Young foreign visitors to return home with good memories of Taiwan

Young foreign visitors to return home with good memories of Taiwan

Nearly 250 youths from around the world who have lived in Taiwan for about two weeks gathered at the Taipei Guest House Wednesday to express their gratitude and share their experiences in Taiwan a day before returning to their home countries.

As part of the Republic of China's centennial celebrations, Taiwan invited 238 young adults between the ages of 18 and 40 from over 115 countries to participate in a homestay program to experience life and culture on the island from Aug. 12-25.

"We thank you for taking your time to come and share with us at this proud moment in our history," said Emile Sheng, the head of the Cabinet-level Council for Cultural Affairs, which organized the event.

"I hope your friendship with Taiwan can last forever," Sheng said, recalling his own homestay experience in the United States when he was a student.

The overseas visitors had their own "itineraries" specially crafted by their host families, and through various activities, both the visitors and families gained unforgettable memories, he added.

Vice President Vincent Siew also attended the press conference and extended his gratitude to the local host families, describing them as "friendly ambassadors."

One of those participating in the two-week program was St. Kitts and Nevis resident Iantavian Queeley, who has won three beauty pageants in the Caribbean.

Queeley, nicknamed "Queen" among her Taiwanese friends, said she has been very impressed by the friendliness and hospitality of Taiwan's people.

"From the time I got here, everyone I've come in contact with has been very welcoming and very warm and genuinely hospitable," said Queeley, who is flying back to St. Kitts and Nevis late Thursday evening and plans to come back soon.

"I feel like it's like a second home now. I have so many friends here and feel like I have a second family, so I can come back whenever I need to take a break," she added.

Betty Shen, "Queen's" host and now one of her best friends in Taiwan, also expressed her gratitude, saying "as long as you want to, you can make many friends (via this program)."

Promising to keep in touch with her 20-30 new friends through Facebook, Shen said she would definitely visit them some time in the near future.

After the press conference, the overseas visitors had a tour of the Presidential Office, which some youths said was a rare opportunity for them as the presidential office in their country is off-limits and cannot even be approached.

A farewell party will be held Wednesday evening, with Premier Wu Den-yih and other government officials scheduled to attend.

The Republic of China International Youth Week Centennial Homestay was also organized by the ROC Centenary Foundation.

Updated : 2021-02-28 03:14 GMT+08:00