Taiwanese-American shares journey of getting to know Taiwan again

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Some second-generation immigrants born in the U.S. may see their place of birth as their one true home; but sometimes, a chance encounter or unexpected event can lead them to seek their true identities and sense of belonging elsewhere.

Andrew Wang (王閔澤) was born in the U.S. to Taiwanese parents and frequently came back to Taiwan for short visits throughout his childhood.

Over the years, he decided to explore his identity more thoroughly. He sudden opportunity came about when universities began taking their classes online due to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wang then took up the chance to study for a year in Taiwan and arrived back at his other home across the ocean to enroll at the National Taiwan University.

Here, he began documenting his journey through film while candidly sharing with his audience his path to accepting his dual identities.

In the video, Wang admitted that he never felt truly at home during his past, brief visits to Taiwan, and always had a “nagging feeling” that he didn’t belong here.

Andrew Wang with his friends in the U.S. (left) and his friends in Taiwan (right). | Photos courtesy of Andrew Wang

However, in the summer of 2018, Wang “participated in ‘AID’, a program that invited English-speaking high schoolers to teach children English all over Taiwan.”

During that time, Wang made many friends, unforgettable memories and finally had the opportunity to truly explore various parts of Taiwan.

From then on, Taiwan began to mean so much more to Wang, and he credited that experience as the moment he fell in love with Taiwan.

Taiwan began to mean so much more for Wang after his teaching experience in 2018. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Wang)

Speaking to The China Post, Wang recalled a touching moment during the last day of his teaching trip where everyone said goodbyes. He was able to return a year later and immediately fell back into the easy rapport with the students who were thrilled to see them again.

When asked about the best and worst part of being a Taiwanese-American, Wang called it a double-edged sword, where he could both “get a unique perspective and experience of having two homes,’ but not quite feeling like [he] completely belongs in either.”  

Wang also compared Taiwan with New York City, the place where he grew up and said he loved the welcoming feeling when strangers would spontaneously strike up a conversation with him, as New Yorkers are more often in a hurry and appeared closed off to people they don’t know. 

During his time studying in Taiwan, Wang also glimpsed at the best of Taiwanese people who were willing to help and explain certain things he had difficulty comprehending in Chinese.

Though not yet “truly fluent” in the language, he has continued reading traditional Chinese and made many Taiwanese friends who offer a helping hand when he comes across different words and vocabulary. 

The video was well-received and has been viewed more than 8,000 times, with many commending Wang’s heartfelt narrative which gave comfort to other Taiwanese-American social media users. 

Follow Andrew Wang (王閔澤) for more:

Andrew Wang YouTube

Andrew Wang Instagram