#SundaySharings- Jonathan Tran

13923459_10206935469878764_6695620517429328532_oMeet Jonathan Tran, an UCSD Tzu Ching member that is majoring in Literature and has a strong interest in Education.

Jonathan joined us back in the 2015-2016 school year when he found that he enjoyed volunteering. He explored various volunteering opportunities and stumbled upon UCSD Tzu Ching. This loving fellow has an interest in K-Pop and you can probably find him dancing to various K-Pop choreographies from groups and artists such as BTS, EXO or even Psy! Not only does he dance, but he also has a musical talent of playing piano, which he consistently performs for the elderly at Convalescent Home. Jonathan is now currently a 3rd-year at UCSD and recently had the opportunity to attend the 2016 TCCA Leadership Conference this past summer.

Let’s see what Jonathan has to share about his experience at the 2016 TCCA Leadership Conference!

2016 TCCA Leadership Conference Reflection

When I think of the TCCA Leadership Conference now, I ask myself, “What did I learn?” In terms of raw knowledge, I didn’t learn a lot of new things. Most (or even all) of the teachings and guidelines were already familiar to me because I’ve encountered them before at some points in my life. But the review does help me keep the lessons fresh in my mind. Also, I did learn at least a few things from attending the conference.

14423867_1154677411244950_425876030_oI got to see for myself what Tzu Chi is all about. In my short time as a Tzu Ching member so far, I’ve been to several volunteering events. Yet volunteering itself is only one component of Tzu Chi’s mission. At the conference, I was able to participate in many activities such as Waking Up to Wisdom, for which we woke up early to start our day with Master’s teachings; formal lunch, during which we ate in silence to keep in mind the preciousness of each meal; and Secret Pusa, which encourages us to learn from the positive traits of people around us. All of these events reminded me to be more aware of our world, all the good in our world, and the potential in each of us to help our world grow. I tasted a sample of the mindful Tzu Chi lifestyle.

14203424_1154677541244937_1141039981_oI loved the atmosphere created by everybody at the conference. This was the first time I’ve been around so many friendly and caring people for nearly three whole days. I enjoyed learning from the unique stories and perspectives that were shared with me. For example, we had a workshop about how to reduce and eliminate afflictions, or things that trouble us. We shared our own afflictions and discussed possible solutions. I learned not only from the ideas my groupmates suggested for me but also from hearing about their afflictions and solutions. I could apply their examples to similar situations in my own life. I also liked hearing from older speakers who passionately talked about their backgrounds, their journeys, and more. Leon SG, a senior Tzu Chi member, joined my group during Sweet Sweet Family Time. Leon strongly admires Master Cheng Yen and has been sent on missions by Master herself. Leon shared a story that demonstrates Master’s wisdom. A foreign billionaire was moved by Tzu Chi’s efforts and wanted to make a very generous donation to the first Tzu Chi Hospital. But Master turned down the money. Many people were shocked by Master’s decision because Tzu Chi was struggling to raise funds for their hospital. The donation would have been more than enough to finish construction. Leon explained Master’s reasoning: Master believed that the best way to fund the Tzu Chi hospital is for Tzu Chi members to work together. They should build their own hospital through teamwork no matter how difficult the task would be.

Good company makes every event worthwhile, but I felt very refreshed and uplifted among all the positive people. Besides having to say goodbye too soon, the only sad part of my TCCA experience was having to choose between getting six hours of sleep each night and staying up late with friends to enjoy our limited time together. I had great company at the conference. Though it wasn’t a profound, life-changing experience, the conference did help me take a few small steps toward a better direction — a few small but unique steps that were made possible by meeting the wonderful TCCA staff and fellow attendees.



Job Opportunity – Tzu Ching International Summer Camp 2016

Hi Superstars!

So you may or may not have heard about Tzu Chi International Summer Camp or “TCSC” from some of our volunteers Kathy Lam & Bryan Yang. Well if you haven’t, TCSC is a unique opportunity for those attending from Taiwan as well as the people who coordinate it.

