Tuesday, July 31, 2007

ESL Training/ 7-Eleven hopping

We've been doing our ESL (English as a Second Language) Instructor training pretty much nonstop since Sunday. The training consists of us sitting in a lecture hall on the fifth floor of the Hess building, which is about three blocks from our hotel. We start every morning at 9, and we usually finish it up around 6:30.

While we're there, we sit through lectures and demonstrations about how to teach English to kids who may not know much. The last couple of days, we've been concentrating on buxiban (BOO-shee-bon) or kindergarten classes. We've been instructed on the proper way to introduce kids to the course material (vocab words, phonics, numbers, etc.) and then how to incorporate these things into fun songs and games to play with the kids to help them learn.

We have to listen and follow along in our training books, and then we are asked to demonstrate the skills ourselves. We had a practice demo today in which my group had to figure out a way to teach kids the vocabulary and simple choreography for the song "Ten in the Bed" (you know, "and the little one said, 'roll over!'") We did pretty well, so I'm confidant that our real test tomorrow morning will go well.

We've been attending these sessions all day, so it's been nice having evenings to enjoy. We've been sticking close to home, since we really don't have the time to go too far into the city. The last couple of nights, Luke, Mike (an ESL trainee from Canada) and I have gone '7-Eleven hopping'. Basically, this consists of walking from one 7-Eleven store to the next (never more than a couple blocks) and getting a beer at each one. We tried to get lost a few times, just for the hell of it, and somehow miraculously ended up running into our hotel twice before finally managing to get lost. We then took a cab home for the amazingly low price of $NT90 ($3US.)

We have Saturday off, so I plan on doing something fun Friday night and Saturday. More pics to come.

Sunday, July 29, 2007


I've arrived in Taipei. After a long flight from London To Malaysia (including a stopover in Kuala Lumpur,) Luke and I arrived in Taipei late Thirsday night, both looking quite disheveled and smelling like homeless people.

We checked into out hotel (the Golden China Hotel) and went right to sleep. The next morning, we went down to our complementary buffet breakfast and met some of the other Hess teachers. We walked around the city and saw some of the sights, including a temple, a night market, and some of the local landmarks like Taipei 101, the world's tallest building.

Lunch one day

Taipei 101 from down the street

Taipei from the top of 101

Me with Damper Baby, the official mascot of Taipei 101.

We started training today, and so far so good. We took a quick tour of the city, and had lunch. Then off to Hess headquarters, where we had icebreakers, informational presentations, and a brief Mandarin lesson.

So far, I really like Taipei and the company. It all seems very overwhelming, but in a good way.