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Vincentian couple excel at National Taipei University of Technology

Vincentian couple excel at National Taipei University of Technology
LORENZO BACCHUS (left) and Rotasha Medford

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FIVE (5) YEARS AGO, two young Vincentians received a call which, for them, marked a new juncture in their lives. For Lorenzo Bacchus and his wife Rotasha Medford, the voice on the other end of the line was a message of hope, faith and confirmation as they had both been listed as recipients of a 2016 Taiwan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Scholarship. Filled with gratitude, expectations and aspirations the two recipients set out to work towards success, fully determined to make themselves, their families and their country St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) proud; a task which they both confirmed, has been completed.

Personal Reflection

Emphasising his passion for Architecture, Lorenzo Bacchus stated that he was elated to have received the prestigious scholarship. Bacchus, who now holds a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture Design from the National Taipei University of Technology, said his goal was to learn more about architecture, and how architecture could have an impact on the people within the society. “The problem I faced, even with my prior knowledge and experience in the field, was essentially forgetting what I had learned about architecture in the Caribbean and relearning all the basic concepts based on architecture in Taiwan/Asia.”

Bacchus said.

Summing up his five years of study with one word, the 2021 graduate said that his experience was indeed “stressful”.

He pointed out that the obvious language barrier proved to be an even greater struggle, with his degree being conducted 100% in Chinese language. He recalled that one of the most difficult experiences was recording his classes, and then having to use Google Translate and other avenues to fully understand what was being taught or what an assignment was about, just so he could achieve a passing grade in his courses. Despite that struggle Bacchus noted that he was able to maintain a high GPA and was consistently ranked among the top five performers for the four years of study. Bacchus was also awarded the third place for his graduation project and academic performance within his department for the National Taipei University of Technology Graduating Class of 2021.

Recalling her own journey, Rotasha Medford mentioned that her passion for computer science fuelled her excitement and high expectations for what she could achieve after being listed as a 2016 Taiwan MOFA scholarship recipient. Medford said that she was prepared to meet and encounter new people and hoped that Taiwan’s diverse and advanced community would open her aspirations and drive her to attain her goals.

She pointed out, “When I started university my expectation was that my passion for computer science and IT-related areas would grow, however that turned out to not really be the case.”

Faced with a similar struggle to that of Bacchus, Medford’s degree program in Computer Science and Information Engineering was also conducted in 100% Chinese.

This struggle, as she highlighted, altered her liking towards the field as she was now forced to focus more on understanding what she was able to translate and obtaining/ maintaining her grades, versus being inspired to grow in the field.

Now a proud graduate of the National Taipei University of Technology, Medford described her journey as “overwhelming”. She noted that the overall school/lecture style in Taiwan is very different from that of SVG, especially in the sense of there being, in many cases, limited communication/ interaction during class time. In this sense the onus is placed on the students (especially those who do not speak Chinese) to a large extent, to teach themselves. Even so, Medford can now breathe easily as she has crossed the finish line with grand style, having received the Outstanding Project

Award and prize for her graduation project.

Collectively, the graduates expressed great fondness of the Taiwan community and their respective experiences in getting to know the people and culture of the country. However, they made clear their encounter with the “You’re a foreigner” concept of things, which may have coloured their view of the country. This, in their belief, was the case where some locals (Taiwanese) would treat or react to an individual (foreigner) differently, merely because they are not from Taiwan. Medford highlighted that a small number of Taiwanese, whom she encountered, were not fond of foreigners. She noted “A lecturer may figure, or have a stereotype, that a foreigner may not take his/her class seriously and so that lecturer would not give or relay the full class experience to those foreign students. Or even some local Taiwanese students would refuse to assist you simply because you are a foreigner.” This sentiment was also recounted by Bacchus. Despite that particular struggle, they were both able to overcome and persevered towards completing their degree programs by developing their own means of comfort and a strong network of friends and like-minded advisors along the way.

Additionally, the duo said they have no regrets about their journey over the last five years and have credited their overall success to their love for and faith in God, as well as the support they gave to each other and from their families and other supporters.

Moving forward, Bacchus and Medford have stated an intention to continue striving for greatness, with hopes of networking and developing business roots, both in Taiwan and SVG. Bacchus has already founded and is operating an architectural design and construction company (Bacchus Design & Construction) in SVG with hopes of partnering with architectural firms in Taiwan to bring modern designs and construction practices to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Both Bacchus and Medford have extended thanks to a number of individuals who provided support and encouragement throughout their journey as students in Taiwan.

Achievements LORENZO BACCHUS

Third in Graduation Project Academic Performance.

A consistent and responsible class representative for the 4th-year class.

Represented the NTNU Mandarin Training Center in Taiwan’s 2017 annual Dragon boat competition.

First foreigner student in the architectural department to be selected as class representative in a 100% Chinese Speaking Department.

The only foreigner in the architecture department to be recognised for outstanding design and model for the topic Architecture as Acupuncture which earned him a place at the 2020 Intensive Effect Exhibition at the National Taipei University of Technology.

Participated in the “New Asian Architects and Taiwan Representatives Trial Tournament”.

ROTASHA MEDFORD

Outstanding Project Award and prize for Graduation project.

Represented the NTNU Mandarin Training Center in Taiwan’s 2017 annual Dragon boat competition.

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