Amy Bennet’s Experience at Pemay
At first, when I heard about this program, the language portion was the most important to me. Mandarin is my favorite subject and, if possible, I am interested in living and working in Taiwan or greater Asia. I was putting a lot of emphasis into learning Mandarin before I joined this program and was eager for another chance to improve my speaking skills. I was surprised, however, when I realized how important other subjects became over the three weeks.
Of course, it is extremely important to understand Taiwan’s history but studying the history and culture while living within the society really changed the impact for me. Before joining the program, I had already studied the history of Taiwan and China but this time, I could actually experience the outcomes rather than learning about the history in the vacuum of my home culture. Therefore, the East Asian Business class was invaluable to my understanding of Taiwan’s place in the world and the reasons why people interact with each other the way they do here.
Lastly, the field trips provided great insight into various political and governmental institutions. Everyone says to avoid talking politics here because the subject is so complicated and can be quite touchy—understandably. So getting a little insight into political workings and talking about some of the issues—not just the China/Taiwan issue—that currently plague Taiwan (the general brain drain, the aging population, etc.) allowed a view of Taiwan that I had never gotten before.
What has changed about me:
I am gaining more confidence in talking to Taiwanese professionals, which is much different than before because I had only ever communicated with students and teachers. I have a better understanding of Taiwan’s business and governmental world and I already have more experience working within that world. I think before this program, I felt like there was no
On a more personal level, I have always been sort of led around Taiwan by people who live here. These last three weeks, though, I have prepared myself for living on my own and being more independent, which I think has changed me in a big way. Moving into the next part of the summer, I am surprised that I am not more nervous about being separated my American classmates. I’m truly looking forward to what’s to come.