Posted by: viaprograms | January 26, 2010

Stanford Program Claude Buss Fellow Goes Full Circle

Hello everyone. My name is John Kaniaupio, and I was a host for the American Language and

John (right) Cooking with ALC 2009 participant Akihito (left)

Culture Program for the summer of 2009. I am so grateful to the VIA Program for giving me the opportunity to go full circle– not only to learn how to teach foreigners about my own culture, but also to go to Asia after the program so they could teach me about theirs.

During the program I met a lot of amazing students from a number of different universities throughout Japan and Taiwan. They were always busy finishing up their English assignments and trying to experience American culture with company visits and such, but sometimes, I’m glad that they made time to just sit around and do nothing with us hosts. It was from those seemingly meaningless moments that I was able to form deeper friendships with them.

Having formed these connections with them, they were close enough to me to take time, once again, out of their busy school schedules to let me stay with them and show me around their own home towns when I went to Asia this past winter break, from December 11th to January 6th. (Yes. I did get back to school late, which is a story all its own – but it was worth it!) I enjoyed every moment, trying all different kinds of food and drink, going to temples and shrines, seeing their classes, and simply taking time to look at the scenery and city lights. In Japan, they probably take it for granted because it’s so widely used, but I found their train system just simply amazing. It’s something that we don’t have here in the United States and it’s so convenient. And with one-dollar bubble tea in Taiwan, you can’t go wrong. I have around 1000 pictures to recount it all.

I’m so happy that they were able to share these memories with me, and I can’t wait to go back to see all of them again. I want to thank VIA, as well, for giving me a chance to make these connections that will no doubt last my lifetime.



  1. I glad you have a nice trip in Taiwan,
    If you want to take another trip in Taiwan in future, you can come to Taichung, nightmarket in here is the specialist XD!!

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