Start Where I Stand

Zi-Ting Huang / MBA Candidate
Graduate Institute of International Human Resource Development

People who know that I was initially admitted to two renowned universities all asked me why I decided to choose NTNU instead of National Sun Yat-sen University to study in. Well, I would say opportunity knocked and luckily, I answered. Now, here I am with NTNU, starting a whole new chapter of my life.

Yes, the totally brand-new experience ever. First of all, Human Resource Development is literally a new field to me since I wasn’t a business-related major back in undergraduate school. Second, I had never studied or stayed in a foreign country before. Plus, I am not a Taipeier at all. All of these feature my studying with IHRD (The Graduate Institute of International Human Resources Development) as a challenging, inspiring, and exciting journey.

My very first challenging encounter came along with the tremendous impact of COVID- 19 pandemic. I was overwhelmed by the online courses conducted entirely in English yet with multi-accents interacting as half of my classmates are from different foreign countries. The full English program made me panic at the beginning semester because neither could I fully grasp the gist of what professors were delivering nor was I confident enough to convey my perception. Somehow, I felt lonesome and helpless studying online at home. Fortunately, both the professors and classmates have been very supportive and accommodating, which gradually boosted my confidence, and I decided to step out of my comfort zone. “The more you practice, the better your game becomes.” I started to see English as my mother tongue by using it in my daily life. For instance, hanging out with foreign friends from the program. It can not only build a better relationship but also improve my English verbal skills. In return, I tried helping foreign friends in many ways, learning Chinese included. Martin Luther King Junior once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenges and controversy.” Indeed, I myself have experienced that challenges could bring out the best of me.

As we all know, the cogitations between the East and the West are quite unlike. Cross- cultural interaction in the actual classroom is inspiring enough to lead to “a minor incident that sparks a war.” Normally, students at IHRD are not the same age and most have work experience, which is just like the epitome of the workplace! On the one hand, there are always diverse perspectives colliding during discussions that do surprisingly broaden my horizons. On the other hand, cultural misunderstanding and miscommunication keep popping up and constantly drive me crazy even when there’s no language barrier. It is understandable since every culture has its own set of assumptions and customs. Thanks to the experienced professors, they demonstrate the philosophy of embracing multiculturalism in the classroom. With an inclusive and nonjudgmental smile, they kindly accept different opinions whenever a dispute occurs. Young as our class is, true voices and clear ideas can always be delivered and heard. Communication may break down once in a while, but we all manage to construct understanding and reach a compromise. Here with IHRD, I’ve witnessed ongoing inspirational moments in class, and fortunately, I’ve learned to develop the ability of intercultural communication and leadership as well.

Aside from the school work, IHRD arranges awesome activities to bond the class into a close-knit team. The most exciting one was the field trip to Sanxia District in New Taipei City. Hardly could we imagine a must of having the field trip in the first place. After all, graduate students are grown-ups and likely to have busy lives. To everyone’s surprise, the trip turned out to be an unexpected moment of excitement. We local students along with foreign classmates were able to view Hakka culture from the perspectives of outsiders. At the time of introducing Taiwanese culture to our classmates from different countries, a mixture of feeling proud and excited aroused. Proud because of the vivid life Hakka people present; meanwhile, excited because of the interpretation we made to help our foreign friends get closer to Taiwan. Upon seeing the Wows from my foreign friends, I became more acquainted with Taiwanese culture in a deeper sense of awareness and appreciation, which I think was the most exciting part.

It was worth mentioning that my graduate school life was not as miserable but more fruitful than I thought. Currently, English writing is never a weight off my mind. I am happy that NTNU provides lots of learning resources such as language exchange partners, English academic writing tutoring, an Easy test website, some English writing lectures…etc. After going through the longest grounded pandemic period, seizing every opportunity to learn has become my top priority. Besides the formal class settings and tricky thesis, I have attended several speeches with speakers from all over the world sharing their career stories in different industries. By the way, there is a small but warm place that plays an essential role on the campus. Where to have discussions? Where to take a break? Where to laugh and shed a tear? Where to find a shoulder to lean on? Even where to enjoy snacks? Well, the study room greets us all with understanding.

I have always wanted to live in Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan, to experience the liveliness and prosperity of Taipei. I was on cloud nine when I received the admission letter from NTNU. It has been more than half a year since I enrolled and I’m pretty grateful that I made the right choice! I hope to keep learning and carrying all the competencies I learn from NTNU, and eventually become a professional and extraordinary HR manager that makes the school proud!

Once a visitor to this place, and now a member of this big family.
Come join me here and now. The new chapter has begun.