced the performance of traditional aboriginal band in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭). Inspired by the imense exposure to the aboriginal music and orchestra in the mountain, Marina learned some new songs with her guitar there.
Comparative of Taiwan and other countries
Besides the internship experience, Marina would compare the difference between Taiwan and US; Taiwan and Mainland China, from the perspective of language, culture, politics etc. If you still find it complicated to distinguish the policy between Taiwan and Mainland China, Marina advised you to “wiki” it! Though Taiwan and Mainland China are totally two different places, they both worth a visit!