A Sophomore Taste of Taiwan (ASTT) is a special program in Grace Christian College (GCC) wherein students are sent to Taiwan for a 9-week opportunity to earn credit units for their programs, sharpen their Mandarin speaking abilities, as well as learn about and appreciate the Chinese culture. This year, Grace College Sophomores – Kimberly C. Apacible, Justine Gadiel M. Gaditano, Clarice Jayne C. Serrano, and Jill Chloe E. Tolentino – went to Shih Chien University (實踐大學) in Dazhi, Zhongshan District, Taipei on March 24, 2019.
During weekdays, they studied selected Business and Psychology courses under faculty of SCU. They also had Mandarin classes through the Language Exchange Program of the university, as well as National Service Training Program (NSTP) 2 under the guidance of Grace appointed escorts – Ms. Joana Kristina Tan and Ms. Nencie Or. Weekends were reserved for attending Sunday Church Service at the Calvary International Baptist Church whose congregation is shepherded by Pastor John Lim.
Special dates were also set aside for cultural visits. The group visited and had dinner at the Shilin Night Market on April 18, 2019 with GCC President, Dr. James L. Tan. The following day, the students went to four tourist spots, namely: Yehliu Geopark, Gold Falls, Gold Museum, Juifen, and Shifen. Soon after, on April 30, 2019, they experienced a 37-second-travel from the 5th floor to the 89th floor of the Taipei 101 where they had a very beautiful view of the city lights in Taipei.
On May 10, 2019, the GCC College Sophomore students met with GCC Senior High School students who did work immersion at the National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu City, the second best University in Taiwan. They toured the campus and learned of the different programs offered by the University.
In addition to these, the students also went to Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Museum of Contemporary Arts, and Da’an Forest Park.
On May 26, 2019, the students were bound for the Philippines with memories of their unique experiences in Taiwan for which they are thankful.
Clarice said, "Being part of the 2019 ASTT was a great opportunity and experience for me since I was able to meet new people and get to know their culture…I hope that I can visit Taiwan again."
On the other had, Kimberly said, “I am so grateful to have spent 9 weeks in Taipei, Taiwan with my batchmates, Gadiel, CJ and Jill. We attended classes, tried a variety of food, visited different places in Taipei, and made new Taiwanese friends. I greatly appreciate to be a part of ASTT 2019."
Jill mused, “Because of this program, I was able to grow as person, live independently, better understand myself, others around me and overcome challenges with amazing rewards that would impact my life in years to come. Studying abroad can be exciting and nerve-wracking, but… a person should step out of his comfort zone... One will never know what beautiful things are hidden around the corner that can change and reform his life."
GCC will continue to offer this program to its students knowing that it helps prepare students to become Christian leaders with a world view that is both global and Biblical.