Wednesday, July 3, 2019
by Isabelle Chen
Every year, the Education Division of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Houston organizes an orientation for Taiwan Ministry of Education scholarship recipients before they leave for Taiwan. This year’s orientation took place in the afternoon of July 2 at TECO in Houston.
It has become routine to provide information on scholarship regulations and visa requirements to new recipients. However, what is noteworthy about this year’s meeting was the distance that new recipients and alumni of the scholarship program were willing to travel for this occasion.
In the self-introduction, attendees were stunned by students Alissa Guerrero and Alexander Berry who both drove over three hours to Houston. When Jason Cheu said he flew in from Colorado State, attendees gasped with disbelief. On top of that, the real champ was another student – if there was a competition for distance traveled, and perhaps an award for determination and dedication, Jake Pearce, who spent ten hours in his car driving all the way from northern Texas just to attend the orientation. What makes this even wilder is that Jake had to drive another ten hours back to northern Texas immediately after the orientation for work the next day.
As the saying goes, “Everything’s bigger in Texas”, and the above instances truly represent the challenge of physical distance that scholarship recipients face if they want to attend an orientation in Houston. Regardless, a total of four new scholarship recipients and three scholarship alumni attended.
Scholarship alumni, Lucas Allen, Ian Perry, and Danielle Prouty, came to the meeting to share their experiences in Taiwan. They also provided practical information and advice to new recipients, including bringing enough money for the first two months’ spending, getting American-size clothing before going to Taiwan. When in Taiwan, they had better take advantage of their time in the country by visiting as many places as possible, keeping a journal that they will later find a great record of their memories studying abroad. Don’t be afraid to go out in the community and meet with local people. They will find Taiwanese very hospitable and willing to spend time helping people they don’t know.
Despite some alumni, like Henry Vaughan and Adrian Almanza, being unable to attend the meeting in person, they took the time to make videos to be shared at the orientation.
After the meeting, Alissa Guerrero said that she wished she would have applied for the 12-month Huayu Enrichment Scholarship (HES) instead of 6 months. She is very excited about her upcoming study in Taiwan and she plans on applying for the Taiwan Scholarship after she completes her Mandarin language course with the HES.
Director-General Peter Chen of the TECO in Houston prepared Taiwanese dessert bread and world-renowned Taiwanese drink, Boba milk tea, to welcome attendees to the orientation. He also congratulated new recipients and wished them the best of luck in their studies in Taiwan.
|PHOTO: 2017 HES recipient Danielle Prouty (right 2) shares her Taiwan experience|
|PHOTO: 2018 Taiwan Scholarship recipient Lucas Allen (center) shares his Taiwan experience|
|PHOTO: 2017 HES recipient Henry Vaughan shares his Taiwan experience through a video.|
|PHOTO: 2013 HES recipient Ian Perry (center) shares his Taiwan experience|