Cultural Connections
(Spring, 1998),
Students' Final Report: Summaries
(Rebecca's class)
(Doris's class)
(Kate's class)
Sent Re- 
FF1 T21
FF2 T22
FF3 T23
FF4 T24
FF5 T25
FF6 T26
FF7 T27
FF8 T28
FF9 T29
FF10 T30
FF11 T31
(15 students, 2 had technical problems and switched to writing journals.)
Sent Re- 
FS1 T1 10 10 Respect students' wills [choice] on both sides. 
FS2 T2 7-8 8-9 Have some ideas about the pals that we may have. 

Match people who have the same or similar interests in a pair. 

Students on both sides exchange basic info. In a card or paper.

FS3 T3 5 3 Maybe both sides may have at least one activity or assignment in common. 

This program may be considered optional rather than required. 

Students may exchange photos or personal data before the connection.

FS4 T4 16 7 Computer (especially school computers) problems need to be solved. 

The students can decide whether they want to join the program or not. 

FS5 T5 7 7 We should connect with those from different cultural background. 

Before the connection, they should consider deeply if they are willing to connect with us.

FS6 T6 6 5 Tell them to be fair that they should reply our letters then we will write them back because I think we are equal. 

Be sure that every student wants to participate in the project.

FS7 T7 4 4 It is better if we can inform each other the time we can receive the mail or cannot receive it exactly. Then both sides won't wait for too long.
FS8 T8 12 11 Time is the main problem beside technical problems. 
FS9 T9 ? 6 This project should be carried out according to our own will. 

We can get more information about the students we are going to connect to such as their interests, personalities, and choose by our own.

 ¡@ back
 (14 joined, three switched to journals after some failure in communication.)
Sent Re- 
FJ1 T10 3 3
  •   I  don't find many cultural differences in our communication. What i  only found has mentioned above--American students don't study too hard--actually that's not difference, because the students in Taiwan do not study hard,  either! :) 
  • But I found some things that in this email penpaling,if you show your sincerity and concerns first, then the other side would react in  the same way;  that's where the friendship starts. i remember that when I told Cynthia my college life in Taiwan, she also replied to me in detail about her life. 
  • Most importantly, teacher may  need  to  watch an  eye 

  • on the student to email every week, or student  would be lazy(so did I :)   )!  But sometimes there are things we can't control or expect. For 
    example, some students never know how to email  until  this project 
  • Also, teachers can suggest some topics which can arise  the 

