NAME: Sean Su
MAJOR: Business Marketing
PROGRAM: CSU IP – Taiwan National University
Hello my name is Sean Su and I am a 4th year Business Marketing major at San Jose State University! Last semester I had the opportunity to experience a study abroad program hosted by CSUIP at National Taiwan University. A lot of factors contributed to this decision but it dwindled down to these 2 reasons. As a Taiwanese-American growing up in a Mandarin/Englsih spoken household, I was constantly surrounded by Taiwanese culture through the foods we ate, the holidays/events such as Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn festival, and most importantly, the language, which was used to communicate with family/relatives. The 2nd reason was “cause why not?” Many students would pounce on the opportunity to live in a foreign country, free from the shackles of their parents while simultaneously contributing to their undergraduate education. And now that the party has ended, I have met many like-minded individuals with similar backgrounds from different parts of the world, also wanting to learn more about the country, culture, and experience.
Reflect on how your study abroad experience and the skills, knowledge, or networking has enhanced or contributed to your life back on campus or home.
Being born in America, you speak english everywhere. That being said, my mandarin was falling behind as the chances to speak the language only resided amongst family. Ever since going to Taiwan, my Mandarin speaking has improved as I had no other option when it came to everyday activities such as ordering food, meeting new people, and literally anywhere you go. On top of that, I learned to read and write traditional chinese characters as before I never needed to know how to read or write in America. Lastly, my extraverted side came loose as I had to be social in order to make friends, create plans, and make fond memories with one another. I was able to make a ton of friends from different parts of the world and if I ever need a place to crash at in their respective country, i’ll have a place to stay.
Reflect on the personal, academic, and professional goals that you had set out to achieve on your study abroad experience?
My personal goals for studying abroad was to enhance my knowledge on my chinese speaking ability and to learn how to read and write in chinese. On top of that I wanted to learn how to be independent. Whether I starve to death is up to me, no one can help me but myself. Additionally I was responsible for keeping my room tidy, my bathroom clean and toiletries stocked. I was able to live by myself and for myself.
The biggest impact that study abroad had on me was definitely the friends I made along my journey. I now have my best and closest friends all around the world. Down the line, if I ever need help I know I have a wide range of people to call on if it ever comes down to it.
Share what courses you chose to take abroad and the strategies you used to ensure your academic success. How has the experience impacted your academics now that you have returned to SJSU?
My academic experience at National Taiwan University (NTU) was amazing as I was taught how to read and write mandarin and on top of that able to learn business the way Taiwan teaches it. NTU is known as the Harvard of Taiwan so the experience of going to a prestigious foreign school was also another thing I was able to have under my belt. Now that I returned to SJSU, I am able to adjust to the rigor that the classes entail as NTU and its classes were not easy.
My program which was based in Taiwan, a second world country in Asia has a completely different way of life compared to America. First and foremost, the biggest difference I saw was the amount of priviledge we have in America where the standard of living is alot higher than most countries in the world, Taiwan included. The things we take for granted such as $10-20 worth of food is normal but in Taiwan a normal meal costs around $3-5 and theres no obligation to tip. The people of Taiwan go through trial and fire to make a living while a normal person in the America has a minimum wage 3x more than those in Taiwan.
Study abroad has prepared me for the networking/communicating abilities that I have learned as I will meet more diverse and culturally different people in my life. This is experience is one to look back on in the future and give me alot of nostalgia as it was the best decision i’ve ever made in my life that I have experienced.
One advice that I would give to a future Global Spartan is to be extraverted to meet new people in the beginning of the semester and be open-minded to the difference and culture compared to America and embrace it as your own.