9/1/15 ASHLAND, Ohio – Nine Ashland University students and Dr. Kris Parsons, chair of AU’s Accounting/IS department, spent six and a half weeks of their summer in Taiwan as part of the University’s Dauch College of Business in Taiwan summer program.
The students who participated in this trip were Lindsay Barth, a marketing and entrepreneurship major from Salem, Ohio; Jay Beardsley, a business management major from Bowling Green, Ohio; Kara Cousins, a Finance major from Apple Valley, MN; Melissa Haber, a business management major from Medina, Ohio; Kimberly Hurley, a finance major from Ashland, Ohio; Daniel Metheney, an accounting major from Newport, Ohio; David Shaffer, a business management major from Granville, Ohio; Patty Stimpert, a business management major from Ashland, Ohio; and Austin Williams, a finance major from Etna, Ohio.
The students spent much of their time at Providence University in the Wu Chi district of Taichung, Taiwan. The summer program involved students enrolling in two Providence University classes – Mandarin Language and Cross Cultural Business and Management Seminar. Providence University paired the students with learning partners, who were Providence University students interested in improving their English and knowledge of the American culture.
“A key objective of the program is to provide meaningful exposure to an Asian market and culture for Ashland University’s business students,” said Dr. Khush Pittenger, professor of management and coordinator of the COBE in Taiwan program. “It is a unique opportunity as not many students are likely to travel to Asia on their own and there are no other Ashland University travel abroad programs that focus heavily on Asia.”
According to Pittenger, Chinese economy is in the news frequently and such international experiences bring to life what students read in textbooks and newspapers. Pittenger also thanked Alan and Julie Roth for providing the generous financial support to make this program possible and affordable for Ashland University students.
This year’s program involved students visiting a number of Taiwanese local enterprises, including Gold-Joint Industries – ACE, a Taiwanese-based geosynthetic company; DeFood – an Asian food processing plant which introduced students to green manufacturing; and Honor Seiki Co. – a CNC Machine manufacturer which uses robotic manufacturing process. In addition, the students did some sightseeing and visited Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, and Taichung as well as towns in southern Taiwan and Sun-Moon Lake.
Dr. Jeff Russell, dean of the Dauch College of Business and Economics, said this program is a great opportunity for Ashland University students to experience urban attractions of the third-largest city in Taiwan, which has a population of one million plus. “Any international experience significantly improves students’ visibility with prospective employers,” he said.
The students had great things to say about the experience.
“On this trip we got to experience so many new and interesting things,” said Daniel Metheney. “We visited many different night markets and companies. I enjoyed the night markets because there is so much to do and see. You can get food or drink and walk around looking at all the different stores. We also took many different trips to temples around Taiwan. I now know that you are to enter temples on the tiger side and exit on the dragon side. I enjoyed the experience of trying many different foods and beverages. Overall, I feel the trip to Taiwan was a good experience that helped me to grow as a person.”
“China is such a big economy that I found by the end of the trip that I want to continue my learning of the language. I think that there are great opportunities that lie in Asia in the business world and I want to be able to communicate to find those. I'm excited to keep learning and hope to visit again soon,” said Lindsay Barth. “This trip was everything I needed to motivate me in every area of my life and for that I am blessed.”
David Shaffer found enterprise visits to be interesting and an eye opening experience. According to him, the visits, “allowed me to put a picture with the descriptions of factories overseas in China and Taiwan.” He also enjoyed his week off classes when they visited southern Taiwan.
“We were able to relax and enjoy a week off spending time at the beach in the south and some river activities on the East coast for a few days. This was a very fun adventure to go on and it was interesting to observe the recreational pieces of the culture and interact with the people in that way,” said Shaffer. “It was a very fresh perspective as we had been interacting with people in an academic setting mostly. Seeing the people in their relaxed states on their vacations allowed me to get a feel for how nice they really are and how they interact with foreigners, which was very positive. The Taiwanese culture continued to impress with each additional activity”.
Jay Beardsley was impressed with all they accomplished in just the first week of their trip. He found it amazing that they visited Zhong Tai Chan Monastery, Sun-Moon Lake, local Art Museum, the local Jade Market, and a nearby amusement park within a week of arriving in Taichung.
“These trips have such a wonderful experience that it's hard to believe such wonders exist in such a small radius on an already sizable island,” said Beardsley.
This year’s group of students had an unprecedented challenge of going through a typhoon of historic proportions – Soudelor. Many of the students noted that the wind outside of their residence was so strong that they felt the windows were going to cave in at any time. The group experienced a power outage, but their spirits were not dampened.
“Our coordinator offered to order us food and have it brought to the dorm so we didn’t have to worry about going out for dinner. It was so nice of her to offer to have that done for us and shows that everyone at Providence really cares about our safety,” said Melissa Haber.
Despite the harrowing experience of a typhoon, Patty Stimpert said, “I know I will urge other students to come on this trip, so they can experience some of the moments our group did. Coming on this trip, most of us barely knew anything about each other, but after spending six weeks with each other, we have all grown closer to each other. We have all learned or changed in one form or another.”
“I think the best part about this trip was getting to know so many new people, especially the ones from other countries such as Spain, Germany and Switzerland,” said Kimberly Hurley. “I have learned so much both inside and outside of the classroom.”
Austin Williams noted that he had an unforgettable experience - watching Jason Giambi and Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez play baseball.
“One of my favorite things about this study abroad experience was the ability to explore the country and what is a summer without baseball. We figured out a way to get to Taiwan Intercontinental Baseball Stadium, which was an incredibly beautiful ballpark,” said Williams. “This was a cool experience – definitely one I won’t ever forget.”
Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###