Dr. Christensen Reflects Upon Time In Taiwan

Published: February 02, 2021 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 2 minutes

Dr. Christensen, Fulbright Scholarship in TaiwanLast year Dr. Bryce Christensen, professor of English at Southern Utah University, completed a Fulbright teaching scholarship in Taipei, Taiwan at the National Taiwan University. The National Taiwan University is an elite institution comparable with the Ivy League universities in the United States.

Dr. Christensen taught several courses including an Introduction to American Poetry, and major authors courses on F. Scott Fitzgerald, Willa Cather, and Mark Twain, teaching in English and using the original English texts. He described his students as very studious, insightful, and well-prepared.

“Nothing surprised me more than my students' astonishing fluency in English,” he said. “English was a second language for them and we were dealing with some challenging poetry, demanding fiction, and historical American dialects. I was very impressed.”

In his downtime, Dr. Christensen enjoyed spending time with his wife, Mary. Some of their favorite excursions include listening to Beethoven arrangements at the National Concert Hall and experiencing the thundering waterfalls at Taroko National Park. They also enjoyed spending time with people in their faith community.

“We had a wonderful experience with the Latter-day Saints in Taiwan,” said Dr. Christensen. “Certain matters of the heart and of faith transcend cultures and continents.”

Though the COVID-19 pandemic began while he was still teaching in Taiwan, overall it didn’t change anything too drastically. Fulbright discontinued their programs in April, but the University allowed Fulbright teaching scholars to remain working in the country as private citizens. Dr. Christensen chose to remain in Taiwan through June, as all of his classes were able to stay in-person with face masks.

Dr. Christensen encourages all those interested in visiting Taiwan to simply do it.

“It would be folly to say leave your American expectations behind because they are built-in,” he said. “Don’t be surprised when things are different and less individualistic. I hope that American students will recognize that America doesn’t have all the answers. We can learn and should learn and need to learn how to examine other cultures and other peoples.”

Dr. Christensen will be retiring from SUU after this spring 2021 semester. He began teaching at SUU in 2001, and will be dearly missed.

“Dr. Bryce Christensen has been a much loved and respected member of the English Department and we will greatly miss him and his passion for teaching,” said Dr. Jean Boreen, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. “He has opened the eyes of many of our students to the interplay between the arts and the sciences and they have been the lucky beneficiaries of his devotion to the importance of making knowledge from an awareness of diverse cultures and approaches. I know I speak for all of us in wishing him a wonderful retirement.”

Learn more about Dr. Christensen’s experience living and teaching in Taiwan in this Fulbright Taiwan video interview.

Tags: College of Humanities and Social Sciences English

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