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Passion Beyond Cultural Borders: Samuel's Communication Journey and Postgraduate Life in Taiwan

From the moment he first spoke into a microphone at the tender age of nine, Samuel was captivated by the thrill of reaching out to an audience. It was a small school activity, but for him, such a beginning nourished his interest in communication. 

(Photo by Albert Lin, first-year student, IMICS)

From DJ Dreams to Journalism Career Path

Samuel Li, a first-year student in the International Master's Program in International Communication Studies (“IMICS”) , reflects on his learning experience with a mix of nostalgia and gratitude. Originally from Hong Kong, he gained a Bachelor of Communication (BComm) in International Journalism from Hong Kong Baptist University, he appreciates the significance of his alma mater in the media industry for playing a key role as a cradle for extraordinary journalists worldwide.

Much to the surprise, his passion for communication arose from the first try in hosting and photography during the school days. 

“I wanted to be a DJ when I was little,” Samuel recalls with a smile. “By the age of nine, I hosted school events. My teachers noticed my potential and encouraged me to pursue communication. It was their guidance that led me to the field of journalism.” 

In eighth grade, he got his first camera. For him, doing photography is more than just a hobby. It is a way to capture the world around him and to tell stories through images. This love for photography seamlessly intertwined with his passion for journalism, providing him with a unique perspective and skill set.

With the interest in public media across Asia, he made the heartfelt decision to pursue an MA degree in Taiwan. Among the possible options, Taiwan stood out as the perfect fit for him due to its language accessibility and nice public safety. Having visited Taiwan several times before, he has been familiar with the local culture and people. Now, he continues to explore this beautiful country through his travels.

To Samuel, Photography started out as a hobby, before it became intertwined with his profession in journalism. He still enjoys recording the scenes he sees during his excursions around Taiwan with his camera. (Photo by Samuel)

Learning Experience in IMICS

Samuel’s academic journey took a significant turn toward exploring the unknown cultures when he joined the International Master’s in International Communication Studies (IMICS) program at NCCU. Such experience of diverse cultures enhances his adaptability in multicultural settings and equips him with invaluable skills for thriving in an increasingly interconnected world.

He was fascinated by its incredibly enriching course design. “I particularly enjoyed the course of ‘Media and Entertainment Law in the Digital Age’, which increased my interest in legal matters and intellectual property. The essence of copyright makes me appreciate the intricacies of media laws and the importance of ethical journalism,” he said.

He said the IMICS program indeed brought together students from all over the world, each contributing diverse perspectives and experiences. This international blend created a vibrant and dynamic learning environment, though not without its challenges. 

“Studying masters abroad is a ‘hard’ first try for me! ” he said.

Samuel also noted the cultural differences between Taiwan and Hong Kong regarding education. “The teaching methods are similar, but there are distinct differences,” he explains. “Teachers in Hong Kong are more ambitious; they push students to dive in and learn hands-on. In contrast, teachers in Taiwan guide students step by step, ensuring that no one gets overlooked in the process.” Both styles are appreciated, and he recognizes how each has contributed to his growth.

Beyond the classroom, he immersed himself in a variety of extracurricular activities. This year, he took part in the 2024 World Festival (世界嘉年華), NCCU’s annual week-long celebration that invites international students to showcase their cultures through art, cuisine, music, dance, and more. This vibrant event fosters a strong connection among overseas students, promoting cultural diversity and global engagement. He delighted in tasting his hometown delicacies as well as other exotic cuisines.

Academic Star: Writing Papers Back-to-Back

(Photo by Albert Lin, first year student, IMICS)

One of Samuel’s most impressive academic achievements is his success in being accepted to three conference papers focusing on public service media Southeast Asia and public service broadcasting in Hong Kong —one at the Public Service Media for Innovation and Sustainability and two at the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR).

He took out his handwritten notes to display his research ideas, attributing his ability to develop these concepts to his previous journalism training. In journalism school, he was accustomed to jotting down story ideas in a notebook. "Writing down stories or any ideas that come to mind is like being struck by lightning," he said, "and it's similar to how I come up with research ideas."

Roadblocks often litter the path to success. From coordinating international meetings to navigating paperwork and resources, he encountered several challenges. “It was undoubtedly tough, but I was fortunate to have a robust support network,” he acknowledges gratefully, expressing gratitude to Professor Tammy Jih-Hsuan Lin for her invaluable assistance with the complicated paperwork and ongoing guidance.

(Photo by Albert Lin, first-year student, IMICS)

For those younger students who would like to join the communication field, his advice is to remain resilient and open-minded, embracing challenges as opportunities for growth.“ Dream big! Good things start from imagination,” he said, “Be creative and persistent. Magic is happening in communication every single minute.”

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English Service
English Service

The interview article lacks a clear backbone, appearing somewhat disorganized with an unclear focus on why Samuel is being interviewed. It's not until readers are nearly two-thirds through that they discover the article primarily concerns his academic achievements, yet even then, this central point remains somewhat obscure. Additionally, the connection between his academic success and his childhood experiences feels tenuous. Simplifying and streamlining the narrative would enhance clarity and focus.

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