  • curiosity either the American side or Taiwanese side so that we can 
FJ2 T11 6-7 6
  • the first month with the computer problems
  • I think I am really enjoying in this activity.  Rebecca is an active person who is easy to get along with and talking to her is a happy thing.   We will still keep in touch even after this activity.  In these letters, we have exchanged some opinions and experiences.  She has also sometimes correct my English.  I think this activity really do some help to me.
FJ3 T12 9 8
  • Four of our letters are about my research paper, but I haven't let Kim read my whole research paper.  In my nineth letter, I will attach my rp to Kim. 
  • Besides, we always write long letters.  Kim really helps me a lot by teaching me how to write.
FJ4 T13  3 1
  • (switched to writing journals)
  •  . . .  By the way, my correspondence pal--Karen just replied my last message... Her problem is right on her computer since she can only reply mails but not send them.....She would like to keep in touch with me whether this requirement is fulfilled or not.... 
FJ5 T14 4 3
    I got pleasure from e-mailing to my American tutor.
FJ6 T15 11 8
  • Knowing someone far away from me is quite an interesting thing for me. 
  • Though we only had emailed once a week, I learned something from my tutor.  In the beginning, I wanted to learn how to write a good paper and I did ask my tutor about the difference between description and narration paper, and how to write a good research paper.  She only replied the former one.  Maybe the latter one is too hard to tell in the simple words. 
  • Actually, she prefers to tell me something about the cultural background of United States.  
  • Besides, she is much more interested in my personal life and viewpoints.  She asked me a lot of questions and I did my best to reply them. 
  • The only weakness of this is the tutor may not correct our mistakes of the emails.  
FJ7 T16 7 6
  • I really enjoy the writing with Maggie.  From her writing it's a good chance to learn phrases or vocabulary.  Most of time, it's like a sharing of value and our life experience. 
  • Sometimes I feel that we can not go deeper into the issue we wrote, maybe it's because that we are not familiar with each other. 
  • Besides, I found that the purposes are different.  I originally think that she would help me on my writing, so I wrote about my composition more.  In her letters she often wrote some cultural issue. In the beginning of April I sent her my reasearch paper since she said I can feel free to do this.  However, after that she didn't write to me as much as brefore.  Even though I wrote her that it's not necessary for her to give comment to me.   She havn't written to me yet.  I really mind if my research paper troubles her.  
  • Once she wrote the story of Jesus that I am not very interested in because I already read it in my freshman year.  In the situation like this, I tried to start a new topic.  Sometimes, the question I asked she didn't reply, too. 
FJ8 T17 5.5 4
  • I don't know if it is good for us to talk about our boy friends in the activity; but we DID!  By the way, I've also learned one thing from it, about the cultural difference.  The reason we started to talk about our boys was because Sarah told me that she was engaged and was going to marry next summer.  I felt so shocked why she was so "brave" to tell me that.  As a Chinese, it's hard to start the kind of conversation, especially to a new acquaintance.  However, Sarah informed me in the first mail of introduction.  Since she felt so easy to tell me that, why couldn't I? 
  • In the mails, I asked Sarah to correct my mistakes.  She told me that she was very surprised that a ESL could use her

  • mother tongue so fluently.  And she told me that those mistakes were not such a big deal.  I found the mistakes she corrected 
    were those I thought "It could be all right IN ORAL." 
  •  I think the benefits of the experience is that we could just put our knowledge into practice directly.  We learn in the English

  • Dept. and contact with it everyday.  Although we are asked to speak English in school, it is not enough for us to get used to the 
    language.  I think it has to do with our ESL environment in Taiwan. 
FJ9 T18 7 7
  • Our e-mailing sounded more like doing homework than interchanging our friendship.  I did not say this before, because we were interested in the thinking of each other. 
  • Now that she has accomplished her requirements, she stops  sending more letters to me.  I would not blame her, maybe this is the American way, "time is money".  There are other reasons for her to stop e-mailing me, she is graduating and soon getting marry. 
  •  She is careful when she wanted to ask about my belief.  This is 

  • the way she asked me about it, "What kind of temple will you be going to for prayer?  I hope you are not uncomfortable with talking about 
  •  I gave to her my Po-box address, I hope she would write to me. 

  • Although I noticed that it might be difficult to keep a friend through  line, especially if you have not seen the person.
FJ10 T19 7 7
  • I like this project very much.  It is much more interesting and helpful than writing journals, and I have learned a lot from my partner and his letters. 
  • First, from this project I get more chances to expose to the real and native English. 
  • My partner gives me a lot of suggestions about my problems I mentioned in letters, which helps me very much. 
  • However, inevitably there are some difficulties I met in this project.  This first one is the infrequency of our contact. 
  • Secondly, my partner and I are not really familiar with each other before we started to contact with each other by e-mail.  Therefore, sometimes we don't know what we have to say in letters, it makes the letters serious and boring.  Truly, I am sure this situation will be improved after we have known each other for a longer time.  However, since this project just lasts for a short period of time, the problem could not be solved during the project time. 
FJ11 T20  7 or 8  7 or 8 
  • The most stunning thing to me is that the other side is patient and tolerant to my late response. Most of the time, I could not reply the mail immediately and delay the proceedings. She would try to be understanding and not get mad at my lateness.
  • The most important thing I share with her is the situation of cram school in Taiwan. I've told her that cram school is very common in Taiwan. We have all types of cram school all around. She felt quite interested in this phenomenon and asks me many questions about what a cram school is like.
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