Thursday, 16 April 2009

AEI (Australian Education International)

Michelle Peachey, Christian Artates, Dr. Huang, Nicholas McKay, Elizabeth Sullivan, Sophia Chang

Nicholas McKay (Director AEI-Taipei)

Soapie Trillion(Coordinator), Michelle Peachey(Study tour officer-Stretton College), Christian Artates(Teacher - Stretton College), Zheng, Hui-Wen (head of PTA),Dr. Huang (WenHua school Principal), Mrs. Huang, Elizabeth Sullivan (Commisioner for trade and investments-Taiwan), Nicholas McKay (Director AEI -Taipei), Sophia and Phillip Chang (NEST), Alice Tsou (commissioner's office), Huang, Shih-Chia (Dean of Academic affiars-WenHua)
Many thanks to Nicholas McKay from AEI Taipei and his team, David and Amy for assisting us while in Taiwan and for making us so welcome.

I asked Nicholas to introduce us to the work his office does in Taipei..........................

Australian Education International (AEI), Taiwan Australian Educational International (AEI) is located within the Australian Commerce and Industry Office (ACIO) along with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Department of Immigration (DIAC) and the Australian Business Centre.

The AEI office is equipped with a resource library and modern multi-media equipment to assist students in learning more about Australian Education.

A key focus for AEI Taipei is to contribute to the understanding of Australian education opportunities within the Taiwanese market. In addition to liaising with the Taiwan Ministry of Education (MoE) on education development, AEI also places a high degree of emphasis on direct contact with students, academics and institutions through the implementation of regular outreach seminars, visitations, education specific programs, exhibitions and student services offered through the AEC. Additionally, AEI Taipei also continues to nurture Australian interests in the Taiwan market through guest speaker programs, Australian university and academic visits to Taiwan, as well as a strong focus on highlighting international study opportunities for Australian students.
Australian Educational International (AEI) is located within the Australian Commerce and Industry Office (ACIO) along with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Department of Immigration (DIAC) and the Australian Business Centre.

The AEI office is equipped with a resource library and modern multi-media equipment to assist students in learning more about Australian Education.

A key focus for AEI Taipei is to contribute to the understanding of Australian education opportunities within the Taiwanese market. In addition to liaising with the Taiwan Ministry of Education (MoE) on education development, AEI also places a high degree of emphasis on direct contact with students, academics and institutions through the implementation of regular outreach seminars, visitations, education specific programs, exhibitions and student services offered through the AEC. Additionally, AEI Taipei also continues to nurture Australian interests in the Taiwan market through guest speaker programs, Australian university and academic visits to Taiwan, as well as a strong focus on highlighting international study opportunities for Australian students.

Nicholas McKay

Director - Education

Sunday, 12 April 2009

School gift to WenHua

Our school gift to WenHua is a lovely print by Kent Barton. Many thanks to Donna Hedges for selecting the print and to Belinda for organising the framing.


Kent was born in Brisbane (the capital of Queensland), Australia, where he resides with his wife Lisa, and three sons Chris, Andy & Sam. Kent works fulltime from his home studio producing artworks.
Numerous awards have been given to Kent for artworks in a variety of mediums.
Kent is mostly known for his serigraphs (silkscreen works on paper) which although are of different subjects, are united by Kent's distinctive style.

"My inspiration is all around me and whether my subject is of the suburbs, the city, the coast, or the country, I always search for the items that are intrinsic to the scene. I collect interesting objects and take lots of photos, and with a bit of imagination, I use these things to create my artwork.

I approach every artwork as a serious project...but that doesn't mean I don't like to have fun with it. I like to experiment and work with different mediums and constantly move to new subjects whilst occasionally revisiting earlier work. I take an inventive approach to my compositions and rendering styles to find the best way to convey the textures, the atmosphere and the idea of the artwork."

Day 19 and day 20 Time to go home

The song playing in the background to this photo story is the Chinese song that Winne taught the children during Chinese lessons. Wo men dou shi hao peng you (we are all good friends) ran wo men lai qian Zhe shou (let's hold hands) mei hao shi guang mo cuo guo (Don't miss out on these beautiful moments) liu zhu huan xiao zai xin tou (keep this laughter in your heart) Huan le nian hua yi ke bu ting liu (These happy moments won't wait) Shi guang cong cong ah ya ya ya ya yao ba wo (Time passes quickly so seize the moments)

Day 19 Yingge Ceramics Museum

The Museum's exposed concrete and steel supportsgive it a grey exterior. Tall and pure in colour, the museum has big glass curtains that allow sunlight to shine through and radiate the spacious interior with countless visual effects. The simple hues of the museum result in the indoor ceramic exhibits changing their texture and appearance with different sunlight.

