The Overseas Community Affairs Council (OCAC) held its Taiwan Youth and Overseas Expatriate Bridging Program (the Bridging Program) from 2017 as a way to broaden the horizons of Taiwan’s youth and increase their understanding of the OCAC’s tasks as well as provide opportunities to interact with overseas expatriates. In 2017 summer, 117 Taiwan’s youth were sent to go on visits to 12 cities in the U.S.A., Canada, and Australia. Following the excellent results, the 2018 Bridging Program was expanded to Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy target region such as Southeast Asia and New Zealand, and 192 Taiwanese students were sent to 25 cities around the world. President Tsai Ing-wen attended the pre-departure flag presentation ceremony and gave words of encouragement that instilled participants with a sense of mission.
In the light of favorable comments, the OCAC will continue to hold the Bridging Program in 2019 with the number of participants increased to 234, and locations expanded to 33 cities in 18 countries, including Paraguay, Guatemala, Brazil and Argentina. Additionally, in response to the hope expressed by President Tsai, South Africa has also been added. Taiwan’s youth will take part in a seven-day internship during summer vacation. Activities include visiting the culture center of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, local expatriate associations and mainstream institutions. Furthermore, participants will engage in various events held by the overseas community, exchange opinions with local youth and have the opportunity to stay with a host family. Through personal experience, youth will gain a deeper understanding of the obstacles that overseas expatriates have faced abroad in addition to the awareness of the economic and political situations in other nations.
As a result of holding this program, the OCAC aims to establish a bridge between Taiwanese youth and the overseas community to increase the opportunities for their interactions. Young people will thus gain a personal understanding of the importance of the OCAC’s organizational functions as well as broaden their own horizons.