2017 English Camp for Youth with Visual Impairments

2017 English Camp for Youth with Visual Impairments 

 

2017 English Camp for Youth with Visual Impairments is not just another summer camp. Co-hosting by Ai-Ming Visually Impaired Service Development Center and International Division, the 5-day English camp hosts high school students that provide them with the opportunity to improve their English skills and gain self-confidence.

 

Through the program, students gain confidence to set and attain goals for English learning and team building. Many students consistently make significant academic progress, obtaining English skills in terms of listening, speaking and reading.

The purpose of the camp is to offer an English learning environment through the topic of travel and engaging with English speaking teachers from abroad. The camp has a group of international volunteer teachers (sighted volunteers) from U.S.A, Canada and Vietnam, tutoring the visually impaired youth during camp.

 

The classes started by a sing-a-long session each day, enable students to learn through the lyrics of the songs, followed by the lessons of different topics regarding Travel: hotel, sightseeing, traffic, and restaurants. The highlight of the camp was the field trip to Taoyuan International Airport and DaXing High School, a vocational high school located near the airport specialized in aircraft maintenance, and the only high school in Taiwan with simulated aircraft cabin, offering students a simulated flying experience. The trip was an awesome adventure to most students, especially the younger one who has never traveled abroad in their lives.

Nami Pham, 26, an international volunteer from Vietnam, was surprised by how motivated and enthusiastic in learning the students were, loss in vision did not pull them back from willing to know more. “They seemed really happy and optimistic, and it is amazing that most of them are really talented, we enjoyed the pianos played by different students every lunch break, and some can play other instruments like flute, ocarina, and saxophone, one of the students knows martial art and gave us a lesson on self-defense," Nami said with amazement.

 

“Being with them opened up my mind and heart, although there was a slight lost in translation, they encouraged me to keep up with big smiles! Feeling fortunate that this type of camps is not offered often in Vietnam.” Nami said she will continue volunteering, enjoy the process while learning from the students with disabilities.

The English camp is a part of the social, therapeutic, academic, recreational services program that provide school-aged youth with the English skills and self-confidence to live with vision loss. “This camp helped me learn more English and gain more independence, especially in speaking. Now I feel a lot more comfortable to speak," said Banio Wong, a high school student whose favorite activity was the sing-a-long session. “The Camp is the event I look forward to every summer, to gather with my friends once a year, the camp is where we can gain our English skills necessary to thrive.”