11225475_10203273596880669_5147870293489762040_oTCSC is a chance for students that attend Tzu Chi schools in Taiwan to come and experience the American educational system, diverse culture, cultivate their leadership skills, and more. These students range from high school to university levels, so their age is not so far from our own collegiate volunteers :). It’s definitely a great chance to challenge yourself with many leadership roles such as dorm manager, activities coordinator, discussion facilitator, and chaperone. You’ll even get to travel all over California, visiting Stanford, UC Berkeley, Google, Universal Studios and even Disneyland!

You will not regret the experience you will gain from this opportunity and you’ll definitely make lots of friends :). You don’t have to be afraid as you will not be working alone, BUT it will definitely push you to your limits physically, mentally, and maybe even emotionally as it is a month long camp.

Nonetheless, this opportunity is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Find more information about the requirements and expectations here:


If you want to hear about our UCSD Tzu Ching’s experience on TCSC 2015:

Kathy Lam’s Sharing & Bryan Yang’s Sharing

Also, don’t be afraid to personally message them and ask them for more details 🙂


With Gratitude,

UCSD Tzu Ching

#UCSDTCCA Summer Journey – Kathy Lam

Meet Kathy Lam, our amazing 3-in-1 Team Lead!

Kathy joined us during her first year at UCSD after graduating from high school as a Tzu Shao. She has been a very active TC member since her arrival and loves how her passion for photography/art and TC complement each other. Kathy is now a second year at UCSD and we are so happy to have her on our officer cabinet this year, FINALLY.

She’s currently a 2nd year @ UCSD (Sixth College, ICAM Major) and we are so happy to have her on our officer cabinet this year because she brightens our days with her quirkiness and love of miniature animals.

This girl is a sleepy panda during her downtime, when she’s not busy with school, work, dancing, or TC.  But let’s hear what she has been busy with this TC summer of hers… aka Tzu Chi Musical & Art Youth Summer Workshop, Tzu Chi Summer Camp, Tzu Chi Collegiate Association Leadership Conference in Houston, and Tzu Chi Youth Association Leadership Conference.


Tzu Chi Musical & Art Youth Summer Workshop (6/15 – 6/19)

Through the help of a job posting on our UCSD Tzu Ching Facebook page that our Alumni, Martina Lo, posted, I was able to have a chance to teach 4-12 year olds Arts & Crafts for an hour a day for 5 days :).

But, I applied waaay back in March. At first I thought I knew what I getting myself into, thinking, “Pfft, a week or two after finals? No big deal. I can handle teaching kids… I think.” but then as summer and finals approached, I started freaking out haha because I realize that I’ve never really taught or even really dealt elementary kids before. In addition, I had to come up with a rough lesson plan, which I’ve never done before. This was during the last couple of weeks of Spring quarter so I was pretty stressed out.

Papa Lam volunteering his time to create a castle stage prop

Finals were over and I came back to Long Beach and the next morning, went over to Tzu Chi Great Love Preschool in Walnut for a staff meeting. We had 2 days to prep for the week. This camp had 4.5 days to pull together a full musical performance that included decorating the stage with props, singing, dancing, AND acting. Their theme? Tangled.

Camp was frustrating yet fun and rewarding… running around with a camera, documenting the camp, sewing costumes for certain characters from Tangled ( 2 green Pascals, vest for Flynn, cape for Maximus who ended up being brown instead of white haha), decorating and making props for the stage, coming up with a daily lesson plan and trying to execute it well, and creating worksheets for the students to show their parents what they learned and be able to create the crafts post-camp.

Lawrence took me to the classroom and pointed to each of the 10 kids, who were all wearing the same shirt aka the Tzu Chi Camp Shirt, and their corresponding name. My reaction: “Oh god. Finals just ended… my brain is so dead, how am I supposed to memorize 10 names on the spot @_@…” but somehow, I was able to do it.

The Kiddies (minus one) & I with their flower creations 🙂

The first day I taught them how to make gift-tissue paper flowers.  Shirley SG from Cerritos, taught me a couple years back and I remember how fun it was the first time I did it. Being able to see how fascinated the children were about being able to create something was heart-warming.

Weirdest feeling about the camp was realizing that I was a lot older than these children and being called “Miss Kathy.” I’m so used to just having someone tell me exactly what they wanted and I would just execute that but instead, having the opportunity to think for myself and having to control everything was foreign-feeling.

