Exchange program offers unforgettable experience

Taking the trip of a lifetime, nine Garland ISD high schoolers recently returned from Taoyuan City, Taiwan. This special group participates in the GISD/Taiwanese Student Ambassador Program.

Started in 2013, the program is a partnership between the district, NanKan Senior High School in Taiwan and the Greater Dallas Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce. It allows members to travel between sister cities every other year. During visits, host families welcome the exchange students into their homes, immersing them in the culture. The travelers also get to experience foreign schools, cuisine and popular attractions.

This fall, GISD students shadowed their Taiwanese peers at school, shared about their own life in the United States, hiked famous landmarks, explored the coastline, made dumplings and more.

“My favorite thing about the trip was getting a chance to make friendships that will last a lifetime,” said Sachse High School sophomore Chloe Clearfield. “I still talk with my host family at least once a week.”

“It was so interesting to see the differences between school in Taiwan and school in Garland,” added Lakeview Centennial High School sophomore Shaun Rivera. “In Taiwan, the students stay in the same class all day and the teachers actually change classes."

The next trip is scheduled for October and will bring a group from NanKan Senior High School to GISD. The district is currently looking for host families to house the exchange students. To be eligible, families must have a high school student who can travel to Taiwan in 2019. Visit www.garlandisd.net/studentexchange for more information.