Immanuel Lutheran science teacher exchanges knowledge on Taiwan trip
By Julie Mullen For The Courier-News September 11, 2011 5:06PM
Updated: September 11, 2011 5:06PM
EAST DUNDEE — Answering the question usually asked of students, veteran teacher Sue Domeier couldn’t wait to talk about what she did on her summer vacation.
Domeier, who teaches science to fifth- through eighth-graders at Immanuel Lutheran School, journeyed to Taiwan on a Christian mission trip to open youngsters’ eyes to Western culture.
Trading her lab coat for more casual attire as part of the team from Concordia University-Wisconsin, the Carol Stream resident said it was the experience of a lifetime.
“The people there are so warm and friendly … and they look out for you,” Domeier said. “It is a wonderful, wonderful culture.”
Domeier plans to share her knowledge and photos of Taiwanese life with her students, as well as some indigenous candy treats she brought back for them.
The trip’s aim was to work a weeklong camp run by the university, titled “A Closer Look at America.”
Children in Taiwan are eager to learn American culture, and their parents want that for them, too, Domeier said, to enhance their future in business.
Held at the Taiwan Children’s Center — a local version of the YMCA — students ages 7 to 13 ranged from poverty-stricken to middle class.
At camp, they learned about American holidays, and the traditions and foods that go along with them.
“They were so eager to learn, and loved sampling American customs and cuisine,” she said. “On the last day, we did an East versus West cuisine cook-off. It was hard finding things in the store to make American pizza, but the kids loved it.”
A chance to
As part of a Lutheran school, Domeier said she also was drawn in by the mission’s underlying Christian theme.
“Only 3 to 5 percent of Taiwanese are Christian,” she said. “The most important thing we did there was share Christ.”
Domeier first learned about the opportunity through the university after teaching STEAM camp — which stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics — an outreach summer program it sponsors in Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.
The mission trip was funded partially by the university, with part paid by Domeier, who added that the school — which has an MBA program in Taiwan — has been making efforts to build relations there.
“They have been wanting to build connections there,” Domeier said. “It’s a nice partnership.”
The team was represented by seasoned teachers and administrators, as well as some newer to the education field.
Domeier, who has been teaching for 26 years and is in her fourth year at Immanuel Lutheran, said that while she learned many differences between students among the two cultures, she was more struck by the similarities.
“Children are children no matter where they live,” Domeier said. “They love to laugh, learn and explore. A smile needs no interpretation.”