Stage Set-up, couple of minutes before the final performance

I remember Emily (one of the other mentors) telling me how the kids will be super obedient and nice the first day because they had yet to know how strict I would be. Should’ve known that would happen because the next couple of days were a lot harder to control the children and get them to listen to me. TT^TT.

I think, overall, I’m just really grateful to have had the opportunity to have met so many amazing mentors as well as being able to teach those kiddies. The kids were really sweet and adorable, and just watching them have so much fun and interest in the activities I planned out felt worthwhile all the lack of sleep that was happening. I have a newfound gratitude for educators. Also super proud of the kiddies and their end performance :). Watching them perform, as I was solo-ing A/V team, was bittersweet. I was happy everyone’s hard work paid off but I was sad that it was ending already.

Also, extra kudos and gratitude for my Papa Lam because without him, I don’t know how I would have been able to have the time to create the castle stage props. In addition, for giving me the opportunity to have this job by driving 30 minutes back and forth to drop me off and pick me up from Walnut campus.

2015 TCSC-Tzu Chi Summer Camp 慈濟美國加州遊學營(7/8 – 8/10)

The musical camp ended and Lawrence offered me a position for Tzu Ching Staff for Tzu Chi Summer Camp. This was a camp that was one month long. Originally I had other plans but they didn’t fall through and I’m glad they didn’t. I was hesitant because I would have to deal with students from Taiwan, meaning full-on Mandarin mode had to be used and well… my Mandarin sucks xD. Er, it’s decent but yeah…I talked to people who were staff for the camp the year prior aka Martina Lo and Christine Diao and they definitely recommended doing it. So I took the chance (even if they emphasized the fact that it was a LOT of hard work). I thought I’d take on the challenge and push myself.

The purpose of this month-long camp was to have the students learn to integrate the camp motto of “Trust, Cooperation, Strategic planning, and Communication” into their daily living while gaining valuable language and cultural exposures along the way.

Now imagine after a couple days of moving things and setting up 10 rooms for 43 students & a teacher from Taiwan, 44 completely new faces with a language barrier, programming activities with a meaning behind it, trying to successfully execute that activity, constantly traveling to places (Disneyland, Universal Studios, Angels Stadium, North California – Google, Facebook, Fisherman’s Wharf-, etc.), all the while chaperoning and making sure everything runs smoothly, 24 hours a day for 30 days straight.

There were definitely times during the camp where I wanted to give up, regretted taking the opportunity, for pushing myself etc. There were even times where I just wanted to cry. The emotional, mental, and physical toll was like “How is this even summer break? It’s not relaxing one bit.” The main struggle I had with the camp was probably thinking about how much it sucked to have a language barrier and how I wish I could’ve spoken Mandarin better so I could communicate with them better. A part of me felt like they wouldn’t like me because we couldn’t really communicate well. Felt like I wasn’t pulling enough of my weight or disappointing those around me. But somehow, I think my team knew that and even some of the students too. I was constantly being re-assured that I was definitely doing my part and that it was okay that my Mandarin wasn’t superb because the students were there to learn and practice English. I was giving them the opportunity to improve their self. A couple of the students would try their best to communicate to me and it honestly meant a lot to me because I know that speaking a language you’re not comfortable with is scary. The thought about being criticized or not understood is a really meh feeling.

During this month, it made me re-realize that I’m very much the type to just take things over and do it all myself because it’s just “easier”. I know how I want things and how to get it to be the way I want. I got to see different types of leadership when working with Edith Chen (Hofstra/New York), Katie Lin (UC Davis), and Bryan Yang (NorCal => UCSD). Honestly would not have been able to complete this camp without them. Katie was always so optimistic no matter what situation we were in, Edith had her educator-nature and wasn’t afraid to be strict, and Bryan was basically the translator and heavy-hauler. Definitely going to miss working with Edith and Katie :(… (Meanwhile… Bryan has joined the UCSD Tzu Chings haha).

Overall, exhausting… but definitely worth the memories created and bonds formed. I think because of how close the students (ages 15-21) were to my own age, the easier it was to relate to them. It also made me want to take care of them and make sure they had the best experience possible because for some it was their first time being in America and possibly may be their only chance to ever be here. It also gave me the opportunity to take on responsibility because normally, I’m the one being taken care of (since I’m the youngest child in the family). I didn’t think I would cry when we had to all part but seeing how hard they worked to put together the closing ceremony, singing with their full sincerity, and crying, I ended up tearing up a bit. Still remember how sad it was to separate our ways at the airport. It’s really hard not to cry with them when they cry and hug you tightly, not wanting to let go.

