Elisa Romero of Honduras of is one of those rare personalities who seem to sparkle with joie de vivre. Just 19 years she said that from her very youngest years she was telling her friends and family that she wanted to go abroad and learn Chinese.
“Chinese is so different and I always wanted to learn it. Wanted to learn something so different, so interesting.”
She 1st enrolled in Chinese classes at Providence. Having established a foundation in the language she enrolled in Providence as a full-time degree seeking student, majoring in International Business.
Describing her choice of Taiwan she focused on two points – culture and business:
“Taiwan has such a rich culture – you really hold on to what you believe. You have a different for example new year. I just wanted to see all that & experience it - go to somewhere I hadn’t been and learn, and Taiwan just has all of that.”
“I want to study international business – Taiwan is such a perfect place to talk about business. It has grown so much in the last 50 years. So, I decided Taiwan was the best place and its full of opportunities for a brighter future.”
Among the Providence’s most attractive features Elisa noted that 1st for her was the school’s faith- based roots. She described how much happier her mother was knowing that she would be attending a Catholic university.
Elisa then described the way the school manages international students, noting “All the little details…” they handle so well. “If I have a question, I can go to Linda…” at the Office of International Affairs. She noted that “for someone who is really far away from her country and her family, those questions really make a difference makes us feel special and at home like a family.” And this was a major factor in convincing Elisa to stay at Providence, even though she had applied to other schools. “They seem interested in us.” “[We are] not just another student.”
Speaking to people back home thinking of coming to Taiwan Elisa said:
“I will tell them not to be scared…of the distance. They think it is too far. I might not see my people in like 3 years maybe until they save. And they feel maybe they’re going to get homesick. There are many people here willing to help is. Some people [may think] the Taiwanese are really shy. And, even if they are shy they try to help you out. It’s really nice and its fun and it’s a good experience and its worth it.”
Heber Martinez is a 22 year old artist, also from Honduras with an eye for color and detail who appears in every way the artist. He spent 3 years at the National School of Fine Arts in Honduras and worked as a graphic designer before enrolling in Providence University, majoring in Mass Communications.
Heber chose Taiwan because he has always been attracted by Chinese arts. “I like…Chinese paintings and calligraphy. When I studied I saw a lot of Chinese painters. So I decided I have to learn how to do that, studying calligraphy and many other arts.”
In Taiwan he finds cityscape and landscape to be a rich canvas itself. In the multitude of buildings and panoply of signs found down every street he sees art. Then, turning around he finds green mountains and a lush landscape close at hand. “You can have buildings, cars and so much movement…then you can have mountains, trees, rivers and the sea in the same area.”
Describing his motivation for attending Providence Heber also began by mentioning the schools Catholic roots. Saying the school “Has the same values that I have.”
Heber followed that consideration with a strong endorsement of the Providence University’s treatment of international students. “I have to say that all the people that work here, especially in the Office of International Affairs are very helpful to me.”
Describing the way the OIA handled any issues he encountered and noting that “We are scholarship students so they always…” keep us fully informed of everything we need and sure that we are getting everything in a timely manner.
Further, Heber described how Providence University’s commitment to International students extends down to individual instructors. During lectures professors “always check to see if [international students]understand”.
Another issue Heber raised was Providence University’s resources. Firstly in terms of media – he noted that purchasing necessary cameras, computers and video equipment in Taiwan was often “20-30%” less expensive than in his home country.
Next, Heber described one of Providence University’s gems – a resource the school is known for nationwide – it’s library of some one million volumes. Noting that the library was one of the nicest places on campus, Heber also pointed out that nearly 30% of the volumes are in foreign languages – a significant percentage in Spanish! Including books, magazines & newspapers Heber noted “That’s why we don’t get homesick.”
Speaking to people thinking of studying at Providence:
“I have to say that Taiwanese people are really nice. They try to help you. I think it’s a really nice place to live. I have to say that anyone who has the opportunity will be in love with Taiwan.”
Rachel Tsha is just 17 years old and is already at university perusing a degree in Ecology. She comes from an elite Congolese background – her grandfather was instrumental in leading the country to independence and served as Congo’s first Prime minister; her father was the country’s minister of health and a senator. Rachel has politics in her blood. She mentioned that one day she hopes to return to Congo to participate in the government as well.
Rachel chose Providence University on the recommendation of a Taiwanese friend. Rachel’s parents both came from a western medical background, but Rachel’s dream has always been in just the opposite direction. She wants to study Chinese medicine, and pioneer its introduction to Congo.
Rachel’s experience at Providence echoes both Elisa & Heber’s. In choosing Providence she begins by mentioning her Catholic faith. This made the move to providence very easy.
After that she describes the amount of support she gets. “If I have problems or questions they are very helpful.” “Even if we have a typhoon, they call me. It touches my heart.” Other African students studying in Taiwan tell her ‘You are lucky.’”
Speaking to her compatriots back home considering Providence, Rachel says: People they are nice; they are friendly. Don’t be afraid to go.”