January 2019: Ringing in the New Year with Shirley!

She's an IELP veteran and the cheerful face who greets you at the front desk of the International Affairs office.  Meet the free-spirited Shirley Tseng!

NAME: Shirley Tseng
HOMETOWN: Taoyuan City, Taiwan
PROGRAMS: IELP, Graduate Academic English, DBMD (wow!) & Student Worker in the Office of International Affairs

IELP: Shirley, you've been through so many IELP and international programs, and now you work in the International Affairs office. You're the perfect person to talk to for our blog!



Always a smiling face


IELP: Tell me about the time you first arrived in the United States. What was the experience like?


SHIRLEY: Before I came to the U.S., I thought that my English was pretty good because I got high test scores and I could communicate with my English teacher. But the first time I came to the New York airport, I tried to ask the police about where to find the bus to my hotel. She spoke really fast and I couldn’t understand what she was talking about! It was upsetting at first.

IELP: But clearly after your IELP classes, you can communicate very well now.

SHIRLEY: Yes. When I went to the IELP, they had classes in reading, listening, and speaking. They helped me to practice and gain confidence when speaking English.

IELP: What was your first impression of Temple?


SHIRLEY: I saw a lot of flags around campus and I had no idea what they were for. At my home university (Tamkang University - Lanyang Campus) we have a big gate, but Temple has mostly flags. I had to ask a friend what they meant.


IELP: What is the best thing you’ve seen or done in the U.S.?


SHIRLEY: I have a lot of favorite things! I traveled all around the U.S. from the east coast to the west coast. I flew to LA and Florida, and my friend and I took the bus from Seattle to Portland and from Philadelphia to New York and to D.C. and Boston. It took 20 days over winter break.


IELP: Wow, I'm jealous! If I only had 24 hours to spend in Taiwan, what would you tell me to see or do?


SHIRLEY: You should go to the Night Market and eat Taiwanese food. My favorite is fried chicken breast. It’s different from the U.S. because we use white pepper.

Fried chicken: a cultural crossover food


IELP: What is your favorite American food?


SHIRLEY: Cornbread. I loved the cornbread that Dr. Martyn Miller (Assistant Vice President of International Affairs) made for some international students when I visited his house. I also loved the lobster when I went to Boston.


IELP: How did you get involved with the Office of International Affairs?

SHIRLEY: We had a camping event for DBMD students before the semester started. I had jetlag and I always woke up early on that trip and helped Dr. Miller (the group leader) prepare breakfast for us. We had a lot of chats during the morning time and eventually he asked me to send my resume to help with a student worker position in his office.

Shirley Tseng, at your service!

IELP: Where do you see yourself after you finish your graduate program?


SHIRLEY: I’m studying Information Science and Technology. After graduation I want to apply for a web designer or project manager position. I prefer to stay in the U.S. because I could have 3 years of OPT with my technology degree. I might want to go out to California. My dream is to work with Google or Apple.


IELP: Where is your favorite place to be on campus?

SHIRLEY: Fourth floor Tuttleman. There is a couch on the ground and big windows. Sometimes I play on my phone there or eat my food with my friends. And sometimes I just sleep!


IELP: What are some of the things you’ve learned from participating in a program with people from so many different countries?

SHIRLEY: Students from different countries have different English accents. I learned English like the UK, and at first I didn’t understand the English that students from Japan, Korea, or India spoke because their accents are really different. When I tried to communicate with them more, I found that it wasn’t that hard to talk to them over time. I got used to it.


IELP: What advice would you give to other students thinking about studying in the U.S.?

SHIRLEY: The one thing I would suggest is to be brave and speak English, whether it’s with an international student or with faculty or with Americans. If you are afraid to talk with others in this country, it will be hard to know the campus and get to know other people here. So don't be afraid!

See ya next month!