Often times I’m behind the camera taking pictures for everyone else so it also really touched me whenever I would be taking pictures of the students and they would offer and insist that they help out to take pictures because they wanted me to feel included and have pictures to look back on as well. 

After this camp, I want to work on my Mandarin as well as my leadership skills aka work as a team. Looking back, this summer was by far the most productive yet and after this camp, all other tasks seem less daunting. & Just like what Christine told me, “I would definitely do it once for the experience, but I’m not sure I would want to do it again.”

I definitely recommend other Tzu Chings to staff for this camp because even though it’s exhausting, in the end it is more than worth the exhaustion.

遊學營幹部 聖地牙哥慈青 林麗婷

為了不虛度這個夏天,我為自己定下了目標 – 要過一個充實、有意義並能讓自己成長的暑假。曾支援遊學營的慈青們分享,擔任遊學營的工作給予他們很多寶貴的人生經驗,對他們的個人成長有深遠和正面的影響。因此,我也希望透過支援遊學營而吸取更多經驗,加強領導才能和認識新朋友。

2015 TCCA Leadership Conference in Houston (8/13 – 8/16)

Dead tired and socially exhausted from TCSC, after a couple days of rest, I went to Houston, Texas for the 2015 Tzu Chi Collegiate Association Leadership Conference.

The funny part was that my Tzu Ching friends from TCSC 2015 were also at the camp. Bryan and Edith were group leaders and Katie was on curriculum team :). Super hard workers xD.

I thought overall the conference was really inspiring as well as fun. Personally being involved with Tzu Chi for so long and having so many family members involved with Tzu Chi in their own way, I never really learned too much about the spiritual aspects or the reasoning as to why I was doing when volunteering for Tzu Chi as a Tzu Shao or Tzu Ching. I just knew on a basic level of what to do, how to get things done, and that it felt rewarding to help others.

I learned a lot about myself (realizing how far I’ve come with my relative-relationships,  negative thoughts, and emotions) and definitely enjoyed TC Family Time, listening to SG/SBs stories and experiences, as well as getting to meet all the awesome Tzu Chings from across the country (and even from Taiwan! which it was ironic that my roommate was actually friends with one of the students from TCSC). Though I must admit, the best part was walking into the Jing Si Hall, joining in the ice breaker and realizing that the girl standing in the center was someone I had met in 2011 at a Tzu Shao Retreat and had not kept in touch since. “Reunited (with Sae Yokoyama) and it feels so good~” 🙂

“Transform your mind, change the world.”

*I would type more but my notebook/quotes are all at home in L.A.

TL;DR The picture below summarizes how much I wanted to put lots of effort and attention into the conference experience but was exhausted at the same time. BUT TO BE FAIR, I put my head down during a break time TT_TT. #SleepyPandaProblems

2015 TCYA Leadership Retreat (9/5 – 9/7)

During the last week of TCSC, Lawrence asked if I wanted to help out with the Tzu Shao Retreat, since Katie and Edith would no longer be in SoCal and Bryan was already helping out Jimmy SB with cooking for the event. At first I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure how much more socializing I could take haha. But in the end I volunteered to be his assistant (a member of the curriculum team) because it was only going to be a couple of days and I could actually speak the language of the camp, English~ No more language barrier for me pwhahaha! Plus I found out  that the Tzu Shaos I met at TCCA were going and I wanted to see them again :).

I thought I was only going to assist on minor things like passing out materials or something along those lines. However, it ended up that Martina and I had to teach sign language specifically the “So I Stand Up” adaptation by a Tzu Ching named Sophia Jin. It was the same SL that we were taught for TCCA.  In addition we had to plan ice breakers, host it, and introduce their task of coming up with talents to showcase at the end of camp. I used to be so confident in my presentation skills but I apparently am now out of practice because I get so nervous >_<.