Behind the museum, the ceramics park demonstrates the diversity of ceramics. In addition to providing an outdoor exhibition space for the artworks, it also combines earth, water and plants to show the balance between human creations and nature. Different aspects of clay are integrated with the natural environment. For further information visit the following website:

7-Eleven Stores are Everywere!

7-Eleven stores are everywhere in Taiwan. Nearly every corner of a street you can find a 7-Eleven store, and it is very often to see two 7-Eleven stores standing face to face to each other on a highly populated neighborhood. In 2006 there were 4486 7-eleven stores in Taiwan. Don't forget Taiwan is half the size of Tasmania.

Here is a list of services in a 7-Eleven in Taiwan Convenient Services

• Photo development• Digital image printing• Water bills, electricity bill, gas bill, cablevision bill, parking tickets, motor-bike liability insurance, and mobile phone bill.• Takkyubin• Facsimile transmission• Direct marketing shopping service• Duskin rental serviceRetail Service• International calling cards and telephone cards• Booklet for College Examination Center• Booklet for entrance exam to technological college• MRT and bus fare cards• Stamps, envelops, and post cards

Doraemon and Hello Kitty fever

Doraemon and Hello Kitty are very popular here in Taiwan. Their images are everywhere. They appear on just about every type of merchandise imaginable.

Hello Kitty is one of the best-known of many simply drawn fictional characters produced by the Japanese company Sanrio. Designed by Ikuko Shimizu, the first product, a vinyl coin purse, was introduced in Japan in 1974, and in the United States in 1976. The Hello Kitty line has since developed licensing arrangements worth more than $1 billion a year in sales.

Doraemon is a cat-like robot from the 22nd century of the future. His favorite food is dorayaki, a sweet bean paste filled bun, and his birthday is 2112-9-3 he is also know by the name "Ding-dong". He weighs 129.3 kg, is 129.3 cm tall, can leap 129.3 cms in the air and can run 129.3 km per hour. He is afraid of mice and hates rats, his ears were eaten off by rats. He has a fourth-dimensional pocket on his abdomen from which he can take out many amazing TOOLS. Doraemon was sent back to the 20th century because Nobita's grandson can't bear to see his grandfather suffer. So he sent Doraemon to help out with Nobita's troubles.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Wen Hua student performs

Stretton Performs

Day 18 Goodbye party

Well it is almost time to say goodbye to all our friends at WenHua Elementary School. Today we had a heart warming goodbye party where students from WenHua treated us to some fantastic performances. There were also speeches and exchanging of gifts. Our students thanked the school, host families and school buddies in both Chinese and English. We also performed our national anthem and the song "We are Australian". I think there will be some tears at the airport tomorrow night!

Traditional Taiwanese food

There is some very interesting Traditional Taiwanese food for sale.

An American food critic has made some very interesting short videos covering this topic here in Taiwan. Here is a link to his clip on the making of "Stinky Tofu". That is it's actual name and once you have smelt it you understand that it couldn't possibly be called anything else.

Thank you from Mrs. Peachey.

Taiwan is a very busy but friendly city. The people here are very devoted and hard working and their culural history and traditions are very important to them. There is a fatastic recycling program here.

There is a very high percentage of people living here that can speak a 2nd language and being able to speak English is held in high regard with many children attending extra English lessons after school and on week ends.

Many thanks to Dr. Huang and the staff and students of WenHua Elementary school for hosting our staff and students from Stretton College again this year. Study tours are a fantastic opportunity for students to experience another culture first hand and to develop an understanding of another way of life allowing students to develop lasting friendships.

Study tours enable students to practice Chinese in a practical way by being immersed in an everyday Taiwanese environment constantly being exposed to exciting, new learning situations.

Being able to speak a second language increased career opportunities. It is easier to learn while here as they are experiencing not just reading about it in a book. It is very real as they are experiencing Chinese language, food and culture first hand.

We thank you for this wonderful opportunity. I feel privileged and honored to have been able to attend study tour for the second time this year. Because this was my second visit, it has made it much easier to better prepare our students for the cultural differences that they experienced.

Thank you to the very special host families for opening your homes and your hearts to our students and caring for them as your own children.

