#13: Taiwanese-Canadian’s Perspective on American School in Taiwan & Alt-Military Service

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(Episode is primarily in English)

Tony Hu (胡牧民) is a Taiwanese-Canadian who has gone back and forth between Taiwan and Canada (加拿大) his whole life. He shares his experiences and perspectives on growing in Canada and the US, going to American School (美國學校) in Taiwan, college in Canada, alternative military service (替代役) in Taiwan, and now back in Canada for grad school.

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(intro) in English and Chinese

(2:15) How Tony stumbled upon the podcast. Interested in hearing about how other people think about their Taiwanese identity.

(4:25) Tony's self-intro in English. Childhood going back and forth between Taiwan, the US, and Canada. High school in Taiwan at an international school. University in Montreal, Canada. Alternative-military service 替代役 for 13 months in Taiwan. Back in Toronto, Canada now for graduate school.

(5:41) Tony's self-intro in Chinese. 在台灣上美國學校。在大學讀心理學。回台灣當兵,在金門的國小當替代役。現在在加拿大讀social work.

(8:00) Experience attending international/American school in Taiwan. The curriculum was catered towards learning through an American lens (American government, politics, and history), so Taiwanese history, language and culture not really taught in school. Outside of school, he'd have to switch to speaking Chinese. English bubble in a Chinese-speaking country. Code-switching came naturally; conversational Chinese was done at home, but his dominant language was English. His educational background was very westernized. Now trying to get in touch with his heritage more.

(12:30) A lot of the Chinese, particularly reading and writing, he knows now was acquired recently through the military experience teaching at the school (替代役). Relied on the Chinese-English dictionary to write his daily logs.

(14:20) Had to have foreign passport to attend international school in Taiwan. So mostly of his classmates were Americans or Asians who spent time overseas. Family could be involved in business or missionary.

(16:30) Didn't have to attend cram school or take the Taiwanese university tests. He took the SATs and participated in extracurriculars because he knew he'd be going abroad for college. Canadian universities don't put as much emphasis on extracurriculars as US universities.

(18:30) What's cool about the US and Canada is that they're both so multi-cultural. Communities of people can form pretty naturally. Vancouver is a Taiwanese hub in Canada, as is Toronto. Access to Asian food in Toronto: Scarborough-Markham, Pacific Mall, Chinatown. Please tag us on Instagram (@tonyhu0_0 and @twdiaspora) with specific Taiwanese food recommendations in Toronto! Tony's favorite food: Bubble tea 珍珠奶茶 + Taiwanese beef noodle soup 牛肉麵.

Check out Episode 14 for continued discussion with Tony about mental health.

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