Exchange student Shung-yu Tsai left his family last August and made the long journey to The University. Without much knowledge of how life would be in Scranton besides some research he conducted on the internet, the 22-year old ventured from Taiwan to Northeast Pennsylvania.
“This is my dream,” Tsai said. “I decided in high school that this is what I wanted to do.”
Adjusting to college life is a struggle for most American students, but Tsai said he faced other obstacles.
“It was kind of frustrating, I would have to say. When I came here, I had no idea where to start. [Where to] buy my groceries or where to take the bus. But I did get some help from the International Office; what to expect and how to prepare for that,” Tsai said.
Tsai attended the National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan before arriving in the U.S. The political science major said he wanted to experience taking a class with an American professor because he can express his thoughts without being judged.
“Back home it is more like a Chinese culture. When you express your opinions, people will be negative,” Tsai said. “Here it is more open to discuss anything, so in the courses I can discuss things that are controversial to my professor.”
The Taiwan native is making the most of his time at The University. He is a member of The University’s men’s volleyball club and takes advantage of the trips offered by the International Club. Tsai also said he was a member of The University’s United Colors Organization, which is where he made most of his friends.
“I got a sense of acceptance, so it was quite encouraging for me to actually have a place to feel that I belong to,” Tsai said.
Because Tsai is a political science major, he also wanted to experience working for a politician in the U.S. He currently works as an intern at the Scranton office for Congressman Matt Cartwright. Furthermore, Tsai spent his Intersession working in New York under the education division in the Taipei Economic and Cultural office.
Communicating with his family is also a challenge for Tsai. His parents are not too familiar with the Internet and he has to relay messages through his brother.
As Tsai completes his last semester at The University and returns to Taiwan, he wants to achieve two interesting goals.
“The first one is to make my English better and the other one is to become stronger physically, because my ex-girlfriend said I should eat more and gain more weight,” Tsai said.
Taiwan is an island located in Southeast Asia and is slightly smaller than Maryland and Delaware combined.
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