December 10, 2019 was the first day of the 16th Senior Portfolio Exhibition of the Department of Communication Studies. Hualien County Magistrate Chen-Wei Hsu attended, and students presented the details of their 23 projects to her. The county magistrate was impressed with the wide variety and international flavor of the students’ works, and she wished to work with Tzu Chi University, especially the University’s international students, to welcome those living overseas to come to Hualien.
These seniors were born in late 1990s. They are from many parts of the world and grew up in a variety of backgrounds. They have been studying here for more than three years and living their everyday lives with their peers, and are ready to move forward, seeking employment, pursuing advanced studies, or doing something else. On this day, students used photographs, graphic subjects, or marketing plans to present their ideas, and all 23 projects had splendid contents, cover art, culture, local community, overseas scenes, cultural heritage, contemporary innovation, etc.
Many attended the exhibition’s grand opening, and among them were Hualien County Magistrate Chen-Wei Hsu, Tzu Chi Education Foundation CEO Pen-Jung Wang, dean of the College of Education and Communication Yun-Chi Ho, and faculty members of the Department of Communication Studies. Department of Communication Studies chairperson Wei-Hsin Fu pointed out that this senior class has 52 students; twelve are from Malaysia, five are from Indonesia and 2 are from Korea. The students portrayed a wide variety of topics: One portrayed Hualien’s indigenous people; another covered Malaysia’s indigenous people; yet another one depicted how Taiwanese volunteers cared for local prison inmates; one student shared how Malaysian volunteers visited underprivileged families; another student looked at Taiwanese with tattoos, while another one described how Koreans wear their traditional clothes. The students wished that through their works, attendees would know how people residing in Taiwan, or other people, live their lives. Many attendees also wished the students’ projects would be well-liked, and they would continue to pursue their dreams in their workplaces, or wherever they choose.
Two Malaysian students and one Indonesian student have been paying visits to Hualien Prison with other Tzu Chi volunteers on Fridays. They used cameras and conducted interviews to record how Tzu Chi volunteers interacted with inmates; moreover, they followed up with some of those who had been released from prison, interviewing them regarding how they started their new lives. One student said some inmates used to be gang members, and at the beginning, they didn’t realize that their actions were totally unacceptable by the public. She felt fortunate for them that, through prison provided education, they had a chance to do some self-reflection and re-educate themselves. She really wanted the public to know more about the stories of these inmates, so people may be more accommodating towards ex-offenders and give them more opportunities.
Seventy-five percent of the those who came to Taiwan from overseas, and serve as caregivers, are from Indonesia. One Indonesian student was interested to know how caregivers have been doing in Taiwan. In his project entitled “In－tention,” he interviewed ten caregivers, and one of them was Lisa. Lisa left her hometown in Indonesia for Taiwan at age sixteen, when her second child was only six months old. Unfortunately, three years later, her husband had an affair with another woman. Another student said that these female caregivers are unable to be with their children, so they can only chat with their children through their cellular phones. These caregivers came to Taiwan to improve their family’s financial condition; and meanwhile, they are running a big risk of losing their families. The students used “In－tention” to appeal to the public, so that we can be concerned for the feelings of these caregivers, and respect and care for them from our hearts.
We go through the process of being born, growing up, getting married, aging and dying during our lifetimes. One project portrayed professionals who always stand firmly behind us during our lifetimes, such as obstetricians and gynecologists, midwives, teachers, bridal secretaries, legal counsels, caregivers, nursing home owners, funeral home staff, etc. Students interviewed them to let the public know more about them and share what they have done for us.
During the Beehive Festival in Yanshui District, Tainan City, thousands of soaring firecrackers are launched into the crowd making for a truly unique experience. A project entitled “My Yanshui’s Grandmother,” which introduced how the firecrackers are made and how local people prepare their cuisines in a traditional fashion. The objective of this project was to present the tradition of his hometown and pass on to younger generations. Another project named “Tĺpi Korea,” which employed ways which fashion industry uses, to present the cultural and historical elements behind traditional Korean clothes, and students wished to promote traditional Korean clothes to younger generations.
Wei-Xiang Hong’s “Laso’ay” aimed to encourage indigenous young men or young women living elsewhere to come back to Kuang-Fu Township, Hualien County. At the beginning, he just tried to share his unforgettable memories of Hualien, and had never expected that he would become acquainted with so many new indigenous friends.
The exhibition was opened to the public during December 10-12, in Da-Ai Building, which is located on Tzu Chi University’s Main Campus.