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IFYE student shares Taiwanese culture during Great Bend stay
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An IFYE student, Lan-Lan Wang, visited Great Bend during a month long 4-H summer exchange. While here, she shared slide shows of her home and her 4-H clubs projects with several groups. One slide depicted the rice field her club dyed with a celebratory message in 2012 when Taiwan celebrated 60 years with 4-H. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

Lan-Lan Wang, Taiwan, arrived in Kansas on June 17 as one of four IFYE students visiting rural communities in the United States from Taiwan this summer.  Other students are visiting Montana, Colorado and South Dakota.

After a brief orientation, she met her first host, Barton County Extension Agent Bernie Unruh at a camp session at Rock Springs.  She was surprised to see members age 12 to 16 attending a leadership conference.  She enjoyed fishing and riding a horse for the first time too.

On June 20, she returned to Great Bend with Donna Krug, Barton County Extension’s CEA agent.  It’s been an eye opening experience for the 23 year-old soon to be 4-H leader.  

In Taiwan, she said, 4-H members join when they are in their teens, and continue until they are 24 years old.  Wang was delighted to see how children as young as seven years old take part in projects and are given an opportunity to present project talks in U.S. clubs.

“In Taiwan, club members are only given the opportunity to speak in front of the club when they are 16,” she said.   Also, there is more focus put on shared cultural experiences, like learning to make foods together, she said.  Wang has gleaned ideas she will bring back to her club and share.

Last year, Wang said 4-H celebrated it’s 60th anniversary in Taiwan.  Her club used dye to decorate a large rice field for the occasion.  She shared several slides of her home and projects her club completed with several service groups and organizations in Barton County during her stay for the past few weeks.

While here, she has also visited the Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and experienced biking on the Arkansas river levee trail.
On Wednesday, Wang will meet her third sponsor and begin her third leg of her Kansas exchange.  She will travel to Medicine Lodge and attend a July 4th celebration with her new host family, and on Friday, attend a State Youth Council meeting in Pratt.