American university students in Techno Neon Prince costumes—based on Nezha, a protection deity in Chinese folk religion—danced to modern electronic music to open the Taiwan Fair at Chapman University in Southern California on April 11. The Taiwan Fair featured a performance of traditional Hakka songs, fan art, Chinese calligraphy, paper cutting, and some popular Taiwan night market games, such as ring tossing, pool fishing, and bottle shooting. You can enjoy more photos of the event in a news piece at https://www.cna.com.tw/news/firstnews/201904120207.aspx.
As part of its Gateway to Taiwan Initiative, Chapman University hosts Taiwan related events throughout the year, in collaboration with the Education Division and the Culture Center of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Los Angeles, local businesses, and the local Taiwanese community to encourage students to learn about the culture, language, and beauty of Taiwan. The university’s connection with Taiwan started as a partnership with Taiwan’s Ministry of Education working together to enhance the university’s Chinese Language Program. Students at Chapman University can participate in semester abroad exchanges at Feng Chia University, and in a summer Taiwan Experience Education Program at National Chao Tung University. Tina Chao, the Program Chair of the Chinese Language Program leads a summer study group to Taiwan each summer.
Ricky Elder, a final year student majoring in Business Administration, was the MC for this year’s Taiwan Fair. He was one of 16 students who went to Taiwan for a month-long Chinese, Culture and Society Summer Travel Course two years ago. They traveled to Taichung, Taipei, and other major attractions, and personally experienced the convenience of the MRT, and the high-speed rail, and enjoyed night markets, hot pots, and other local delicacies and activities. After returning to Chapman, Ricky continued learning Chinese and he and some friends established the university’s Taiwanese American Student Association to promote cultural awareness and appreciation of Taiwanese and American identities. He wore the flag of the Republic of China and performed as one of the Techno Neon Princes to show his love and appreciation of Taiwan.
Rebecca Lan, Director of the Education Division at TECO in LA, spoke at Taiwan Day. She began by introducing Taiwan’s culture, describing it as a blend of aboriginal and Austronesian cultures, Chinese traditional culture, and Japanese culture, as well as elements of Western-influenced modern culture. Its rich cultural landscape makes Taiwan an excellent place to experience and learn about Chinese culture and also to learn the language. For this reason, Taiwan has become the first choice of many countries when they send their career diplomats overseas to enhance their Chinese language skills and cultural understanding.
Rebecca invited and encouraged Chapman students to study, do internships, travel, and even work in Taiwan. They’ll meet friendly and helpful people there, experience a diverse range of vibrant cultures, taste delicious foods, and enhance their understanding of the world.
Photo:A Chapman University student teaches calligraphy to performers from Arborland Montessori School at the Taiwan Fair.