Taiwan Study Abroad story missed valuable information
To the Editor,
My name is Angel Reddy and I work at the Office of Global Affairs as the Senior OGA Fellow. We saw your most recent article about studying abroad in Taiwan through UW Seattle and we were disappointed that you did not mention UW Tacoma’s program to the same country. We wanted to bring attention to our very own study abroad program to Taiwan. The program is led by Drs. Mary Hanneman, Yi Li and Lily Li from UW Tacoma and Tacoma Community College.
The program is designed to study the political, economic, cultural, and social developments that shaped the 20th century while using Taiwan as a focus. The program is hybrid, meaning that students will spend several weeks in Taiwan before returning to the United States to further their knowledge through online coursework. This is a wonderful option for students that are unable to leave the country for extended periods of time. We also have other programs that vary in length and subject to match the unique student body at UW Tacoma.
Students are more than welcome to reach out to our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by our advising hours to meet with an OGA Fellow to learn more about how and why to study abroad (hours are listed on our website). We also provide information sessions every quarter to combat perceived barriers to studying abroad, such as those involving finances, identity, and the application process.
I myself studied abroad in 2019 to Bangalore, India through UW Seattle. I was fully unprepared for what I experienced while abroad. I grew up being unable to travel due to my family’s finances. I also grew up in a community where I was frequently the only brown person in the room. Traveling to India was the first time that I was surrounded by people who shared the same skin color as myself. I thought a sense of belonging would flood me the moment I stepped foot onto Indian soil. I thought I would have a renewed sense of who I was in the world. That did not happen. Rather, I felt more disconnected from my identity after traveling to India. My family’s history of displacement left me unaware of who I was and my place in the world. While not what I expected, my study abroad allowed me to challenge myself and view my identity in a new light. I asked myself questions that people are still unable to ask themselves well into their adult life. These questions surrounding intergenerational trauma, colonialism, and skin color informed me more about the person that I want to be. Without study abroad, I would not be the person that I am today, the person writing this letter.
I usually share this experience with students at our information sessions as a reminder that study abroad is not always perfect. However, with planning and reasonable expectations, it can be life changing.
I am always happy to talk with students more about this experience or potential questions they may face abroad. As a student who worked with UW Seattle’s study abroad office, I truly feel that our office goes above and beyond to provide students with the resources they need to understand study abroad. At the end of the day, study abroad may not be for you and that is okay! Our goal is to help students make informed decisions about their options. Students should not have to miss these incredible opportunities because of a lack of information or misinformation.
Senior OGA Fellow at the Office of Global Affairs