It was great getting to see all these high schoolers put together their skits and talents within a night. Reminded me of how creative and energetic one can be haha. Definitely had a great time watching each talent :), even if they made Wilson and I run around to double check what they were showcasing and have the audio/music all worked out.

Overall, the camp was just very nostalgic and it was great to meet our future TC Tritons, Justine Lee & Roger Chou :). Not to mention getting to work together with Wilson Ku (whom I met at Tzu Shao camp back in 2012) and the amazing UCSD Alumni Martina Lo of whom I’ve heard so much about 🙂 was great.

And as always~ my job was to put together a slideshow for the ending of the camp~. More sleepless nights ^_^; Little workstation in the hallway…in the dark… all alone… while the song “So I Stand Up” brainwashed me.


And… well, that ends our #UCSDTCCA Summer Journey 2015 :).

To those who have read the full 6-part series (Roger, Bryan, Justine, Lydia, Can, and Kathy), we give you kudos. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed reading our TC Triton Family Members’ reflections ❤  We really appreciate everyone’s participation and can’t wait to bring you even more ^_^!

We welcome feedback with open arms :D. Thank you again and until next time, please check out our #WeeklyWisdoms project (on Facebook or on Instagram) where we take Jing Si Aphorisms, turn them into graphics, and post them weekly 🙂 and join us in person at our Events!


The UCSD Tzu Ching Family ❤

#UCSDTCCA Summer Journey – Can Deng

Meet Can Deng, one of our precious members of the Public Relations Team 🙂

You don’t have to be afraid of what she thinks of you because she will tell you on the spot. She is very blunt and will tell you what is on her mind but only because she really cares about the people around her ^_^. Can has a very easygoing personality so don’t be afraid to talk to her :D. If you have any ideas for what kind of socials or other volunteering events to have, be sure to let her know so she may be able to make it happen!

Let’s see what she has to say about her TC Summer Experience :D.

***There is a Chinese version below the English version ^_^.

Tzu Chi Collegiate Association Leadership Conference 2015

The summer trip with TCCA is for sure one of the most meaningful events for me this year. I have met so many warm-hearted and intelligent friends, and more importantly, wisdom of dealing worldly issues is the most profound part of the camp.

I joined TC last year for volunteering purpose without any religion preference. Though TC in UCSD doesn’t propagandize as a Buddhist cult, TC in general is under great influence of Buddhism ideology. At TC camp, we live in Buddhism ritual: pray before eating, bow to each other on all occasions, and so on; we are also fully immersed in Buddhism learning environment that we learn Buddhist aphorisms every morning and during basically all studying sessions. To be honest, at the very beginning, as a Philosophy minor student, I am not able to accept the huge religious shock since I am completely religious free. However, after I really get into some words that are told to us, I feel these Buddhist living philosophies are worth learning for everyone despite your personal religious beliefs. I will give the most impressive aphorism for me as an example. It is said that ELIMINATING ANXIETY IS THE EMBODIMENT OF YOUR WISDOM. In other words, getting rid of your anxiety is an ability you should possess to make yourself feel better and work harder. This aphorism strikes me because I am the kind of person who has many concerns. I am concerned about academics, my living style, and my future goal. Admittedly, these concerns are substantial for me. However, I am trapped in these worries to a great extent. This aphorism illuminates immediately when I read about it. Instead of raising numerous concerns like philosophers, facing your worries with positive attitudes and trying the best to solve them are real focuses of living a life. After that, I witness my changes in openness of religion. I am still religious free. However, instead of refusing to embrace any religious concept, I respect and welcome any religious idea worth absorbing. Just like the main character in the movie Pi, he tries all religions he knows when he is young. By experiencing different ideologies, he is able to come up with the most suitable philosophy for his individual life. Gladly, I recognize myself as a Philosophy learner more confidently.

The biggest task of TC is volunteering. In TC summer camp, we get to know all volunteering works TC people do at different levels of scale. Some are within communities, and some are international assists. It is so touching that those elites from different professions are willing to contribute to the society devoting their money and time. Being a person able to influence and change the world may be a big dream everyone has in certain age. We may found this dream ridiculous while we are growing up. But, no, changing and benefiting the world is not inaccessible. We can reach it by devoting a little care and love to the circumstance around us. A person’s strength seems small, but a group of people’s power will be huge. I am so appreciative to know these great peers who are not only good as professionals, but also love and care about people and world around them.

