City councillour Andrew Adams of the Ishikari Twinning Society working together Taiwanese exchange students Edison Wang

Exchange student makes a lasting impression

Wang began attending international events hosted by the Immigrant Welcome Centre which sparked his idea of hosting A Taste of Asia

Edison Wang, a strong-willed 17 year old Taiwanese exchange student, has been in Campbell River since September 2012 and returns home in July 2013.

Wang was determined that before he left he would make a lasting positive impression on Campbell River residents and encourage them to learn more about Taiwan.

Wang began attending international events hosted by the Immigrant Welcome Centre which sparked his idea of hosting A Taste of Asia, that took place June 8  to showcase East and Southeast Asia, specifically his home country of Taiwan.

“I am impressed that so many people come and have fun at the event – over 1,200,” Wang said. “I hope this will be bigger and even better next year.”

Wang hosted the event with support from the Immigrant Welcome Centre and the Taipei Cultural and Economic office in Vancouver.

This was Wang’s first time to Campbell River and the first year the Taipei City officially sent high school students on an exchange and only five students in Taipei were chosen. When looking at the number of students to choose from, that fact that Wang was chosen is like winning the lottery.

For perspective, the island of Taiwan is only 4,000 square kilometers larger than Vancouver Island.

The key difference is that while all of Vancouver Island holds 750,000 residents, Taiwan holds over 23 million (in all of Canada there are only 35 million people).

This calculates into us lucky local islanders having a population density of only 23 people per square kilometer compared with a whopping 639 people per square kilometer in Taiwan.

If you think this is crowded, Wang is from Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, which holds 2.6 million people creating a population density of 9,600 people per square kilometer.

“I was really lucky to be chosen and happy that I was because my eight-month experience in Campbell River has been unforgettable. I have met so many nice people and had many cool experiences,” said Wang.

Campbell River’s exchange students who spend a year abroad are able to count a few courses towards their high school diploma. Wang will have to start a year behind when he returns home.

For Wang, a regular high school day starts at 7:30 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. After school it is common to eat a quick dinner and then head to ‘cram school’ from 6-10 p.m. where students take advanced courses and practice curriculum exercises to prepare for entrance exams for university.

Although ‘cram school’ is not mandatory, most students attend.

After the daily marathon of school, students then finish their homework from regular school and get to bed around midnight.

Wang’s perspective on school is that “school is fine but you have to spend time to know why you are learning all these things, practice what you’ve learned. It will make you feel that it’s worth it.”

Wang would like to thank Campbell River residents and his host family, the Koizumi’s, for making his stay memorable.

Shannon Briggs, Diversity Projects Coordinator for the Immigrant Welcome Centre said, “The event was so successful and popular that we are looking to make this an annual event combined with Ocean’s Day.

“Edison really did leave his mark on Campbell River.”