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Trip to Taiwan thrills students, faculty

Students pose for a photo in Taipei
Purdue students mingle with their NCCU buddies at a Taipei night market

While many of their classmates were working on spring break tans, a group of 26 Purdue undergraduates—most from the Krannert School—headed to the Far East for a memorable experience. Joined by Krannert Associate Dean Kwei Tang and Professor Jackie Rees, the students arrived in Taipei, Taiwan, for a week-long program called "Asian Emerging Markets and Economies."

For several students, the trip to Taiwan took longer than expected. Many were scheduled to connect in Tokyo on March 11, the day a major earthquake and tsunami rocked the northeast coast of Japan.

After several cancelled and delayed flights, the students arrived in Taiwan. The following day, they were greeted by their "buddies" from National Chengchi University (NCCU), who served as tour guides and quickly befriended their visitors.

"I think what made the trip great were the buddies we were teamed up with from NCCU," says Eddie Mulder, a freshman management major. "It was nice having them around to show us local parts of Taipei, not to mention the friendships we made."

The Purdue students took several courses during the week, including Mandarin 101, Consumer Behavior in Taiwan, and Chinese Philosophy and Decision Mindset. As is typical with study abroad opportunities, students learned as much outside the classroom as in it. The group spent a day in the city of Hsinchu at National Chiao Tung University and the Hsinchu Science Park, often referred to as the "Silicon Valley of Taiwan."

Students pose with Professors and Acer Chairman
Students meet with Acer Chairman J.T. Wang (seated, from left: Professor Jackie Rees, Associate Dean Kwei Tang, Mr. Wang, and NCCU Professor Chester Ho)

The highlight of the trip may have been a trip to Acer, the world's second-largest personal computer company. The group spent 30 minutes with J.T. Wang, CEO of the Acer Group and chairman of Acer Inc., and a man hailed by the 2010 Time 100 as the #2 leader in the world. Wang interacted with the students and gave them a parting gift.

"The program in Taipei was an exciting glimpse into how quickly globalized our world economy is becoming," says management major Julie Boss, who is considering an internship in Taiwan. "We had the honor of hearing from one of the world's most influential people, Mr. Wang, who gave us an inside perspective of what it's like to head a multinational corporation."

The students weren't alone in benefiting from the trip. "Getting to know the faculty and students at NCCU, experiencing a different culture and cuisine, and sampling the food and goods of the famous Taipei night markets was an experience the students and I will never forget," Rees says.

For more information about study abroad opportunities at the Krannert School, visit http://www.krannert.purdue.edu/undergraduate/Academics/studyabroad/home.asp.