I look forward to welcoming students from WenHua Elementary school in July at Stretton College.
Xie Xie Ni

Michelle Peachey
Study Tour Officer

Mr. Artates Speech

xiao zhang, ge wei lao shi, ge wei tong xue. Da jia hao.wo jiao Christian. wo shi ao da liya ren.wo shi Stretton xiao xue de lao shi.wo hen gao xing lai taiwan.

During my time in your beautiful country I have been asked the same question over and over again. "What are your impressions of Taiwan?" My answer to this question would always be the following; "My impression of Taiwan is a nation with rich heritage and people who are hospitable, friendly and over welcoming. People who are proud of where they have come from and the direction in which they are heading into the future." The past 3 weeks has been an enjoyable and wonderful learning experience. We have been spoilt in everyway possible, but most importantly we have been spoilt through a cultural aspect. Michelle, I and the students have experienced an abundance of rare and exciting activities that you embrace in your daily lives. We are very fortunate to have had these experiences and hope that you have also learnt something about our culture.

These experiences would not be possible without the efforts of many people in your community. Firstly, I would like to thank Dr Huang for his hospitality and everything he has done to make our stay as enjoyable as possible. I now understand why Michelle and Roger talk about him the way they do. He truely is a wonderful leader and principal. I would like to thank the staff of Wenhua. Thank you Mrs Gao, Mr Huang, Mr Wong, Soapy, Teachers of the English Department (especially the teachers who were in contact with our students during our stay) our students' home class teachers and buddies and other staff members. Thank you for all you have done to make our tour interesting and special. A special thanks to the students' homestay families for opening your homes to us and to the PTA for all their hard work. I admire and appreciate the effort and commitment you put towards Wenhua. Thank you to Nest (Sophia and Philip) for coordinating our tour. Thank you Elizabeth, Nicholas and your team (Alice, David and Amy) for also welcoming us to Taiwan. I am still very jealous that you both speak fantastic Chinese. Last but certainly not least I would like to thank you, the students of Wenhua for welcoming us to your wonderful school. You should be proud of the great school you have helped build. I look forward to welcoming you to Stretton State College. I will truely cherish the memories and frindships I have developed during my time in Taiwan. I hope to see you all next year. Thank you all very much!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Moped file

There are thousands of mopeds in Taiwan. The most people I have seen on the one moped here is four. It is a popular form of transportation to and from school. I have an interesting collection of moped photos, my favourite being the "chicken on a moped"photo. I also have "dog on a moped" & "cat on a moped". It is not uncommon to see people transporting many gas bottles or loaded up with cardboard and other recyclable items. I have also see "ladder on a moped"but was too slow for pic.

Message from an Aussie living in Taiwan

Until recently I thought I was the only Australian here at Wen Hua Elementary School. We have been visited by Roger from Stretton State College over the last year a number of times and more recently Michelle and Christian accompanied by 11 students have swelled the ranks of Ozzies.

I found their visit a life changing experience for a number of reasons.

Firstly, there is the gift of the ping pong balls (personally autographed) which have entered my class room culture and spawned a number of new games amongst them being the now famous ‘blow ball soccer penalty shoot out’.

Secondly, ‘rugby diving balloon popping find the Chinese word activity’, accompanied to the sound track of Shay and Kevin beat boxing, with myself strumming a guitar and the Stretton Sing along choir letting rip singing Chinese songs, for a local TV station. Let me say it’s been a great time had by all.

Thirdly, the volume cheer and enthusiasm which the Stretton gang put into all activities on offer has increased my energy for, and belief in, what we refer to as the Australian spirit. I can now confirm that the ‘Australian spirit’ is actually more real than myth after all. Good on you guys and gals it’s been great having your positive energy on tap. Thanks for all the help participating in EVERYTHING..

Sincerely Cheers Mate
Hamish Maynard Stokes

Message on MRT from boys

Please note, some of us are not in full uniform today as we were caught in some very heavy unexpected rain yesterday while on excursion and we all got drenched! My shoes are still drying! The weather has been very unpredictable sometimes very cold, rainy, windy or hot again from one day to the next. I am told that is what Spring is like here.

Message from kids on MRT - Girls

Children singing on MRT

Pandas at Taipei Zoo

Day 17 Lions and tigers and bears..Oh My!!!

Day 17 Excursion to Taipei Zoo

Today we had a break from museums and went to the Taipei Zoo. We had a fantastic time viewing all the exotic animals. We even saw Pandas which were a gift to Taiwan from China.

