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The 8,000 mile “Hello”

When Brian Ford ’19 arrived in Taiwan as part of the Taiwan-United States Sister Relations Alliance’s Global Ambassador Program, he expected to see all that the Chinese province had to offer. But little did he know that a special guest was on her way to visit him half way around the world.

In the midst of studying Mandarin and learning about Taiwanese culture, Ford heard that one of his professors, from TCNJ, was looking for him.

Celia Liu, an instructor of Chinese in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, made it a point to visit Ford to see how he was handling his change of scenery during her own trip to Taiwan.

“I was puzzled, but sure enough, Dr. Liu had come all the way to surprise me,” he says. “I remember the weather being terrible. She must have trudged through the pouring rain to come see me.”

Liu traveled two hours from Kaohsiung to Tainan, a city in Taiwan.

“He was totally surprised,” Liu said. “I am very proud of Brian for spending his summer as a global ambassador, representing TCNJ, and participating in the exchange experience in Taiwan.”

TCNJ fueled Ford’s interest in the Chinese language and culture by providing him opportunities to study Chinese calligraphy and philosophy, rock and roll in post-Mao China, and global Kungfu cinema.

“It was a heartwarming and special experience to see Dr. Liu in Taiwan. She is one of my favorite professors from TCNJ and a very good friend of mine,” he said.

Though the pair couldn’t spend much time together, the experience left Ford with fond memories of his professor.

“I knew long before she came to visit me that I was lucky to have Dr. Liu as a professor,” he said.


— David Pavlak

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