Computer science major heads to Taiwan to meet with future UIC students

Chen with Taiwanese students

At the end of the school year, computer science student Clark Chen will travel to Taiwan to do a bit of what a college recruiter typically does: explain and promote the student experience at UIC. Chen, president of UIC’s Taiwanese Student Association, will meet with incoming UIC students and their parents to discuss everything from housing to banking to transportation, and what it’s like to live in the United States—and Chicago in particular.

“We give them some information so they won’t be afraid when they come here,” Chen said.

He said the language barrier is the largest issue. Students have experience writing in English when they arrive from Taiwan but are not as comfortable speaking the language.

Chen said many of the students ask about life in Chicago in general, and housing specifically. He said many students prefer to find an apartment, though he does encourage them to try living on campus for the experience.

Parents are most concerned about their children’s safety.

Chen is a teaching assistant for Dale Reed, a clinical professor and director of undergraduate recruitment for the computer science department. He served as an officer of the Taiwanese Student Association last year, and took over as president this year. While many of the club members are international students, Chen emigrated to the Cincinnati area while he was in junior high.

Chen said the club doesn’t budget for his trip to Taiwan; he will visit relatives when he travels to meet with the future UIC students May 26.

“As the president of the club I felt it was important to go and meet with the incoming students.” Chen said.

The club hosts about a half-dozen events throughout the year, including a welcome tea, a Moon Festival BBQ, a Chinese New Year potluck, and a farewell dinner for graduating members.

You can follow the club on its Facebook page to learn more. The Center for Student Involvement hosts a fair each fall, providing students the opportunity to explore the 300-plus registered student organizations and activities at UIC.