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Browsing: 703 times print

Date:2018-10-03
Bracket:2018 NCYU News
Department:ncyu

The students of the NCYU Department of Foreign Languages introduced the local Marylanders to the grass jelly, an all-time favorite dessert for Taiwanese. Americans Try Their Luck with Divination Blocks and Savor the Light Sweetness of Grass Jelly
  Led by Associate Prof. Min-Tun Chuang and Prof. Zhang Shu-Yi, students of the English Teaching Group, Department of Foreign Languages, National Chiayi University, joined “Two-track Education Enhancement Program: Internship at Bilingual Elementary and Secondary Schools in the U.S.,” initiated by the Ministry of Education. The two-month overseas internship program took place at Reid Temple Christian Academy, Maryland, United States. During the internship, the prospective teachers from the Department of Foreign Languages, NCYU, set up stalls at “Community Fair,” a grand community-based event in Maryland, where local residents enthusiastically participated. With the theme of the temple culture during the Chinese Lunar New Year in Taiwan, they hoped to introduce the residents of Maryland to the cultural meaning of Chinese temples in Taiwan by offering games such as casting divination blocks, and drawing fortune sticks. The Marylanders could also taste Taiwanese specialty products – the rich cold brew tea, as well as the tender and smooth grass jelly.

  Temples in Taiwan are much more than a location for neighbors to meet, but also symbolize a longing for safety and peace of mind. Inspired by the divination block contest often held during Chinese Lunar New Year in Taiwan, the NCYU students orchestrated a divination block throwing activity for the Marylanders to try their luck. The person could get a Taiwanese landscape postcard if one block shows its flat (yang) side. Attracted by the beautiful landscapes, the residents lined up to toss divination blocks and see if they were lucky winners. In addition, the NCYU students also made written oracles themselves. Each written oracle had a different symbolic meaning, and English explanations were provided below the Chinese text. The residents who drew a fortune stick could pray for good fortune, and learn the cultural meaning of the written oracle. Apart from the cultural activity, the tasty traditional Taiwanese foods were another spotlight in this event. To share with them the delicious foods of Taiwan, the NCYU students decided to bring the cold brew tea and grass jelly, both unique to Taiwan, to the U.S. Thus the American participants could enjoy a taste of the the strong and rich Taiwanese tea, as well as the tender grass jelly. Both the authentic old-time snacks that make so many Taiwanese nostalgic of childhood times were well received by the American residents. Some of them even inquired where they could buy such palatable tea and grass jelly.

  According to Associate Prof. Chuang, they not only hoped the two-week overseas internship program would allow the participating prospective teachers of NCYU to broaden their horizon at the bilingual school in the U.S., but also enable the Americans to develop further understanding of Taiwan. Furthermore, they also wished to promote the food and traditional temple culture in Taiwan to the world. As it had left an indelible mark on the hearts of the prospective teachers of Department of Foreign Languages, NCYU, the grand community-based event provided a chance for the American residents to savor the Taiwanese traditional delicacies, and experience first-hand the quintessence of the traditional temple culture in Taiwan.
 The NCYU Department of Foreign Languages students explained the fortune stick drawing activity to the residents of Maryland. The students from the NCYU Department of Foreign Languages explained to the local people of Maryland how the divination block game proceeded. A group photo with Yuri Yao-Tsung Chih (middle, in black), Director of Education Division, Taipei Economic And Cultural Representative Office in The United States, and Richard Kuan (first from right), Former Director of the Washington Metropolitan Mainstream Chinese Teachers Association.
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