Supertrampstars Elaine and Vicky

I started blogging to help bridge my own Australian/Western culture and Taiwanese culture.  Many people I have met, including close friends and family, know nothing about Taiwan: they either think it is ‘Thailand’, or else that it is a dangerous war zone in perpetual dispute with China.  They are often surprised to learn that ‘Formosa’ is open and democratic, that Taiwanese are friendly, polite and welcoming, that there is some amazing food and beautiful, scenic gems all around the semi-tropical island.  Visitors leave with glowing stories of their travel to this undiscovered paradise.


But I still call Australia home.  And I love also serving as a bridge for Taiwanese to better understand my own Aussie culture.

Taiwanxifu with Elaine and Vicky

So I enjoyed meeting self-described ‘Supertrampstars’ Elaine and Vicky, two young women who have recently returned from spending time in Australia on the Working Holiday Making Scheme.  I met Elaine and Vicky when they delivered a speech on their experiences at a National Youth Commission event that included a session on the Working Holiday Maker Scheme.  Both were honest yet effusive about their experiences, calling on Taiwanese parents to be willing to let their kids have a go at travelling overseas.  And not to wait too long to do so; it was usual for instance for South Korean students to travel to Australia during their ‘gap year’ in-between finishing High School and starting University whereas Taiwanese travellers tended to be older.

Elaine and Vicky at Brighton Beach, Melbourne, Victoria (coincidentally I grew up not far from here)

During their time in Australia, Elaine and Vicky did all the usual tourist things:  seeing the penguins on Philip Island, visiting the Twelve Apostles, going to capital cities like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and even travelling to the remote sacred rock called Uluru in central Australia.  They also did some English language study.  But then they did some pretty unusual things, too, such as working as volunteers caring for sick and injured koalas at the Australia Zoo and skydiving.  And did some pretty hard work picking fruit in the countryside: not something that UV-shy young Taiwanese girls usually enjoy doing.  Despite struggling at times to communicate in English, they excelled — and at one point were even promoted to supervisor during one of their short-term jobs.

Elaine and Vicky caring for sick and injured koalas at Australia Zoo

Elaine and Vicky have produced a short you-tube video about their experiences in Australia.  They are currently travelling around Taiwan talking to young people about their experiences.  According to their blog, their next speaking engagement is on 23 December at the Taichung Library.  They are passionate about highlighting the positives of how the experience has changed them (for the better), and why it is something that young Taiwanese should do (their motto is the significance of the working holiday ‘let the world change you, and you can change the world’ — 打工渡假的意義『讓世界改變你,讓你改變世界).

Jumping at Uluru

Elaine and Vicky — go for it (jia you)!  I look forward to hearing about your next adventure.

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About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
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4 Responses to Supertrampstars Elaine and Vicky

  1. a. says:

    It’s good to see what those two girls are doing, especially after the bad press those working holidays got, where Taiwanese were branded as simple cheap labor… Taiwanese people can be so harsh toward themselves sometimes, it’s sad.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      I couldn’t agree more. It is so nice to see young Taiwanese who are willing to try new things and have an adventure. From speaking to these ladies, I gather that they plan to go around Taiwan speaking about their experiences in order to help dispel the bad press. They were, I believe, quite upset by the one-sided reporting.

  2. diane skopp says:

    I had the pleasure of working with Elaine & Vicky on their working holiday. They are without a doubt great ambassators for Taiwain and Australia. Impressive, hardworking, dignified young ladies with teffific sense of humor. They promoted Taiwain in a quiet and positive way as they went about their work and answered any questions and took the time to explained. I am very grateful to have known them. I wish them both all the best in their futures and hope we will meet again some day.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Wow. They must have made quite an impression. They clearly enjoyed their time in Australia, and are passionate about sharing their experiences to others.

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