During their spring break in the beginning of April, the eighth grade students at the Saipan Seventh-Day Adventist School took a class trip to the country of Taiwan. This trip has been the main focus of their class fundraisers, and with help from school faculty, the eighth graders were able to raise $4,000 toward their trip to Taiwan. Their fundraisers ranged from bowling tournaments to hot lunches, and the students want to thank everyone who participated in events and supported them in this goal.
While on the trip, the eighth graders and their faculty sponsors were able to visit many exciting historical attractions and participate in much of what the island country has to offer. In the first city they visited, Taipei, the SDA school group visited the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial where they watched the changing of the guard ceremony. The group visited the Taipei 101 Tower and rode the fastest elevator in the world up to its observation deck on the 89th floor, where they were able to see a 360-degree view of the city. The group went to the Taipei Zoo where they were able to see pandas, koalas and many other animals for the first time. The students had the opportunity to ride in a gondola over the tea fields in the mountains that surround Taipei. Also while in Taipei, the SDA school group visited a sister institution, the Taipei Adventist Hospital.
After spending several days in Taipei, the group rode a train to the city of Hualien, where they spent the day touring the Taroko Gorge. This national park with breathtaking views was a great outing for the students. Their tour of the Taroko Gorge provided an opportunity to see the natural wonders of the island and appreciate the landscapes.
Another train ride brought the group to the city of Kaohsiung, where they stayed for two days. While there, the SDA school group visited the old British Consulate and rode in the Kaohsiung Eye, a Ferris wheel on top of the largest mall in Taiwan—another amazing view of Taiwan! The next destination for the group was back to Taipei. Though the distance between these cities was roughly a 7-hour train ride, it took the group only an hour and 40 minutes riding the HSR, a high-speed rail that travels just over 180mph.
Once again in Taipei, the eighth graders and their sponsors enjoyed more sightseeing, and visited the Beitou Thermal Valley and saw natural hot springs. During their last evening in Taipei the group visited the Shilin Night Market to shop and enjoy traditional Taiwanese foods.
During the week the students were put in charge of their own food budgets and learned how to manage their money in a currency that was new to them. In addition to learning how to budget their money, the eighth graders also learned about a different culture, a different language and different customs. It was a great experience for both the students and teachers alike! (Faith Hoyt)