I am proud to be a part of TC family. No matter why you start your participation here, I believe YOU WILL STAY FOR THOSE WONDERFUL PEOPLE.

– Chinese Version- 


去年加入慈濟的我僅僅是為了參與誌願者活動。而慈濟本身是帶有佛教性質的,儘管加州聖地牙哥分部在招新時並不要求這一點。夏天的慈濟研修營完全遵循了佛教的禮節,用餐前要吟誦,活動結束要鞠躬, 不僅如此,學員們無時無刻不被傳授佛教理念。一開始,對於輔修哲學的我來說,一種宗教理念的徹底灌輸是不可接受的。但隨後,一些十分有道理和內涵的佛經解讀讓我改觀。我印象最深的是一句,“能消除煩惱即是慧。”這句話很簡單,光看字面意思就足夠理解。可我乍一看到,即產生了醍醐灌頂茅塞頓開的感覺。學哲學的人都熱衷思考,或許在學術方面存有疑慮,或思考人生,或思考未來。思考本身是值得鼓勵的事,但過度的思考反而可能讓人陷入無力。我往往為了能想個明白而煩惱憂愁起來,這已然不再是正常的了。所以,看到這句話,我頓悟自己以往是多麽的為自己添堵。消除煩惱就是應該用積極的態度努力解決問題,不是固步自封將自己困在疑惑中。我自此覺得生活完全是一片開闊光明。除此以外還有很多極具智慧的佛經解讀,讓我認識到從前自己對宗教的排斥不是思想開放的表現。能夠正視各種宗教理念,並且吸收有益的想法才更開明。就像少年派這部電影中的主角小時候所作,他信了那麽多宗教,以追尋他想要尋求的意義,盡管最後他什麽都不信了,卻集了百家所長,產生了自己獨特的人生哲學。何不妨抱著欣賞的心態,體驗一番佛學的博大精深呢。要做一個兼容並包、博采眾長的人。



#UCSDTCCA Summer Journey – Lydia Kung

Meet Lydia Kung, one of our fantastic officers from Secretary Team 😀 ! 

This girl is always super smiley and silly :). If you’re having a bad day, she’ll be sure to make you laugh. A LOT. Let’s see what this 3rd year Muir student has to say about her TC-related summer ❤ .

YA@UN 2015 Reflection

            When I first heard of the Youth Assembly at the United Nations, I was drawn to the opportunity of listening to important figures talking about international affairs. Little did I know, it was the other parts of camp that made it memorable. Although the actual UN conference did not live up to my expectations, the pre-camp was the part that made the six-day camp worthwhile.

To introduce the “Power of 5” campaign, each group made posters to bring to Times Square to promote saving time, water, money, gas, and energy.

Upon arrival in New York, I was afraid that I would not find close friends with this year’s attendees, like what usually happens with other summer camps. Instead, I found a safe haven within the array of Tzu Chings. Before coming to this camp, previous attendees have said that the pre-camp was the best part of YA@UN. I didn’t believe that until after the first day of the actual UN conference. Because we all had to wake up early, walk to the TC office every day together in two neat lines with all the proper ninety-degree turns, and struggle to stay awake during class throughout the day (and occasionally wake each other up), we became incredibly comfortable with each other. The girls made “hair braiding trains” every morning to help each other get our braids done faster. Even the SG’s joined in! Meal times were the best bonding time, as we talked freely while we ate the SG’s delicious vegetarian meals. I personally loved eating watermelon during the hot days, so my group, amusingly called the “Sketchy Ramen,” always joked about me never having enough melon to eat. Because we had so many conversations that allowed us to know each other better and invent inside jokes, meal times were my personal favorite part. The opportunities to get comfortable with each other made pre-camp the most fun part of the entire six-day camp.

