Waking up at 0600 in order to get in a good run and enjoy the Hawaiian sunrise hardly sounds like “pre-deployment training”. But I was fortunate enough to spend 8 days in Hawaii and 20 days in Taiwan with 21 other cadets from around the country, learning about Taiwanese culture. In Hawaii I received a crash course in Mandarin and had thorough presentations from my peers on Taiwanese culture and governmental experts.
The first ten days were spent at the Republic of China Military Academy. We were assigned a Taiwanese cadet and stayed in the barracks with him or her. We joined them in their field training. We also attended a lecture on U.S. and Taiwanese relations that explained, in great detail, the complexity of relations between the two countries. We explored the countryside, visited night markets, visited Buddhist temples, and even started “the wave” at a baseball game. The main purpose for this cultural trip was to get to know Taiwanese cadets and the Taiwanese culture so that in the future, the US has military leaders with expertise and cultural understanding when dealing in foreign relations. I now have lifelong friends that are future military leaders from the US and Taiwan. I also have a greater respect and understanding for Taiwanese culture. Jennifer Davidson, ‘11
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