Day 17 MRT Ride to Taipei Zoo

Today we used the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) system to go to the Taipei Zoo. We changed trains twice. Everything is very orderly with lines showing you where to wait and whistles and chimes letting you know when trains are leaving. Trains arrive every 3 mins. There is no food or drink allowed on the MRT and it is very clean and tidy. Pre paid cards or tokens are used. You can also use the cards on the buses and gondola.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

MRT ride to Taipei Zoo

The children were feeling very patriotic today. The MRT is usually a fairly quiet place.

Day 17 Mitchell's Birthday

Happy Birthday Mitchell. From everyone on Tour!!! I hope today was memorable for you.

Teacher Ham

Hamish Maynard Stokes (teacher Ham) from Australia, works as an English teacher at WenHua. He has been assisting Winnie to teach our students a Taiwanese song.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009


A favourite activity here is to visit the night markets.

There are many to choose from including Danshui, Shida and Shihlin night markets.

There is some very interesting food for sale here if you are feeling adventurous.

Day 15 Guandu Temple and Tittot art museum

Today The children visited the Guandu Temple which was built in 166, it was dedicated to Mazu, the Goddess of the sea . The temple is rich in history. The carvings of dragons on the pillars, stone lion sculptures, wall engravings and especially the doors are very rare and skillfully crafted. Inside the chamber, more picturesque carvings and paintings are found on all 4 sides, pillars and ceilings. On the main alter sits a statue of Mazu.
The Tittot Glass Art Museum is the first museum in Taiwan dedicated to glass art. The museum introduces the history of glass art in China and western countries.
Posted by Picasa

Rubbish truck

The rubbish removal trucks here play music similar to ice-cream vans in Australia. Taiwan has a great recycling program. There are separate rubbish bins for the different types of waste. This is the same at the school even at McDonalds! Disposing of the various containers almost takes as long as it does to eat it! Everyone does it though.

School Lunches

Most school days the children are eating the school lunches with their class buddies. The lunches are prepared off site and usually consist of a soup, vegetable (cabbage,mushroom or spinach) a meat dish, rice or noodle and some fruit.

Carol Yang was the visiting teacher that accompanied last year's study tour group to Australia.

Some children bring bowls and chopsticks from home. After eating we wash our plate, bowl and chopsticks and drain.

Day 14 Paper cutting activity

Day 14

Mr. Artates having an interview with a Taiwanese Television presenter "Little Soldier". Note the interesting hand ball styles some of the children in the background have.

Day 14 School Course

Today a film crew from a popular TV show here in Taiwan followed us around and interviewed Mr. Artates and some of the children. They filmed Mr. Artates conducting a PE lesson. The presenters name translates to "Little Soldier".
Posted by Picasa

Monday, 6 April 2009

Day 13 day with homestay

I asked the children what they did with their Host Families on Sunday and these are their responses......

Mitchell: I went to my school buddy's house and we went for a 4km bike ride. We saw a massive bridge and a really tall building and we rode up part of a mountain and stopped at a temple to have a look and to climb big rocks. Last night we had KFC for dinner and we watched The Flintstones movie.

Kevin: Yesterday I went to my host dad’s office and we had a look around . It was really high up and we had a look at the view. We went to see a shadow puppet show. After that we went to the souvenir shop. For dinner we he had pizza hut and when we went home Jerry played play station with me.

Jacob: Yesterday we stayed at home for awhile and I practiced singing for the concert. We went to a shadow puppet show and I saw Kevin there. The best parts were the broken bridge, the boxer and the boxer and the audience. They spoke in English as the puppeteer was Australian. It was Alexander’s cousin’s birthday and we had lots of different foods for dinner and a birthday cake for dinner. It was a chocolate cake.

Nick: At home yesterday we went to the markets. We went to church that looked like an apartment. We picked up Zach and went to see an English man do a puppet show. We went outside to the cafe and had waffles. At night time we went to more markets and then went to Herman’s Dad’s dental surgery where he took an impression of my hand and he made a plaster model of my hand. For dinner we ate biscuits cookies and hot coco drink.

Frances: Yesterday we went shopping and I bought lots of clothes and souvenirs and I made a collar for my dog. We had a walk and the dog had a turn on the treadmill. For dinner our maid made us a big platter of vegetables, pork and beef and rice. We also ate some fruit and watched Scooby Doo 2 in Chinese so I had to guess what they were saying!

