Being born in New York and raised in New Jersey, I lived in a fairly Asian American and Asian immigrant community throughout my childhood. However, I never felt my understanding of Asia mirrored my growth. I decided to take time away from school to dive into this part of my identity by exploring the continent.
Based in Seoul, South Korea for a year, I just scratched the surface by visiting towns across East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Compared to the relatively young United States, I found history more pronounced in the places I saw, especially through the recipes, the sites, and the behaviors these folks preserved through time.
TASC became the final chapter of my travels. Taiwan and its people taught me as much about what it meant to be Taiwanese as it did about what it meant to be American. Taiwan experienced societal changes very similar to America with the history of its native tribes, its colonization, its Civil War, and its economic growth. I found myself grasping my Asian and American identities while sharing meals at night markets, learning about the successes and shortcomings of Taiwanese democracy, and joining dance battles on a whim.
For me, TASC was as much a personal journey as it was an educational one through urban jungles, mountain towns, and sleepy villages. For anyone considering applying to TASC, do not hesitate. TASC leverages human connection to share ideas, tackle problems, and gain understanding in a way very few other programs do in a country rich in thought, innovation, and action.