5 June 2020 - 14 Sivan 5780 - י"ד סיון ה' אלפים תש"פ
Taiwanese volunteers spend summer vacation in Israel E-mail

In a café in Jerusalem’s Cinema City complex in August, over plates of Israeli breakfast, shakshuka and a communal bowl of fries, a group of seven young Taiwanese volunteers shared their experiences during their time in Israel and recounted with humour the similarities and differences between the two cultures, Jerusalem Post reported.

“I still remember Independence Day, there was supposed to be a celebration party in Gilo Park, and originally they told me it started at 8 o’clock and I was there until 9, maybe a little later, and they finally started and I thought, ‘Okay, this kind of reminds me of home’,” recounted Cindy, a volunteer who had spent the previous past five months at the Gilo branch of ILAN, the Israel foundation for handicapped children. She added: “Transportation is really different here; when you cross the street, the cars stop.”

She and six other volunteers were taking time off from their studies or careers to explore Israel and to serve some of its most needy citizens, working with organisations such as ILAN, the Israeli society for autistic children ALUT, and Elwyn, which is dedicated to helping people with disabilities.

Both Israeli and Taiwanese cultures put a strong emphasis on the family, and when asked about how their families took the news that their children would be spending an extended period of time in the Middle East, one volunteer explained: “Our parents tried to stop us from coming, but I take a lot of pictures and send them so they feel better about me being here.” This comment was met with emphatic head nods and hand-over-mouth laughter from the rest of the group.

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