Our Modern Languages department hosts many exchanges throughout the year. These are designed to be a fun and immersive way for our pupils to hone their language skills and experience other cultures. Next year, seven Form III pupils who are taking Mandarin will travel to Taiwan to take part in an exchange with pupils in Taipei. This exchange takes place annually, and has proved to be really successful.
Given this surge in interest from pupils, Advanced Higher Mandarin was introduced to the Dollar Academy curriculum last year. Eight pupils took the course, with two having now gone on to study the language at Aberdeen University. The course not only focuses on the language itself, it also delves into the current affairs and cultures of Mandarin-speaking countries. This will have proved really useful to Mack and Aidan, who are now both working and living in Taiwan.
Both boys had taken part in the Taiwan exchange when they were in Form III and, after leaving Dollar, they both decided to return to the country to improve their Mandarin and assist with lessons in a local school. To fund their gap years, Mack and Aidan won the Douglas Kynoch Award and a Taiwan local government scholarship, respectively.
Mack has been supporting children who are around eleven years old with a variety of subjects and activities. He is also enjoying travelling around Taipei in his spare time, learning about the Taiwanese culture.
Similarly, Aidan has found his gap year to be incredibly insightful. He is working with pupils who are thirteen years old, and has been amazed at their dedication and work ethic. During his time at Dollar, Aidan was heavily involved in music, starring in the Senior School musical ‘Chicago’ in June. He has been using this experience to his advantage by assisting with music lessons, as well as leading classes in Scottish country dancing! Recently, Aidan featured on a Taiwanese news channel, where he was interviewed about his experience so far. Aidan said: “This experience has taught me so much about how to talk to students and people. I have also learnt how to prepare lessons to make them more interesting and accessible for students.” The interview is mainly in Mandarin, and you can view it here.
Dollar wishes Mack and Aidan all the best for the rest of their gap year experiences.