Shay: Yesterday I went to a Theme park where we went on rides we also fed some animals goats, sheep and birds (parrots). For tea we ate noodle soup and pineapple and guava.

Breannah: I slept and was not feeling well.

Zachary: I went to a restaurant and also saw the shadow puppet show with Nick. We had waffles and toast at the cafĂ©. We played with a water game and I got wet. I went to Nick’s homestay house for a play . For dinner we ate burgers with ham and lettuce and mayo..

Cameron: Yesterday afternoon I went flower picking at Yangminshan mountain and we had dinner there. At home we played ping pong. For tea we had beef and vegetables.

Sydney: I went to the beach to see the Queen’s head and it was crumbling because it is a very windy place . Then we went to the hot springs for a swim. For dinner we ate at Danshui markets and I had a portrait done.

Emilee: My homestay family took me to the coolest theme park in Taiwan. It was pretty cool and it rained lots. My family was too scared to go on any of the scary rides I went on just like someone at home not mentioning any names.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Tomb sweeping festival parade

Day 13 Tomb sweeping holiday

Today the children spent the day with their homestay families. This weekend most Taiwanese families celebrate Tomb sweeping.

The Tomb-Sweeping Festival (Qing Ming Jie) is a time to pay respects to one's ancestors and to tidy their gravesite. The date of this festival was set as the third day of the third lunar month during the period of the Wei-Chin Dynasties. In recent years it has been moved to April 5th. As the name of this holiday suggests, the main activity of Tomb-Sweeping Day is for the whole family, young and old, to go to the graveside of deceased family members to burn incense and perform a ritual offering, while at the same time clearing away plant overgrowth from the gravesite.

Its Chinese name "Qing Ming" literally means "Clear Brightness," hinting at its importance as a celebration of spring. Similar to the spring festivals of other cultures, Tomb-Sweeping Day celebrates the rebirth of nature, while marking the beginning of the planting season and other outdoor activities.

In ancient times, people celebrated Qing Ming Jie with dancing, singing, picnics, and kite flying. Colored boiled eggs would be broken to symbolize the opening of life. In the capital, the Emperor would plant trees on the palace grounds to celebrate the renewing nature of spring. In the villages, young men and women would court each other.

Besides the traditions of honoring the dead, people also often fly kits on Tomb Sweeping Day. Kites can come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors. Designs could include frogs, dragonflies, butterflies, crabs, bats, and storks.

With the passing of time, this celebration of life became a day to the honor past ancestors. Following folk religion, the Chinese believed that the spirits of deceased ancestors looked after the family. Sacrifices of food and spirit money could keep them happy, and the family would prosper through good harvests and more children. Today, Chinese visit their family graves to tend to any underbrush that has grown. Weeds are pulled, and dirt swept away, and the family will set out offerings of food and spirit money. Unlike the sacrifices at a family's home altar, the offerings at the tomb usually consist of dry, bland food. One theory is that since any number of ghosts rome around a grave area, the less appealing food will be consumed by the ancestors, and not be plundered by strangers. There were a lot of people taking part in processions and setting off fire crackers today.

NCFTA Day 12 Excursion

For more information on the Traditional Centre For Traditional Arts, visit

Day 12 Excursion to park and National Centre For Traditional Arts

Today we travelled by bus to a park where the children enjoyed the scenic surrounds and then to the National Centre for Traditional Arts.

The centre is designed to aid the preservation, education and promotion of traditional arts. It is situated downstream of Dong Shan River in Wujie Township, Yilan County.

The word 'tradition' expresses the idea of passing on History and culture to future generations, whilst 'art' is a creative result of our daily experiences and is a product of beauty. The inspiration for the creation of traditional art usually originated from the daily activities of people and traditional arts represent a specific way of thinking, different beliefs, cultures and religions that are local to a certain place.

The children observed performances and browsed shops selling traditional Taiwanese items such as hand puppets, hand made candy, spinning tops, pottery etc.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Day 13 Cameron performs at National center for traditional arts

Cameron performs on stage at the National Centre for Traditional Arts
Posted by Picasa

Day 12 pressed flower workshop

We were shown how to make beautiful key rings and rulers decorated with real pressed flowers and leaves from Taiwan.

Unfortunately we are not able to bring these back with us due to Australian customs regulations.

The children have decided to present them to their school or home buddy as a parting gift.

Posted by Picasa