Last night the Huaqiao Foreign Friends Association had their first official party! It was basically a meet-and-greet where teachers from Kang Chiao and other foreigners living in Huaqiao got to meet and discuss a mutually beneficial partnership with the local government.

The ultimate goal is to make Huaqiao a better place for everyone who lives here. The local government wants to give us a space to hang out, work out in and give us the ability to transform it based on our needs. In return, a few volunteers are asked to engage in weekend activities with local children!

It was an intimate party with plenty of food, beer and fun to go around! We enjoyed a great buffet, X-box games, snooker and pink pong, all while discussing future activities in Huaqiao and volunteer opportunities for foreigners. In celebration of the upcoming Chinese New Year, we had a special guest calligrapher who made us beautiful couplets.

For those of you who don’t know, couplets are basically lines of poetry hung on one’s door to ensure good luck and fortune in the upcoming year. We have already hung ours up! Unfortunately our door is positioned so our couplets are skewed, but hopefully our year will still be right on point!20170120_133900

Once our bellies were full and we were all tired out from being fruit-slicing ninjas, we discussed how to make Huaqiao a better place. There will be many events organized by the local government that foreigners will be welcome to join, including singing competition, language exchanges and many more events.

We also passed around the volunteering sign-up sheet. So far, ten teachers are interested in spending one or two hours volunteering with children on given weekends. Once we’re all back from the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), we will make a schedule where volunteers will be asked when they are free and events will be organized.

These upcoming events will bring together locals and foreigners in a variety of activities. Most of the volunteering will involve taking kids to the park (with their parents and local volunteers in tow) and playing games to expose them to foreigners and the English language.

Huaqiao is lucky to have three beautiful large parks and they are very different from what Westerners might expect. The parks are huge with lots of man-made bodies of water, intricate arched bridges and bird watching huts. Volunteers will get to discover these parks and many other great places in Huaqiao.

The Huaqiao Foreign Friends Association is still at an early stage of development. Right now the main goal is to figure out what the foreign community needs to be happier in Huaqiao. Then we will work together with the local government to make it happen. This is going to be a long-term project and it has to start somewhere!

If you live in Huaqiao and want to contribute, please join our WeChat group. Together, we can make Huaqiao more than just a place where we live and work. Let’s make Huaqiao a place to call home!

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Check out some photos from the event!

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See you next time!

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