On Saturday November 19, 2022, Tzu Chi University’s Department of English Language and Literature class, “Service Learning: Language Exchange Partners for International Refugee Students,” traveled to Taipei to visit the Taipei Grand Mosque.
Mr. Wang Menglong of Taipei Grand Mosque spoke to the class about Islamic religion and culture. The class visited the Prayer Hall; the washroom (for wuḍū, ceremonial washing as part of daily prayers); and the women’s balcony where women and children participate in prayers. On the same day as the class visit, the Mosque also hosted an American Muslim guest speaker in the main prayer hall, so the Mosque had many attendees from various ethnic and national backgrounds and the atmosphere was lively. In the afternoon the class explored the Muslim Cemetery at Liuzhangli in Taipei, which is a historically important site with rare monuments in Islamic style.
In this class, TCU students work online in small groups with students at El Menahil International School in Istanbul, Turkey, a school for Syrian refugees founded by Tzu Chi Foundation. The objectives of this course are to provide educational opportunities for refugee students from Syria and to increase TCU students’ awareness about the work that both the United Nations and Tzu Chi does with refugees worldwide.