The Dragon Boat Adventure

29 team members
9 months for training
15+ countries together

Many of the IMBA students stay in Taiwan for only two years, or even less. We study, work, travel like a tourist, live our daily life, and plan our future after the IMBA. But as all human beings, we yearn for a deeper connection with our friends and the culture around us. A bond that can only be built through special activities and Dragon Boat is exactly this for us. A means to connect, to learn to understand each other, and to experience the local traditions.

We had months of preparation before this day, and our weekly training already feels like a habit for us. Waking up early in the morning, making sure that nobody is over-sleeping, cycling to the training site, and trying to sit down in the boat without falling in the river. We wait for the instructions of the coach and give it all we have to follow the rhythm of the drum, straining our bodies as far as we can, paddling with full power. The moment we find the pace and our paddles catch the water at the same time, the simple training turns into a flow experience. The front of the boat rises from the water level, and we feel a small victory. These are not complicated actions at all, but doing them in perfect unison with our classmates makes the difference.

The competition, the goal we trained so hard for this year, is already tomorrow. It feels like an ending. The IMBAders will be here the next year too, but many of our friends will not paddle with us anymore as they graduate. Yet, they will never be only our classmates, who we once knew from the IMBA. They will be our teammates, captain, and flag catcher forever. Dragon Boat means more than a sport for us.

"Paddling is not about individual strength or technique; it is about synchronicity. Paddling in perfect synchrony is actually more effective than the individual skills. Similar to our professional career, a leader should understand the strength or the weakness of each member, and place them in a position where they can perform the best because no one is perfect, but a team can be.” Isaac Chua, Malaysia
“The experience of rowing for Dragon Boat showed me to work cohesively in a team. Being a first-row rower taught me that the entire team depends on us to set the pace, so we must consider everyone’s capabilities, not only ours. Out of the boat, the camaraderie of doing this activity together was definitely my favorite part!” Francisco Lopez, Honduras
“Being part of the dragon boat team has helped me boost many different skills like active listening, communication, time management, and interpersonal skills. I cultivated a strong relationship with my teammates, and I learned to empathize with their perspectives. Personally, I prefer individual sports such as cycling, but Dragon Boat has shown me that when you are part of a team, the collaborative experience is much more rewarding.” (Ana Victoria Herrera, Colombia)
“As a drummer facing all my team members, the feeling is extremely touched when I see the determination in their eyes and facial expressions while paddling. We are from different countries, however, at that time, we all unite as one and drum is our common language. This is a once-in-a-lifetime unforgettable experience for sure.” (Christine Lee, Taiwan)
“Many people say teamwork is very important. But rather than just a verbal expression, we had a chance to participate in a whole journey of teamwork for 9 months.I was more than willing to take up the task of leading the Dragon Boat team when the president of the IMBA Student Council invited me. I always love to challenge myself in any kind of sport. However, without having any paddling experience or previous knowledge about the terminologies, I did suffer some in the beginning. The good thing is that as I found more and more passionate mates, who devoted themselves to the team, we conquered those barriers in a short time. This captain’s journey is coming to the end, and I will hand over the position to the new captain. I really feel appreciation for each member who spared their time, resources, patience, and even money to help each other and to support this united team.” Jim Lai, Captain 2019-2020, Taiwan

Thank you, Captain, for leading us, motivating us, and being a good friend of ours! We will be great tomorrow!

Author: Zsófia Ottóffy