I was very pleased and honored to receive the prestigious research grant as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2014. It represents a wonderful opportunity to obtain new knowledge in the field of child protection in the United States. My research grant will let me help children in need in Taiwan after I finish my research project. This paper contains reflections on my stay in the US as a Fulbright Senior Scholar over the past 6 months.
I am very grateful that Professor Richard Madisen, the acting provost of the Eleanor Roosevelt College at the University of California, San Diego, hosted me during my grant. Professor Madisen actually graduated from my home institution, National Taiwan University (NTU), as well. He can speak fluent Chinese and has translated several books from Chinese to English. I was surprised and pleased to know that he has close connections with Taiwan. He is also the Director of the UC Fudan Center, which has hosted a variety of seminars featuring speakers from top universities/institutes from all over the world, and I have been very fortunate to attend some of these seminars. It was a great learning experience for me.
My greatest accomplishment during my grant was in helping NTU sign a memorandum of understanding with the Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma (IVAT) at Alliant University on January 5, 2015 (see the photo above). This is the first international partnership between IVAT and the National Taiwan University Children and Family Research Center (where I used to serve as CEO before I came to the US) to support the end of violence and abuse in our respective countries. The partnership includes academic, research, and training collaborations with a special emphasis on forensic interviewing and evaluation of children in physical and sexual abuse cases. Dr. Geoffrey Cox, president of Alliant International University, Dr. Robert Geffner, president of IVAT, and Dr. Joyce Yen Feng, a minister without portfolio and advisory committee member of the NTU Children and Family Research Center, officiated the signing. President Cox said that I was the matchmaker for this signing, and indeed, this was correct. I had been working on this partnership for 5 months and am very glad to have accomplished it. I was also appointed as a distinguished fellow by IVAT.
In addition to facilitating the IVAT agreement, I participated in two conferences: the 19th International Summit on Violence, Abuse and Trauma and the CIFA 4th Regional Symposium—Visioning the Future of Families: Policy and Practice. I gave an oral presentation at the 19th International Summitry on Violence, Abuse and Trauma. I also attended two workshops on parenting problems for families with child maltreatment issues.
I have been an active participant in Dr. Geffner’s monthly group meetings, from which I learned about the research projects of individual members of his research group and benefited immensely from those lively discussions. I gave an oral presentation on my research project at one such group meeting on Feb. 5, 2015. The research group gave me positive feedback and strengthened my confidence as a principal investigator.
One of the best experiences during my Fulbright grant was seeing the benefits that my two sons received by attending a local middle school. They have learned American history and culture at school, and their English skills have improved. By helping them with their homework, I have read some outstanding works, such as “The Breadwinner.”
The most difficult thing that I have encountered is my lack of “credit history” in the US, which affected my house hunting and all kinds of applications (such as for credit cards). Although I have extremely good credit and 10 credit cards in Taiwan, I have “no credit” in the US because I did not have any US credit cards, which was really frustrating. Moreover, the living cost is way too high (such as water, electricity, cable, eating out, etc.). I found that my income in Taiwan would qualify us as a low-income family in the US; it is hard to make ends meet for my family.