The actual conference was more of a disappointment, although I did meet interesting delegates. I had expected the conference to feature international ambassadors talking about their countries and policies, what is currently wrong with the policies, and how to fix them. Instead, the majority of the program was all panels and discussions with the audience. In that situation, I was thankful for the Sustainable Development Goals research that we had done in pre-camp. Honestly, I learned more from the SDG presentations that each group had to prepare during pre-camp than from the entire conference. The conference was so boring to me, I fell asleep for most of the time. I only interacted with people in the very beginning of the day, when delegates were networking with each other, and during lunch, when Tzu Chings invited guests to eat with us. It was interesting to meet people around my age and ask them why they attended the conference. Their answers ranged from simple interest, to attending because a friend was going as well. My favorite part was the New Zealand mission because we got to visit another country’s headquarters and hear about it with a smaller group. I managed to stay awake all of the third and final day of the conference. I thought the panels were boring, although they were insightful for many other delegates. The staff showed a few movies, which were interesting documentaries about empowering other races and genders. Ironically, the movies were more interesting than the countries’ representatives’ speeches. Overall, I had a very good sleep during the conference, and it was a good experience for the parts that I was awake for.

The closing ceremony was the most special time during this camp. It was touching to hear everybody’s opinions on what happened throughout our six short days together. Everyone expressed gratitude to each other for making this such a memorable experience, and was glad to have found such a comfortable group to be with. We really did connect on more than a friend level in that week; we were family.

Although the YA@UN conference did not fulfill my expectations, the pre-camp certainly surpassed what I had ever hoped for. I don’t think I would attend the UN conference again, but it is definitely something I will remember. I met a true family from all over the nation and Taiwan. It was an honor to attend this conference, and the people made it the best experience possible. Hopefully, I will keep in touch with all of the Tzu Chings as well as the SG/SB’s that were involved. As long as we are all in the TC family, I am sure we will cross paths again one day, and together, we will create even more memories.

TCCA 2015 Reflection

            The TCCA conference was a good opportunity to connect with Tzu Chings from other chapters and learn from each other. Although the three days we had was far too short to get to know each other that well, it was an enjoyable camp for connecting with the TC family.

Although the classes were long and drawling at times, they were good topics to touch on. I especially enjoyed the “GPS of Life.” The skit was very well directed: both funny to keep me entertained and educative for learning purposes. It was also important to talk about the incentive of Tzu Chi, and why volunteers always show so much respect and mindfulness to our surroundings. These subjects are important to make sure we can pass on this wisdom to those affected by the foundation, and inspire others to join us. The classes taught attendees how to release the “inner Bodhisattvas” in everyone.

I was thankful for the numerous tea breaks, even though their abundance meant an earlier wake up time. Tea breaks were a good time to talk to other Tzu Chings and become friends with them. Although I was most comfortable with the YA@UN Tzu Chings because we were already familiar with each other, tea breaks were the best opportunity to chat with others apart from our delegated groups. I suppose the early wake up time also made us closer, because we were all pretty tired in the morning. Most of us don’t usually wake up at 5:30, so we all had that in common. Nonetheless, tea breaks were a good time to bond, because meal times were usually spent with our groups.

The “Path to Light” game on the last day was the most special part. It was an interesting concept, and although it was confusing at first, it was symbolic of bringing out our individual Bodhisattvas.

My favorite part of the conference was the last day, when we all had a carnival. It was fun to go around the booths and play their games while learning the reason behind those games. I thought all of them were clever. My favorite game was the one where we threw a paper ball at drawings of vegetables, which was to promote vegetarianism. The servers that went around delivering hors d’oeuvres made the event even more memorable… I felt like a VIP! When nighttime came, we all danced together in the sweltering Texas heat. I loved the “So I Stand Up” sign language as we all did it together in the circles. That was the most fun time, where all Tzu Chings goofed off together and had a blast.

The TCCA conference allowed for Tzu Chings to learn from other chapters. The programs were all educational. My favorite ones involved skits, since that kept me engaged. The last day was the most fun, since it was all games and educational play. I would definitely go to another conference like this again.

#UCSDTCCA Summer Journey – Justine Lee

Meet our other TC Baby, Justine Lee ❤ ! 

This little bundle of joy is joining our UCSD Tzu Ching Family :). Justine is a 1st year majoring in Electrical Engineering at Sixth College :D. She attended TCYA Leadership Retreat 2015 this summer as a group leader and performed their own group choreography to Viva La Vida – Coldplay. Though it’s just the beginning and we have yet to get to know her some more, we’re happy to welcome her as a TC Triton ❤ .

