Monday, March 16, 2015

Five children from Taiwan experience winter in Maine - By Nathaniel Bennett

 “Will there be snow?”   

A month earlier in Taiwan, one of our five young Taiwanese students asked this as we discussed what to expect on their stay in Maine for our Winter in Maine program. There hadn’t been much snow in December, so they were a little worried. Snow was part of the reason they were coming.

As we all now know, they weren’t disappointed.

Arriving at the Portland Jetport on January 28th, they were greeted by nearly two feet of the white stuff following Winter Storm Juno’s historic record of 23.8 inches in Portland, making it the fourth largest snowstorm for Portland on record. What a welcome! And there would be more to come, along with one of the coldest Februarys on record.

Five Taiwanese boys made the long flight and would stay with us at our home in Windham for three weeks — Richard (16), Victor (11), PJ (11), Austin (12), and Wei-Da (13). They would attend classes at Windham Christian Academy during the day and get involved with winter activities in the evening and on weekends.

The purpose of our Winter in Maine program is to allow young people from Taiwan the opportunity to interact with American students in a regular classroom environment. It’s a wonderful chance for them to see what it’s like to be a student in America. They dissected worms, performed chemistry experiments, did grammar and math exercises, were invited by schoolmates to their events, visited the Capitol building in session in Augusta, played sports and made friends. We thank the teachers, staff and leadership at Windham Christian Academy for hosting them.

No lack of snow, the group was able to go snow tubing at Seacoast Funpark, make a huge snow fort at home, play soccer in the snow, ski at popular areas like Lost Valley and Shawnee Peak, and go ice skating at Portland’s Troubh Ice Arena. Taiwan is a tropical island, so it was a treat to be able to get out and experience winter sports and life in Maine.

On February 17th, the crew headed back to Taiwan with fond memories of friends, teachers and a wonderful winter experience in Maine.

We’d like to thank Windham Eagle and our friends in Windham for their kindness and for the support of our programs for Taiwanese students in Maine.

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