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in Taiwan, Province of China
early January, I found myself a guest of the International House
in Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China, as part of a worldwide I-House leaders' conference
held every two years. The conference coincided with a gathering
of I-House alumni in Taiwan, Province of China, hosted by Charlene and Ming-Jeh Chien
who, like so many others, began their lives together here at International
Chien (left)and Ming-Jeh Chien (right) chatted with I-House
Board member, Beth Gordon (center), at a gathering of alumni
in Taipei hosted by the Chiens.
was an educational trip. The I-House leaders discussed topics ranging
from renovations to counseling students in crisis. One subject,
whether women have separate needs from men in residential settings,
reminded me that I-Houses are rare in offering unisex facilities;
most universities around the world use single sex quarters. And
the alumni gathering, which featured Nobel laureate Dr. Y.T. Lee
as keynote speaker, was a wonderful way to connect with such intriguing
alums as Sun Tse Ping, a former Berkeley I-House resident and grandson
of Chinese hero, Dr. Sun Yat Sen.
behalf of International House and all who attended the alumni gathering,
I thank Charlene Chien and Ming-Jeh Chien for hosting a memorable
evening. It was gratifying to meet so many people whose lives have
been enriched by their I-House experiences. I extend thanks as well
to current resident, Jason Ni, for his logistical support from start
the International House in Taipei, Taiwan, Province of China, I found that I still
have a lot to learn!
banquet in particular reminded me that, despite whatever knowledge
I may have acquired in my travels and at I-House, cross-cultural
exchange is a perpetual learning experience. Our hosts treated us
to an incredible range of dishes - Hunan, Mongolian, Szechwan, Cantonese,
Mandarin, Taiwanese - on and on, through fourteen courses. Following
my American upbringing, I tried to clean each plate so as not to
waste food, but soon I couldn't eat any more.
the Secretary General of the Taipei House leaned over and said to
me, "It's all right if you can't finish. If you empty your
plate, that indicates that we have been poor hosts and not given
you enough food, which would result in a loss of face for me."
matter what path the I-House takes me down, I still learn that I
have a lot to learn!