Let’s enjoy her sharing about her experience at TCYA Leadership Retreat!

Tzu Chi Youth Association Leadership Retreat 2015

At the Tzu Shao Leadership Retreat, I was grouped with various students from different Tzu Chi chapters around the US. During the first day, most of the Tzu Shaos in my group didn’t talk to each other very much, but as we did more and more icebreakers, we gradually got the conversations going. The most exciting activity was during the second day when we went to the icebreaker booths that required teamwork. My personal favorite was the Human Web as it took us 2 tries to get everyone across.

A couple of us (including me) had to be carried through the top sections by people we just met. However we trusted one another to lift and be lifted. As we overcame each obstacle, our team motto became “TRUST,” the answer to every question. Through the Human Web activity, we came to terms that there are times when we must stop, accept our mistakes, and go back to find an alternate solution. From the 3 day retreat, I learned ways to make friends quickly while creating a trust bond between each other. I also learned how each individual can make an impact to their community by putting out their ideas and reaching out to others to help participate.

#UCSDTCCA Summer Journey – Bryan Yang

Meet our new transfer member, Bryan Yang ^_^ ! Former San Jose Community Tzu Ching Club President~

Yet again, we’re happy to welcome Bryan to our UCSD TC Family <3. This guy is a little camera shy and may look intimidating as he is 6′ 1″  BUT he’s full of compassion and always willing to give a helping hand :). So don’t be afraid to approach him and say hi!

This summer he’s staffed for TCSC (Tzu Chi Summer Camp 2015, a month long camp, 7/11-8/9, where students will learn to integrate the camp motto of “trust, cooperation, strategic planning, and communication” into their daily living while gaining valuable language and cultural exposures along the way), group leader for Houston TCCA Leadership Conference, and was a cook for TCYA Leadership Retreat.

Let’s see his sharing about his experience staffing for TCSC 😀 (available in Chinese as well).

Tzu Chi Summer Camp 2015

The 2015 Tzu Chi Summer Camp has finally drawn to a close. I can clearly remember how nervous and anxious I had felt on the first night, when the camp attendees started to arrive. How would I get to know these forty-three attendees? How can I guide them through this next month to ensure that they are happy in their time here? Then, the attendees walked in, and I see the apprehension on their faces as they took in the unfamiliar surroundings. At that moment, I was determined to help them feel at home here in the United States. In this past month, I devoted myself to the task of looking after the attendees, planning every aspect of their curriculum, and leading them from one destination to the next.

Tzu Ching Staff @ UC Berkeley From Left to Right: Katie Lin, Kathy Lam, Edith Chen, Bryan Yang

As this month flew by, I went from not knowing these students at all, to being able to identify each by only the sound of their voices. However, I still experienced many challenges in this short time. But, not only was I able to learn from my experiences, I was able to meet and work alongside three other camp leaders: Kathy, Edith, and Katie, and gained so much from our collaborative work. Before this camp, I was used to being the responsible one in a group who finishes projects for the entire group; but, at this camp, I was a part of a team that shared responsibilities. We each bring something different to the table, and from my fellow camp leaders, I was able to learn how people of different backgrounds can accommodate and mutually help one another to see a project through. I don’t think I could have made it through this camp without them.

In retrospect, I never imagined how much of an impact leading a Tzu Chi summer camp can have on me in terms of changing my mindset and how I will go forward in life. I learned how to trust my team, to listen to them, and to accommodate them. I also witnessed the importance of trust and collaborative work. An individual alone cannot accomplish a great task. As Master Cheng Yen says, “A truly successful person is accepted by everyone and accepts everyone.” If I did not learn to trust my team, I might not have been able to reach all my goals and accomplish this great project!

Student Attendees crying their hearts out as they hug their “Big Brother” Bryan at Closing Ceremony

Given the chance to go back in time, I would not change any of what has happened. I was able to grow as a result of the incidents that took place during this camp. I had never known before that developing curriculum could take so much time and energy, but now I understand the hard work of Tzu Chi volunteers, who dedicate themselves to pass on Tzu Chi’s humanistic culture. I hope that I can apply the experiences I have gained from this past month to help pave the Tzu Chi path, so that it will be smoother and easier for others to join us!

2015 慈濟暑期加州遊學營