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An accidental journey through my degree-seeking in Taiwan

An accidental journey through my degree-seeking in Taiwan

Jimmy Chen | Indonesia

One casual phone call with my sister who was in Taiwan, she asked me about thoughts to study in Taiwan and she might give me some suggestions. Without a second thought I replied “yes” to her; however, right after I hang up the phone and I started to worry about my poor Chinese and financial situation at home. At the time, study abroad is a far destination for me. After days of consideration, I gave up the university offers and scholarships I’ve already got and decided to spend one year learning mandarin and get to know more about studying in Taiwan. 7th of July in 2007, I stepped on the land of Taiwan and started my journey here.

The taste of failure
Failure is the mother of success. My helplessness toward the language barrier and cross-cultural conflict upon my arrival in Taiwan did depress me. During my first year staying at the Division of Preparatory Programs for Overseas Chinese Students, I can barely reach the biological need in Maslow’s hierarchy of need theory. Feeling hungry I had to use my body language to make food orders, feeling sick, I dared to go to the doctors, feeling frustrated when I had no idea what the teachers were teaching.

In 2008, I got informed that three of my mandatory courses failed, the coldness went through my bone and heart and I felt suddenly lost and frustrated for my future. At that time I had the worst preparation to return to Indonesia. My sister then suggests me temple in New Taipei city for further advice. On the way to the temple, there were endless stairways and sweat all over me, but when we reached the top the spectacular view over Taipei 101 and holistic landscape of Taipei city did awake me of the insight—to pursue success, you must overcome obstacles and difficulties. If I can reach the destination, the bitterness in between is just some test. One who has never tasted what is bitter does not know what is sweet. And that’s when I understand the meaning. I promise myself to not give up my studies in Taiwan, and I am turning my failure and frustration into courage and motivation.

Back on track and to start again!
Being admitted to the department of Banking and Finance at NCNU, I am not against the result but I do know I am not good at figures and logic, and I am not really interested in statics or finance. The uncertainty over these conflicting ideas hesitated me every day if my major really suit me. During the process of self-exploration, I clarify my weakness and strength then seeking consultation with mentors and seniors to change my major into tourism and leisure.

2010 Fall semester I successfully transfer to the Department of hospitality and leisure, it was a pity to see my former classmates who were already taking their graduation photos and I was still in my junior years of study. But I do not regret my choice and took the cultural creative industry as a major in the department. The focus of the major is cultural products, integrated marketing, and industrial internship, branding development, and case studies. The courses are conducted in either case studies, practical operation ways that help promote active thinking patterns,s and groups collaboration. The friends and partners I met during my studies are a good foundation for my start-ups and ever since my transfer to this major I have found passion and direction for my career.
After series of ups and downs, the biggest insight for me is no matter what major you have chosen can’t guarantee 100% of your future. Spend more time thinking about what kind of person you want to become and what’s your passion toward life and continue to shape yourself into the way you want it to be.

Part-time job and self-supportive
In my previous session, I mentioned Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and I have to move on to the second level of safety needs. Financially my sister sponsored my first plane ticket to Taiwan and the first-semester tuition and I have to earn for my later ones. I have taken several part-time such as service-orientated industries, departments, restaurants, hotels, interpreter jobs to fulfill these needs and to earn scholarships from different sources.

There are always two sides of stories, the part-time job fulfilled my needs for safety but in the meanwhile, I lost much time hanging out with friends. Sometimes I envied those classmates who went out to have fun and enjoyed luxurious spending, but I still appreciate that my situation forced me to be mentally matured earlier than others and to work for what I want by my efforts.

Many thanks to the Taiwanese government, National Chi Nan University, Committee of Oversea Chinese students, Sino-Indonesia Cultural and Economic Association those had admitted my for scholarships. These scholarships are extraordinary to me not only to support my studies but also encouraged me of the journey studying here at NCNU and Taiwan.

Career as entrepreneurs
My journey in Taiwan ended in 2013, but the experiences and training I obtained in Taiwan had helped me through many obstacles coming back to Indonesia. I am more than confident to take all challenges and succeed in my new position. After six years of practice, I jumped out from regular staff to the braver step—startup! As a contribution to my hometown Kalimantan Barat, I started an internet-based service corporation using smart city pattern to provide B2B, B2G, and B2C business models to provide business services. What I foresee is the progress of my hometown after adopting technology services. The process of my start-up was filled with obstacles and uncertainty, but my education in Taiwan has encouraged me. I would like to reiterate the phrase “One who has never tasted what is bitter does not know what is sweet.” Lastly, I am deeply thankful to Taiwan that has changed my life, to Taiwanese teachers, classmates, and friends. I send my deepest wishes to Indonesian students who are now on the journey and to create their best life and study abroad in Taiwan.

An accidental journey through my degree-seeking in Taiwan
There are always ups and downs in life journey, but we can eventually overcome it

An accidental journey through my degree-seeking in Taiwan
Having to say goodbye to Taiwan, the six years journey here

An accidental journey through my degree-seeking in Taiwan
In the study journey, I met my life partner, and our family is going !!!